Attempt at a gymnastics collage
/forum/topic/1182140/0



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

Or whatever this technique is called. I was hoping to get a chance to try this the night before the meet when we setup all the equipment but the weather wasn't great and I didn't want my daughter to have to drive out after work to meet me. I tried setting up at the top of the stands to have more of the background be the floor since I wasn't going to be in a position to isolate her well from the background.

The biggest problem was the white balance due to the cycling of the lights. I tried to correct it in PP and so far, haven't made any progress. Even when I use the stripe of her uniform so that I'm sure that I'm adjusting the light where she is (vs someone in the crowd wearing a gray shirt) it doesn't seem to work -- in fact, it seems to make things worse.

The back tumbling pass would have looked better but she was going the other direction (towards the camera) so that wasn't an option. I do have a couple of the other girls that I'm going to try this with, one of which looks like it will work really well. I'm going to try to figure out the WB first as it will make combining the pictures dramatically easier.

C&C welcome -- and any hints on the WB correction are extremely welcome. I did notice already that I seem to have forgotten to go clean up the edges on one of the frames

http://everett-family.smugmug.com/Sports/2013-NYI-Gymnastics/i-7L873Cc/0/XL/Rebecca%20collage-XL.jpg



Widgic
Registered: Jan 28, 2011
Total Posts: 345
Country: United States

From the EXIF on your image you shot in AutoWB. The problem is that the camera will change the WB point from shot to shot based on the ambient lighting. Light cycling or even score board cycling will affect the light and will change the white balance.

You'll get better results by setting up a white balance point manually (either using a grey card or setting up the Kelvin point). It won't be perfect, but you'll get more consistency.

Denis
www.widgic.com



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

Widgic wrote:
From the EXIF on your image you shot in AutoWB. The problem is that the camera will change the WB point from shot to shot based on the ambient lighting. Light cycling or even score board cycling will affect the light and will change the white balance.

You'll get better results by setting up a white balance point manually (either using a grey card or setting up the Kelvin point). It won't be perfect, but you'll get more consistency.

Denis
www.widgic.com


Thanks. It was actually intentional to see how it did. I've tried choosing a specific setting and now that I think about it one time actually did a custom setting with an expo disk. It really didn't help, the light is just changing too much. It wouldn't even be so bad if the whole gym cycled together but of course it doesn't so it's really a mess to deal with.

I'm even wondering if I should have shot with the manual exposure settings. Now that I'm working on trying to get things to match up in LR I'm seeing about at a half a stop different exposure between the white light frames and those where there was a red cast. I have no idea if the camera would have adjusted for that if I'd been using shutter priority.



Russ Isabella
Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Total Posts: 10051
Country: United States

The question that keeps coming up for me is: What are you striving for here? Is it the coolness of the idea? The fact it's different from the norm? Basically, why are you doing it? An answer to this question would help with providing C&C. I look at this and there are so many things about it that work against my notion of a pleasing gymnastics photo that I can't imagine it ever working. Even if you could remove the clutter, the crappy background, the WB issues and other distractions, I count 15 images of the athlete and to my eye, not a single one of those images, on its own, would warrant posting. I understand the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, but I'm just not seeing potential here. Why not just shoot video of the pass if it's that progressive movement you are trying to capture? But only you know what you're after here, and it would be helpful to hear more about that.



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

Russ Isabella wrote:
The question that keeps coming up for me is: What are you striving for here? Is it the coolness of the idea? The fact it's different from the norm? Basically, why are you doing it? An answer to this question would help with providing C&C. I look at this and there are so many things about it that work against my notion of a pleasing gymnastics photo that I can't imagine it ever working. Even if you could remove the clutter, the crappy background, the WB issues and other distractions, I count 15 images of the athlete and to my eye, not a single one of those images, on its own, would warrant posting. I understand the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, but I'm just not seeing potential here. Why not just shoot video of the pass if it's that progressive movement you are trying to capture? But only you know what you're after here, and it would be helpful to hear more about that.


Russ,

Fair question. I'd say there are two things. First, something different. Between the shots I've taken of her and those I've purchased from some of the folks on this board I have decent shots of pretty much everthing that works well for a picture on floor. (even more true for beam). This approach is different than what I already have.

The second is trying to get a sense of the motion and action in the floor pass. The individual shots can capture it to a point but I thought something like this might do it better. I have some video of her too and you're right, that's probably the best way to show movement. My wife is into scrapbooking though so there is a benefit to something I can print.

The background I can live with and I'm okay with none of the individual images being exciting -- I think the whole is more important. I don't like the fact that it looks "fake" because the color isn't working right nor the fact that it wasn't a particularly great pass that she did to take a picture of. That said, I don't get a ton of opportunities to try it either so I have to take what I can get.

