Danielle Skerman testifies for Fluid Mask
Danielle Skerman is a professional photographer based in Australia. She creates artistic photographs of horses with beautiful lighting. Here she tells us why she uses Fluid Mask.
“I first came across Fluid Mask in 2008 at the Photo Imaging conference in Brisbane Australia. I, like many in the crowd watched in amazement at a seemingly effortless demonstration of masking. I was suitably impressed – however ever skeptical as many like to claim greats but perform in the averages. I went home and thought about it, and decided ‘What the heck I’ll give it a go!’ Three years later and literally hundreds, if not thousands of edits, have involved Fluid Mask. Hence to say [sic], I have a great love for Fluid Mask; It’s fantastic and saves me so much time.
“This shot with the white stallion cantering towards the camera was shot in the stallions’ paddock. I used Fluid mask to separate him from his background and create a black background.” As you can see Danielle has cut out the horse’s hair beautifully. Says Skerman, “This stunning 22 yr old stallion was so striking in person; I wanted to create the same charisma in the photo that he is in life. Masking all that fine hair would have been painful and time consuming normally but with fluid mask it literally took about 1 minute to do so.”
Skerman doesn’t only photograph horses as you can see in the image below…“To shoot at this time of day to get it lit correctly just isn’t possible, as it would take so long to get the lighting right and the light continually changes. With fluid mask I was able to use a shot with a darker exposure for the sunset, going that extra mile in a professional image without the stress and time taken normally to create such a look.”
She says of the image of a black stallion in a blue background, “The original shot was unexciting and normal; I wanted to create an artistic image – something to put on a wall. I had this great background and only took seconds to mask the stallion out, enabling me to spend more time in the process and editing of the new image as a whole.”
“I had taken this shot of the white stallion being ridden but just wasn’t that happy with the existing background and I had this other great image that would work better. So all I had to do was to cut the rider and stallion from original shot and carefully place into alternate background I know I take on more technical work knowing the time fluid mask saves me, allowing me to keep to being creative and to worry less about the tedious job of masking!”
This is a beautiful image, which like all of Skerman’s work, highlights her ability to create magical imagery with the use of light and tone. The girl on the white horse gives a fairy-tale feel to the image as they travel through the brilliant patch of light breaking through the forest canopy.
Woman bowing with Friesian stallion The original image of the stallion actually had the owner standing behind the stallion assisting him in bowing, which you can see below. As this can be a very brief moment, and to gain the best results, it’s better to shoot images such as this, separately, bringing them together seamlessly using Fluid Mask. (See below for finished image).
“I just about use Fluid Mask on a daily basis. I use it from simple masking, to altering a background, add blur or colour effect, as well as major manipulations, which involve wild hair strands of a horse and design work. Fluid Mask is without a doubt a piece of software that I could not do without.”
Danielle Skerman is a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers and her work can be found at www.directshots.com.au/