Creating a Stage
April 29, 2010 by David Stansbury

Here is an interesting project which illustrates what can be done with Photoshop to replace a distracting background behind a product with something a little more dramatic. This is a photo of a very large, room sized welding machine. These machines are custom built one by one on the factory floor so they have to be shot in place and while the assembly area is clean and organized there is still a lot of stuff there. After all they actually make things there!

I replace the factory background setting with a dark blue “wall” and enhance the illusion by adding texture and lighting effects in Photoshop. Before shooting we hang a blue tarp behind as much of the machine as possible.That doesn’t make it a snap to isolate the machine but it does add blue reflections to parts of the welder and floor which adds to the realism of the completed scene with the new blue background.

Isolating the upper half of the machine is the most time consuming and has to be done very precisely at maximum screen resolution because I am often asked to provide 24 x 30 inch or larger prints of the final image. Fortunately I can keep the existing floor and then I blend the floor and new wall by darkening the area and blurring the seam a bit. So the final effect is sort of  like creating a backdrop curtain and stage to present the machine in a more dramatic fashion.

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