As I've mentioned before, I'm terrible at capturing motion in my photos. Not simply because I'm using action figures (which aren't the liveliest of subjects), but because I just couldn't wrap my head around what capturing something in motion actually meant. As part of the homework I gave myself, I started studying sports photography and just what it means to capture that moment. The split second just before an athlete explodes into action or the fraction of a second where they are on the move.
Applying that concept to toys is always going to be problematic. I went into the studio knowing what I wanted, but was unsure how best to get it. Posing Thanos is always a simple, pleasing task because he only has two poses; standing there with his arms down or standing there with his arms raised. Oh sure, there is a wide variety of subtleties to be found there. Move his head to the side, turn his body either towards or away from the camera, raise one arm or the other.
With my pose selected, I tried different backgrounds and lighting. In the end, I settled on a tracing lamp stood on its side, just behind his shoulder. This little lamp comes in handy, due to its small size and diffused light. It has become my "go to" lamp whenever I'm having trouble lighting something. Next time you're in your local art store, ask where the lightboxes and tracing lamps are.
Before I get into how I processed in Photoshop, let's review a little of Thanos's history, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Thanos is born on Titan, a moon of the planet Saturn to Mentor and Sui-San. Due to a genetic quirk, Thanos is born with the Deviant gene and as such resembles the Deviants — the Eternals' cousin race — more than his own people. Although treated fairly by his race, Thanos is mindful of his appearance and becomes distant, only keeping company with his brother Eros (Starfox). Thanos matures to adulthood, and via the use of bionics and mysticism augments his abilities to become the most powerful of the Titanian-born Eternals, and is often referred to as the Mad Titan.
Bitter at being an outsider, Thanos becomes fascinated with nihilism, embarking on his quest to "please" death, and begins by conducting a nuclear bombardment of Titan that kills millions of his race. Thanos' mother is thought to have died during the bombardment, but years later it is discovered that he kidnaps and then dissects her. He later travels to Earth, and prior to landing his vessel destroys a nearby car to prevent anyone from becoming aware of his existence. Unknown to Thanos, two of the family members in the vehicle survive — the father's spirit is preserved by the Titanian cosmic entity Chronos and is given a new form as Drax the Destroyer while the daughter is found by Thanos' father Mentor and is raised to become the heroine Moondragon.
Taking Thanos into Photoshop, I used a radial blur to bring the lamp light out and spill over the figure. Because of the low F-stop setting, Thanos's head and face were not in focus, so the radial blur gave the illusion of movement. Now, instead of just being out of focus, your eyes follow the lines of the light, which point straight out of the image and into your face, while his hand seems to be swinging in from the other side. All that was left was to do a little cleanup of some of the light that spilled where I didn't want it, and then add the color to his eyes.
Basically, I'm very happy with this one.
Wielder of the reality-altering EXIF Gems
|Camera:||Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi|
|Exposure:||15 sec (15)|
|Focal Length:||49 mm|
|Exposure Bias:||0/3 EV|
|Flash:||Flash did not fire|
|Software:||Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows|
|Date and Time:||2008:11:06 20:22:34|
|Exposure Program:||Aperture priority|
|Date and Time (Original):||2008:11:06 21:05:43|
|Date and Time (Digitized):||2008:11:06 21:05:43|
|Focal Plane X-Resolution:||4433.295 dpi|
|Focal Plane Y-Resolution:||4453.608 dpi|
|Image Width:||3888 pixels|
|Image Height:||2592 pixels|