Using Glass to Create Effects

Posted: February 1, 2020 by Yuri Badiner

This is @y.badiner and it’s my turn to share some photography tips with you. As you know I like to shoot parts and minifigures floating in the air, no doubt this is part of my own style. I usually fasten parts with floristic wires and putties but this month I want to show you something new.

Sometimes to achieve certain effects in a photo, you can use something barely noticeable – something that is present in the picture but remains invisible or unobvious. I am talking about transparent glass, which I will use differently in my work throughout February. Here are my tools and materials for this month:

It’s very important to remember that working with glass is dangerous – there is a chance to break it and harm yourself or people and animals near you, so I went to the nearest building materials store and bought a piece of acrylic glass to avoid unpleasant situations. Please always think about convenience and safety. Be careful.

Tourmaline Rain

Even if you and your friend are different life forms, this fact cannot prevent both of you from watching the raindrops together.

The easiest way to take a beautiful shot using glass is to do it by the window, especially when it rains outside. But what if you can’t take pictures at the window or it’s sunny outside, but you need to create the right mood in your scene? For this shot, I set the acrylic glass upright and sprayed water with a garden sprayer. It is enough to make just a few takes to get a beautiful image.

Try to experiment with a shooting angle, and with a depth of field. The intensity and color of the lighting also have an important role in this case. I like the aesthetics of the eighties with its neon lights, so I created purple lighting by mixing blue and red gels for my flash. When shooting with backlight, minifigures may seem too dark. To avoid this, I recommend using a sheet of white paper or foil as a reflector. Just turn the reflected light directly at your characters.

I’m sure that you have seen similar images before. I tried to show you that doing it yourself at home is not at all difficult. You will need glass, some water, and one or two light sources. So this was the simplest use of acrylic glass in LEGO photography.

Endless Tulips

Have you ever seen a tulip fields in Holland from a bird’s eye view? I also not seen, but I tried to recreate this sight with LEGO plates.

Have you been in situations when the main trick is right in front of your eyes, but you don’t see it? If you want to hide something – just put it in a prominent place. Interested? That’s our today’s subject. To create this scene with a light-engine aircraft, I built a background from a lot of rectangular and square plates, covered them with a piece of transparent acrylic glass, and then simply laid the aircraft and clouds from several round plates on the glass.

I usually shoot with two flashes, but in this plot I needed to get hard directional lighting with shadows from the plane and clouds. Fortunately, I have an LED illuminator, which I used. In order to get shadows in the right places and avoid glimpses of glass to the maximum, I installed acrylic glass at a height of 22 plates from the table and spent a lot of time moving the light source and the camera until I got the desired result. It’s very important to thoroughly clean the glass and make sure that there are practically no deep scratches on it, otherwise you will have to work a lot in the photo editor.

This work will require a lot of patience and accuracy from you, especially when you are looking for the right angle for shooting, but I’m sure it is worth it.

Memory Cells

In the near future, people will find the safest way to store data. Any amount of information can be downloaded into a 1×1 light gray tile and placed in a special library in open space. It is important to remember that if you do the same with the yellow tile, it will be just a useless piece of plastic in zero gravity.

When I shoot science fiction scenes, most often I use a light gray square tile. In this case, to show the parts floating in the air (in this case, in an airless space), I pasted several tiles on acrylic glass and fixed the glass itself in a vertical position.

As in the previous scenes in which we used glass, it is important to carefully set the lighting and choose the right shooting angle to avoid reflections, this may take time and patience. As you can see, the bulk of the lighting is behind the glass.This is enough to well illuminate the minifigure standing on the platform, as well as highlight the tiles from the back and make them contrast. The platform with the minifigure is fixed with the florist wire and putties. Tiles are also glued to the glass with the putties.

Hundreds of Presidents

The hundreds of US presidents are flying! That’s what I call green mood! Fly! Fly gentlemen, and never come back!

In previous tips, we figured out how to place floating LEGO parts in the air on the same plane. Having mastered this technique, you may want to go further and start working with some kind of layering, thus showing the depth of the scene. That is what we will do today. This time I used two pieces of acrylic glass at once to place the parts at different distances from the lens. I installed one glass in front of the Joker, and the second right behind him.

The shallow depth of field did the trick – the picture clearly shows that flying dollars are in different planes, creating the effect of the depth of the scene. I deliberately chose a simple plain background for this work, so that you can clearly see what we are talking about today. So that the background of white paper does not seem too boring, I used a color gel filter for the flash to emphasize the Joker’s green mood.

So that was our look through the glass. I hope today you learned something new and useful, and you can use it in your photos. Write in the comments what you liked mostly and why. And please be extremely careful when working with glass and other sharp materials and objects!

Thank you!

9 Comments

  • Four Bricks Tall
    Four Bricks Tall February 1, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Very clever, Yuri! I think I’m going to have to try this.

    Reply
  • Brick Broadcasting
    Brick Broadcasting February 3, 2020 at 2:06 am

    Wonderful!! So practical and very well explained! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Yuri Badiner
      Yuri Badiner February 3, 2020 at 3:19 am

      Thanks! I hope these tips will be helpful for you.

      Reply
  • hey.light
    hey.light February 3, 2020 at 3:07 am

    Awesome Yuri!!!! I‘m sure I‘ll try this ❤️

    Reply
    • Yuri Badiner
      Yuri Badiner February 3, 2020 at 3:21 am

      Thank you Astrid! Don’t forget to show us your results

      Reply
  • February 23, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    In the memory cells image what type of putty did you use to stick the tiles onto the glass?

    I Love the image!

    Reply
    • Yuri Badiner
      Yuri Badiner February 24, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Hi Jake! Thanks for your question. I used UHU Patafix putties, you can find it on second image of this article.

      Reply
  • Paul August 25, 2020 at 2:28 am

    This gives me some great ideas! Thanx!

    Reply

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