Land of the Shadows

Posted by on Dec 22, 2011 in Tutorials & Walkthroughs | One Comment

Download the Wallpaper from Shadowness


This is a walkthrough tutorial for a wallpaper that was taken and manipulated for a contest on

I was putting off entering the contest because I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do, I know I wanted to do photography and also typography, at first I had an idea to a typographic piece. I still remember it, may just try it sometime but it’s a pretty basic idea. When I was telling Meng To I planned on entering but didn’t have a clue yet how and when I’d ever get started all of a sudden I got this idea. I had recently bought some beads for another concept but I thought, why not give this a ‘shot’ lol.

So I got started plotting exactly how I would get the beads first to stay on the thread and keep them suspended. It’s a pity I don’t have my lights set up in the shot, I was just taking progressive photos as I wanted to keep track of progress, but I definitely don’t use any kind of professional equipment for lighting. Will get to that in a bit.



So here are all the things I used, the thread, flat white beads, the lettered beads (I didn’t use all of those). I cut all the thread some at different lengths and tied a knot at the end of each, then I put the flat bead through as a base so that the heavier letter beads would have a stand so it won’t fall through when I hang it.


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This is when my presentation goes a bit sloppy lol, I use my tiny desk to take almost all my photos and use my laptop, it’s pretty small and right by a window. I searched the house looking for something tall enough to suspend the dowel/stick and I found cardboard cartons. I then spread black bon paper on my desk and rest it against a surface against my window and taped it into place. With the black background absorbing the light I needed to bounce the light so that it won’t be too dark at the sides, so I taped white A4 paper onto the cartons to help reflect light.

I used two basic lamps, one is a night lamp that has a cover to the top so the light is directional and a compact fluorescent light that is on a stand, I got a bit of paper and folded it to direct the light because it has no cover. If you want to have dramatic lighting, the lighting should be speculative/directional to create dark shadows, if not you can cover the light or use a diffuser to get softer light. Be sure to use a tripod in low lighting, I was using a tripod for this.

In figure 2, the small night lamp was to the front on the right and the stand was positioned at the back on the left, this was a taller lamp so I was able to cast shadows directly beneath the beads. The lighting diagram is to give you an idea for lighting, pretend that the flowers are the beads.


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I started placing the beads on from the middle letter so I would know where the first and last letter would be. So that the placement won’t be permanent in the case where I had to move the beads I just taped them into place, tying it would have taken way too much time. Also I placed the beads at least an inch apart from each other and varied the lengths so it’s a little funky. The colour appears blue here because of the white balance.



If you noticed, none of the letters spell out Shadowness and they are on a diagonal, so I had to clone out every letter excepting the heart. Figure 6 is a raw edit where I played with colour and sharpened the image a bit.



Here is when I started to edit the image in photoshop. I cropped it then started to work on cloning out the letters.



Finally all the letters have been cloned out, I enhanced the colour and rotated the heart so that it would be facing the right way and added a bit of an outline to it to make it prominent. I then looked for a font that would somewhat match the Shadowness logo and placed them onto the cubes using the skew and distort tool for the right perspective.



With all the letters edited on.



Finished piece that has been resized and re-cropped to meet the contest size requirements, added some black to the sides and made the image darker.

Hope you found this to be inspiring!



1 Comment

  1. Ambarina
    January 1, 2012

    I have loved this wallpaper since the start when you had put it on shadowness……….:P


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