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View Full Version : Tilt-Shift and Time Lapse Films



RPMiller
11-13-2008, 12:36 PM
I'll let the video speak for itself. I'm thinking there has to be something in this that we can use somehow...

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6074474

torstan
11-13-2008, 01:26 PM
Very cool.

The effect of the blurred foreground and background is interesting. It's bizarre the way it miniaturises the subject matter. I may have to play with that.

Steel General
11-13-2008, 02:00 PM
Neat stuff...thanks for posting.

Ascension
11-13-2008, 03:20 PM
This guy has posted some of these films (compiled for the ABC news bit) on a website somewhere. I'll see if I can dig it out of my history cache cuz I was on the site a few months back.

RobA
11-13-2008, 03:26 PM
Tilt-shifts (either taken or digitally generated) are just weird on the brain. Even though you KNOW they aren't miniatures, your brain insists they are :)

Tons on http://www.flickr.com/groups/tilt-shift-fakes/

And another novel tilt-shift video: http://www.royalbaronialtheatre.com/blog/2008/09/flip-camera-tilt-shift-visual-experiments.html that shows the before and after. Nice use of otherwise "uninspiring" video.

(with a catchy tune, too :) )

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-13-2008, 03:44 PM
I think the bigger the scene the more dramatic the effect. Thanks for the link to the flickr group!

RPMiller
11-13-2008, 04:03 PM
I took one of the pictures from my vacation and tried to get the effect right. What do you think?

EDIT: Tried another one that doesn't have much of a size reference around it to see what it looks like.

http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/88x31.png (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/)

RobA
11-13-2008, 04:25 PM
Not bad.

I think you used the "linear gradient to blend a blurred copy" method?

The thing that causes it to look a bit wonky is that the people are obviously much further behind the urns, yet both are in focus...

Ideally you need to match the blend to the depth.

I think it works better with the gimp focal blur plugin as you can provide a depth map, and it actually blurs the image based on the greyscale depth of field map.

Also, a slight areal perspective makes it more "miniature" looking.

Here is an example cropped from a phpto I took in Chicago:
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and with the effect:
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(I think the bg needed a bit more blur...)

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-13-2008, 04:28 PM
Wow! Yea, you definitely nailed the effect. I wonder if there is a similar focal blur component for PhotoShop. I think I found a fun new hobby to play with the next time I travel. :)

Steel General
11-13-2008, 04:28 PM
Looks like you got it nailed down pretty good there Rob...

RPMiller
11-13-2008, 05:15 PM
Ok RobA, I figured out how to do it in PhotoShop, but I have a question for you. How are you making the greyscale depth of field map? Are you painting it in or does the plugin do it or what? Can you post a screen cap of the map you used for the above?

Once I have that piece resolved, I think I'll have the technique down pat.

ravells
11-14-2008, 10:09 AM
Wow, what a cool effect! Can't wait to give it a try when I get home!

RobA
11-14-2008, 11:30 AM
A tutorial is now off site and can be found here:
http://ffaat.pointclark.net/blog/archives/158-A-Better-Fake-Tilt-Shift-with-the-Gimp.html

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-14-2008, 11:42 AM
Sure do! Thanks! For those wishing to do this in PhotoShop the colors need to be reversed. I'll give this a try as well in PS and post my matching screen caps. Thanks RobA! Have some rep for your hard work. :)

Steel General
11-14-2008, 12:15 PM
Ok RobA, I figured out how to do it in PhotoShop, but I have a question for you. How are you making the greyscale depth of field map? Are you painting it in or does the plugin do it or what? Can you post a screen cap of the map you used for the above?

Once I have that piece resolved, I think I'll have the technique down pat.

Ooops! Never mind, I posted this without refreshing the page. I've several interested co-workers regarding the method in Photoshop.

RPMiller
11-14-2008, 12:23 PM
Ok, here is how it is done in PhotoShop CS2.

I'm only going to post instructions where they differ from yours.

Start with the same image. Add Guides at the bottoms of vertical surfaces same as yours.

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First difference: Instead of a white to black gradient you'll need to use the mirrored gradient and black will be the in focus area.

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Block off the different focal depth areas same as yours. I'm doing this fast and messy as a proof of concept so I'm not being as thorough with blocking out areas, and you'll be able to tell in the final version, but just bare with me.

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Then blur as you did, but I chose Gaussian Blur and went with only 3 pixels. I'll experiment with this more later.

