View Full Version : Poster Question

08-13-2006, 01:49 PM
HI id like to know what filter to use to get the effect of light falling only on one side of the face. Like most of the hollywood cinema posters. Where it looks like the actors face was lit only from one side. Ive heard that most if these images are shot in overall lighting and then given the effect of one sided lighting within photoshop. I tried putting a black gradiented layer over the models photo. But it doesnt look natural.Im sure theres some settings like multipy etc and how to use it. Can someone guide me which tool to use ?

08-13-2006, 09:26 PM
Check out the lighting effect...
Filters -> Render -> Lighting FX

I find that I must be in RGB mode to get it to activate... (in case you are designing your poster in CMYK).

08-13-2006, 10:06 PM
Ive heard that most if these images are shot in overall lighting and then given the effect of one sided lighting within photoshop.

While this may sometimes be done in Photoshop, generally anything that can be done at the time of the shoot, is. "Split Lighting" is such a basic photographic lighting technique - in general, that is how the photographer will shoot it. I appologize, but I dont have time to open up PS and experiment for myself to give you a usable answer so I realize I am of no help.

As a professional photographer, I just wanted to help dispell the myth of almost nothing being done on film and then having Photoshop actually create the image. For most photographers (unless they specialize in Photoshop art) the image is created in camera and then Photoshop is used to put the minor finishing touches on the image.

Good luck with your image, it shouldn't be too difficult.


08-14-2006, 12:52 PM
As GageFX puts it nothing looks real like the real stuff. Else anyone with knowledge of Photoshop would be considered a professional photographer.

However you can draw with the Pen tool a work area, apply a little feather for soft edges and then on the work area apply Levels to it.

08-14-2006, 01:46 PM
You mean for most of these hollywood posters etc. they actually shoot with light only on one side ?

08-14-2006, 03:10 PM
You mean for most of these hollywood posters etc. they actually shoot with light only on one side ?

Errr? im saying that almost all photos where the subject is lit with split lighting, that the photographer lit them with split lighting. Posters or otherwise. And that doesnt mean there is'nt fill also. Just that the MAIN or KEY light is almost 90ยค to the subject.

But yes, it is generally done with actual light.

- GageFX

08-14-2006, 06:01 PM
I used to do a lot of movie poster touch up. I have to mildly disagree (well not really) with the photographers posts above. Often times shots for movies are done as flat as possible on a white wall or green screen so that lighting can be "faked" later on when a poster is created. This is because the concept for the poster has not yet been completed, and the studios want versatile creative poster options and they're not going to ask the actors back months later for a photoshoot unless they really have to.

That being said, a typical 3 point light with about a stop between fill and key is usually what I find. Actually you'de be amazed at how crappy and rushed a lot of the pics I worked on were (especially from playboy!).

Anyway, the way to do it in photoshop is to have a strong understanding of lighting to begin with. there is no magic "light from one 3d direction on a 2d picture" plug in :) If there is already a key light causing some highlites, than you can use levels, curves, quickmasks, masks, dodge, and burn tools to enhance them, increase the contrast ratio, etc.

If it's pretty flat and you're trying to create light from a direction, I recommend taking a friend, beaming a light on them in that direction, taking a quick photo, and analyzing it in photoshop right next to the image you are trying to manipulate. You can dodge and burn, but I find it safer to create new layer for black, and another one for white, use a soft brush and brush in shadows and highlights, then use various blending modes (multiply and screen and soft light, usually) to blend things in. Then mask those layers and erase any spill.

Optionally, you can throw a gradient from one side from black to white, multiply it, drop the opacity to about 60, then add a mask to that layer and start erasing things until you get down to what you need.

Also, throw some pins in the eyes if they aren't there (the little white dots cinematographers strive to keep in every eyeball!).

It just takes practice and a good, developed eye.

Of course I can tell when I see these over photoshoped posters, and I wish they would give more creative to the photographers... I think the posters would be a million times better, as that is the core place for lighting and composition. Imagine if Anton Corbijn did a poster for Star Wars!

08-14-2006, 09:50 PM
Good tips, Zoostory. I'll have to try some of that when I have a few minutes to play around.

08-15-2006, 09:46 AM
I forgot to mention. One of the key things to analyze with people is the nose shadow. Many DPs out there already know this, but it applies to graphic design as well. In DP 101 class in film school, we used to do an excercise where we looked at a photographic still from a movie and mapped out where all the lights were. This excercise is invaluable not just for film, but for graphic design as well. Understanding the direction of light, color temperature of light, diffuseness of light, etc are invaluable tools for any true designer. You have to cease to see the image and begin to see it as an abstract series of lines, shapes, hues, and tones. Then with little more than a brush and a mask you can begin to carve in and alter properties with newfound levels of realism. People did this way before photoshop existed... and waaaaaay before the magnetic-clono-source-replico-lasso-wand tool ever existed :)