Thursday, September 25, 2014

How I became the Fashion Police.

Comments about this image have included, "Did the police let you pose on their bike?" "Where did you manage to find the bike?" "You're lucky no one caught you messing with that bike." And leading nicely into this blog entry, "I know it's Photoshopped but how did you do it?"
While walking around in the Mission district I saw this police officer signal for the car in front of him to pull over. The officer stopped his bike a little way behind the car that had stopped and put it on it's stand positioned slightly into the path of oncoming traffic. 
I'm sure there's some thought or reason/ training for the position of the bike but that's not what this piece is about. The thing was that I could see the bike looking as if it was still traveling along the road in my mind's eye.
Very quickly, the complete image formed in my head and I pulled out my camera to get my shots. I stood at the side of the street with my camera half raised, waiting for the officer to get his bits from a pannier bag to go and write the motorist a ticket for something. He kept glancing around at me, not looking happy or sure why I was so interested in what he was doing, but he didn't engage me and I just stood and waited.

In a few moments he had his gear and walked over to the parked vehicle to deal with the motorist. So now I was able to get my base shot for my image.
Happy with my shots I returned to my studio for the rest of the photography. I downloaded the frame onto my computer so I could get a good look at it and see how the light was working in the shot. At this point I also created a mask of the motorcycle in Photoshop and saved it as a selection.

And now it was time to get dressed. I did a couple of test shots while I adjusted the lighting to match my motorcycle shot. Using the view of the image displayed on my monitor, I took a series of shots of myself trying to mimic the position I would be in if actually sitting on the bike. Using a wireless trigger for my camera and lights, I was able to quickly get through about 20 shots with slight variations each time so that I could pick whatever frame I felt worked the best.
After downloading these files to my computer and choosing the one I would be using, I created a mask of myself and saved this as a selection too. Going back to my base image I was able to load the motorcycle selection mask, invert it and motion blur the background. Using the selection mask on the image I shot in the studio, I was able to select and copy myself and paste the selection as a new layer onto my base image file.

After a little Photoshop work it's almost there. I did some work to blur the image seen through the motorcycle screen.
And added some radial blur to the wheels and tires.
To finish off the image, there was general detailing like reflections on the chrome for the red shoes, the 'Fashion Division' copy  and the sticker on the screen. I also added the sergeant stripes on the jacket sleeve along with overall tweaks till I felt I was done.
And that's all there is to it. The hardest part was choosing what to wear :)

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