Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Turning Photos into Diaramas

So Picmonkey added a new filter feature. Imitating Tilt-shift photography, this filter lets you turn just about anything into a setting inside a diorama. The effect looks like the opening in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I'm not sure what practical application there is in turning your town into a toy but it is fun to do.
This is a sample of what I worked on today.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago from the second floor of our city library. The park on the east shore of Boardman Lake is very real and very lush. Here... it looks like bits of plastic trees on a flocked cardboard lawn.

This is the south shore of Betsie Lake in Frankfort. The effect didn't really take here like I wanted it too. I still see too much reality in this one.

The water in this picture of the West Bay marina looks as phony as I could hope. The yacht in focus looks like a borrowed battleship. I think I might have too much effect in this one since the marina itself has become so blurry. But it still looks like a diorama.

This photo, taken from Wayne Hill, started out blurry and diffused because the day was so hazy. The Park Place Hotel stands out here with the same quality as the Mr. Roger's opening. However, I think there is too much scenery to make this work the right way.

The goal in tilt-shift photography is too start out above, but not on top of, your subject. A 45 degree angle is preferred. But that isn't always going to be possible. So long as you are above the subject, you should be able to get a good shot that is easy enough to manipulate. Because you are boosting blurs and colors, you want to make sure that you also have a crisp shot, clear colors and haven't added any other effects before you apply this one. I think this would have better if it had not been such a hazy day.

 Since I am not an expert, I am not certain what I did wrong with this one. The effect seems flat and the little out building that is in focus doesn't quite have the toy quality that I was going for.
This one is of my dad's birthplace. To me it still seems too lifelike and real to be the diorama that I was looking for. Even in the next one, the effect seems diminished compared to what I was looking for. But then, I wasn't above my subject either.

To me it doesn't look all that different than the real life town of Suttons Bay.

This is a picture of down town Grand Rapids from my Urban Hike a few years ago. The hills that Grand Rapids sits on gives enough variations in height to make this work better than it otherwise might have.

Not too bad for a learning experience eh?

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