Creative project Captured in glass
Mark A Hunter shows how you can make striking images with simple masks and templates
My series Captured In Glass features local landmarks and buildings seemingly contained within various glass objects. Not all image combos will work for this quirky souvenir project; so to quickly assess what will look good and what won’t, I’ll show you how to create a template mask in Photoshop. This lets you drop shots into the glass objects to preview them.
You’ll need a start image of a container object like this glass bauble, which was photographed on top of the desk in my studio. I wasn’t bothered about what could be seen through the bauble (in this case, there was an audio interface with a glowing red light), as all of that gets masked out.
In composing this shot, I chose a narrow depth of field to blur the background. My camera settings were 1/160 sec at f/3 and ISO 800, with natural window light the only light source I used. It’s worth pausing for a moment to think about how your mask will work, as your selections and masks will vary depending on the container. The front of this bauble is open, so any object inside it would be completely unobstructed and clear.
In that case, the main oval part of the mask is easy – it’ll need to be solid black. (With Photoshop masks, painting black allows the layer beneath to show through.) The rest of the mask needs to be softer, as there’s a glass lip covering it.
The beauty of this method is that, apart from possibly having to adjust size and position, there is no further editing required when you add other images to the container. You can also try various shaped containers for variety; perhaps a set of three jars side by side. A floating light bulb proved popular with my customers, with a reflection for added effect, but that is for another time.