Selling the Fantasy

As a Digital Artist, we are ultimately in the industry of selling a fantasy, as the best portrayal of our photographic subject, essentially, our take or our rendition of photographic story telling.

In the days of film, optical compositing required an elaborate process of masking and post production art work, often requiring the services of seasoned professional painter or illustrator to create the final artwork or ad campaign. The early pioneers of the movie industry devised optical masking techniques and scene overlays, requiring elaborate in-camera masking and the painting in of background scenes on glass plates.

With the introduction of digital imaging and the development of software, such as Photoshop, a new level of precise control became available for image compositing. With layer masking and transparency or opacity settings, several images can now be brought into play to produce an elaborate final composite; ready for display and digital printing.

However, like the artist, creating a believable illustration, requires some thought as to how the images are to be combined. The now digital artist, either creating a portfolio piece or working with an art director for an ad campaign, begins with an idea and a story line.

Exploring the options available an atmospheric separation between composited foreground and background will be essential to marry the images. It can also be useful to add some visual distraction elements that can support the overall sense of a believable fantasy.

From the original image, shown below, photographed by myself at my '40s Hollywood Lighting Workshop, last November, the night shot of Marlena Maher by the vintage aircraft, intrigued my imagination to create the depicted photographic illustration, telling a story that was only in my mind and through illustration, brought to canvas.

The ultimate question remains as to whether or not the composite creates a believable photo illustration? I leave it to you, the reader to decide.

One of the essential ingredients is the styling of the lighting, shown above.

For further explanation, the lighting setup for the original photograph above, is fully depicted in my recent book on off-camera flash, "Creative OCF Lighting Techniques for the Photographer," now available for purchase on Amazon. Click here to read the reviews.