This was not an unusually complicated shot, but it’s one where the final image progressed very far from where we started. I did all the photoshop myself, which is not typical, but worked out for this job. Read the titles below each image for exactly what changes in each step.
It was cloudy all day. We set up strobes with warming gels to mimic the sun. As any assistant knows, once the strobes are set up, the sun usually comes out- but on this day it rained instead.
The first image shows what the ambient conditions looked like, then the next is with our strobes- not a bad start. The image is flopped to match the layout, and then distorted to give a more natural perspective to the house. An extension is added to the side of the driveway, which was shot by moving the camera to the side, the same width as the concrete grid. It dropped in without too much trouble, because the perspective matched. The bamboo shadows I created using shots I took from the ground, looking up at the tops of the bamboo. The leaves cut out nicely against the sky, and that mask was tweaked into place so it sits on the ground, becoming the shadow.
Once the CGI car was dropped in, I illustrated its shadow from scratch. By overlaying and blending the render passes for reflections and highlights, I could fine-tune the materials to get them to behave more naturally, and then really push the lighting on the sheetmetal to give it a punchy, but realistic, look. Often we try to hide the idea that the car is lit, but here I wanted it to really look like there are strobe heads on that car. It makes the lighting more tangible and real.
Whew, that was a lot of work to make the sun come out! This was for The Designory, with Jennifer Yang as art director.