As a follow up to my previous post and a response to discussions regarding composite photography, I have picked another example that required several shots to be lit and taken separately to complete the final image. I have assumed that you have read our previous tutorial, so I have not described the processes in as much detail. If you are unsure how to perform a certain step, the answer should be given in my previous post, however please do ask if you still aren't sure.
Anyway, today's subject is a Rolex Daytona in rose gold with a black dial. A black dial makes things more complex, because without the correct lighting, a black dial looks white and washed out with glare. The problem occurs when lighting to suit the dial; the lighting doesnt then suit the rest of the watch. The solution? Composite imagery. This will be the image we want to end up with:
First of all, we need our images. The first shot I took was the for the case and bracelet, which is a mix of brushed and polished sections. With the watch on its back, angled slightly towards the camera which was held above and slightly below it to minimise reflecting itself, I used two softboxes on either side and one honey comb grid aimed from diagonally above and in front of the watch dial, pinpointed at the top portion of bracelet. This is so the direct light was not in the angle of incidence/reflection to glare directly onto the dial and cause horrible flares and artefacts in the image. Don't forget to pull the crown out too, otherwise compositing the images will impossible!
I then used a translucent reflector mid way between the honey comb grid and the watch, angled towards the watch to achieve the right 'softness' from the light. Moving it towards the light gives harder contrast and blown specular highlights, moving it away gives smoother gradients and transparent highlights. I wanted something inbetween the two.
I then used A4 pieces of white card above and below the watch (propped up on the table) to clean up the reflections on the watch, giving smooth gradients with no odd shapes. It takes a bit of fiddling to get the reflections right without blocking the light altogether, so don't forget that small imperfections can be edited out afterwards.
I also used two thin strips of black card, laid above and below the watch and slightly behind the return of the bracelet, to add a solid line of black on the polished bits and a dark gradient on the brushed bits, giving it shape and contrast. This is the setup and the resulting shot:
As you can see, the case looks ok, the bracelet looks ok, but the dial looks flat and washed out. This will form the basis of our next shot. The lighting setup is very similar, but this time we do away with all the card except for a single sheet of black. We use the black to catch a reflection in the dial, removing the glare and giving us a nice, deep colour (or absence of!). The area of reflection is found around the angle of incidence/reflection, a line mirrored from that between the camera and the reflective surface, which should be just slightly above the path of light coming from the honeycomb, which we aimed just a bit before the dial onto the bracelet. The setup and shot look like this:
So now the dial is black, but the reflective hands and markers are too - we could use the hands and markers from the first image, but they are too flat, with no contrast, so a third image will be required.
This time we aim the honey comb directly at the dial, and use a white card instead of a black card to reflect against the markers, holding it in the same place as we did with the previous black card. This serves two purposes - we get a nice rich gold colour on the hands and markers, and we also use it as a gobo to block some of the light, cast a shadow and create a contrasting gradient on the underside of the hands and markers, removing the flatness we saw originally and giving the markers some shape. The setup and image end up like so:
Next we open the images up in Camera Raw and adjust the sliders to bring out the colour/contrast etc, and open them in photoshop.
Starting with the case, use clone/heal to tidy up dust/smears, remove any unwanted reflections and then use dodge/burn to bring out the shape even further. We then have this:
Before we move on to the dial, several issues need to be addressed first. The crown needs to moved in with some cutting and cloning, but more complicated is the lower part of the bracelet.
For a consistent look on the bracelet, it is easiest to copy and mirror the top half. The reflections are even and tidy on the top half compared to the bottom half, which is a little untidy. With the top half copied and mirrored, its a case of using transform and cloning/healing to make the bracelet fit correctly. Here is the result:
Next up is the dial. A simple bit of dust removal and a layer mask from a circular selection (feather of 1) sees the dial dropped in place:
Then we add the hands and markers. Again, use a layer mask, using a brush to reveal the hands and markers on the dial, like so:
Last of all, we cut the watch out with the pen tool, creating a layer mask and adding a white layer below: