I was tasked by my friend, Chih Wen, who happens to be the hall’s sepak takraw captain to take a photo for his team’s recruitment poster. What he had in mind was the photo of the takraw ball on the floor in sharp focus while throwing the background of the players in ready position out of focus.

My personal favorite shot.

I was using the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8. Even with the narrow depth of field at f2.8, the background was not really out of focus. The further your background is from your subject, the more out of focus the background will be and I wasn’t that far away from the players. Using my Canon 100mm was tempting but I thought it was a stupid idea since 100mm is just too long. So I decided to add some home made bokeh via Photoshop CS2 instead.

Another one of my favorites.

Here’s a list of things that I did while post-processing the photos.
1. Duplicating of the background layer.
2. Desaturating the background (minus the ball).
3. Applying Gaussian blur of 20 radius (again on a layer where the ball is erased).
4. Increasing the contrast of the background minus ball layer.
5. Smart sharpening the ball layer.

Personally, I think I went a bit overboard with the contrast and Gaussian blur. When desaturated into black and white, you can’t really tell what’s in the background. They just look like a clutter of mess. Take this shot for example.

Comparing it with it’s original colored shot I prefer the one with color. The emphasis may be on the takraw ball but I don’t want the background to be an annoying meaningless clutter of stuff.

I sent all 4 different photos (one set with color and another set with the black and white background) to Chih Wen. This was the final photo used for the poster.

Final photo used for the poster.

7 thoughts on “Design

  1. i personally prefer the first one also. i like the lone person with a kicking pose in the background as a complement to the ball. i think he can afford to be less blurred. =) too many people and you wonder what they’re all huddled about.

  2. @steph: Yea, it could’ve been less blurred. I thought the blur was just fine when I sent the photos. But after looking at it day after day, the feeling starts to set in that the photo could’ve afforded to be sharper. Haha.

    @cw: Photography is a subjective thing. There’s no best photo or something. Just what you think is good. Haha. Anyway, thanks also for offering me the opportunity to take those shots πŸ™‚

  3. really like the first one thou.. well captured.. and i like the effect of the takraw ball in all the pics.. lol

    p/s: is that chih wen in the background of the first pic? πŸ˜›

  4. wow…. this is nicely done.. i liek the first one too..

    but how i can use the photoshop to remove the ball at teh first place and how to take care on those see thru holes at the ball….

    can teach a bit?

  5. Hi PenangTuaPui! Your nickname reminds me of all the yummylicious hawker food I miss so badly in Penang 😦

    Anyway, here’s what I did. I duplicated the background layer and then erased the ball (using the Eraser tool) on the duplicated layer. I did not erase the see through holes in the ball in this case. Then I applied my desaturation and blur on the duplicated layer which now has the ball missing. Finally, I combine the layers again by going to Layers > Flatten Image.

    There’s actually more ways you can achieve this. I believe the correct technique to doing this is to use a layer mask and a brush to remove the ball from the duplicated layer (instead of using Eraser). Not sure if there’s a difference though.

    You might want to google more on “layer masks” and “selective desaturation”. I’m sure you can find much more better tutorials and guides than my vague explanation. Haha.

    I hope that helped πŸ™‚

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