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Technique Tuesday: How to slice a banana in mid air… Without the mess!

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Fruit Ninja! on Flickr



Check out the series of shots here.  You might believe that after many tries and many bananas, I was finally able to nail the shots I wanted.  Truth is, I only took 5 exposures and using Photoshop, arranged the elements to my liking.  Today’s technique will NOT cover how to actually slice a banana clean in half… but to totally make it look like you did!
Read On…
You need:
  • A Camera.  Preferably with Facial Detection, remote and timer.
  • A fruit to cut.  In this case, a banana.
  • Knives, and shishkabob sticks*.  *sticks optional
  • Photoshop or similar layer-based editing program like GIMP
  • Patience and showmanship and corniness.
I started by setting up a tripod with remote timer, and taking 3 shots of myself without the banana, acting like I was 1) throwing it, 2) getting ready, and 3) chopping.
Here’s an example of the last one:

Looks pretty silly without the banana in there... Kinda like a gas passing ninja. But whatever... You know what's up.

Remember to really sell it! You have to look at where the fruit is going to be in the final shot!  Don’t worry about making the motions either, just hold still for the poses and we’ll motion blur it later.
Now, take a picture of your fruity elements, in both un-chopped and chopped positions.  Prop them up on a stick or a knife. It’s much easier to Photoshop out a knife or stick than your whole hand, no matter how you hold it:

The banana picture I'll use for both the toss and the getting-ready shot.

After cutting it in half, you can pose the fruit in the sliced position you would like for the final picture. I should've put the knife in the closer banana a bit on the rear side, so I wouldn't have to reconstruct that part of the banana, but oh well.

I’m really close to the bananas in these shots because I have the camera on Face Detect Mode.  It sees my face and focuses on it.  Since the Bananas are on the same focal plane as my face, they are also in focus!
Now, open both your poses and banana files in Photoshop.  You can use the magnetic lasso tool to easily outline the shape of the bananas.

Hold down on the lasso tool to see the other lasso options: Polygonal, and Magnetic.

Using the magnetic lasso tool to make the perfect selection around the banana...

Copy/paste them into your posed shots!  After copying your bananas in, you may need to scale them to the correct size and move them around to place. Outline them with the regular lasso selection tool, right click inside your selection and select: “Free Transform.”  Then you can move the corners around to scale and grab onto sides to rotate.

Now, we’re going to motion blur both the swinging arms and chopped bananas!
First, with the lasso tool, outline one of the elements that will be moving.  For instance, one of the halves of fruit:

Outlining a half of the banana with the regular lasso tool.

Now, select Motion Blur from the Filter menu:

Filter > Blur > Motion Blur

Adjust the angle to the direction the motion blur should occur in. (Chopping down, sideways…)

Adjusting the angle and amount of motion blur applied to the selected object.

We’re all done!  Flatten your image from the Layers Menu, and save in your favorite picture format:

Done! Notice the motion blur is not all the same direction on each item.

Lastly, enjoy your sliced bananas.


Have fun!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rosa #

    Lol So Fun… I actually thought you did do it for real.. Now I know you cheated.. lol =P Still very cool though.. =D

    June 29, 2010
    • Cheated! Haha. Yep. My workmate Greg says he wouldn’t have a problem with my photoshop jobs if it were obvious that it was ‘shopped’.

      But when it’s indiscernably done, he thinks I’m delibrately misleading viewers into believing something that never happened. Oh, the crime!

      To actually do this, I think I would need a really really infommercial-ready sharp knife!

      June 29, 2010
  2. Come on man! I want to see you do the same thing with a light saber!

    June 29, 2010
    • A really small lightsaber!

      June 30, 2010
  3. Aron #

    Haha thanks for the tut, Josh. The superman jump made me laugh out loud but this one is even cooler.

    June 30, 2010
  4. pat #

    I feel lied to after seeing this on flickr =.=

    July 2, 2010
    • Awww. Well I suppose I could try doing it for real… I think I’ll need a sword though…

      July 3, 2010
  5. Nice techniques . . thats what photo editing software are for! 😉 i did my self “a multi-exposured” photo but not without action like you 🙂

    July 4, 2010
  6. Raycoy #

    hahaha, got it Josh.

    July 14, 2010

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