Making Of 'Frantic Funfair'

...rather than disappoint hopes and expectation of my audience, I would like to admit up-front that presented work is no pioneering feat achieved with elaborated procedures. Instead "Funfair" is somewhat impressionistic experience. But let's not get too hasty here.


Whole idea came to me literally in 5 seconds while I was leisurely walking on shore of local water reservoir. Out of the blue there was this eye-catching piece of web hanging under rusted pier. As luck would have it, I had my camera close at hand


At core of the image is digital microphotography of the web.

Color correction in order to established proper atmosphere cleared out from unwanted image elements, degrained... one step after another and final result is solid working foundation.

Perspective plane

This is probably the most "subtle" roadblock to success. Image Exif data are often valuable aid however here its redundant because I didn't have tape measure to check actual distance between web and camera lens. (I don't think it would make much difference anyhow).

The web has no parallel nor perpendicular threats in it. As a result image perspective had to be estimated from deformation rate of marginal and central threads.

I used test stripe to estimate perspective distortion. (Frankly, it was soft of inner light projection... "real tough stuff"


The only notable elements in this section are objects which I at first intended to be hung in the web: socks, nudes, monkeys even hot air balloons... to cut long list short cocktail umbrellas with Fly Agaric texture made the perfect touch. Modeling process took about 20 minutes to complete (not including blue print)

Texturing and Shading

Even during short modeling phase I was contemplating proper texturing and lights for the image. I did not reject SSS right at the start but begun with a little experiment. Let's take a closer look at cocktail umbrella top. On this picture .... may see stylized diffuse texture of the umbrella top. Straight red with no dots wouldn't do the trick, circular gradient of both lighter and deeper red is the right choice. This procedure along with fr-Advanced material, double layer specularity (with very steep and very plain layer) and blinn shader is efficient and painless replacement for SSS as well as means to attain minimal light attenuation in existing materials (soft plastic) with regard to small scale and tiny dimensions of objects in scene.

Scene, Lighting and Rendering

...I distributed umbrellas in the web on perspective plane so that they would hang on individual web threads in accordance with background image. Because the web isn't perfectly flat and some threads (especially at the back) in the web are higher than center and some threats lower at the front it was necessary to adjust umbrella's positioning according to preview renders.

There is single area light in the scene due to light refractions and GI Skylight for redraw of the shades. Camera target was placed in actual image focus A few quick renders showed optimal shutter size value for DOF correction (aperture). Final render for finishing composition was made to original resolution and photographic side's ratio (10 Mpix). This resolution is rather high because of desirable DOF quality. Which is further delinaeted by sampling rate for this effect.

Final render with alpha channel.

Composition and Postproduction

Touches up were by no means complicated. Just a few retouching at umbrellas connecting hooks to web threads.

And finally there if color matching, darkening or lightning as necessary, a little emphases on notable specularity as eye leads. Finally there is reconstruction of film grain and soft vignettation to add natural analog expression to the completed image.