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RPMiller
11-14-2008, 12:24 PM
Here's where things get a bit different. You'll need to create an Alpha channel to be your Depth of Field. So combine your gradient layer and your painted layer. Then select all and copy it.

Now move to the Channels panel. Create a new Alpha Channel and paste your DoF into it. Make sure to reselect the RGB channel when you are done.

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Switch back to the layers panel. Hide the gradient layer. Make sure your background is selected and go to Filter-->Blur-->Lens Blur...

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Load the Alpha1 channel as your source. Make whatever tweaks you want to the settings and click Ok. I used the attached settings again for the sake of speed, but will likely play with these a bit more in the future. I would suggest a low level blur to start with. That way if you discover some areas that need better DoF, you can open the Alpha Channel and paint in the needed changes. I would use the Smudge tool in most instances. As you can see in mine, I missed a few areas so using the smudge tool with a big soft brush should be able to fix those areas. Then another run through the lens blur will blur the whole area again so the smaller blur amount will get doubled. Once you have the "blocking" perfected that wouldn't be needed anymore and you can jump right to the final lens blur settings.

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RPMiller
11-14-2008, 12:39 PM
I didn't do the saturation or contrast changes, but I would do those with adjustment layers so that I could easily tweak and change.

RPMiller
11-14-2008, 12:42 PM
Hey RobA, how do you get those inline thumbnails to work like that? I know I read how to do it somewhere, but could not remember.

RPMiller
11-14-2008, 01:00 PM
@RobA - Thanks! I went back and fixed those.

Good tips on the blur and the modifications. I'm going to look for some good images to play with and see what I can produce.

Also, I've been trying to think of a horizontal layout example. Do you have a picture that would be laid out horizontally instead of vertically to give me an idea?

NeonKnight
11-14-2008, 01:35 PM
Oooooo yeah. Gonna try this myself ;)

RobA
11-14-2008, 03:02 PM
Also, I've been trying to think of a horizontal layout example. Do you have a picture that would be laid out horizontally instead of vertically to give me an idea?

anything where a horizontal line is not "in focus"... like this one:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Whitehorn_(C-Train)_5.jpg

Here is the dof I used (not completely horizontal, I had to add in the sky blur and road blur, otherwise a line of sky and road would be in focus:
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and the result:
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-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-14-2008, 03:22 PM
Thanks. I think I get it now.

Ascension
11-14-2008, 05:03 PM
Heh, I can see all the 3d modelers out there creating things just to turn it into a jpg and then blur it all out. Speaking of which, I might like to make something in Sketch Up and then blur it all out. Thanks to the both of you for the mini tuts :) much appreciated.

waldronate
11-14-2008, 05:16 PM
Cameras and the human eye both have a characteristic called depth of field. The closer something is to your eye then the smaller the distance range over which you will have things in focus. You can see this if you hold one thumb out at arm's reach and the other close to your eye. Notice the background; it will be slightly blurry. As you move the far thumb toward your eye, notice how things in the background get more and more blurry.
The near-field and far-field blur giving a shallow depth of field image is one of the cues your brain uses to determine distance. Your brain also knows that distance*area covered is proportional to size. So if you lie to your brain by making "far" and "near" items more blurry, your brain wants them to be very close, meaning that they must therefore be very small.

RPMiller
11-14-2008, 05:30 PM
Hey cool! Thanks for the explanation of how the effect works. We were wondering about that here at work. I've taken to calling it the "Mr. Rogers Effect" for simplicity sake. :)

Midgardsormr
11-14-2008, 06:13 PM
In case you'd like to take actual pictures: http://www.creativepro.com/article/build-a-tilt-shift-camera-lens-peanuts

Instructions on turning an old lens into a tilt-shift lens for about $15. The Zeiss lens the author converted goes for anywhere from $40 to $300 on eBay.

RPMiller
11-15-2008, 12:14 AM
Had some time today at lunch so I hunted down another picture to play with. Here is the result:

Before:

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After:

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Gamerprinter
11-15-2008, 12:26 PM
Many 3D apps, including the ones I use has a built in depth of field for the rendering camera as a filter. Basically, you choose the object you want the camera to focus clearly on, then set the blur difference. The camera will automatically determine the level of blur from those objects closest to the focused object, as from the objects much more separated from the focus.

You can apply the Depth of Field filter to animated 3D scenes as well. Combining depth of field with motion blur can really make a scene both realistic and more difficult to discern due fighting blurs.

GP

RobA
11-17-2008, 01:44 PM
Had some time today at lunch so I hunted down another picture to play with. Here is the result:

Before:

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After:

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I think you hit that one out of th park!

The clear blue sky is really helpful in simplifying the scene. Another think I have done is run a painterly effect (oilify, etc) on the sky before the focal blur so it looks like a painted backdrop rather than real sky.

And, as mentioned a shot downward rather than upward helps to trick the brain, too.

-Rob A>

ravells
11-17-2008, 03:03 PM
That's fantastic, RPM!

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 04:03 PM
Found a really great night time picture (won't tell you where it is since I want to see if anyone knows ;) ) and thought it would be perfect for really getting detailed with the depth of field and going crazy with gradients going in various directions to really pick up the curves and such. There are a couple areas that I discovered I missed after viewing the final result, but I used some different techniques this go around to allow me to keep the DoF layers separate and easy to edit to fix over sights and such.

I think it turned out fairly decent, but need to fix a couple things perhaps at a later date.

Steel General
11-25-2008, 04:11 PM
Somewhere in London - but I have no clue where.

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 04:53 PM
What makes you think it is London? Is there a certain element that is only found there? Just curious as I've never been there, and I've always wondered if there are certain elements that would only be found in the US or even only in certain states. I would think that places that were once in the British Empire would share characteristics, but to narrow it down to London must mean something in the pic is specific to that location... or at least makes you think it is London. ;)

RobA
11-25-2008, 05:20 PM
Looks great RP!

(And oddly enough the two thumbnails have a wicked little cross eye stereogram effect, too :) THink it is because the one is blurred...)

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 05:24 PM
Thanks RobA! I'm getting better entirely thanks to your DoF tutorial. If I didn't have that to go off of, I would still be using the boring method...

Steel General
11-25-2008, 05:41 PM
What makes you think it is London?

The filename of the pic is London18.??? (or something)...but even without that I would've figured somewhere in Europe based on the cars and the architecture.

Of course I could be way off too :)

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 06:00 PM
Yup. You could be way off. Filenames aren't always correct. ;)

ravells
11-25-2008, 06:12 PM
That's Picadilly Circus in London. The signage and the statue of Eros in the centre of the roundabout are the main markers. Great tiltshift! And the stereogram effect is pretty cool too!

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 06:44 PM
That's Picadilly Circus in London. The signage and the statue of Eros in the centre of the roundabout are the main markers. Great tiltshift! And the stereogram effect is pretty cool too!
Ding, ding ding! Yes you are correct. My feux pas with the picture name almost spoiled it. Thanks to SG for pointing out my oversight... :D Have to be more careful in the future. 8)

So back to my question to SG, are there any identifying characteristics that are only found in London, other than landmarks that is?

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 06:47 PM
Hmm... Apparently my reputation power is up to +8 now... Cool!

ravells
11-25-2008, 07:14 PM
Ding, ding ding! Yes you are correct. My feux pas with the picture name almost spoiled it. Thanks to SG for pointing out my oversight... :D Have to be more careful in the future. 8)

So back to my question to SG, are there any identifying characteristics that are only found in London, other than landmarks that is?

Black taxi cabs? The Red phone boxes and the old route-master double decker buses have gone now, I'm afraid.

RPMiller
11-25-2008, 07:30 PM
Black taxi cabs? Now that is interesting. Do you know the story behind the color choice?

Steel General
11-25-2008, 08:22 PM
No phone boxes! How does the Doctor hide the Tardis then? :)

@Ravs - I almost said Picadilly Circus (just as a wild guess of course).

@RP - I don't see anything obvious to me, I would have said something about which side of the road the cars are on, but it's difficult to tell as they all appear to be one-way streets.

Ascension
11-25-2008, 10:36 PM
I've seen this same sort of pic from this relative angle hundreds of times so I knew it was London just couldn't remember the place name. The traffic flow also helps to identify it...everything is going opposite from us here in the U.S. Of course there are other countries that go that way but this angle is sort of an iconic shot.

ravells
11-26-2008, 08:31 AM
Black taxi cabs? Now that is interesting. Do you know the story behind the color choice?

Same colour as a hearse because most people wouldn't be seen dead in one?

No idea! do tell!

