14 August 2015

Sky painting

Tonight I found myself revisiting photos I've taken of the sky around sunset and emulating Makoto Shinkai's iconic color palette in my post-processing.
Makoto Shinkai is one of my favorite directors, most notably for his color design, background art, and the meticulous attention to detail in the animation of his films. I'm especially a fan of the way he envisions the sky. :)

Raw photos

Taken from the window on campus.
Taken from the window of my room ^^ Though still beautiful on their own, I always feel like raws never capture how sunsets make me feel.

In these shots I went straight to Photoshop (I use CS5) and focused on a set blue and magenta color, then played with various gradient overlays in different areas to get the right look I wanted. To prep the raws I adjusted the midtones and shadows to either be more cyan/blue or more red (depending on how much blue or magenta I wanted the final photo to be). 

My favorite photo-editing tool is Variations (Image --> Adjustments --> Variations). It allows me to see how the photo looks when I adjust the colors on the shadows, midtones, highlights, and saturation.

I ended up playing around with different colors and had the best results setting the gradients' layer modes to "Lighten" or "Overlay." Other than that the shadows and highlights from the clouds and setting sun spoke for themselves. :)


Raw --> Finish
Raw --> Finish
(and just for fun) Finish --> Raw

These are much lower quality since they’re taken with my phone, but I’m really happy with how they turned out. I think it'd be great if I could make an action for this post-processing style but the colors are all dependent on where the sun is in the photo, so we'll see. ^^;

Examples of Makoto Shinkai's breathtaking color design and background work, which inspired this post:

Now, if I wanted to get really crazy with photomanipulation, I could paint more clouds in and add some birds and a lot more contrails, but I think this is enough experimenting for tonight hahaha....

I've been looking at ways to improve and stylize my photography (personal and cosplay), so this was a really fun exercise in branching out on post-processing techniques. There's a lot more I should really look into and research, so I hope I can develop a more personalized and consistent style in the way I shoot as well as the way I post-process.

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