EigerPhoto turns 3-D sculptures into 2-D prints.
In addition, Lake wanted all of the images to have a white background. Because most of the delivered images had backgrounds, these needed to be removed without having the sculptures look as if they were "cut out" from the background. This added about 4 to 10 hours per photo to the process. "While there are numerous techniques to remove a background, when making large prints, the only way is to do it perfectly-the long way around," says Eiger. "This involves creating a layer mask on the background layer and painting a mask around the image, often at 200%."
Plus, Eiger and his crew needed to create the spill effect that happens when an image is photographed against a white background, where a little light "bends" around the edges, or spills through. So, in addition to removing the background, the staff had to simulate the lightening of the edge without creating a halo effect.
The staff also did any spotting that was necessary and used channel masks to select each part of the file that might need to be adjusted. This took hours, depending on the image. After all the masking selections have been prepared, Eiger made the final image adjustments. "We use only curves, and occasionally hue/saturation, to make color adjustments. We never pull up the levels dialog, filters, or any other destructive techniques," says Eiger.
In this project, "We were faced with attempting to create as much of a third dimension as possible with the printing style. The artist used bronze with many different colors and patterns of patina. We added a small amount of saturation to bring these out," notes Eiger.
The images were flattened against the white background, but still needed shadows. Andromeda Software’s Shadow Plug-in was used to create the shadows, which were added to most images.
Perfecting the print
At Eiger’s shop, output is not as simple as hitting the "print" button and shipping the finished product to the client. He has a slightly different business model: Because Eiger is a professional photographer himself with 40 years experience and he’s worked with many high-end artists, his company’s emphasis is on quality. Eiger’s staff prints each image one-at-a-time until it is museum quality-with no compromises. "We’ll use as much paper, ink, and time as it takes," he says.