RPMiller
11-26-2008, 09:43 AM
Same colour as a hearse because most people wouldn't be seen dead in one?

No idea! do tell!
Hehehe, I have no idea. I was asking you. :)

I can tell you why US taxis are yellow though:

"In 1907, car salesman John Hertz looked at his surplus of traded-in cars and decided to start a taxicab business. Since taxis need to stand out in a sea of cars, Hertz reportedly commissioned a study to determine which color was easiest to spot at a distance. The answer was yellow.

His Chicago Yellow Cab Company was the first taxicab service to use that now-familiar moniker. However, these days not all Yellow Cabs are yellow cabs.

In 1923, Hertz expanded his automobile empire by purchasing a car-rental business from Walter L. Jacobs. Although this particular company was acquired by General Motors a few years later, it was only the beginning for Hertz's rental cars and his affinity for yellow.

In fact, when the entrepreneur established the Hertz Corporation in 1953, he used yellow in the new logo."

Or so I've heard...

ravells
11-26-2008, 01:10 PM
I suspect that it might have something to do with the original horse-drawn hackneys which were also traditonally black (at least they are in the movies). It could be that black paint was cheap? Interesting one though.

RobA
11-27-2008, 06:52 PM
Here is another cure tilt-shift time laps work - a monster truck rally:
http://keithloutit.com/2008/11/23/metal-skin/

Also, I found this comparison of a real tilt-shift lens with photoshop:
http://www.thecleverest.com/photography/349

One interesting thing is how the tilt shift has more of an orthagonal projection... It seems to reduce the perspective distortions on the building walls, for example, so a distortion like that before applying the effect might help make it more "real-model" looking

EDIT: Here is a link of 50 examples, still and video http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/beautiful-examples-of-tilt-shift-photography/

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-28-2008, 02:13 PM
Great links, thanks RobA! Interestingly enough I think I prefer the PS'd ones over the actual camera versions. I think I need the more heightened effect to really see the pseudo miniaturization of the overall scene. I noticed that you added some comments to thecleverest.com's blog. Well done! Show him how an expert would do it. ;)

I think I'm going to make a video tutorial of how to do it with PS and put it up on YouTube. I want to find a good picture to do it with though and one that is Creative Commons so that I don't step on anyone's toes.

RPMiller
12-10-2008, 12:54 PM
If anyone is interested, I've created a Tilt Shift Action that you can load into PS CS2 or greater and it will do all the lens blur settings for you. You still have to create an alpha channel yourself, and you must create one or the action will not work. I'm perfecting a better method of controlling the depth of field for the Alpha Channel and will hopefully be able to post another tutorial sometime after Thursday of next week, if not sooner (the semester is almost over!).

Here is the Action. Note: You will have to remove the .txt from the filename before you try to use it.

If you are not sure of how to load or use an Action in PhotoShop follow these directions:

Place the *.atn files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Photoshop Actions where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop. To load an action set, go to the Actions palette, then click the small arrow in the top right corner and navigate to the location where you saved the action. Select the file you'd like to load and it will be added to the actions palette.- Quoted from this awesome page (http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshop/qt/installcontent.htm).

Ascension
12-10-2008, 05:52 PM
I'll give this a whirl in plain ole CS and see if it works, if not I can at least read it as a txt file.

Redrobes
01-08-2009, 06:49 PM
I'm not convinced of the performance but this website (link below) is supposed to make tilt shift pics for you. To do the job properly I would think you need to have a depth buffer but here it is anyway.

http://tiltshiftmaker.com/

RPMiller
01-08-2009, 06:54 PM
Yup, it just uses the old boring method of the gradient across the image. The method that RobA perfected is definitely superior.

RPMiller
05-07-2009, 03:25 PM
Just playing around with another effect today at lunch taking a break from school work which I should be doing. Anyway, not Tilt-Shifted yet, but I'm not sure if the effect would be lost because of lack of reference background. I may just keep it as is.

The original photo is somewhere on the Internet I assume, but I couldn't find out which of the dozen copies is the original.

Speaking of Tilt-Shift, who watches, Wheadon's Dollhouse? I love the opening sequence with all the Tilt-Shifting that they do with it. It really goes with the whole "doll house" idea.

EDIT: I just realized that I forgot to include the original... Now added.

Steel General
05-07-2009, 06:13 PM
I've gotten hooked on DollHouse - great show. Eliza Dushku doesn't hurt either :)

Neat image RP!