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Rosieal
12-14-2006, 02:30 PM
I finally decided to go ahead and ask this question that has been baffling my mind for quite a while.

I've long since admired how some Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese etc. cosplayers (from cure, 273c, random pics online) take their photos. Here (http://img02.cure.livedoor.com/display/?u=reelca&f=reelca11431812370989&t=L) is an example. I feel that there is some form of difference with how they do it over there. I don't think it's to do with their cameras... since I got myself a Canon 30D and I still can't seem to simulate the brightness of their pics. I also tried playing with brightness and contrast as well as curves in photoshop. Is it the sunny setting? Is it the flash being brighter than usual? I have a feeling it has all to do with the lighting, but I don't know exactly what. I don't think it's to do with how they look either, since some cosplay.com official photoshoots by Kyle give me a similar sort of feeling. :confused:

Advanced apologies if this sounded rather silly or off, but I would really like to know.

staereo
12-14-2006, 03:06 PM
Looks to me as shot underexposed at a low ISO, then in PP lightened, likely by way of RAW EC boosting... probably 2 stops worth after underexposed a half stop or 2/3 stop or so. Then contrast (at least selective contrast) fired way up, then saturated (in certain colors).

Bruce

Rosieal
12-14-2006, 03:26 PM
Thanks a lot! I am a beginner, but I am still learning, and tips like this would really help. ^^

So I set my camera to low ISO? Any suggestions on the setting? Or it can be taken anywhere?

ZiggyB
12-14-2006, 04:32 PM
Yah what staereo said.

It's funny, if you've ever seen glamour shots, say the kind you can get at the mall. My asian friends who do it, usually get the photos back really over exposed. So much so that sometimes you lose almost all of the details in the face. It's a weird stylistic thing.

I've not tried to get that style straight out of the camera, but it should be easy enough to do in Photoshop.

The closest I've gotten to that look (though purely by accident), is by shooting in bright bright sunlight. But it's still not quite right because of the harsh shadows everywhere.

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=938150

Danzikumaru
12-14-2006, 04:50 PM
*

I honestly think that the style takes away from cosplayer more than adds too it. You loose the details on the costume, and the subject ends up looking entirely plastic and fake. Pores aren't a sin, people.

*

Godly
12-14-2006, 05:28 PM
My opinion on this is that I'm sure I understand the type of photos the OP is referring to, but I don't think Stay's (the example cosplayer) photos are the best example. She uses a good variety of well composed shots that don't really qualify as the "asian cosplay photo style". I think what makes the "asian cosplay photos" what they are are simply:
1) USUALLY extreme closeup, and USUALLY subject is cropped on more than just the bottom side of the photo.
2) High contrast with the major accent on highlights creating major overexposure (which is ignored as a flaw by the PPer)
3) Photoshopping of eyes (In my opinion)

I seriously don't even think they purposely underexpose anything. I think they do this to any photo, DSLR or P&S. I think the most important factor in mimicking their style is to just mess with the curves in a high contrast fashion, focusing more on the highlights. Starting with a linear setting on the curves, put a point very close to the bottom end, but further to the right to create a low curve on the whole line. Then Put a holder at the top of the line so the middle of the line goes over the center of the grid. Sliding the top end point over to the left closer to the other highlight point you created will further overexpose it. So, a diagnal "S" shape in a way is kinda what you get, with more exposure on the top. My lingo on this whole curves description is probably off as I don't know how to correctly discuss it.

If you care about the actual details of the photo quality and original JPEG or RAW workflow, then staereo's post will help you. However, I doubt most of the photos you are referring to (if the same as the ones I'm referring to) have ANY of that in mind. I think most of them use P&S's anyways on who knows what setting. As already said in this thread, it takes away from costumes themselves. I figure the 'asian cosplay photos' could be done with half or less of the costume actually on, as it's mostly focused on the face.

EDIT:
Ghost, actually I just looked at your gallery and saw that you may have already tried to achieve this look with some of those photos? In regards to the differences between those photos/style in your gallery and the ones that I and hopefully you are talking about, there are some major ones that I think I can point out.
1) They are taken in very well lit, sometimes over lit areas. Usually outside, but even if indoors it's like in day time with the windows wide open. Because of this, there is no harsh flash causing shadows behind and around the subject.
2) They more than likely process the curves like I said above.
3) They will more than likely not shoot straight on like you did. They will tilt the camera for a different composition and/or shoot at a different angle (high or low).

I would first try those fundamentals out (would be hard to do with a 30D without someone helping you out though). If you can get the basic structure of it down, then you can get nit picky about quality and well, that would apply to all shots you take, not just these.

Rosieal
12-14-2006, 06:39 PM
Thanks so much everyone for your suggestions!

