PhotoMode Technique: Compose & Expose

Discussion in 'GT4 Photo Mode' started by CrackHoor, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. CrackHoor

    CrackHoor

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    So we've been posting tons of pics since we got our hands on GT4, but I'd like to start a thread to deal with our own styles & techniques when using PhotoMode. Keep in mind that I'm just talking about GT4 here, with it's forgiving treatment of exposure and limited options. Once you get into PhotoShop there are no limits, and we've seen some impressive panoramic and multi-car stuff on here too. But even within the limits of PhotoMode, we've seen some great stuff.

    I'd like to know how you guys go about taking your best pics in GT4. And of course, I'm gonna tell you what I do! I'm also going to post some terribly dumbed-down definitions and topics. Real explanations are all over the web, and Google is your friend if that's what you're looking for. For more detailed info on composition and framing, check out DRT2RM's In-Depth Photo Composition Tutorial.

    Rule of Thirds - A very popular idea is that an image is more appealing when the important features are arranged along imaginary lines that divide your picture in thirds, both horizontally & vertically. It's not a must, and like all rules it should be broken now & then, but it's a good thing to try. I use it a lot. This picture (with lines) demonstrates:
    [​IMG]

    Aperture - In GT4, the aperture is used to control your depth of field. That's a fancy way of saying how much of your picture is in focus, in the near-to-far direction. It'll be centered wherever your focus is, and if it's low the rest of the pic will be out of focus. In the top pics below, the backgrounds are really sharp and distract from the car. By lowering the aperture setting, I added some blur to the background to make the cars stand out more. Notice that in the Mercedes pic, I've lowered it so much that the back of the car is out of focus while the front is sharp.
    Before:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    After:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Shutter Speed - In GT4, the shutter speed is used to control your motion blur. When you increase it, your background will be sharper. It's not available in PhotoTravel because there is no motion, although the light trails in some locations simulate the effect of a very slow shutter speed. Below are three pics taken, with the shutter speed increased each time.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Exposure - On a real camera, your exposure is controlled by your aperture & shutter speed (and film speed), but in GT4 we get it easy. We can set our motion blur and depth of field wherever we want and compensate with GT4's exposure setting. I find my pictures look too dark on my computer unless I bump this up a few steps. I bump it up even more at dark locations. This picture was taken as an example of an overexposed pic, but because it's at night (and even though it looked horribly washed-out on my TV) it turned out OK.
    [​IMG]

    White Balance - A digital replacement for filters, used to correct (or create) a shift in 'colour temperature'. On the SilEighty above, the tunnel lights left a sickly orange tint reflecting off the car. By shifting the white balance toward the cool/blue side, the orange was toned down. It's a setting that I rarely use, and when I do it's subtle and for a reason. Incidentally, that also describes my thoughts on rotating the camera and playing with saturation...

    Backfire in GT4 - "WOOOO-WEE! Lookit' that unburnt gas lite up, Cam! Consarn it, if that ain't the most amayzin' thing I ever done seen!" Yes Cletus - yes it is. But thanks to GT4's lack of slow-motion or rewind during replays it's a bit of a pain to catch (you'll wear out your Select button) and IMO it's only occasionally worth it. The novelty's already worn off for me, partly because I've seen too many blurry, zoomed-in-as-close-as-I-can-on-the-flame pictures of it. My favorite backfire pics are cool about it, and would look good even if the flames weren't there. Here's a couple I like, both taken from the same lap. Also, there's one I don't like. I meant to take more, but here we are...
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    And now, my process. It's hardly rocket surgery, but here it is anyway:


    Step 1: Location & Angle - In this example I got a location with the car cornering in the sun, and angle that shows an interesting backdrop.
    [​IMG]

    Step 2: Compose - I chose a vertical layout, raised the camera, and zoomed in to get a better view of the car. I wanted to keep the tops of the buildings in the shot, so I did. I also framed the shot to crop out the spectators and distracting red/white corner marker on the left.
    [​IMG]

    Step 3: Expose - Aperture & shutter speed were set to get rid of most of the blur. Final values were F2.8 and 1/640".
    [​IMG]

    Step 4: Finishing Touches - For this picture, I chose to rotate the camera slightly to bring the pointy building corner (on the left) closer to vertical. I also bumped the white balance one step in the red direction to give a sense of warmth, and pushed the EV to +0.3 so it wouldn't look underexposed.
    [​IMG]

    Here are some other pics that got similar treatment:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Please feel free to add anything I've missed or screwed up. And go take more pictures in PhotoMode. Do it now!


    -Cam


    Notes:
    - All the pics in this post were taken by your truly in my first few days with GT4.
    - Thanks to ImageShack for hosting my pics.
    - All the opinions are mine, and are probably wrong. Feel free to ignore them.
    - Thanks to Alistair Houston at silverlight.co.uk for his tutorials.
    - Good Lord! This is way longer than I expected it to be...
     
    Vince247 likes this.
  2. ChristmasGTO

    ChristmasGTO

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    402
    Great tutorial! Very much needed to get people started! Five star.

    And as a side note Everyone Look at my Photomode Pics on my site located in my Signature, Feed back is welcome :)
     
  3. Jay

    Jay Premium

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    Great thread, good read while Im waiting for GT4 :tup:
     
  4. dori-san

    dori-san

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    443
    I was big into photography a while back and I've been an artist all my life... I knew all of these things already (at one point) but it's definitely good to have my memory refreshed on what everything does, because it's been probably 3 years since I've picked up my SLR and actually had to adjust aperture and everything like that. Good work CrackHoor, hopefully we'll see some fantastic pictures popping up in the near future.
     
  5. Samelborp

    Samelborp

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    very good info, many thanks!
     
  6. under18carbon

    under18carbon

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    3,692
    Very useful information mate, thanks for sharing. :tup:
     
  7. Orbit

    Orbit

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    204
    Similar story with me!

    I've been wanting to see a tutorial like this on the forum for some time. Well done!
     
  8. VT

    VT

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    2,270
    :tup: Very nice tutorial crackhoor. Very nice. It will definately help some of my pics out at some point. Thats if I'm actually awake enough to care how they look when I take them, haha.
     
  9. Vic_ali

    Vic_ali

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    16
    Good post 'hoor,

    I noticed that you like a completely in-focus car picture, for anyone looking at more of an action shot I found that ~2.2f and 1/80 usually gives the 'most of the car in focus, blurry background' shot.. shoot lots, try all the settings, save and post the good ones.. :tup:

    oh yeah, also 'hoor talks about increasing/decreasing f stop and shutter speed, f1.8 is a high value while f22 is low.... same with shutter speed, 1/60 (of a second) is slower that 1/2500..

    there is a trick with the focal length too, when you zoom in and out you see at the bottom left the focus length shown in mm, increasing the focal length compresses the depth of field in a picture so things will look closer together when zoomed in.. if you take a shot of the cars coming down a straight section, with the camera is pointed at them and zoomed in. It looks like everyone is neck-in-neck. but, when you look at a side view, the car in first place is actually farther ahead than anyone else. zooming in (higher mm length) compresses the focal length and makes the race look closer..

    enter the fun of photography.. race around the track in 2 minutes, spend 2 hours in the replay taking pics.. :)

    m
     
  10. CrackHoor

    CrackHoor

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    1,373
    In all my examples, 'increasing' means up on the controller and 'decreasing' means down. So I'm with you on shutter speed, but if I keep increasing aperture I'll end up at f22. But hey, you're the picture-takin' guy! :dopey:
     
  11. Azuremen

    Azuremen Premium

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    I'm currently looking at minoring in Photography... and I find it both good and bad how easy they made it...

    Would be kinda nice if they did make is so you had an f22 AND 1/2500 shot that you would need to bump the exposure 10 times AND be shooting 1600 ISO or something :D

    Either way, nice tutorial. Explains things quite clearly to those that are not familar with f stops and shutter speeds and what not.

    :tup:
     
  12. vipersan

    vipersan Premium

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    Thank you for tutorial. Cant wait to try these lessons out in GT4 ...
     
  13. Hawker

    Hawker

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    Great job, thanks for that. :)

    I agree, where's the SLO MO and REWIND buttons? This game really needs a VCR like control setup. :(
     
  14. Consigliere

    Consigliere Premium

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    Very nice tutorial! :tup: Will probably come in handy. (once I get the game, that is! :sly: )

    Cheers!
     
  15. 194GVan

    194GVan Premium

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    very nice. Only thing i could suggest is go back and maybe take a digital picture of the photodrive editing screen and the photo location editing screen and label which numbers refer to Aperture, Shutter speed, etc...

    I can get some decent pics sometimes but sometimes i get confused when working with the photos. I dont REALLY know what im doing but i just play with the settings until it looks good. Thanks for the tips. some pics are at my site below
     
  16. boost654

    boost654

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    136
    Great tuitorial buddy!
     
  17. PjotrStroganov

    PjotrStroganov

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    283
    By experimenting with apperture I allready figured out wat it did, but I never knew for sure because the effect is often very subtile. Your guide confirmed what I thought allready, thnx :)
     
  18. jalopy

    jalopy

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    24
    One question I didnt see answered and it's probably a dumb question, but I do not know the answer.

    How do you get the Pictures to the PC from the PS2?
     
  19. PjotrStroganov

    PjotrStroganov

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    Through telekinesis.

    Or click :)
     
  20. Mad Marky

    Mad Marky

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    That's just answered most of the questions I had. Especially the Aperture & Shutter Speed parts :tup:
     
  21. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y

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    Wow. Great post mang. I had a queation about the light exposure; we'd pretty much have to guesstimate how bright the pictures would hafta be in-game to look just right for the computer right?
     
  22. d3p0

    d3p0

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    489
    How did I not see this thread? This is good advice for anyone!
     
  23. CrackHoor

    CrackHoor

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    1,373
    Yeah, it seems to be kind of a trial-and-error thing. I'm still getting the hang of it, but to quote myself from another thread...
     
  24. OMGWTF

    OMGWTF

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    Heh, seems you have quite a great understanding yourself! This thing with aperture often confuses however, because the numbers actually describe how much of the lens is covered, not the size of the hole letting light in. The higher the number, the smaller the aperture.

    Thanks for spelling all this out - 'tis a great thing you've done for the community. :tup:

    Can't agree more. The game does a great job of simulating the driving experience, but when it comes to simulating a camera, it's far too forgiving. Sure, the art of composition is there, but I miss the need to balance shutter and aperture, ISO and exposure. And hey, wouldn't a flash be a welcome addition!

    Nonetheless, I'm extremely chuffed to have photo mode included in the game - now I have my two greatest hobbies combined! =D
     
  25. gt3freak_2001

    gt3freak_2001

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    I too find it annoying that the end result is a .jpg that is too dark, darker then it was ingame. Yes bumping up the exposure helps counter this but I've found it washes out the colour quite a bit yet its the perfect brightness. Could it be my USB drive? Its a brand new Creative Muvo 128 MP3 player so I dunno how it could be.

    I've found that the exposure needs to be at 0.8 for it to be the right brightness on my PC. Would using Photoshop's brightness adjustment be better so that I keep the vivid colours? I am just really bummed when I take what looks like a perfect photo in the game and yet I get it on my PC and it looks horrible.
     
  26. CrackHoor

    CrackHoor

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    1,373
    Thanks, but it's mostly stuff I've looked into since playing around in PhotoMode. I'm no photographer by any means, but that might be a good thing for explaining PhotoMode to people in a way that's easy to understand. I should also say that Vic_ali is my brother and he's been a hobbyist photographer for years, thus the 'you're the picture takin' guy' in my old post! :)


    I'm sure it's not your USB drive, mine tends to do the same. It also seems to depend on your TV and computer monitor, I've seen some people say they don't have this problem at all...
     
  27. P_Thomas22

    P_Thomas22

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    Sorry might be a completely silly question but i can not seem to find a place to take pics of my car while others are racing. I can only have my car on the track!? Sorry if this has been asked before in another thread but i could not find it....searched for a while. I am probably just a retard and doing something stupid but none the less I NEED HELP :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :banghead: :banghead:
     
  28. gt3freak_2001

    gt3freak_2001

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    406
    You need to save your reply and then load it in the Replay Theatre.
     
  29. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y

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    If you don't up the exposure in the game, if you brighten it up after uploading the pics onto your computer, the color gets washed put nonetheless. Actually, this is more true (from experience) for pictures taken at night (in-game of course) and day time pics aren't as washed out.
     
  30. code_kev

    code_kev

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    3,802
    Don't be affraid to try black and white pictures, it's amazing how good they can look. My tip :D

    Oops just noticed it's in comp and exp. Sorry.