Not knowing 3D sucks. At some point I wanted to design the cup and I went through a whole struggle illustrating it in Photoshop.
I came up with the idea of having a cup in a shape of a spiral, so when you pour coffee it goes down the spiral, almost like a tornado. I did a quick sketch trying to understand the curves and how it actually might look.
Despite of having a very clear image in my had I could not illustrate it right. I asked a friend of mine who knows 3D to make some quick wireframe renders, so I can actually understand the shape. I could not explain to him visually exactly how it works/looks, so I went to the art store and bought some clay hoping I could make a rough shape with my hands.
After taking some photos of the clay model it helped me understand a little bit what the shape really is and where do curves go on the object. I brought it back to Photoshop so I could make a more accurate illustration.
This is the rough 3D wireframes my friend sent back to me. At least here I was able to see the shape of the cup, where do shadows and highlights go etc. It was a little too "sharp" on the edges and I wanted to achieve a more "fluid" look.
Now, based on 3D wireframes I started illustrating it again in Photoshop step by step. Click on the gallery images to see the progression.
And here's the final angle created in Photoshop.
To make sure that the shape actually makes sense, I had to illustrate it from different angles.
And a quick logo
The next step for me is to find someone to create a new 3D model so I can 3D print it in porcelain and test the real object out — see how stable it is and how comfortably it sits in a hand. I know it would be hard to wash, but that will not stop me :)
Final project is now in my Online Museum of Artifacts on repponen.com
The last set of photographs from trip to Hawaii this September. Last couple of days on Maui island: trip to Hana, around East Maui and the most beautiful drive on Piilani Highway.
Previous posts from this trip:
Park and trails in Waihee. Didn't take much photos around there, as I've been there three times.
For the second time I did the trip around East Maui driving on the North Shore to Hana and via South Shore on the way back with my favorite drive of all times - Piilani Highway.
Piilani Highway is the road that goes through South of the island connecting Kula on one end of Haleakala volcano and Hana on the other end. It's one of the most picturesque drives I've ever experienced. The whole south slope of Haleakala is pretty much deserted, and has surreal landscapes.
Photography for designers or how to shoot in ghetto conditions.
The ask was quite simple, it had to be a photo with desk of a producer (a person who uses the product the most) and showcase actual screenshots in the devices. The goal I had was to create something more custom than most of the photos like that online. Pretty much any digital product has that type of photography on their website, the one where you see a laptop on a desk shot up front/from above or a hand with an iPhone. When I design, and especially recently with over-hyped "flat design" being used everywhere, I go by the rule that your design should be so custom and so branded, that it should be hard for it to be "stolen". I think designer's job is to create visual design that works for specific task, goal, visual branding, you name it. It should be hard to take an image and just swap the logo. That applies to actual digital design — layouts that designers create for the a client or in this case to photography.
The first idea on how to keep it simple but add a little "twist" on it, was to play on the brand name "Float". I thought that all the objects should be floating up in the air, as well as I would select very narrow color palette that corresponds with the core color and try shoot objects that are white and blue (or retouch them later).
I made a very quick sketch of what I was thinking of doing:
Guys thought it was too chaotic and they were absolutely right. That looks like a producer's nightmare, rather than properly organized project. It had to be something more chilled. So I decided to have objects float in an "organized manner", almost have a "Zen" feeling to it. That was the next quick sketch:
Already here I start to highlight, which objects I am planning on painting blue. Also I really wanted to shoot with an angle and not straight or right from above. Angle and the line that desk creates adds something nice and graphic to the scene. Also objects have depth from this angle and get almost "isometric" like.
Concept is approved, time to shoot! I don't have a studio and crazy expensive gear, you can do everything super cheap. I was always avoiding stock photography (for the same reason explained in the very first paragraph of this post, my job is to create custom graphics). If I need a hand with an iPhone, I grab my camera and take a picture of it. It's quite simple. So my apartment turned into a mess for a night.
For those of you, who are interested in gear:
- I was shooting with my Canon 5D Mark III. But any camera will do in conditions like that. Even cropped Canon 60D, it is not the case where you need full matrix
- Lens was Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L. I never use this lens outdoors, there's something with pictures it produces that I particularly not happy with. But to take product shots it is quite perfect.
- Two continuos lights on left and right - PBL EZ 24" x 24" SOFTBOX, they go just for $89 on Amazon. But to be honest I would recommend to go for something stronger. The light was definitely not enough even for a quick shoot like that. Had to bump up ISO and ended up spending more time in Photoshop. This light is ok for much smaller scenes with one object
- SPEEDLIGHT 600 EX-RT was Ponting to the scene through Lastolite 15x15 Softbox
- Old SPEEDLIGHT 580 EX was mounted on a regular tripod and shooting up into the ceiling, so the light would bounce and lid up the scene from above.
- Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT to control the flashes. But can easily work without it via cable, since the camera is always fixed on tripod.
I really needed to shoot with completely closed aperture to get everything in focus. My aperture was almost f/20. I was using Canon's EOS Utility for the first time, hoping to get live preview to make sure everything is super sharp. Unfortunately their live mode does not provide image with a good quality, so had to wait until every shot is downloaded into computer. If anyone has any other suggestions on software like that, would love to hear it!
There are couple of things I learned and would have done differently next time. Shooting everything on one flat surface and then cutting out elements does the trick to some extend. If you don't move objects too far from the surface, you won't see skewed perspective. Because the more you lift an object, the more perspective will change on this object. Ideally I should have shot the same scene with camera completely fixed, but moving the table up and down. So I would have all the objects in different Y position with correct perspective and then use the lowest position as my baseline.
I had to shoot 2 different scenes. Sometimes objects in the scene overlap each other. So after I finally get the right settings on my camera + light, I shot the full scene and then was removing objects one by one from the front, so it would allow me more flexibility on when I had to trace them.
Here's the final RAW outcome of the first scene already color corrected and adjusted in Camera RAW when importing to Photoshop.
In Photoshop I had to cut out each element of the scene, retouch it and lift it up in the air. Some objects I wanted to color in blue to match with the brand. For example the blue plastic card, that I turned into FLOAT business car is a pass for Stockholm subway. The plant was replaced later in the process.
Final image of the first scene.
The second scene was focused more on mobile. I had to highlight that the product is responsive and show screenshots of it in tablet and phone. Same process as above, here's the RAW file imported into Photoshop via Camera RAW with main adjustments, like temperature, shadows and highlights etc
And same retouching process
Final image of the scene
At some point, scene had Braun watch, that we later removed. But while shooting I had to do this "trick" to have actual watch float up in the air, but strap hanging down.
And a nice poster at the end
You should definitely check out Float Schedule if you are looking for a project management tool, guys did a fantastic job and spend a lot of time working on it!
During our stay on Maui, we did a short one-day trip to the "Main Island" — Oahu. The plane takes off from Maui and literally in 15 minutes starts approaching Honolulu.
One of the most beautiful drives I have ever seen in my life was a highway between Kailua to Honolulu. Super impressive and surreal.
This was my third time on Maui, and every time I go there it does not get boring, in fact it is the opposite, I love it even more. This is my getaway place. Over the next couple of posts I'll be sharing more photos of this amazing corner of the earth.
Click on photos to enlarge:
One of the most magical things I have ever seen in my life was the sunrise over Haleakala crater, a volcano on East Maui. During my multiple trips to Hawaii, I've been up the crater over 6 times. There's nothing like it anywhere else. You feel that you can be on a whole other planet easily.
Here's another magical place. After about a 30-40 minute hike and climbing down with a rope all the way to the water you reach this tiny bay with a lava beach, turquoise water and a cave.
There's one photo that has been used the most in all of our design mock ups at work.
In the summer of 2010 I went to volunteer in Portugal. The job was fairly simple; myself and another 15 volunteers from all over the world stayed in the camping area near little town called Pedrogão, where we were tasked to clean the forest nearby. All we had to do is to get rid of trash, dead leaves as well as dead trees that inflame easily. We only had to work first half a day and the rest was up to us. So we traveled across the coast of Portugal a lot visiting different beaches every day.
During one of those trips we visited a beautiful beach town called Nazaré on the coast of Portugal, right in between Lisbon and Porto. The place was amazing, it had a huge beach along the bay closed by the cliff on the North side. On top of the cliff there was an old town with beautiful architecture and even a little cable cart that brings people up and down.
At the edge of the cliff a great panoramic view of the town and it's beach revealed itself. That's when I have noticed people jumping off the stones into water.
I think that was the first year when I got my brand new Canon ef 70-200mm f/2.8L lens so I immediately put that on and started taking multiple shots hoping to catch someone jumping. In reality I wanted to capture an exact moment of a kid getting into water, so I can get the splashes as well. Here are all the shots that I took at that moment and I thought I got it.
Only when I got back home to NYC and started going through the photos, I noticed one image, it was one photo right before the boy touched the water. With him being up in the air, at the peak moment of a jump, image felt so much lighter and calmer.
And here's the final retouched photo:
Usually when I get back from the trip I put all my photos to my Flickr account. For example all the shots from my volunteer trip in Portugal are all here. Much later I did photography portfolio site — photo.repponen.com. Since that photo was taken it was used in so many layouts as a placeholder image by many of our designers at the agency . Even when some designers left the company they kept using it internally at their new places.
Last year agency in Chicago IA Collaborative reached out to me asking to sell this photo to United Airlines and use it on the home page of the new United web site that they have been working on.
Though the new United site is not launched yet, the agency put together a case study of their work on the project and this is how home page on the new United web site is going to look like: