A couple of years ago I read ‘On Writing‘ by Stephen King. I’ve been surprised to discover how King wrote most of his novels: He starts with some characters in a regular situation, adds a disruptive element, then he lets the situation evolves and writes what he observes without any predefined plan or plot in mind.
I’m wondering if something similar could be applied to interactive content? What if I’d spend 2 hours on a prototype each week, writing some code without any predefined goal? Adding new ingredients or iterating on the existing ones only based on observations from the previous build?
I started to put basic ingredients together to see what could emerge from them. Once I got a build, the first thing I wanted to try was to put a playable prototype directly inside a post.
I had the chance to start a Unity training recently. I used some of the techniques I learned from this course as starting material: A movable entity and a basic AI with 3 states: Idle, follow and chase.
Build notes: You can control the blue cube with the directional arrows and spawn some ‘enemies’ with the space bar. The green cube follows you but it’s going to try to destroy red cubes as soon as they appear.
How many red cubes do you think you can manage to keep ‘alive’? For how long?
PS: Some interesting excerpts from ‘On Writing’ here.
I took this shot during a winter afternoon in a Montreal park. Since I’m completelly addicted to backlit portrait, I couldn’t resist to take a shot once I’ve noticed the rim light on the hood’s fur.
Gear, Setup, Shoot.
I used a 135mm on a Canon 5D MkII at f/2.0, ISO 50, Exposure 1/640.
To get the ‘perfect’ lighting I just asked the model to look at me while I was moving around her. I took the shot when the sun (quite low at that time) was behind her.
This is what came out of the camera.
Because most of the light came from the back of the subject, I really had to overexpose a lot to get the right exposure on her face.
First I converted the image into a Smart Object (Right click on the Background layer then Convert to Smart Object) and I applied the Shadows/Highlights image adjustment. That allows to tweak the value of the shadow and the highlight independently, and to add some midtone contrast.
I just played with the adjustment sliders to get as many details as possible on the face and the fur. But that process brings also a lot of undesired details on the skin. That’s when the Smart Object becomes handy. The adjustment is not done directly on the layer, but on a Smart Filter. Which allows you to use the filter mask to control where you want to apply the adjustment.
In that case, I just excluded the face from the adjustment by painting this area of the mask in black.
That allowed me to get the best of both world: high contrast/details on the fur and preserving a natural skin texture.
Then I wanted to get rid of that red thing in the background.
I simply selected the area with the lasso tool and add a (more…)
Shot at the end of winter while I was going to work. I really like to use my 135mm with huge backlighting.
This is what came out of the camera:
Really minor post-process on this one. I just did curves adjustments to find the tones I was looking for. I also desaturate the red building in the background to not interfere with the subject.
Here are some some alternate shots of the same sunny morning:
Whenever I look at a photo I like, I always wonder how it has been made. What was the intension when the photographer pushed the button? What was the context? Had it been planed? Or completely candid? What did the picture look like when it came out of the camera? What were the post process steps to reach the final result?
This is why I decided to start a series of articles about the making of some photos. To share the answers to these questions regarding my own shots.
NOTE: It’s been a while that I wanted to share and exchange stories about making photos. I’ve never done it because I never thought my skills are good enough to be worth sharing.
I still don’t consider my work that good, but my goal here is sharing, not teaching. I’m expecting to learn a lot from those who will read and comment on those articles.
So please, if you think I’m wrong in some aspects of my processes don’t hesitate to use the comments section to share your knowledge! On the other hand, if you’re particularly interested in one aspect that is not detailed enough, don’t hesitate to ask for more info.
The mantra is: Share to learn!
That being said, let’s start with this picture taken during my last holiday in France.
It was taken in the afternoon, from the balcony of my parents’ apartment. The mountains were about 100km away. I had this composition in mind right from the start.
Gears, Setup, Shoot.
I used a Canon 135 mm at f/6.3 mounted on a Canon 5D Mk II, ISO 100, Exposure 1/1259. I leaned a bit over the railing to avoid some tree tops, and take the shot.
So, this is what came straight out of the camera.
I voluntarily under expose to get the maximum details from the mountain snow and the sky.
I manage my pictures with Aperture, so I used it to do some adjustments on the Raw file. I essentially tweaked the white balance, remove some vignetting, adjust the exposure and add some contrast by playing with the main RGB curve.
This is what my RGB curve looked like at the end of the process:
And this is the picture right before importing it into Photoshop.
As you can see, increasing the contrast also increases the saturation. That will be adjusted in PS.
I knew I wanted it in a cinemascope format so I worked on the composition first. I use a very simple macro to add to black rectangle on top of the image to crop it at a 1.85:1 whatever the original image is.