This is a behind the scenes post for the image; ‘into the sky‘. And though this image is not very difficult to create, it is useful to know how to make objects (or Lego minifures) fly in Lego photography.

Setup

I wanted to create a scene with a balloon-animal flying into the sky hanging on a balloon after a woman lost it. Whenever possible, I go outside for a photo so the sun will take care about the lighting. The set-up is shown in figure 1.

Setup lego photography
Figure 1; Setup for ‘into the sky’

This time the camera is placed steady, this is important since I need two photos within the same frame (see later on). I use the remote control to take the photo after setting up the scene and adjusting the camera-settings. This will diminish the chances of me accidentally moving the camera between shots (like I often do 🙁 ) .

Setup lego photography
Figure 2; Close-up of the setup for ‘into the sky’
TAC - behind the scenes lego photography
Figure 3; Tac

As you can see in figure 2 the balloon is attached to some wire to make it fly. Also the balloon-animal is attached to the balloon.

I use ‘tac’ (in the Netherlands this stuff is named ‘Pritt poster buddies’) for this purpose. Tac is very useful, I use it a lot, for example to stick minifigures to the floor when their center of gravity is such that they can’t stand on their own.

If you look at the image the Lego minifigure is bend a bit backwards to make her look at the balloon. This time it was not necessary to use Tac though. I simply placed the brick underneath at a slight angle so the minifigure wouldn’t fall backwards. The photo itself is shot from slightly underneath so you wont’t notice this angle in the final image.

Lastly, I take two pictures. One of the setup in figure 1, and one with the same setup but without the whole balloon. IMPORTANT: Be sure to set your camera-settings to manual for this, especcialy the focus. You’ll want the second image to be exactly the same as the first one. Also don’t linger to long between shots when you are outside. I often did and when I was ready for the second shot, the clouds moved in, completely changing the lighting.

Out of the camera

Figure 4 and 5 show you the images straight out of the camera. I wanted the background to be substantially blurry so it wouldn’t distract the viewers from the central image. Eventually, the images were shot at ISO 100, shutter-speed 1/800 s and aperture f/5.6.

behind the scenes lego photography before B
Figure 4: Image 1 - out of camera
behind the scenes lego photography before A
Figure 5; Image 2 - out of camera

Post-production

For post-production I always use Photoshop. I don’t know any other software from experience. However, there are (free) alternatives to Photoshop; the most well-known being GIMP.

In photoshop I performed a few steps.

  1. I put the images in one file in two separate layers. Image two is the layer underneath image one. Then I put a mask on the image 1-layer and simply paint everything I want out of the picture black in the mask, revealing the layer underneath (image 2). Figure 6 shows you the proces, figure 7 shows the result.
Figure 6; masking in photoshop
Post production lego photography A
Figure 7; The result of using the mask

2. I accentuated the green colors in the image (figure 8).

Post production lego photography B
Figure 8; Green colors accentuated

3. I added a little vignette and accentuated the reflection of the sun on the balloon (figure 9).

Behind the scenes lego photography final image
Figure 9; Added vignette and accentuated reflection of the sun.

The final result

That’s it. Clean and simple. Only thing that remains is a before and after image.


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