Death Star Run @ Funan DigitaLife Mall

Funan DigitaLife Mall will be undergoing a 3 year long hiatus to rediscover itself as the go-to mall for all your IT gadget/photography needs. The management is currently holding a toy photography competition and the prize looks very interesting!

I’ve decided to join for the fun of it. Since we’re still experiencing the Star Wars fever, I’ve decided to go with Star Wars vehicles. I took some stock images of some of my Star Wars toys against a black backdrop to be used for the final composite. The ships were shot using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with varying lenses – from the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM to the Canon EF 100mm Macro f2.8L IS USM. They were lit with 2 strobe lights.

I headed down to get some shots of interesting locations within the building for the background.

I managed to get hold of the alley, the atrium’s ceiling and a very interesting structure with beams that look suspiciously like the Death Star’s. I took them with the Sony A7RII with the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM on the Metabones Mark IV.

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I came back later in the night when the places I was interested in were lit differently.

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I decided to go with this one because it does have the feel of the Death Star tunnels back in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It’s located right at the entrance to the escalator that leads you to the sports and IT stores. You can find the entrance next to Watson’s. There’s a florist underneath the escalator too.

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Here is my progress.

Firstly, I had to take shots of the toys against a black backdrop. A light tent was very helpful. It had to be big enough to fit in the Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon (whose length reached 2.5 feet).

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Next, the images were taken into Photoshop and masked to get rid of the black background. Placement of the ships then began.

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I played around with the placement of the ships further in relation to the lines in the background (vanishing point being somewhere in the middle) and eventually came up with this.

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It was quite well received but I wasn’t satisfied and some of the feedback given was that it lacked the cinematic feel I was known for. I decided to do something about it.

I added a bit of film grain and re-worked the colours by playing with the saturations and hues. I also adjusted the highlights/shadows as well as exposure/clarity in Lightroom to give the cinematic feel, using the colours based on reference screen captures from the Death Star tunnel run scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I also moved some of the ships and removed some distracting elements like unnecessary laser fire effects.

Here’s the final artwork.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Feel free to share it.

To join the competition, head over to Funan’s Facebook page here.

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