From time to time TRG is asked to do spec images for our clients that they then use to try and get approval for a job. Whether we pass on jobs like these or accept them depends on many factors. These projects are usually pretty basic proof of concepts, but sometimes they are more than that. We'd like to share a project with you that we did recently that was particularly notable.
Image Compositing Spec Work
The project was for a company that manages strip mines. The idea was to show the beauty in something that is not necessarily known for its beauty. To do this, we would take satellite images of strip mines and alter them in a way that made them look like classical pieces of art. We loved the concept and immediately started talking about how we could pull something like this off.
What We Did for Them
Initially we were thinking this project would be best suited for CGI, since we would have complete control of building the landscape and mines in a way that could mimic a classically-painted masterpiece. If we needed to move things around, we wouldn't have to fuss with compositing pieces together to make them fit - the software would do that for us. We decided that the Mona Lisa would be the most recognizable piece for average consumers and tasked the CGI artist with creating it.
Word quickly spread around the studio that we had a CGI artist making the Mona Lisa out of a strip mine and our Digital Department (the Retouchers) refused to be left out of the fun. The retouchers believed they could take some satellite images and composite them together and achieve a different look than what we would achieve in CGI so we opted to work on both strategies simultaneously and see which one we liked better internally and present that to the client.
It took about two days for the retoucher to create the image, which ended up being about 10 hours of work. He started with an image of the Mona Lisa and found bits and pieces of mines that he would overlay on top of the Mona Lisa to build the image. Then he would need to merge all the separate pieces of mines so they look like they fit together realistically. Lastly, the lighting would have to be adjusted so that areas of the Mona Lisa's face that needs to be shaded were shaded images of the mine and vice versa.
We eventually decided that we liked the retouching version better and presented that to the clients. Ultimately the job did not end up going through, but it was one of those images where we even impressed ourselves with what we came up with.
Check out the image below!