Making of illustrations for Vredestein website. Part One

Part One    Part Two

Product graphics

Vredestein of Netherlands is involved in the design, production and distribution of automobile tires. Almost every website page has illustrations of the products. And the composition requires some angle shots that are not in the catalog. I’ve come across this before—what’s needed is deliberate shooting.

Narrated by Andrey Tikhanov

Evolution of the catalog transfer page

So, the main page has top views of the tires. The problem is that they haven’t brought the tires to Moscow yet and I have to figure out how to help the situation.

Lets imagine the presentation: it’s dark and the products are covered by drape. The public is waiting for it to begin.

I take a sheet from home depriving the sleepy neighbor of it with a promise to return the sheet smelling nicely of rubber. I go to the photostudio. Put up the set and the lights. Get hold of the basement keys—that’s where Lebedev’s jeep tires are kept—and drag one of them to the fifth floor. The tires are to be put on a podium in different perspective views. All in all, I need 5 or, to be on the safe side, 7 shots of each tire. Set the camera and make some trial shots.

Do the retouching.

Apart from the tires, I need their tread patterns. Many of those are maestro Giugiaro’s work and that is really something to be proud of. Copy the pattern off the photographs.

Then I roll the tires on pavement to have the wheel tracks. The covers are already prepared.

Now, it’s the side view. I trample, scrape and do all sorts of things to soil the podium in order to bring out the tires’ perfect shape and shiny surface. It’s a pity it is too early yet to take off the yashmak.

Yay! The first consignment of tires has passed through customs and is already on its way to the studio. With perfect ease I haul the tires to the fifth floor and toss them carefully in the corner.

Find my estimates:

Set up the lights…

…and the very tires.

Let ’em roll!

The second session with side lighting—for the Products page:

Now, the top view.
Hey, where is the soap and the rope? I have no choice but to use the powerstrip cord.

Shoot the tires turning them one half of the pattern.
Um, I got something wrong with perspective. That means a penalty of extra work.

Retake the photos.

(Bring the cursor over the images)

Oh joy, the rest of the long-expected made it trough customs. By some coincidence the remaining lot of the tires is at the exhibition. The event was over yesterday and is now being brought to a close. I have to make it in time. I pull everything ready—lighting, equipment, extension cords—and rush light to the exhibition hall. It is but a step—I just have to run passing four shopping centers, burst into the last one and here I am.

I put up the lights, set the tripod, drag the tires closer. By my side the exhibition stands are being dismantled: there is all the crashing and the dust to help me focus on work. It deserves saying that as a result of all this, the lighting of the spot changes discretely and constantly. Taking the last shot I miraculously dodge the falling bridging and save the tripod (it was really grateful to me).

As it turns out, some of the tires didn’t appear at the exhibition and those were thoughtfully brought to the studio doorsteps. I give the manager a big hug, thank him for another moment of happiness, lug the tires up to the fifth floor and set the lights (it’s good I haven’t thrown away the previous shooting scheme). And do the same kind of shooting for the forth time.

I have all the models up on the podium, finally:

And now comes the most interesting part—etching, color correction, superposition of views, light correction and so forth.

(See the result by turning S Class drive wheel)

Turning by one half of a tread pattern (rolling in):

(Roll tires on the catalog main page)

Simulation of turning (using Ultrac model as an example)

I stumbled at having to find a 1920s wheel plate. With drafts in hand I go for 3D.

Tire fitting (turning the tires using Sprint+ model as an example):

I came to a total of 250 photographs of summer, winter, all-weather and off-road tires and 5 magnificent automobiles with the tires on. And the only tireless wheel left bare by intent—the bicycle one.

The retouching of the whole vehicle fleet for the website was also to be done. Read about this in the second part.

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