April 30, 2010


Paper Sculptures – Lighting – DIY

I have  always been intrigued by the ‘Mac Screen Saver’ with the Paper Sculptures, so I decided to attempt the effect my self in a similar way. It took a while to figure out how to set things up, but I eventually created some interesting lighting angles and paper curls with a simple idea and method! Here is a short overview on how to create the effect and a little post-processing in gimp.


Paper Sheets

1. