While preparing the Godiva Liqueur Shot we tried shooting with many different liquids, including water colored by fabric dye. During that particular photoshoot I developed different techniques for splash shapes and learned how to consistently throw them. We made hundreds of different colored splashes.
The Final Image
The colors are real and the shapes were slightly adjusted using Photoshop; mostly using masking and combining. The Liquify plugin for Photoshop CS5 helped a little bit as well. We created a huge image, the full size resolution is about 300 megapixels! Because each splash was shot on a full sized 22 Mpx sensor and we combined many of them without downsizing, the resulting image is 20000 pixels wide and 14000 pixels tall.
The Lighting Setup:
The main requirement was to have a completely black background. I got this simply by having background far from the shooting area (about 6-7 feet away), no flags were necessary. The light was aimed towards the splash, and I used stripboxes to increase reflective areas: for clear water, only direct reflections from the lighting sources will be visible. water does not glow, right? However, when I colored the water with fabric dye (dry ones, I got them in a Michael’s) , our splashes started to glow, slightly. Which helped of course. I used Paul C Buff Einstein strobe lighting in “Action Mode”, up to when they deliver about 1/4000 sec flash duration at 1/4 of power. On the video is only a piece of post-production. Because most of the PP was selecting splashes from our library and adding them to the composition, we showed you one example of such an operation. My voice should explain everything: if not, we can discuss it right here. These are the source images we used in the composition: