Foam Core Board Photography (tutorial)

Started Aug 3, 2003 | Discussions thread
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Uncle Frank
Uncle Frank Forum Pro • Posts: 21,511
Foam Core Board Photography (tutorial)

Back last winter, a group of us formed the Foam Core Addicts Society. Some of the newer NTF members have noted the "FCAS Member" tag appended to posters' signatures, and questioned what it was about, so here's a tutorial on the technique.

The starting point was an attempt to create a table top rig for macros that would fit with my meager budget. I found that natural light worked fine, if it was low level and diffused, but needed a way to isolate the subjects from distracting backgrounds. I tried fabrics and various papers, but they blew around on my outdoor rig, so I finally seized on foam core board (fcb), which is an inexpensive and readily available art supply. Here's a link to an Office Depot ordering form that describes the product.

http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?id=477794&pp=301001&sid=NJR7467PVGGL9LBQPC3CVM1RRAMUEMN9&bc=3:14:1402:1402001&level=SK

Using a sheet of "black" fcb, which is really dark gray, a stick to prop it up, a couple of cheap clamps, a thick book, and a table top tripod, I completed my "studio" for under $40. Here's a picture of the setup:

And I was really delighted when my low budget approach resulted in images like this:

As the technique developed, I realized that having an evenly colored fcb background made it was easy to {select} it in Photoshop. That allowed the possibility of adding a gradient to it, or even replacing the background with another picture.

The following pics show the steps in completing what's become known as an "FCB pic".

So there you have it. FCB pics were quite a craze around here in February and March, so we started a club. In order to join, you needed to submit proof that you had mastered the technique, and to date, 57 people have qualified. I'm proud that many of them still affix "FCAS Member" to their signature blocks. Here's a list of the members.

AirBete
BklynCMT
bkuhl
Bob Maher
Brenda in TX
Brian Evans
Bud Guinn
Charandane
Colin F,,,
Darren Rickett
David Bogdan
Dayane Dunlop
DianeR
DocBrown
Doug Barber
-=Dusty_D=-
Ed Mac Donald
Eightlake
Eric@montreal
Fred Deadrick
gale bizet
Goobot
GreenEyedMonster
Herb Swanson
Inverness
Ian Parry
Jim M.
Jose Luis
Jarrell Conley
Jim Roof
J-P. Scherrer
JudyC
LRP
Lynn Healy
M.E. Parker
Melanie Kipp
Mick Comes
Midnight2
mike moncrief
Mike Wright
Mrmaver
Muriel S
Murray Latter
Ng Ken
Paul Linder
R Parenteau
RYS
Sandra Jackson
Sheila
stapler101
Steve KC
tevern
The Diamond Man
Todd Art
tyoung
Uncle Frank
wnor

btw, we're still accepting applications, but prepare to get roasted a little during the process :-). The Applications Committee has raised the bar quite a bit since the early days, and you need a pretty good macro as well as a nicely processed background to get past them. But you get a FCAS Secret Decoder Ring if you qualify :-).

-- hide signature --

Warm regards,
Uncle Frank, FCAS Charter Member, Hummingbird Hunter
Coolpix fifty seven hundred and nine ninety five
http://www.pbase.com/unclefrank/coolpix&page=all

 Uncle Frank's gear list:Uncle Frank's gear list
Nikon D700 Olympus PEN E-P5
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