Greying Out

Sometimes you come up with a method of doing something that works quite well. I’m particularly proud of this one. There may be easier ways of doing it  but it’s nice to figure things out.

I call this method ‘grey out‘ . You will see why.

I started off with (as close to) an  overhead shot  with an SLR. Stability is important here, also you will need a pair of matching shots so a tripod is necessary.

Choose an ad that you would like to replace. Here I’m replacing a 25X4 ad in the Evening Standard which has dimension of 151mm x 250mm.

Next we need a blanking sheet. Print an A4 sheet ( or 2 for full page ads) of 50%  grey with a laser printer. Place it over the ad. Close the paper and fold up as you normally would, be quite firm, dog ears and all ! Basically what’s happening is that all the creases that occur on each page are being transferred to the blanking sheet

Open it carefully so the blanking sheet doesn’t move out of position. Place it under camera for the overhead shot.

Its worth playing with the camera settings and taking several shots to get the right exposure.  I think my final shots were 1/3 stop over exposed. That came out best in my conditions, but I’m no photographer! Now take the pair of shot, one with and without the blanking sheet.

Make a Photoshop document containing these two photos, with original at the top. Add the replacement artwork at the bottom.

On the original, mask out the ad with an inverted vector mask, so this punches through to the blanking layer. You can desaturate the blanking layer ⇧⌘U  to remove all colour information. The beauty of the vector mask is that you can go back and adjust it to your hearts content.

You can see how nicely the blanking sheet now sits in the paper (creases and all !), effectively ‘greying out‘ the original ad

Set this layer to blendmode=multiply, add a Levels  adjustment and modify as necessary. The artwork on the bottom layer will no peer through picking up the texture and fold of the blanking sheet.

Its important to have correctly size artwork. It make these steps easier and more convincing.

After this its just Photoshop 101 ( this is level 3 so maybe 301). Its just a matter of resizing, warping or liquify perhaps, and colour adjustments using whatever techniques you see fit to give a convincing and satisfying result.

For the final result click on the images in the post ‘Ads in Situ

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