So, to make this shot, I laid out the "zipper" on some beige foam core board. I used super glue on the ends of a few matches so they wouldn't move too much.
Here is the setup:
Once I got the zipper all made and the pull in place, I set up some lighting. I carefully recorded the position, angle and distance of each light source and measured each one using a light meter.
An early sample
So once I got the lighting down I took the shot of the zipper.
Once I got the zipper shot done. I borrowed a couple of my granddaughters for the belly portion. I carefully rotated the lighting so it was all exactly the same in relation to them as it was in relation to the match zipper. I shot both their bellies and one of their back's.
I can't show you the originals, kids, underwear etc.
Anyway, in photoshop I used the various content aware clone and stamp brushes to extend the ends of the matchsticks out to the sides.
Then I created a mask on the matches layer and carefully painted out the beige foamcore. I chose this color of board because its very similar to skin in color and would be easy to deal with for masking. If I chose an off color, the mask would have to be far more carefully done and the color would also affect the matches. As it is with the beige board, I didn't even have to worry about the areas between the matches, only the big V in the middle.
Since I matched light direction and amounts, I didn't have to fake the shadows. Those are all real shadows. I softened them slightly to help them blend over the skin but they are otherwise real. Since the two layer's shadows all match up, the whole image has a consistent lighting look and feel.
A really interesting concept and an interesting set of shots.
Thanks for sharing your method with us.
Canon EOS 600D, 50mm, 18-55mm & 55-250 mm kit lens for the flash stuff.
Olympus Tough 8010, waterproof, shockproof compact P&S - great for the kids.
A lot of hard work went into this. Very creative. Thanks.
Nikon D300s, Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 G, Nikkor 18 - 300 mm F3.5-5.6, Nikon SB 900
Nice one, I'm more and more interested in replacing my old canon with the Nikon D7000, the image looks great, thanks for sharing.
wow this is incredible and interesting imagination. Thanks for posting and sharing some methods, they're very useful
This is a fantastic image! I can't imagine how long it took you to set up all those little matchsticks! Even if they were lying flat, it would still be a tedious endeavor... but well worth it! Great results!
Tell me, though... is the grid (over the lights) really necessary? What would the effect be without it?
The grid was in place during the matches shot because I thought I might need it while photographing the girl. I wasn't sure how wide the shot would end up being. As such I didn't want the main light spilling onto any background/fill cards. I wanted to make sure the lighting would be exactly the same as what was used on the girl shots for shadows. The grid played little in the grand scheme of things, at least for this shot.
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