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The world according to the Blaine Brothers: Photoshop extensions

In a challenging project the Blaines used Photoshop to create the dickensian architecture of Bleak Old Shop of Stuff.
In terms of making set extensions, we have to do a lot for Bleak Old Shop of Stuff because the film is set in Victorian England, and most of these places don’t exist anymore. Well, also it’s set in kind of magical, nonexistent, kind of satirical Victorian England that never existed. Yeah. Quite a lot of them actually we did by going taking photographs of London and then building new buildings out those photographs. In terms of doing set extensions, you’re kind of starting from a point of where you’ve got your shot, and you know how that’s meant to look. And the big thing about it is prospective. I mean it is going back to Leonardo da Vinci, draw the lines.
And there’s some really great tools in Photoshop these days to be able to see perspective and change perspective of shots using Photoshop, which is great for photos and for manipulating photos and getting them looking exactly how you want them to look. That’s definitely the way to go, but the big thing perspective. Work out the perspective, and get the perspective looking right first. Bright and shine. For a farthing. Watch mid 19th century just before lunch on Christmas Eve opening. Curses. I thought it was 20 to Eastend.

The Blaine Brothers were called upon to create a Dickensian world – in Photoshop.

A BBC comedy series “The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff” parodying the works of Charles Dickens gave the Blaine Brothers some interesting possibilities to create grimy victorian scenes in Photoshop. The important thing is getting the perspective to feel right, which is where 3D compositing can help. Incidentally as you can see from the clip above the opening scene starts with a swooping vertical shot a bit like our exercise this week.

Designing your sets in Photoshop (or other 2D image manipulation software) makes sense as you can texture and build architecture out of existing photographic references and library images and then composite them into flat layers, before bringing them into 3D space to arrange them. It’s a great way to build a world out of found images of buildings and architecture to create your own environment.

The set extensions seem to work here as it’s a satirical, comic world, but how might you use this technique- what theme, genre or place would you build?

Rather than creating your own material in this way, you can use other people’s imagery- legally. That’s very much central to HaZ Dulull’s VFX film work – which we’ll see next.

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