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Casual SFX (and how to fake it)

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Although it had crossed my mind during the recent “It’s a GAZ (GAZ GAZ)” diorama build, Edo (Edoardo) specifically suggested a monochrome photo-sequence back in early December, and so over Xmas/New Year I started playing around with MS Paint exploring its possibilities/limitations and, well, one thing led to another. With a couple of exceptions these images originally appeared in colour in the forum, some incorporating skillful Photoshop enhancement mainly of the planes & landscapes by my esteemed collaborator Mike Koenig. The SFX or Special Effects for overseas readers (apart from the pyrotechnics) were thanks to his involvement.

The fifteen pictures selected here somehow looked better after being “aged” than others that were arguably better photographs. Some may recognise that they’re inspired by the type of WW2 contemporaneous snapshots being auctioned on Ebay et al, with a few speculative tweaks of my own to add a whiff (odour?) of authenticity. The Cyrillic script is “real” (invented Army/press designations, although I’ll stand corrected by a Russian speaker) but to counter accusations of attempted fakery all images do clearly reveal their origin anyway.

MS Paint has been a Windows accessory for only about 30 years so I was really trailblazing opening jpegs with it to play around with the pixels. For these examples it was used it to create the border first, typically using the airbrush (& fonts) and then cut/pasting the jpeg image onto it, size-adjusted to fit. Paint uses .png format files by default so I used the Snipping Tool to crop/convert the now-combined image back into a jpeg without much if any loss of resolution. Final adjustments to hue & contrast etc were then made with the camera editing software which helped to unify the border with the image, with varying degrees of success. Blank film frames were lifted from the ‘net also using the Snipping tool.

So what’s the point? Well it’s just my way of stretching kit/diorama-building through photography as far as it can go towards “reality” – experimental, fun, and it even kept me away from loose cars & fast women for a while. As I’ll be the first to admit, it’s proof that the power of a cheap camera & digital magic to conceal shoddy building & painting is only limited by the imagination. Maybe I’ll make a calendar out of most of them.

I should clarify that Mike is innocent of any involvement in these b&w/sepia deceptions – probably a good thing because if he’d used Photoshop we might have got arrested…after perhaps making a few bucks fencing them. Whatever, he became my partner in crime at a difficult stage of the project and rescued me from some technical impasses, which is why he’s co-credited throughout.

Lastly, I was expecting that some might have had issues about manipulating photos on principle in the final stages of the GAZ project - I know I did. Either nobody cared, or everyone approved, or the dissenters held their fire - who knows, but I’ve settled on the attitude that as long as enhanced images are flagged as such, it’s OK...although I still subscribe to both points of view.

Tim Martin (Dioramartin)
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About the Author

About Tim Martin (Dioramartin)

Celebrating 50th year of scale model building (1966, Ford Mustang in Boston, Mass.) & the glue hasn't got to me yyyyet. Born & lived in England until 1987, since then in beautiful Sydney Australia.


Tim , this is such a masterpiece !!! Having watched you create this from the start and to see the end result is just too cool !!!
JAN 23, 2018 - 07:10 PM
Damn!! I thought the title was "Casual SEX (and how to fake it) !
JAN 23, 2018 - 08:56 PM
Text issue addressed as it was just some HTML that got missed.
JAN 23, 2018 - 10:25 PM
My bad, I forgot to put the HTMLcode in there Tim!
JAN 24, 2018 - 02:14 AM
"Enhanced" images are quite OK as long as they are flagged as such. I like grape fruit and I like pine-apples but I'll be mighty angry if I buy a bag of grape fruit and it's full of pine-apples. I like this variant of model photography. A lot can be done with backdrops, depth of field, converting to b&w or sepia et.c. With the better class of digital cameras it is possible to get "endless" depth of field by combining a series of images with different focus distances. The close-up photo of a small object can be made to look as if it was a photo of the real thing taken from a distance. / Robin
JAN 24, 2018 - 02:40 AM
Thanks for sharing your photos. Very impressive how real they appear!
JAN 24, 2018 - 02:50 AM
Outstanding work Tim, very impressed with the "old style card" framing. p.s. I love your thread title!
JAN 24, 2018 - 02:55 AM
And no Tim, I'm not upset about your avatar comment lol (I don't even remember what it was!). More just fried brains from overwork right now.
JAN 24, 2018 - 11:08 AM
No worries Eds - I’m so appreciative of what you guys do I was just making light of it, anyway thanks again for fixing. Hey Colin – something about the Key Butte...? Thanks to you guys too for your kind comments - heh I had some alternative titles but I’ll leave them to your imagination... ...yep especially that one
JAN 24, 2018 - 06:01 PM
Wow, outstanding.
JAN 29, 2018 - 03:48 AM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.