100 Days, 100 Renders— Day 22


I generally like to tell a little story with my images. One of the things I’ve found myself doing (and will probably have to lean in to) during this project is doing more quotidian images. That’s probably not the worst thing; on the TV shows and movies that first made me want to get into this field, many of the shots were just establishing shots. Nothing but the camera, one subject, and some lights, communicating nothing beyond the fact that there’s a thing here, and in a moment, we’ll be seeing the people inside it.

I went with a Firefly image, one that wouldn’t be out-of-place as a regular establishing shot on the series. I decided it needed some out-of-focus lens schmutz, a popular touch in visual effects for several years now. After some experimentation, here’s what I ended up doing;

  1. Make some fractal noise using the Photoshop “Clouds” filter.
  2. Adjust the levels of the image to pump up the contrast so you end up with several white blotches on black.
  3. Use the “Shape Blur” filter with a hexagonal shape.
  4. Use the resulting image as a mask over a very-blurred version of the source image.

It’s not perfect, but it has potential. For one thing, I think I’d get better results doing it several times so I have a frame covered by blurred hexagons ranging from very dim to very visible. It would also add depth if I had different sets of hexagonal-dirt going over source images blurred to different degrees, suggesting different layers of dirt that were more and less sensitive to light.