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  1. #1
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    How to make small things appear big... opposite of T/S miniaturization

    Hey all,

    So I was thinking, if you wanted to make a miniature look life-sized, what could you do to achieve this?

    Obviously, everyone is familiar with how to miniaturize a photo using tilt/shift, but how about the opposite?

    There's a guy who makes model cars and model city blocks and then uses real-life backgrounds to produce fairly realistic looking scenes. I think it was on NY Times at some point...

    I was thinking that focus-stacking would be an option, though difficult (to say the least) with analog means.

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    Those are two separate questions.

    To increase DOF, focal stacks might help, yes.

    To make small things look like they are not, you have to miniaturize perspective to the scale of the models.
    If, say, you would take a photo of a car from about 3 meters away, holding the camera 1.5 meters above the ground, and use a moderate wide angle, you would have to scale down those parameters too.

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    They aren't separate questions. DOF is inherently related to how close a lens is focused, and thus how close an object is. DOF is the visual cue that makes a T/S picture appear miniature.

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    They are separate questions.

    Extremely low DoF makes things look, well..., weird.
    It's not how close you are, but how big you blow up the thing that is going to fill the frame that determines DoF.

    Perspective is the thing that gives away that the camera was used by a giant looking down on the world from far away, using a longish lens to pick out interesting bits.

    But yes, when you want to take ful frame pictures of small things, DoF is extremely shallow.

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    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q.G. View Post
    The are separate questions....
    But yes, when you want to take ful frame pictures of small things, DoF is extremely shallow.
    Thus, they are two considerations of the same problem/question. You can't make a miniature look life-sized if the DOF is shallow.

    I don't honestly understand how perspective is relevant.

    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/201...-space-13.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/201...-space-14.html

    These two pictures got me thinking about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    I don't honestly understand how perspective is relevant.
    Perspective is the thing that gives away that the camera was used by a giant looking down on the world from far away, using a longish lens to pick out interesting bits.

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    Ok, but I don't understand your point about perspective. Look at the NY Times pictures; if he used a 50mm lens instead of a 28mm lens (for instance), the effect would still be that of looking at a miniature, only more "zoomed" in.

    Unless you can make a claim for an ideal FL to use to reach this effect, then saying "miniaturize perspective" is arbitrary.

    What's your point? You're not advancing my aim, which is to make miniatures look life size.

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    Not just "zoomed in", but the change also affects the appearance of near/far juxtaposition, and depth of field if the camera isn't moved. Balancing the juxtaposition between near and far, depth of field considerations and camera viewpoint are a good part of what it takes to make a miniature appear realistic. There's no one magic lens/distance/aperture that will just make it happen for you. It's hard work, and takes lots of practice, that's why you see so few good examples (and why even today, those who shoot models and miniatures professionally make a very, very good income doing that)

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Ok, but I don't understand your point about perspective. Look at the NY Times pictures; if he used a 50mm lens instead of a 28mm lens (for instance), the effect would still be that of looking at a miniature, only more "zoomed" in.

    Unless you can make a claim for an ideal FL to use to reach this effect, then saying "miniaturize perspective" is arbitrary.

    What's your point? You're not advancing my aim, which is to make miniatures look life size.
    I am.
    But you're not understanding doesn't.

    Especially the first, the pictures don't look like taken by someone of the same scale moving about in the model world.

    How often do you see a picture of, say, a car taken from 5 meters up and 12 meters away? When you go out in the street and take a picture of a car, your camera will be at about or just above the level of the roof, and perhaps one car length away.

    When you take a picture of a miniature care and want it to look like that car in the street you took in real life, the position of the camera relative to the model (and the focal length of the lens) will have to be the same.
    If it's not, you'd take pictures that look like you were indeed 5 meters up and 12 meters away from that car.

    To convince viewers that a photograph was taken in amongst the astronauts, the camera needs to be in amongst the astronauts. If you want to take a picture of a model cityscape that is meant to look like as if it was taken at street level in a real cityscape, the camera needs to be in the model where you would be in the real street.

    Perspective must be convincing, or else the photos are not!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by epatsellis View Post
    There's no one magic lens/distance/aperture that will just make it happen for you.
    This I believe. I was just getting frustrated because it seemed as though Q.G. had the secret.

    However, riddle me this, wouldn't focus-stacking effectively achieve this goal? It seems to me that the only real difference between imaging something that is big and little is the inherent qualities of lenses and the focusing of visible light.

    For instance, electron microscopy doesn't appear "small", because DOF is so deep.


    update.... ok, sorry for being a bit short with Q.G.
    Last edited by holmburgers; 06-10-2010 at 03:44 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: too snippy....

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