The Train Part One…

Concept and Initial Lighting Direction

It started with an idea and an initial pencil sketch (which went missing) of a train chugging up a mountain side about to go over a trestle bridge. I thought it would be a great exercise to combine traditional photography of practical elements and 3D in a composite that would push my comfort zone as it were. So after visualizing what I wanted it to look like, I created a very rough model and landscape/terrain in my 3D software to see where the best realistic lighting would be (image below). I didn’t want the train to be in full sun because I wanted the lights and steam to be visible. So I placed the “sun” peeking over the other side of the valley so it’s shadow would cast just above the train.

B&W POV 2 Light test copy

Gathering the Elements

Next was gathering the elements to make the landscape that the train would be running up. Several trips out to shoot various cliffs, trees, and skies to add to the library and ultimately to the final image.

Cliffs 0015

Skies 0005

Cliffs 0043

The Train…

The train was a scale model I rented from a local model train shop. I shot it in studio in several sections since the Depth of Field was unable to hold through the length of the model. I took each image into PS to create one seamless train in perfect focus from front to back.

Model Train

The next element to create was the trestle in 3D and using the virtual camera, find the correct camera angle to match the position of the train and to blend it into the created mountainside. The rendered trestle looked like this…

TextureedC5 copy

And then what it looked like dropped into the evolving composite…

Train Sketch 2 copy

Next up (tomorrow) will be the final touches. Add the train and all the effects such as steam etc. Finesse other compositional elements and fine tune.


Telephone Booth…

One of the first composite images I ever did combining practical photography, 3D software, and Photoshop. The 3D aspect is the buoy. The rest is practical photography except for the guy lines and some extra elements to “marry” the booth to the buoy. Shading and ¬†lightning, local color relationships careful placement of elements all add to the illusion.