Levitation Tutorial (and giveaway!)

It’s been a while since my last tutorial but I wanted to wait until  I had the right photo in mind before writing one, I hope that you find this one as informative and fun as the previous ones :)

So this is what I think is the easiest way to do a levitation type photo, there are endless ways for you to interpret this style and editing and I hope that it gives you a good starting point for creating your own floating, flying, levitating photos.

First off, I’ll say that the most important parts of doing a levitation photo are basically to have a base image with nothing in it, and your main focus image. For the tutorial I’ll break it down into three main points; the set-up, the photos, and the processing.

Part 1: The Set-Up

So one of the key points of doing a levitation photo is to have something to sit, stand, lean, lay on. I’ve used anything from stumps, stools, chairs, even an ironing board. Use what you think is going to give you the best height, and will be the easiest to bring in and out of your setting. Keep in mind you want the surface of what you’re going to be on, to be rather small that way you don’t have to worry too much about creating a large flat section of your clothing when you’re laying or sitting on your item.

this is what I found in the field to lean on….probably not too safe

Part 2: The Photos
Once you have your scene set up with your resting item (we’ll call it your seat),  you can start shooting. I usually take a lot of images at this point just so there are more to choose from, change your pose often so that in case you want to borrow parts from one image and add it to another, you can (like flying scarves, different hand positions etc…) If you’re wearing something that’s loose try to drape it over the edge of your seat so that when you are editing, you can create a more natural looking line. Also, try not to hide anything behind your seat, make sure your hands and legs aren’t hiding behind the seat!

Once you’re done shooting what we’ll call your “focal image” go to your camera and set the focus from Auto to Manual (usually on the side of the lens, switch to MF). That way from now on, your photos will all have the same focus length. Now you’re going to need to take your base image which is going to be the exact same as your “focal image” just without you in it. Remove your seat from where it was and then take a few pictures without moving your camera, you should have the same image as your “focal image” just without anything but a background. From this point you can take any additional images you need to fill the frame or expand.

Part 3: The Processing

In your editing program, open up all your images. We’ll be working with your “base image” (aka the image with just the background).  If you’re expanding your frame using stitching presets or manually do that now with your “base image”.

expanded frame

Now, open up your “focal image”, select the whole thing and copy it. Now paste it in as a new layer onto your “base image”. Lower  the opacity of your “focal image” and then get it to match as closely as possible to your “base image”, then you can put the opacity back up to 100%.

matching both layers

With a soft eraser tool, start to erase your “seat” from the “focal image”. You should be seeing the background starting to show up. Erase all of your seat and any other parts of that layer that you don’t need. This is pretty much the basics of doing a levitation image.

You can at this point do any other editing like changing tones, curves, levels etc…you can also add in other parts of other “focal images”. For this photo, I liked the flying scarf from another photo so I pasted it in as new layer and softly erase the hard edges until it matched  the rest of the image. At this point I also added the snitch and the “broom” part of my broom.

after the "seat" has been erased

I hope that this short tutorial helps you out and I’m really excited to see you try it out. In fact, I’m offering a give-away of some custom made Harry Potter props if you try out this tutorial and share it either in the comments below, on my facebook page or linked on Flickr. All you need to do is let me know that you’ve tried this tutorial and I’ll add your name to the hat and 3 weeks I’ll pick a winner! I made the “golden snitch” in this photo, as well as some other Harry Potter props like a wand and some other goodies and I’ll send them to the winner :)

Open Happiness

Well this is it! The big reveal of my brand new project that’s been next to impossible to keep a secret for the past month or so!

The short of it is that I’m doing a flickr-based project with…..Coca Cola!

Here are the details.

Coca-Cola is looking for ways to engage their fans and to encourage them to create imagery and content in an fun and inspirational way, which is the purpose of this brand new project. Using inspiring and motivating key words, fans and photographers can share their photos and stories through the official Coca-Cola Flickr group, hopefully growing a community of like-minded, supportive and talented artists creating fun and exciting new works of art inspired by Coca-Cola.

My role in this new adventure will be a kind of moderator to the Flickr community in the group, I’ll be introducing the new themes which will be posted every 2 weeks and in doing so I’ll be presenting my own photograph inspired by the key-word as well as explaining my inspiration behind the image and a bit of the process of how it was created.

I’m honestly still a bit stunned that I’m going to be working alongside such a well known and respected company and that they appreciate my work enough to have me be a part of this new project. Coca-Cola has always had distinct and beautifully crafted advertisting campaigns and imagery and to know that my work, even in the tiniest way, can be a part of such a great history is really a huge confidence boost in regards to photography.

The best part of this whole project is that it’s not just me partaking in it, the group is open to everyone and I REALLY want to see you join and play along, while I can’t say too much about the upcoming themes, I can say that they should prove to be inspiring and fun photo prompts!

The first key word or call-to-action is


TOGETHER

You can see my interpretation as well as my thoughts on the theme and submit your own image inspired by “Together” at the flickr group which is located here:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/thecoca-colaco

Hope to see some of you playing along and creating more beautiful pieces of art!