Workshop: Knock yourself out

My review of the iPhone 4s

My review of the iPhone 4s

This is a photo I took in the later half of 2011 to commemorate my upgrade from an iPhone 3G  to an iPhone 4s. I used to write product reviews for things like this, so I thought it’d be more amusing to do the same thing visually, with a photo that essentially says the new product knocks the other one out. Also, quite unnecessarily, I’m holding the two phones in the background. This photo is partly inspired by all the episodes of Bugs Bunny I grew up with, in which Daffy Duck or Elmer Fudd or both are trying to kill Bugs – but Bugs always manages to find a way out by defying the cartoon medium he’s in. Here’s how I did it…

Step 1: Take a photo of yourself punching an imaginary person

Throw a convincing punch for the camera

Throw a convincing punch for the camera

This was, strangely, the most difficult step in the entire production. Sure, there are several other laborious steps involved after this, but the energy and facial expression that are depicted in this particular photo are what sells the final image. I have several earlier photos in which I’m looking to the left, directly at the imaginary person, which is a very literal interpretation of punching someone next to you. But then I realised there was ultimately nobody making eye contact with the reader, so I adopted a more theatrical approach by facing the camera as I threw the punch. It feels ridiculous, but the final result looks right.

Step 2: Take a photo of yourself being punched out by an imaginary person

Take one like a champ

Take one like a champ

This photo is considerably easier. Just take a rough note of where your fist finishes when the punch is fully extended, and make sure your head is suitably positioned to make it look like a connection has been made between head and fist.

Step 3: Bring the fighters together

With any luck, the fist and the face should meet

With any luck, the fist and the face should meet

If the lighting and the background in the first two photos are consistent, merging them should be pretty easy, mainly because the shadows and colour tones are almost identical. I simply etched out my arm in the first photo and placed it as a layer on top of the second image. Once flattened and brushed up, I had one seamless image.

Step 4: Split the new image into two halves for a left image and a right image

This photo is for the phone on the left     This photo is for the phone on the right

This step is fairly self explanatory, but make sure the dimensions of both photos match the native resolution of the respective phones they’re meant to appear on. This will preserve the relative size of the two characters. If for whatever reason they’re off, or don’t match, you’ll end up with mismatched sizes, and the punch won’t look convincing when they’re held side by side.

Step 5: Upload the photos to the two phones and take a picture of them side by side

No, the photos haven't been photoshopped in

No, the photos haven’t been photoshopped in

In hindsight, I probably could’ve photoshopped the two photos right over the phone screens to make life easier. However, on second thought, that would mean having to match the size, shape and angle of the screen when overlaying the photos – which is a royal pain in the backside. Simply uploading the photos to the phones sidesteps that headache entirely.

There is a drawback, though. If you look closely, you can see that both phones run at very different colour temperatures (that’s why the skin tones are different), and both are, in turn, much cooler than the environment I’m standing in (why the hands holding the phones are so warm). I could’ve selectively masked different sections of the picture to bring all three elements into the same colour temperature. Instead, I opted to turn the hands holding the phones into black and white so that all the attention can go straight to the phones.

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Go back for more Workshops

6 thoughts on “Workshop: Knock yourself out

  1. Pingback: Day 13: You need to be more specific | idiot.with.camera

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