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Tilt shift miniatures

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#1
Matthew Hampton

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I have been intrigued by this process for a bit and wanted to share because I think it pertains to a special type of spatial visualization. There are lots of tutorials on the web to do this in Photoshop so I won't list out the steps. There are also very expensive camera lenses you can buy that optically tilts/shifts plane of focus.

To make the image below, I took a screenshot from Microsoft's Virtual Earth oblique imagery (source: Pictometry) and transformed it in Photoshop. Fortunately, the Rose Festival was going on to make the image more interesting (it would have taken a long time to place all those people by hand :o ). Once you get the hang of it you can make one in a couple of minutes.
Waterfront3.jpg

Evidently, you can also reproduce the effect in video.

In essence, you blur the background and foreground which reduces your depth of field and the resulting image tricks you mind into thinking you are looking at something really, really close-up - like a miniature model. It's based on the Scheimpflug Principle.

I know there are some Cartotalkers who make miniatures so I thought I would post this for interest - even though it only partially relates to cartography.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#2
Jean-Louis

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Found that fascinating.Matthew. The scene looks very convincing. I have made a few military miniatures over the years. Could never get good pictures though. Maybe tilt shifts is the way to go. A little hard maybe to find a good life-size Panther tank to take a picture of.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#3
Eric Wolf

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The effect works well with photos taken from a kite:

Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, TN:
Posted Image

Kite Flite on the Embarcadero in San Diego (during the 2006 ESRI UC):
Posted Image


Lens Baby makes a lens adapter that works with more DSLRs that'll produce the effect optically.

#4
rudy

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Well, that was easy. Here's my little house . . . .
39_wales_minature.jpg
Not quite as effective as some of the other examples but fun to do.

#5
MapMedia

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I'm impressed!!

...Shift Happens

#6
Matthew Hampton

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Well, that was easy. Here's my little house . . . .
39_wales_minature.jpg
Not quite as effective as some of the other examples but fun to do.


That is a very cute miniature house.

You can "artificially" enhance the effect by greatly increasing the saturation and raising the contrast. You can also inverse your mask and sharpen-up the central part of the image.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#7
Adam Wilbert

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The trick for doing it in Photoshop is to remember that the effect is depth-of-field based, not linear. So vertical objects like houses, trees, etc. should be equally blurry from top to bottom. The mask in Photoshop shouldn't be a simple linear gradient, but edited to more resemble a depth mask.

But... nothing comes close to using a true tilt-shift lens! (50 Beautiful examples of Tilt Shift)

A few years ago, the TV show CSI had a story arc involving a "miniature killer" or something. Anyway, they used a tilt shift lens for a lot of the establishing shots and flyovers of Las Vegas during those episodes, and it was really striking.

Adam Wilbert

@awilbert
CartoGaia.com
Lynda.com author of "ArcGIS Essential Training"


#8
DaveB

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Interesting...
meanwhile the miniatures people are trying to take photos that make their stuff sharp and clear, and maybe even to appear "real". :)
Dave Barnes
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#9
Fran├žois Goulet

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A few years ago, the TV show CSI had a story arc involving a "miniature killer" or something. Anyway, they used a tilt shift lens for a lot of the establishing shots and flyovers of Las Vegas during those episodes, and it was really striking.


Oh yeah! I saw that one 2 weeks ago (a 2 weeks marathon to see the entire 7th season :) ) and I was wondering how they did that!

Thanks!

#10
Rob

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'That is a very cute miniature house." -Matt


Ha! reminds me of that quote from Zoolander:

"How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building? "

#11
frax

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Here is that CSI clip (or some of it, at least):

I have heard about this quite a while ago. For anyone interested in photography and effects, I can recommend John Nack's blog - he is the product manager for Photoshop at Adobe. http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/ (I think I spotted it there).

Speaking of interesting photography things - has anyone done HDR photography?
Hugo Ahlenius
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#12
Adam Wilbert

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hah, John Nack on Adobe and CartoTalk are my two "Lunch Time" guilty pleasures! :)

I actually like HDR (high dynamic range) images as long as they're not over the top HDR... the more natural looking ones tend to be my favorite. A full license for Photomatix is actually on my Christmas wishlist! Here are a couple that I did from my trip to Joshua Tree NP inside an old rock mill. They're HDR-BW-IR: High Dynamic Range + True Black and White Infrared. (ie, no Photoshop fakery for the "ir look")

Mill01.jpg
Mill02.jpg
Mill03.jpg

Adam Wilbert

@awilbert
CartoGaia.com
Lynda.com author of "ArcGIS Essential Training"





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