On Blending Fantasy With Reality

By |2012-05-29T11:41:14+00:00May 29th, 2012|

On Sunday, I indulged in a wonderful little solo jaunt through the Columbia River Gorge. I didn’t have any agenda or hard set plans – I just got in my car and drove by myself. It was exactly what I needed and something that I encourage all of you to do every now and again (I know I will).

My first stop along the scenic byway was the Women’s Forum. I’ve shot from this area many times but never really walked away with an image that I was really happy with until now. The particular vantage point from here offers a stunning view of the famous Vista House at Crown Point, regally perched over the Gorge. I used my Canon 70-200mm lens with the Canon 1.4x teleconverter to get as close as possible while maximizing lens compression. This gave me the framing that I needed.

Now, when I sat down to process the image, I wanted to give the shot a feeling like it was a still from a Lord of the Rings movie, or something of that nature. I really wanted to infuse a sense of fantasy and otherworldliness. By stacking and masking several key effects (more on that below), along with blending in a texture overlay, I feel that I was able to give this oft-shot image a new feel. It’s one of the reasons why I absolutely love post-processing stylization.

Furthermore, a large part of me was influenced by my absolutely fabulous friend, +Karen Hutton, who posted a shot of this area when we visited it a few months back. I’ll never forget seeing it and I wholly attribute a lot of my inspiration for this shot to her: http://bit.ly/LBM7hw

In terms of processing
The stylization played a huge roll in getting this image to the place where I had hoped it would be. First, I applied the Blue Dawn effect to the background image, which gave it a painterly feel. To contrast that, I selectively applied the Vecchio and Green Enhancer effects to the foreground, helping it pop off of the background. All effects are found in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Next, I brought the image into Photoshop CS6 and made a selection around the foreground and then inverted it. By doing so, I was able to bring the image into FocalPoint 2 (also by onOne) and selectively blur only the background, leaving the foreground in perfect focus. This was key to further aiding in popping the foreground.

After that, I returned back into Perfect Effects 3 to apply a minimal amount of the Rice Paper Light texture overlay across the entire image, barely masking it off of the foreground.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1RC2.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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34 Comments

  1. Brian Bonham May 29, 2012 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Really dig your process on this. The final image is awesome!

  2. Scott Wyden Kivowitz May 29, 2012 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Nice tone in the distance compared to the foreground. It's a nice break between the two.

  3. Brian Bach Sørensen May 29, 2012 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Nice Brian, great to hear the steps you went through. I really need to use my onOne license more.

  4. Nate Parker May 29, 2012 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Wonderful +Brian Matiash sounds like a great day-

  5. Marek Bromberek May 29, 2012 at 8:43 am - Reply

    I like the background and I like the foreground but together it looks to me like a cardboard cutout placed in front of a pinting. Almost like the two do not belong together.

  6. Luca Gandolfo May 29, 2012 at 8:45 am - Reply

    it is indeed very dreamy and ethereal, +Brian Matiash . Vista House pops out so dramatically, and I agree it has a certain Alan Lee flavor :)
    Very nice job on the post processing, and thanks for the detailed explanation.

  7. Ron Clifford May 29, 2012 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Seems the word inspiring and +Karen Hutton are in the same sentence a lot lately!! Great shot and love the walk through!! I have been absolutely loving getting to Know my onOne suite. I was using it on my Toronto photowalk images just this morning!! I love this one especially http://tinyurl.com/bpa898f. It was the first time I discovered the Vecchio effect! awesome tools.

  8. Karen Hutton May 29, 2012 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Oh I loooooooooove this so much +Brian Matiash!! I'm blushing that mine was the inspiration – and admire you so much for being able to actually tell someone what you did. I couldn't do that in a million years! By the time I'm done it's like I'm covered in paint, and so is the floor, the room, the neighbors, the dog … hahahah!
    This is just So Freaking Awesome… and you used tools I tend to overlook. Time to go back and play! I'm inspired dot com!
    And +Ron Clifford's work from Toronto is over the moon!! Gah! OnOne is taking over the world… wheeeee!

  9. Barry Blanchard May 29, 2012 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Love it +Brian Matiash, and love it even more how you explained how you did it.

  10. Jon Gauntt May 29, 2012 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Very well captured and crafted! Love the viewpoint and being able to showcase what you intended with it. Really great write up on what you were imagining and then what you did to achieve it. Thanks man, you continue to inspire me.

  11. Kerry Murphy May 29, 2012 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Fantastically done! Really love this, Brian.

  12. Lisa Donchak May 29, 2012 at 9:09 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash, this is beautiful. I love the DOF and the mist.

  13. Ted Vieira May 29, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Great shot! I used to live in Portland for 15 years… this makes me miss living up there again. Thanks!

  14. John E Adams May 29, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Wonderful piece Brain, thanks for the specifics on the processing as well -;0)

  15. Shelly Gunderson May 29, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    That's really beautiful! Love the colorful area in the foreground as opposed to the misty darker area of the background.

  16. zaib ali May 29, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    i like it veery beatfull

  17. John McCann May 29, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I have driven by this scene several times and I have seen many images of it but none have been this good. The 3D aspect is magical! I have all of the OnOne software; now I just have to learn how to use it so I can create an image that is at least 1% as good.

  18. Andreas Kaspar May 29, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Wonderful shot

  19. Hilton Meyer May 29, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I enjoy these posts that come with a great story and some behind the scenes. Brings more to the image in my mind. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Ingles Americana Divertida May 29, 2012 at 11:14 am - Reply

    I have been there many times. This is a very beautiful area the Columbia Gorge. The Multnoma Falls are great too but Oregon and Washington have the best views. 'From the desert type areas around Pendleton then to the coastal areas We have it all in the US.

    By the way thanks for the Pick me up as I now live in Mexico. I miss living in Hood River.

  21. Sharon Thomas May 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Absolutely love your processing! And, of course, the composition and colors. Saw this on your blog too…is it my imagination or do the colors look more saturated on your blog?

  22. Peter Broadbent May 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Very cinematic, would love to see this on your Perfect Inspiration series. Not that you haven't explained the BTS very well, you certainly have, just really digging the before/after sliders on there

  23. Brian Matiash May 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    +Peter Broadbent It's actually queued up for an episode. Probably 2-3 weeks away but it's definitely happening. :)

  24. Sergey Bidun May 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    magic shot, like in a fairy tale….

  25. Anna Lowry May 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Wow babe, this is pretty freaking gorgeous. I kind of wish I could live in it. :-)

  26. Brian Matiash May 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    +Anna Lowry Thanks, babe! Good thing you're visiting soon. :P

  27. Brandon Walter May 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Fantastic image Brian. Simply stunning I might say!

  28. Julie Jamieson May 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Oh I really love this +Brian Matiash thanks for sharing!

  29. Bogdan Szuta May 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks +Brian Matiash for this fantastic image and the how-to description. Staring at it one gets this illusion of 3-D (or maybe my glasses trying to fool me).

  30. Alex Grace May 30, 2012 at 5:05 am - Reply

    Holy cow! This is amazing!

  31. Chris Lazzery May 30, 2012 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Rad shot and write-up dude. Getting out for the solo drives/photo excursions is something I do often, but you know that. Necessary to my survival.

  32. Patricia Davidson May 30, 2012 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Love that place! This is awesome +Brian Matiash!

  33. Jay Taylor June 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Awesome work Brian! I just finished watching the +onOne Software Perfect Inspiration episode!

  34. […] Click Here to see Brian’s image that inspired me to push on. […]

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