Behind the Scenes: Weld Portraits
Making sparks fly
Who knew that making sparks can be so much fun? In this image, I combined 3D and Photography to create an incredible surreal image. This image was made for Weld, which is a creative co-working site in Dallas/Fort Worth. The philosophy behind Weld is to bond creative people together by figuratively welding them together. Let’s return to making sparks fly. Luckily Austin Mann a fellow travel photographer and creator of Weld was nice enough to be the model.
This image had several difficulties: creating the logo, shooting the model, while welding and getting an impressive background to place the model in. As luck would have it, the same person we borrowed the welding torch from, had a rustic workshop which was perfect for the background. I took the Canon EOS 1D X and created the backplates from varies the angles in the workshop. Since I didn’t have any lights in the workshop, I shot each angle in HDR. This way I had some control in case an area is too bright or too dark. Once I had the background, I started working on the Model shoot. The model placed in front of a black V-card, along with two bare strobes for rim light and one umbrella for fill light. The reason for the Black V-card background was to capture all the sparks from the welding gun. After a few hundred shots, we captured a couple of images of the sparks themselves, so I could use them later on for compositing.
Light Diagram of the shoot One of the selected stills.
With photography ready, it was time for the 3D work. A flat logo of Weld was placed within Modo and wasted no time modeling the logo. After the 3D mesh of the logo had been done, it was time for the textures and lighting. I created the texture by photographing a lot of metal objects for references. A little tweak in Adobe Photoshop helped clean up the textures. The lighting for the environment was from the HDR plate images from the workshop. The only part left was modeling the solder on the logo. Thankfully I had a lot of references solder from the photos. The process was the same for the big logo except that it had a lot more letters.
Once every part was ready, it was time to launch Adobe Photoshop. For the final composite, I took the backplate and placed it as the base layer. Once I masked the model, the image started to take shape. I added some smoke and sparks which helped sell the atmosphere that I was after. The CGI element helped transform this image to the next level. Overall the image was a huge success at the first annual Weld show, and it became one of my favorite pieces.
Video capturing the event. Shot and edited by Jordan Bellamy