Action Hero Series: Star Hero
It was May 1977 and I think I was the only kid who didn’t get to see Star Wars. My parents didn’t go to the movies and they didn’t let me go. In fact I did not see a Star Wars movie in a theater until Return of the Jedi in 1983. Since I couldn’t see the movies I read the books and when I finally did see the movies on VHS or re-release to the theaters I actually didn’t like them at first because they didn’t match up to what I had imagined. So when I read Empire Strikes Back and read the parts of Luke training in the swamps, I had my own version of what everything looked liked. It took me a long time to enjoy the movies without comparing them to the books, but today I am a die-hard fan of the movies, and yes Han Solo shot first!
This image however was a last minute addition to the series. One of the images we were going to do had to be removed because we couldn’t get permission to use the location I wanted. So about two days before the shoot I am scrambling around trying to come up with a set when it dawns on me what I can do. I contact Steffen and give him a wardrobe list and I head up to the toy store to grab a lightsaber. The toy saber’s looked too much like plastic but a quick touch of silver spray paint and I had a decent looking prop. Like the Adventure Hero and the Jungle Hero this was shot in the same creek bed, this time however the waterfall is at my back. I needed to turn the woodland into swamp so to help in this process I used another smoke bomb in the background. Unfortunately the wind was working against me so I had to use a special brush in photoshop to create more of the smoke effect in the places I need it. As with my other images this was a two light set up with a key in the front and rim light behind him.
In post the process of creating a swamp began in earnest. I created some shadow shapes out of stock images to give me the shadows in the trees behind him. I painted in more smoke with paintbrush and used a hue/saturation layer to make the water an erie green color. His clothes were new looking so I used some layers set at various blend modes to grunge up the clothing and make them look dirty. I even added wrinkles to the pants by using a stock image of crumbled paper. For the weapon I used the selection tool to create the shape and fill it with white, then added a inner and outer glow to give it the look of the movies. I finished off the saber with a lens flair that was only applied to where the blade and handle connected. I finished up the image with some dodge and burn and color casting the image to a slight green to give it an ominous feel.
Even though this set was a last minute addition I am glad we did it, now where did we park that space ship……..
Be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow as our hero get’s shaken not stirred.