Pet Photo Composite: Getting the Band Back Together / by Diana Lundin

I did a photo shoot for my client with her two cats and new puppy not that long ago. It was very nice with one of my hand-painted canvas backdrops. The three of them all looked quite spectacular. 

Just in passing, I showed my client this site, The Secret World of Pets, and she was intrigued about having a creation made for her trio. She was a little on the bubble about it but what sealed the deal was her husband gave her lovely diamond jewelry for their anniversary and she knew she had to do something special for him. 

You see, he's a YUUUUGE concert fan. Goes to them all the time. And his favorite band is Phish. So she wanted something Phish-esque. She gave me a kind of "punch list" of things that would be nice to have in the composite. Now, I didn't know much about Phish but I really got myself an education filling this piece of digital art with as much detail as I could research about the band.

Her husband proposed to her right before a Phish concert and at some point, I will not go into details, a hippo with a party hat was involved. She showed me a hippo balloon kind of like what she was talking about. 

So off I went to create this. We had to do a second shoot for this because the first shoot against the backdrop wasn't exactly what we needed, though we did use some parts from it. I suggested my client take photos of the band on her cellphone and we would put the band in the phone screen. Then I suggested she flip her hair and we got a really fun one of that. 

The lead singer of Phish wears glasses and has facial hair and plays a certain kind of guitar. Check. The drummer wears a dress. My client found a toddler Phish dress on etsy and bought that. Check. The bassist plays a specific bass. Check. We didn't have a fourth band member, a keyboardist, so I found a hippo in kind of a dancing position (don't ask; the hippo is actually walking, I just turned it) and put a party hat on it. 

Concerts, it turns out, are hard because if you show the whole stage, the band members look small. If you show it more closeup, band members go missing. Go ahead and look at concert photography, you'll see. It's kind of tough to compose it. 

In the collaborative process, I began showing my client the scene as I went along. She sent me a video that showed a sort of scene she wanted to match. Balloons were involved. I put them in but my balloons were oblong. They needed to be round. I found one long green balloon; in the Phish video, they were white so I drained them of color and made a lot of them. I found another cute hippo and turned it into a balloon in the upper right corner.

Oh, the mini-trampolines! Hard to find. Got 'em.

Once I laid down the ingredients, so to speak, it looked as realistic as Colorforms. Yes, you all are too young to remember Colorforms, but it was a very 2D look. I needed to add lighting and shading. I added new concert lighting to augment what was already in the background so it would give the band members some red and blue lighting.

A few touches here and there and we got our band. Oh, the name SCAMP, which is sort of in one of the fonts Phish uses? It comes from the initials of my client, her husband, and her dog and cats. She came up with it and it was brilliant.

This is a very personal storytelling image. The elements are from my client's life and favorite things. It was really quite a privilege to work with her to put it together as a surprise to her husband. 

I can do it for your pet, too. Send an email to the Secret World's Secret Headquarters in a nondescript ranch house in suburban Los Angeles and let's create your world.

Photo composite of animals in concert.