Using Special Effects to Create a Sense of Realism

I wanted to make a photo that captured the beauty and clean design of the Audi R8 sports car. The problem was, I didn't have access to one. So I tried this experiment instead.

Audi R8 Front

I photographed a 1/16 scale model of an R8 in my studio using the Lensbaby Composer Pro for Micro Four-Thirds camerasto create the shallow depth of field that's a challenge for smaller sensor cameras, then processed the image in Aperture 3.4 using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 software.

The combination of the Lens Baby with the Film Noir effect helped me fashion a stylized look that conveys the "feel" of the car without actually having access to one. The low camera angle contributes to the illusion also.

Audi R8 Back

What's interesting to me is that, the more I abstracted the rendering of the Audi, the closer it felt to being a real car. In the past, I haven't been a huge fan on the Lens Baby on my Canon DSLRs. I couldn't really get a feel for it. But I love using the Composer on my Olympus PENs and the OM-D. It's the first time I've been able to create that radical shallow depth of field on a micro four-thirds body.

As a side note, I'm not sure about the fate of Nik's Silver Efex Pro since its acquisition by Google. I noticed that it isn't currently available at B&H Photo or Amazon. It's one of my favorite plug-ins for Aperture 3. And once again Silver Efex helped me create an image that I had visualized in my mind.

With all of that being said... I have to close with: Is it real, or is it Silver Efex?.

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I built plastic models (mainly tanks, and aircraft) when I was younger, and my Father built hundreds of model cars.

Back then model builders would try everything they could in order to get as much depth of field as possible so that the models would look more realistic.

Of course that was before people were using Lensbaby, and tilt/shift lenses to make real life look like a model.

RE: Nik SW on Amazon

HDR Efex Pro 2 is also unavailable on Amazon and has been for awhile. Same fate?