spinning plates

Today I split between the User Evaluation, designing the poster and working on the edits. The user evaluation was really just about making up a mock Lorem Ipsum version. I’ve not really settled on any questions in particular but I hope to have it all ready to go by next week.

The poster, like everything else, will be ambitious and over-complicated. I popped into the School of Computing to have a look at previous year’s posters to get an idea of what was required and I was pretty disappointed with the unpleasantness of them. Whilst a good amount of text is required there’s no need to make the whole thing corner-to-corner text boxes. I had an idea that the centre of my poster would display the tape machine and title of the project and be connected to various sections of information via electrical circuit schematics. Maybe I’m going loopers but I decided to trace (in Illustrator) the schematic diagram of the UHER 724-L which I found online. Four hours later I had managed to  draw a third of it. I though I’d stop there as I wasn’t really sure I’d need the lot anyway. It’s nice to step away from the editing and do a bit of design work for a change. Here’s a teaser of how the poster is fitting together..

Working on an idea for the main pic

I'm very very proud of this...


In the afternoon I set about working on the ‘reveal’ of the patient. It’s the shot from above the bed looking down on the tape machine. As I only had two lights which I was using to light the room I shot each frame twice with different exposures in the hope that I could combine the brighter version of the patient with the darker room. This was a good idea when shooting but I really should have gone and done a proof of concept. I spent the entire afternoon and night trying to figure out the best way. As I had 206 images of each exposure, it was efficiency I was looking for.

First I tried selecting the same frame from both exposures and used Bridge’s ‘Merge to HDR Pro’ function. The result was okay but not really the look I was going for. Then I though I could simply use a mask in Photoshop on the dark layer to reveal the well lit patient in the layer below. I didn’t have the time to painstakingly import and set up each of the 412 images so I imported the first exposure set of 206 into Photoshop as separate layers. I then set up an action to apply the mask and batch save the result.

This would have been fine but for the fact that my laptop is getting fed up with me and has decided that it’s going to have a rest whenever I ask it to do some heavy lifting (and bear in mind I’m working with JPGs here. I gave up on the notion of using the RAW files days ago).In other words I had an idea well above my computer’s station. I just don’t have the hardware to deal with what I would like to ideally do. I feel like how James Cameron must have felt when first thinking about making Avatar but I don’t have the luxury of waiting until a better computer has been built (and I’m sure it has considering my Macbook is over 3 years old now) so I’m constantly trying to think of the most processor-friendly way of doing these things.

In the end I applied colour correction to both sets of exposures respectively and then I imported the lighter set into After Effects. From here I ran those frames as an animation, but I used a single frame of the darker exposure placed in a layer avove and with a mask punched through so the bright patient exposure could be seen.

I’m confusing myself now. I’ll make a long story short and upload the pictures.

Darker Exposure



Brighter Exposure


Final combination with colour corrections

Using a mask to combine both exposures in After Effects




  1. March 20th, 2011

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