Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fire and Ice

This week on Flickr's PCA  Group (Photographic Critique Assignments) the assignment was "Fire and Ice".

I had hoped to photograph the local school Ice Hockey game, thinking that it would provide me with the subject matter, but I had also recently watched a stop-motion movie that a friend made in Boston.  It inspired me to capture a movie of ice melting in front of a fire.

While I was taking the 360 odd photographs, I realized that, although it was technically quite an interesting thing to do (I later had a second attempt at this with 76 photographs).  I decided that it was too literal a take on the assignment, so I thought of trying to make a glass statuette that my wife was given look as though it was ice melting.  

I noticed that the melting ice had ares that were clear and other areas that were milky and I wanted to try to simulate that with the glass.

So, to start with, here is the end result of the process.

The steps involved are illustrated in the following image. 
  • First a shot of the fire with the statue in front. I took a couple of pictures of her and decided that I needed to get something that showed her melting, so dribbled some water over her and captured some drops about to fall off her legs.
  •  Then I took a shot of an ice cube on the log which I imported and added as a layer on top of the statue. I selectively copied only the statue and grouped the ice block on top of it and set the ice block into overlay mode so that I got the texture of ice in the glass. It is arguably overkill because the horizontal crack on her back is the only really obvious result of this process.
  • Then I cut and pasted pieces of an in-focus shot of the fire and embers in layers obscured by the statuette's body. I obviously had a bit of deleting to do to make sure that the horizontal and vertical edges of the cut pieces were not obvious anywhere in the final version.
  • Once I had these in place I used a eraser that was well feathered on its edges to erase the places that I wanted to have the ice appear clear. For me this was fairly obviously the places that had the most orange in them in the original image... the places that were already letting a lot of light through.
The splashes of water, unfortunately don't look enough like melting ice and I suppose I could have enhanced the effect by selectively erasing parts of the glass to make melting more obvious.... but I settled for leaving it because I quite liked how it looked. So below is an image with three separate views of the process.

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