Bill



Russ Isabella
Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Total Posts: 10051
Country: United States

Bill,
Thanks for your response. I understand what you are saying. One suggestion I have regards the difficulty I have experienced with this kind of thing when individual images overlap one another. You don't want to have large empty spaces between images, but I also think the effect can be hurt when there is too much overlap, as occurs toward the end of the pass in this case. One problem is that you have to make decisions about which layer is on top/behind, and this can create the illusion that individual images are in different planes, when that simply can't be true. Thus, I would recommend deleting the third image from the right, where her back is almost parallel to the mat, since it has two other images in front of it. I know that will leave quite a 'movement' gap, since she'll go from approaching the mat with her head to landing on her feet, but I'm thinking it might reduce the complexity just a bit.



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

Russ,

Thanks. I had already pulled a couple of shots that were between the last two shown but you're right taking that one out would help make it a little less busy. I will have to go back and see if there is a better pattern on the overlaps. I thought about that I probably should be doing something consistant but then didn't really do that -- or at least if I did it was probably coincidence.

Thanks for the feedback
Bill



rob4bama
Registered: Oct 24, 2012
Total Posts: 122
Country: United States

I would try to add a little shadowing on the floor for each pic. It would look a little more realistic and not 2 dimensional. I like it! Parents really like this stuff too. Ultimately, you are trying to make them and the kids happy; not a bunch of invisible forum people.



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

rob4bama wrote:
I would try to add a little shadowing on the floor for each pic. It would look a little more realistic and not 2 dimensional. I like it! Parents really like this stuff too. Ultimately, you are trying to make them and the kids happy; not a bunch of invisible forum people.


Great suggestion. I brushed in some areas of reduced exposure below her with it a little darker where her feet actually hit and it helps reduce the pasted in look. I need to do a better job of it -- I really don't know what I'm doing with photoshop elemeents but it's a start. I pulled out the frame Russ suggested as well.

Still not great but better.

http://everett-family.smugmug.com/Sports/2013-NYI-Gymnastics/i-tvWQv7C/0/L/Rebecca%20collage-L.jpg



P Alesse
Registered: Dec 25, 2004
Total Posts: 11502
Country: United States

There is something I'm not quite grasping here. Why not just include the area of the mat that she's under when doing the cutout? That way, the shadow and compression on the mat where she lands looks more natural. One of the toughest things to do when doing cutout IMO is matching "contact shadows". What I mean by contact shadow is the area of darkness where a limb touches an object. Could be a kid sitting or standing on the floor and a small shadow is cast where sneaker meets the floor. Very, very tough to get it right. With this composite, it becomes even tougher because you have to deal with contact shadow and compression when a foot or hand lands on mat. That's why I suggest stealing a piece from the mat in the original shot and then just blending that in to the original floor. Or, I could be totally off base on this and have no clue. I don't know. I haven't done anything like this... just cutouts and such. One thing I know for sure though is that the added shadows in the last version doesn't look right. It makes the cutouts look like they are floating even more above the mat due to the distance between foot/hand and floor



dweverett
Registered: Nov 18, 2012
Total Posts: 62
Country: United States

P Alesse wrote:
There is something I'm not quite grasping here. Why not just include the area of the mat that she's under when doing the cutout? That way, the shadow and compression on the mat where she lands looks more natural. One of the toughest things to do when doing cutout IMO is matching "contact shadows". What I mean by contact shadow is the area of darkness where a limb touches an object. Could be a kid sitting or standing on the floor and a small shadow is cast where sneaker meets the floor. Very, very tough to get it right. With this composite, it becomes even tougher because you have to deal with contact shadow and compression when a foot or hand lands on mat. That's why I suggest stealing a piece from the mat in the original shot and then just blending that in to the original floor. Or, I could be totally off base on this and have no clue. I don't know. I haven't done anything like this... just cutouts and such. One thing I know for sure though is that the added shadows in the last version doesn't look right. It makes the cutouts look like they are floating even more above the mat due to the distance between foot/hand and floor


Normally I would do that but the white balance problems cause the floor to be a different color from shot to shot so you really can't show the extra piece of the image. I didn't really do a great effort at the shadow, so can probably make it better though I'm sure I'll never get close to what it really should look like. Ultimately the solution is probably to bite the bullet and try to work the WB frame by frame until I can get a match. (actually it's worse than just frame by frame as I have several colors going on in each frame) I'll never get it perfect but hopefully I could get close enough to get the skin tones close enough and be able to use the real shadows with a bit of blending. Some folks really love the PP piece of photography. I'm unfortunately not one of them so I'll probably keep procrastinating. I was messing around on a couple of frames from a pass by one of her team mates and got to what I think was pretty close between two frames -- though until I actually stack them I won't be sure. At the rate I was going it's a decent number of hours of work. I have to adjust the exposure too even when I get the color right as the pink tint was putting out up to half a stop less light.