Are these reflections real or Photoshopped?

Started Aug 16, 2014 | Questions thread
billythek Veteran Member • Posts: 5,260
Re: Compare the purple chromatic aberration

billythek wrote:

I think at least the tunnel shot could have been done from a single image, or at least a single camera. With a little warping, and some cloning, an experienced Photoshop user could do it.

If you are meaning the image I downloaded:

and also annotated earlier in the thread:

then I just cannot believe anyone would go to all that work. It is very complex selections and editing to shift complex perspective like that - that would be a manual 3D transform of things in a 2D tool and you would need create multiple layers of depth and then shift them relative to each other with ultra-precise selections/masking.

In my view achieving this practically can only be a second simultaneous camera position. Or else it is a real reflection; he may use a real (large) mirror laid down, and then one of these other liquid/liquify programs/plug-ins to wrap that then onto a watery surface.

This image I think is a definite unreal perspective for the puddle and its edges:

That water puddle looks like it is floating and totally detached form the underlying surface and the near DoF blur is optically wrong. The reflection is pin sharp in the few cms in close-up plane and it just should not be when compared to the paving at the same plane. That's the image that suggests compositing of some kind is involved to me. Then the perspective shift between real and reflected says to me it has to be two simultaneous camera positions, at least in many of his other shots.

Open your mind to the possibility that it was not just the reflection that was manipulated, but maybe both the reflection and the non-reflection were.

We can see that the non-reflection part in a few of his images has at least been manipulated to tidy up the skyline and clouds. Maybe he is warping and transforming the real as well, but that's 2x very complex perspective 3D visualisation work - so why do it?

Another possibility is that he shot a bunch of shots at slightly different positions and angles and the reflection comes from one of the other shots, flipped, warped, and the people added as a separate layer, and some other selected cloning.

I thought about that, but he still has to cater for people moving. In the first linked shot above, if it is a trick composite shot, there is no simple way to get that girl and the other two walkers seen from the two perspectives really without using a second camera taking a second shot at exactly the same time (or again it is a real reflection on some high-reflective horizontal surface he has laid down).

The thing that bugs me in all this though is that if they are complex composite manipulations (which they would have to be because of the two perspectives; those are defintely not simple flips), then I just do not "feel" that from his style. Street photogs would not normally go to such lengths in PP. People like that would be looking for a simple way to achieve that result. 3D to 2D warping and what-not with many hours in front of Photoshop transform/warp/clone is not really their style. Those folks are just not CGI types. I have rebuilt things to shuffle perspective around in my cathedral vertoramas, and it really takes hours and hours and hours. I do it because I am a techie guy with wayyy too much time to kill, and I avoid scenes with people and movement in just so I can do that kind of PP messing about. Reportage and street just does not resonate to me with complex warp and shift PP. So - I think whatever he is doing takes not much time to set-up at the scene (other than to wait for an opportune moment when needed), and then not much time in PP after.

That's the image, yes. As to why someone would bother faking something like this, I believe the answer is, because they can, or perhaps just for the challenge.

At Kelby's NAPP website, there are a couple instructors who seem to spend all there time teaching and making realistic looking composites. They have ongoing challenges for their students, and you can't believe how much work and time is spent on them, with amazing results.
- Bill

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