How to do ‘dramatic’ Spider-Man portraits

During the week I posted some portrait pictures of Spider-Man on Twitter, here they are;

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It’s not a technique that I have used that much before, I don’t think I’ve actually ever Tweeted or posted any on this blog because I have never quite seemed to get it right, however, as you can see Spider-Man and his various suits are the perfect model for this dramatic look.

I Tweeted the pictures and people seemed to really like them!! (Which has been quite overwhelming and I am very thankful to everyone!) I also got a handful of comments asking me if there was a particular place in the game that I took these pictures and a few asking how I did them. So I thought I would share how I did them; because they can be done anywhere in the game pretty much, there is no secret spot and using the photo mode alone can get you great results! I kinda wish I had noted where I took these pictures, but unfortunately I didn’t.

Step One – Find a shady spot, but with SOME light

So to get the black background, you need to find a shady/dark spot but that also has some light that will reflect off Spider-Man (does that make sense?). So for example, as the picture below shows, place Spider-Man in front of a dark wall, but with some light coming through from the side or front. Keep the CAMERA TYPE option on ‘free’.

[I should note that I took these picture in a place in the game where it is nighttime, I think it’s best to do it when it is daytime in the game to get more contrast between the dark background and the light off Spider-Man, however there are a few options that can help with the light.]

A Find a Spot

Step Two – Changing the settings

Once you have set up Spider-Man and chosen a suit (don’t forget that bit!) then you need to change some of the photo mode settings. Now this is the way that I do it, other people might do it slightly differently, but this seems to work well.

The first thing I tend to do is change the vignette settings. So VIGNETTE INTENSITY goes right up to 100 (and that stays fixed at that number). VIGNETTE CENTRE CLEAR goes all the way down to 0 to begin with, as you move closer or further away from Spider-Man you may end up changing this to maybe 1 or 2 or even higher, I don’t think I have gone past 6 or 7 for this option, but as I’ve said before it all depends on how strong the light source is.

B Vignette

Next, change the focus distance and aperture. FOCUS DISTANCE goes down to about 1 or 2, this will make Spider-Man blurry until to get a bit closer to him. Change APERTURE all the way up to 100 and that should make the background even darker.

The FOV you will be changing as and when, depending on if you want Spider-Man to fill the screen or not.

C Focus distance

Just to warn you, at this point the camera controls are very sensitive! So sometimes even the smallest of movement will make the camera move very suddenly and way out of the frame that you want. So just be patient, and use small movements. The amount of times I ‘lost’ Spider-Man and had to completely re-set the settings has been more than I’d like to admit, but you do get used to it after a while.

Step Three – To tilt or not to tilt

I think I’ve taken more vertical pictures in Spider-Man than I have any other game! Which makes sense if you are doing portraits, you want them to be in portrait rather than landscape most of the time, although rules are meant to be broken sometimes!

So I TILT mine and work out the angle that I want, usually around the 75 mark. This does mean that your neck will hurt after doing this for a long amount of time! But obviously it depends on what angle you want, I would say experiment!

D Tilt

Step Four – Take many pictures

I always tend to take many pictures of one thing, at various angles, at various degrees of FOV, focus distance and aperture (although you will want to keep that option at 100 for this technique). So just snap away! Take a handful, and then some, because sometimes they don’t look the same when you go back to look at them. Especially when you are taking vertical pictures, you only really get to know what it looks like properly when you have rotated the picture.

But here are a couple pictures from this example, as you can see I moved closer to Spider-Man, by moving the camera and changing the FOV option. I also had to experiment a bit with the VIGNETTE CENTRE CLEAR option to get the light a bit brighter as 0 was too dark, it just depends on the spot you are in:

Like I said, I’m at a stage in the game where it’s at night, so a bit more light would have been slightly better, however, you can do a bit of editing if you want. For my original pictures in the slideshow above I added my preset, I use Adobe Lightroom CC. There are loads of areas in the game where you can find a good light spot with a dark background, so I would just explore!

I just wanted to show you all that these types of pictures can pretty much be taken anywhere in the game, no special place, just find a shadowy wall that has some light source and you are good to go! If you do have a try, feel free to tag me via Twitter or Instagram, I would love to see them!

Thanks for reading!

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