A few stacked images

Started Feb 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
KWEnz Regular Member • Posts: 336
Re: A few stacked images


KWEnz wrote:

Kev, interesting discussion above and thanks for sharing your techniques to obtain jet-black backgrounds via software. What are your thoughts on using a (good quality) black velvet backdrop instead of getting black backgrounds using software? For location shooting of flowers velvet is probably not too practical, but in a studio setting I suspect it could be as good as using software - or is it?

Well, I've used all kinds of black materials as backgrounds over the past 42 years....and yes velvet is good....simply because it absorbs light very well and doesn't reflect much back....so hence, it's one of the darkest black cloths out there that one can find.

Remember, black is not a colour..but simply the absence of light.

However, you do need to use the high quality (fine weave) velvet that won't show up any pattern lines in the image.

Also, when shooting against it....the subject really needs to be well in front (2-3 ft) to avoid any contouring effect.

IF you wish to use velvet as a back-drop....get a large piece of card (or even thin plywood) and affix the velvet to that so it lies perfectly flat & even.

The only downside with velvet is that is shows up flick/hair/dust terribly....so there's often quick a bit of speck cleanup in post....IF you are shooting the subject close to it.

IF you go the software route...of course none of these precautions are applicable.

You won't find a card (at any ART supply store)...that is even close to "jet-black"...it's always just a darker variant of "grey".

Instead of velvet, you might want to checkout some of the new Lastolite type black collapsible backgrounds.....I think that kind of thing would now be better than velvet. They are made from a very black material that reflects very little light. Plus they are light-weight and easy to carry around.

So long as you can 'extract' the subject matter really well in CS6 (I use the pen tool, it's rather laborious...but very accurate) and then just drop in a 0.0.0. black layer behind....this will always produce a 100% perfect jet-black background.

Thanks Ken for the kind sentiments.



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"No problem can be solved at the level of consciousness which created it" - Albert Einstein

Thanks for your comprehensive reply Kev.

I didn't know about Lastolite but found we have an importer here in New Zealand so I'll have a close look at what they offer.  I will also try your method of dropping in a pure black background in CS6 - it clearly gives excellent results although the work involved in masking may make it worth doing for the very best photos only.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.



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