Before-After : Gojira

Metal concert photography requires speed, reaction, preparation, skill, and luck. Sometimes the shot we intended to take is a millisecond away from the shot we actually get. That’s how you get a mic stand in the way !


This shot was taken during a Gojira concert in Paris in 2013. I like this photo, so I decided to give it a go and relocate the bassist a little bit.

I obviously need to do is find a way to remove the bassist’s head from behind the mic stand. To do this, I call to the rescue another photo, taken a few seconds later, in which the bassist’s position is correct.


I open both photos and copy the left part of the second photo to paste it on my first one.


I rotate and slightly enlarge the “band-aid layer” so that the mic stand appears aligned and about the same size as in the layer below. You can play with the layer opacity to check weather the alignment and general superposition are correct.

The mic stand is kind of a point of reference for the whole superposition : if this single well-delimited sharp object matches in size, orientation and perspective, chances are all the other still objects will, including the light beams. This will greatly ease the following blending.


The tricky part comes here, as I have to seamlessly blend both layers into one.

I erase part of the upper part of the “band-aid layer” by using a very soft and very large brush.
The white back spot has not quite the same intensity nor the same orientation between the two layers. A brush too hard or too small would not ease the differences enough.


with large soft brush


with smaller harder brush

I then erase the lower part between the guitarist and the mic stand, but with a smaller and harder brush this time. The cut must be smooth although contained within the stand’s sustaining part, which kind of cuts this part of the image in halves.


The blue spots’ light coming through both parts is sufficiently consistent, so I consider the merging successful.

The balance between the two musicians was a bit changed though. The bassist is now too far on the left.
I increase the canevas size on the left so that the rest of the upper layer appears.


Argh! The previous erasure propagated to the hidden parts too. It’s okay, I will just copy the missing part from the original image and paste it again!


I then blend this third layer into the second, keeping in mind not to brush over the second layer’s missing part.


Finally I can crop back to a 2:3 ratio with a better balance.


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