This is a steel sculpture I finished in 2005, an early experiment with ribbon sculptures. I did about 20 ribbon sculptures at that time, with different metals, but didn’t have the time to ponder on them and decide what to do next. I put them on the shelf and took care of the orders in the queue. And we didn’t really show them in the gallery, so this little metal sculpture didn’t actually sell until 2012. I shipped it to NYC in October 2012.
Every sculpture has a story and this one has to do with Photoshop. This steel ribbon sculpture didn’t originally have a gold finish (see image right). It had a potassium dichromate wash, which gives a transparent yellowish hue. I photographed the little steel sculpture in the gallery, under quartz lighting using the HDR photography technique: 3 bracketed exposures. Then I put the three bracketed exposures through the HDR software, which gave the steel a very goldish appearance. Then, being quite new to Photoshop at the time, I hit some Photoshop button, perhaps the AutoColor button, which made it even more goldy. So that was the image that ended up on the website (see image right).
Following are 15 accurate-color images of the steel sculpture I actually shipped. Click on the first and then you can click through the 15 larger images.
Steel Sculpture Color – Solution to the Problem
So you can see my problem. A customer sees a picture on my website and assumes it’s accurate. I, of course, know how it really looks, because it is right in front of me and am oblivious to what I did with Photoshop to the image so many years ago. I tell my wife that the steel sculpture is ready to ship, do you want to look at it? Because I know I often get my head so involved in my work that I don’t see the big picture that my wife can see. My wife looks at the sculpture and says, ‘that’s not what the picture looks like. Can you make it look like the picture?”
So that’s what I did, with multiple thin washes of different gold colored paints, brush on, let them sit for 3 minutes, rub them off. Do another layer. I am quite pleased with the final result.
And these photo colors are accurate this time. To the right is a view of the steel sculpture rotated through 16 views. Click on it to see a larger rotated version. (Note: I now much more proficient at Photoshop and aim for best accuracy possible with all website images!)
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