Behind the Scenes Image Case Study

inside a golf simulation room

A look at the planning and process behind creating this image of a golf simulation room. 

The concept behind this image was to show the potential use of graphically enhanced mats which are used to replace the plain mats often found in sporting venues. These can be an ideal opportunity to be used for branding, promotions, positional markers and relaying messages.

When I first saw the brief there were a few challenges to be faced. One of the primary issues was that the printed mats were not going to be ready in time for the shoot, so it would involve retouching a graphic file over the existing mat and also the location for the shoot was to take place at a real simulation room which was not much wider than 8ft. The other issue was the existing mat at the location was a dark green colour which is not an ideal base to retouch onto.

recce image of a golf simulation room
A recce image taken on an iPhone clearly illustrates how small the golf room is.

The recce image above gives an idea of how small the room was. I would consider an iPhone’s lens to have a reasonable wide angle but even this was barely wide enough to show the room.  

There was no practical way of moving or changing the existing mat in the room so I had to work around it, positioning the camera all the way to the back of the room to get the ideal composition, however this inevitably blocked access to all of the camera controls but once the camera was tethered I was able to control it remotely from the computer.

golf simulation room with no lighting
The room showing only the existing lighting

This image illustrates the existing lighting conditions on site, you can also see into the golf shop on the left hand side.

In order to make the replacement mat look authentic I needed a way to show the organic nature of the fabric on the mat as you would see in real life.  There is no filter in photoshop that can do this realistically or would have been able to overcome the dark green of the existing mat so I used a blank white mat to build up the basis for the image.  This incorporates using the mat to create a base layer to drop the graphic file onto and also to accentuate the texture, fibre details and shadows so that when all the elements are put together it would looks real.  The final quality of the image can be used as exhibition panels and will stand up to close scrutiny.

One of the other problems to overcome was the supplied white mat wasn’t the right size so I had to create multiple images to stitch together to cover the existing mat.

4 images required to stitch together to makeup the final size of the mat
Images of the undersized mat in various positions and the final image stitched together to cover the full size mat.

Further elements were then photographed separately, including the golfer, the screen image and the lights on the swing sensor on the right hand side.

Simulation room showing only the illumination of the screen and swing sensor
golfer on white mat in a simulation room
Using the white mat to pickup the shadows of the golfer

The final image was then composited to make all the element blend together, the artwork file was dropped onto the white mat using a technique to subtract the underlying luminosity values which would enhance the texture and shadow details.  The concertina doors leading into the shop were removed and then a general cleanup applied before colour grading.

golfer in simultion room standing on a white mat
A composite including the golfer showing all the shadows
inside a golf simulation room
The final image after composite and retouching
Artwork to composite onto the mat

Without understanding the final needs of the image and the background processes involved it would be easy to pass off as a quick fix achieved in Photoshop, however when you breakdown logically the process to achieve the maximum detail and authenticity, there is a lot of groundwork and pre-planning to be done before it can all come together seamlessly in the computer.