Godly, thanks so much! I actually tried the brightness and contrast adjustment on the latest 3 photos I have of the Trinity Blood one (the rest are camera phone and unedited). I will certainly try what you suggested.. and I do understand about the cruves bit. I was playing with it but it ended with the contrast making the pic look too sharp, whereas the ones I usually see look more natural in terms of contrast... and yet still bright and colourful. x_X.

I am experimenting with different styles, but this one is something I just can't seem to achieve.

shiroin
12-15-2006, 11:21 AM
that photo was taken at national taiwan university. i recognize the unique floor and the gray leveling.

instead of using flash, spot meter the person and deliberately overexpose the background.

brightness/contrast adjustment will not achieve that feeling in photoshop.
try adjusting exposure in RAW or use the level tools in photoshop.

it seems like the person also played with the colors to make the skintones softer.

tfcreate
12-15-2006, 10:30 PM
Looks like he used a little trick with the white balance. Instead of calibrating to a white card or electronic default, he used a beige or light grey card in bright light to offset the whites and punch up the colours. Greys are better because they won't colour shift.
TFC

TomodachiFriend
12-17-2006, 09:46 PM
A key aspect of that look would be to remove all details on the person's skin. So I'm guessing that one has to start with that by doing a selection of the subject's skin, making a new a layer out of it to apply some kind of blur. Then, they add a level layer adjustment and they adjust the middle value from 1.00 to something like 1.50. Finally, they make a new layer from the result of the previous steps and set it at "Overlay" at 50%. Maybe there's some curve adjustment at the end too.

I don't know how they do it or if there's a tutorial somewhare but this is my guess.

howzitboy
12-19-2006, 03:37 AM
i thought it was over exposed then photoshopped. underexposed would show less detail in the shadows hmm. ill have to try it tomorrow. i got a beach shoot and i can waste a few shots to try and burn out the skin tones.

Rufus Kun
12-19-2006, 03:07 PM
i'm pretty experienced with photoshop and reckon i can get this effect easy. thing is i need to get photoshop again and then i'll try and get the pic like you want 'em. if you could supply a base pic to work on though that'd be great. when i'm done i'll upload the .psd and do a short tutorial for ya.

as for getting the effect with the camera. i'm stumped.

TomodachiFriend
12-20-2006, 01:18 AM
Here's the result of the steps I wrote in my other post.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akakage/tags/asianphotoshopeffect/

I'm not sure if that's it. I believe plenty of light shining from above would improve the effect. I picked another picture from the same photoshoot with such light conditions and all I needed to do was to increase contrast and saturation, and play with curves.

Rufus Kun
12-20-2006, 10:14 AM
okay. this is what i got. dont know if it's what you're looking for so i havenet uploaded the .psd yet. thoughts?

http://img482.imageshack.us/img482/8548/japcompareqh0.png

TomodachiFriend
12-20-2006, 07:59 PM
I believe it's missing colors. The example Ghost was linking to had very saturated colors. The luminance part is close though.

Rufus Kun
12-21-2006, 08:51 AM
here you are then:

http://img386.imageshack.us/img386/356/japcosexxg0.png

staereo
12-21-2006, 10:43 AM
I'm all for admiring styles and customs, but in my experience, photography is an art, and to go out of your way to make someone else's style your own is simply tainting your own style and your own artistic taste.

It is a way to lose the purity of your form. As much as I enjoy different photographer's styles, and knowing how they go about doing it; I can't imagine spending much time emulating it.

I enjoy cultivating my own creativity far more.

If that makes any sense. I don't know. I am more or less saying not to put any style up on a pedastal, so much that you give your own less credit.

Bruce

jtnishi
12-21-2006, 08:14 PM
I'm all for admiring styles and customs, but in my experience, photography is an art, and to go out of your way to make someone else's style your own is simply tainting your own style and your own artistic taste.

It is a way to lose the purity of your form. As much as I enjoy different photographer's styles, and knowing how they go about doing it; I can't imagine spending much time emulating it.

I enjoy cultivating my own creativity far more.

If that makes any sense. I don't know. I am more or less saying not to put any style up on a pedastal, so much that you give your own less credit.

Bruce
On the one hand, that's certainly true. To truly excel, one must learn to develop their own style in a way that suits them. Putting another style purely over their own isn't going to necessarily help toward developing pride of your own work.

On the other hand, almost every artist starts out with emulation to some extent. And to gain insight into what you want your own style to be, you have to have some understanding of what you like as an artist. There is something particular about the asian style that is intriguing. There are certain aspects that make it attractive to not only just people who like staring at pictures, but also people who like taking them as well.

Self-style or not, fundamentally all that should matter is you like what you make. And starting from a point that you know you like, based on observation, and then working from there is arguably as valid an approach as trying things on pure trial-and-error. Much of the improvements I've made to my own shots come from studying shots I like then trying to emulate those aspects to see if they meld well with what I already have, including some of the aspects of those shots from Eastern photographers who specialize in this.

staereo
12-22-2006, 07:50 AM
Much of the improvements I've made to my own shots come from studying shots I like then trying to emulate those aspects to see if they meld well with what I already have, including some of the aspects of those shots from Eastern photographers who specialize in this.

