Digitally recreating a photoshoot at the eleventh hour

What do you do when a design direction for a printed advertisement you suggested suddenly comes back to you at the eleventh hour saying that there isnt any budget for photography? Well, what else can you do? suck it up and soldier on, just soldier on.

Such was my predicament when designing the whole of Stuff Singapore for issue 63 June 2015. They felt a need to change their in house ad and somehow during our quick lil brainstorming, they went with the breakfast cereal idea. They were keen on using the breakfast premise of the copy “start your day with…..” and i quickly sketched a scene for them. Sadly i had forgotten grab a photo of it as i wasnt really planning to blog abt this.

Moving forward a few days, the resident photographer was really busy and had totally forgotten about this. In a bid to save the concept since it was already approved and dont have enough time to think of a new one, i went ard the office looking for specific table tops, lighting conditions and even picked out a few bowls from the pantry to see if a quick photoshoot would be possible. Naturally id prefer to have someone else fuss abt the shoot and then hand me the finished photos for my perusal when designing the layout. I quickly decided against doing a quick shoot since a quick shoot would usually entail alot of post processing corrections later on.

The second image was used to further sell the idea to the guys making the decisions. I had to quickly explain that this was just a proof of concept and that it is not a final image. Much time will pass until i had a respite from the actual magazine and FourFourTwo stuff to actually allow me time to get back to this. This is about the time when i got news that i will not be getting hi res photos of the scene for my usage to go ahead with the idea. Begrudgingly, i took some time from my previously mentioned tasks for some added research on an alternate approach.

I thought i had struck gold when i chanced upon this image of the cereal being poured as reference. Everything was perfect, there was immediate focus on the important bits, no background clutter to speak of. This is going to be the basis of the whole scene. With the thought of needing to do some post process corrections, i suddenly had a moment and a lightbulb went off in my head and i realized that i could just recreate everything in photoshop. This was also brought on by the fact that the specific angle of the cereal bowl was very hard to find on the web and none were hi res enough. I knew the cereal box would have to be digitally done anyway and this would probably save me some time in the long run, i started fiddling about in photoshop as best i could.

stuff_IHAAs you can probably see from the example pictures, i wasnt quite sure where best to place the bowl. My thought process was that there were a few elements that i’d like to include in the final composition where possible. The editorial team has settled for a short enough copy that would work anywhere but it cant detract from the main focus. As much as possible, id like to guide the viewers eye in a logical sequence. Having the copy on the left would make the design concept obvious which will be further reiterated with the graphics and end on the call to action website URL, but im not too keen on the size ratio. Having the cereal box on the right seems to work best visually and even has a bit of the hand included which is a nice touch, but it puts the main subject smack dab in the centre going across the gutter which is not as visually appealing. After much discussion and a bit of back and forth, ultimately the higher ups would have the final say and decide which of the visuals they can do without. The final composition now sees the bowl getting all the attention on its own on the left side of the page and part of the cereal box going across the spine with the headline copy positioned slightly below it. The headline copy now is the anchor which also helps lead the viewer’s eye to the url at the end.

All in all, i like the simplicity of the ad and i was glad i could make use of the skill i have to recreate the scene digitally. Do check out the actual ad in the current issue 63 June 2015 on pages 108-109 and lemme know what you think.

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