The Dark Knight - Here's how I did it! - Digi-Steve Photography

The Dark Knight - Here's how I did it!

Back in June I visited Collectormania 24 with Propmaker ShortieProps. As always at these kind of events, I met some crazy talented and amazing cosplayers. Stephen aka The Dark Knight Cosplay is one of these amazing cosplayers.

How it's done.

I started by scouting the venue for spaces that would be suitable to use for a mini photo-shoot. The walls of the venue were painted grey which worked out perfectly for my compositing techniques. As always I brought along my Yongnou flash and my Roundflash (portable beautydish). I placed Stephen in front of the grey wall and Shortie held the flash with the Roundflash up high, camera left.

I shoot with a Canon 6D and for this image I used the 24-105mm (f4).

Fig. 1: This is the out of camera image.

Fig. 2: In this first editing step I cleaned up the wall in the background. I simply created a new empty layer and used the Healing Brush Tool (set to Current & Below) to clean up the image in a non-destructive way.

Fig. 3: We now added our background. A lot of the popular superhero movie posters have a dark and moody sky as a background. That was the idea when I shot this. A tutorial on the technique I used for changing the background can be found HERE.

Fig. 4: In the next step I did some dodging and burning. This has to be my favourite part of my editing workflow. If you compare Fig.3 and Fig. 4 you can tell that there's a lot more shaping going on in Fig. 4. I created a new layer and filled it with 50% grey. I then set the blend mode to Overlay. I used the dodge tool with an exposure of 20% to enhance highlights and by pressing ALT I changed to the burn tool without having to change the settings for the burn tool. With the burn tool I enhanced the shadows.

Here's a simple trick to add contrast to an image. Create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and change the blend mode Soft Light. Adjust the Opacity of your Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer until you are happy with the result. If you wanted to add a hint of colour to the image you can tick the colorize box in the Hue/Saturation Properties Panel.

Fig. 5: In the next step I added some colour to give the image a direction of where I want to go with it. I created a Selective Color Adjustment Layer and played around with the sliders. I pushed the sliders towards a blue tint.


Fig. 6: In this step I added some glow around Batman. I used a soft brush, sampled the colours in the brightest areas of the background and painted the glow in with a very low opacity (5% -10%)

Fig. 7: I visited a website called Qbrushes and downloaded some debris brushes I used in this step.

Fig. 8: I love details! No edit is complete without adding details. In this case I used Nik Color Efex from the free downloadable Google Nik Collection. The detail extractor preset in Nik Color Efex works a treat. 

Fig. 9: A while back I got introduced to Macphun. I found a little gem inside Macphun Tonalty that works a treat for the style of images I produce. Check out the Bright & Airy preset in Macphun Tonality, tweak it till you like it and once back in Photoshop, change the blend mode to Luminosity.

Fig. 10: Here's the final image. As you can see I added a lens flare and some dust particles downloaded from RAWexchange. Since the flares and dust particles are on a black background, we can easily add them to our images by just changing the blend mode of the layer to Screen. Very simple technique that can be very useful. Go ahead... give it a try! 


That was a very quick walkthrough on how I created this Dark Knight image. The images above are all taken at the same event and all received a very similar treatment in Photoshop.

If you would like to see more walkthroughs, leave a comment below and make sure you share! If you have any questions, feel free to ask below and I'm happy to answer those!


Bye for now...


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