To me, its a fine line. I have played that dangerous game in the past. You need to be very careful not to let other's styles inhibit your own growth. I DO agree about learning from others' works, but in the past I have found myself adding recreations of lighting and even worse, post processing, that has led me down a road of merging my photographic art with someone else's that didn't mix well and ultimately was a detriment to my output. Unlearning is harder than learning.

:bigtu:

redonions
12-27-2006, 03:35 AM
Hi, I was just browsing through this and saw this thread.
The link from the opening post isnt working anymore, so I'm not sure exactly what he was referring to, but I was thinking it was to the highly saturated style of alot of asian cosplay photos?

It's just an idea, but have you tried putting a polarising filter on your camera lens?
If you're just wanting richer colours, that might help.

Otherwise, the other tips people mentioned should work too!

But, generally I think (as most of the people in this thread mentioned) that the cosplayers just bring up the levels alot in Photoshop. ^^;

Rosieal
12-28-2006, 02:26 AM
Thanks a lot Rufus and TomodachiFriend as well as to everyone else who gave useful advice! They are helpful! I am still trying to do the effects on photoshop. I think though it is very hard to transform an indoor shot into something like that. x_X

TomodachiFriend
12-28-2006, 01:10 PM
No problem Ghost. I like games and I saw your question as one.

In reply to Bruce, I don't think I couldn't have written a better reply than jtnishi. Although I'm always curious about how others do their thing, my own style always comes through in the end. I'm also quite affraid of what you've experienced.

Rosieal
12-28-2006, 05:59 PM
I hope nobody is interpreting this question as a manifestation of my lack of creativity. I merely wanted to gather and learn a lot of techniques in photography, and it won't really hurt to try and crack the code of this particularly nice technique. It does not mean that I'm not going to develop a style of my own. I value uniqueness greatly, but I also know that expanding my knowledge is just as vital.

Going back on topic, is it remotely possible to achieve this effect on an indoor shot through the use of photoshop/raw editing and even studio lights? I notice indoor shots are not as nice as outdoor ones... which brings me to a general question. How can you make an indoor shot look like it was taken outdoors, emulating the light of the sun?

Chosuke
01-06-2007, 04:13 AM
One thing just to note about 'Asian style' photography.
From what a few of my Singapore and Japanese cosplay friends have told me, they take decent pictures in fairly neutral lighting that can be easily tampered with, and photoshop. Alot, of photoshop.
My friend showed me two of her pictures side by side, I almost didn't believe it was the same one. The second was so flawless and natural looking.

Sipo
01-06-2007, 02:01 PM
I actually find that some shots taken indoors turn out nicely. If the sun outside is too harsh (no clouds to diffuse the sun at all) then the model ends up squinting or having heavy shadows on the face/body (and not the Rembrandt kind)! So, sometimes, shooting indoors is better.
What I try to do is get the natural light in, if I can. For example, open a window and set up nearest the light leaking in through the window. These often turn out to be very soft, flattering photos. (I do have the entire east wall as a giant window in my home, so it may be easier for me to control light with a switch in the blinds...)
If natural light it not available, you can work with what you have indoors. I am inexperienced with studio lighting, and do not have a studio easily accessed, so I try to compromise. Okay this is gonna sound ghetto... but.... I use different light bulbs (unshaded) in different parts of the house to achieve a flattering or dramatic lighting. xD (It really works!)

The very best photos are, in my opinion, taken outdoors in complete shade on harsh lit days, and just about anywhere when the sun is diffused. I love the look of natural light!

ChicoChan
01-17-2007, 11:39 PM
Thank you for starting this thread Ghost! It's something I've been wondering myself.

I've noticed alot of Japanese photos have really odd angles too. I've been recently wanting to experiment with this since we just got a new tripod.

ChicoChan
01-17-2007, 11:41 PM
How can you make an indoor shot look like it was taken outdoors, emulating the light of the sun?


I really don't think you can achieve this without powerful studio lights and a really high ceiling. Indoor shoots have different lighting because there is much less room for the light to bounce.

mfoxcat
01-29-2007, 10:35 AM
ok i'm asian and ALOT of them NEVER tell the rest of us how they made it....urg... ok so i'll tell you how they did it.
they take a really normal picture like yours

they go to photoshop

adjust the color so it wont appear to orange when contrast

then they do a GAUSSIAN BLUR on a new duplicated layer with 'soften light' and then do a overall layer on top.

then they color in their eyes so it'l stand out..

thus the outcome of the picture turns out they hav strong blue eyes, white face and no nose lol :P