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  • Grace Williamson

Zombie Apocalypse - Post Production and Completion

I have spent weeks thinking, planning, and executing my Zombie Apocalypse photoshoot. This past week has been purely editing the photos to give them a creepy, bleak, cinematic effect. The first image I edited took a good 2 hours to complete, and the rest only took about an hour each as I got the hang of the steps.

First off, I will show you a few of the tutorials I looked at to get these effects:

(All the colour grading!)

I also scouted out some inspirational photos and came across Adrian Sommeling. The photos he does of his son are just fantastic, and yet on a few of his how-to videos on Youtube the basics seemed quick "simple". It is all about matching the light and shadow detail - you can't have a bright flat lit subject in a dark place with light from the side! After he does those edits, he creates the movie-style colour cast which finalises the movie look. I adore his photos!

With all that in mind, I began my editing.

Starting Image:

To prepare, I duplicated my background layer. This meant that if I went horribly wrong I could delete that layer and start again without having to close and re-open the document.

Next, I created 4 adjustment layers - Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, and two Curves. With the Curves ones, I changed the layer blend mode to Luminosity and to Colour, and renamed the layers to correspond.

The first edit I did was on the Brightness/Contrast layer. I moved the brightness down to -100, and upped the contrast to around 75. This caused the image to be quite dark.

Next, I went onto my Background Duplicate layer used the Dodge and Burn tools to lighten and darken areas respectively. I darkened the entire background in the image, but lightened one side of the church and gravestones to try to mimic moonlight, or at least the same light that is on my models. I lightened all the faces and hands to make them look pale, and attempted to create highlights and shadows on their clothes and hair.

I then went onto the Luminosity layer, and on the graph I lowered the shadows and upped the highlights to create more contrast. Then on the Colour layer, I used the separate Red, Green, and Blue channels to create a colour cast. On the Blue channel, I moved the slider up near the shadows to make everything blue, and dropped it down in the highlights so the faces were still a little orange. On the Red and Green channels, I made tiny adjustments to make a nicer blue colour with a subtle hint of orange on the faces. Or at least less blue!

So there you have it: one completed Zombie Apocalypse shot!

I completed the others in much the same vein.

They're nowhere near perfect - I still have a lot to learn about editing - but I am pleased with how they came out.

And here's one just for fun!

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