A scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, created with Vue Infinite.

Did you know that the computer you use to edit photographs in Photoshop is powerful enough to run the same industrial-strength software employed by Hollywood? For example, recent blockbusters such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the latest Indiana Jones movie used Vue Infinite to create much of the scenery. Vue Infinite is easy to use, runs on any modern Windows or Mac machine, and is very affordable (prices start at $89 USD). If you’re a professional photographer and you’re still using costly sets and backgrounds, you’ll be amazed to see how flexible this solution is. For fantasy artists, it’s a great way to create realistic backgrounds for your subjects. Today we start a series showing how to take a stock photograph and transform it using Vue Infinite and Photoshop.

A stock photo from deviantArt member Faestock (left). After separating the background (right), the image is ready to be placed in a new Vue scene.
A stock photo from deviantArt member Faestock (left). After separating the background (right), the image is ready to be placed in a new Vue scene.

The deviantArt online art community is a great source for stock photos, especially for fantasy images. Here we have a model dressed in a period costume, and it’s easy to imagine she’s gazing down into some water, at her reflection. Photographers: notice how simple the set is! You don’t need a green screen to do this, but it would have made cutting the mask in Photoshop a bit easier. Choose a color that contrasts with your subject, and you’ll spend less time painting the mask. Once you’ve removed your subject from the background, you’re ready to place her in a new setting. Here are two examples.

A Night Scene

Day turns into night with a click of the mouse: a portrait created with Vue Infinite.
Day turns into night with a click of the mouse: a portrait created with Vue Infinite.

Both of these images use the same dock model. For the night scene, a pirate ship is added, along with some objects on the dock, to add to the historical feel. The main difference is the atmosphere, which is easily changed with a click of the mouse. Once the stock photo was brought into the night scene, it was heavily modified in Photoshop, to add the shadows. I’ll show you how I did that later in this series.

A Daytime Scene

Same set up, with a moody daytime atmosphere.
Same set up, with a moody daytime atmosphere.

This image was easier to do, since the lighting on the model matches the lighting in the scene fairly well. The right side of her face should be less warm, and that can be adjusted in Photoshop. Notice that Vue automatically creates a realistic reflection for us.

More to come

In the next installment, I’ll show how the daytime scene was created. You’ll see just how easy it is to do, and how much fun! I’ll show you how to set up the scene, and how to place your subject into the scene so that it will reflect off the water, and cast shadows. See you then!