That final 10% can be the difference between great and just plain average

Something that is 90% finished might work as described and more than that, probably works to most people’s satisfaction. So why push for that extra 10%? Why not just make do, save money and save the stress associated with producing the final 10%… especially as it can be the hardest part of any project?

I can only answer from our point of view here at Grand Central. This is the only way to satisfy our ambition, our hunger to design and build to the highest level possible. We genuinely want to prepare the best for our clients but not only that, the best for ourselves. Pride is everything.

We have so many examples of this process but I’m going to be bold and give a geeky example. Its geek level might only appeal to the few who continue to read but I’d argue that to want to produce that final 10% and not just make do, defines your geek level within any profession or position.

Read on geeks.

To illustrate the point

Have a look at the following ads. There is nothing essentially wrong with them but if you look closely, in reality, the background should technically be visible through the glass. 


Wine adverts that use opaque bottles


There is, however, a very good reason the background isn’t visible. The bottles weren’t photographed in front of their respective backgrounds.
They were probably shot in a studio against a white background, retouched, cut-out and then applied on top of the background graphics. With many campaigns requiring the visuals to adapt across a myriad of executions with different dimensions, output mediums and resolutions it is often unrealistic to photograph enough live situations to cover every eventuality. Having separate elements that can be repositioned is simply efficient.

We wanted to see if we could develop a way to shoot and retouch images that could be repositioned. Adapting to different executions from in-store point of sale to out of home large scale adverts to social posts.
We have worked with three different photographers on this technique, all of which have said this is a first for them.

So, how did we do it?


The final 10% in practice

Well, unless you are reading this as an avid Photoshop user or retoucher you are probably not looking for an in-depth tutorial. So here is the 1,000 ft view.

We firstly shoot against a white background and then, without disturbing the scene, quickly bring in a green screen and reshoot the frame. 



These two images then allow the separation of three distinct layers – highlights, shadows and colour.

These three layers can then be re-stacked on any execution and blending modes applied to each to mimic their real-life effects. The resulting effect more closely resembles a shoot in which the object was actually in the scene.


Combining transparencies


There are several intricacies only appropriate to an in-depth tutorial, such as shooting on a suspended glass pane to the methods of extracting only the desired information from the layers.


Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will be noting the fact that there is no distortion of the background image from the effects of refraction caused by the compound curves of the glass and liquid inside.


That… is the next challenge.

Creating an efficient way to automatically distort a background image in accordance with real-world refraction, through translucent materials that can be repositioned and adjusted accordingly.


Transparency results
L-R: A simply cut-out shot, our transparency mix placed over a background, a version with the background distorted as it might be by a wineglass.


It seems the final 10% is never quite complete. Engage!



At Grand Central, we can help you see through to the bigger picture, and when we do, yes, we’ll always strive for that final 10%.

For help with planning, designing and building your campaign requirements please contact us at / 020 8546 0150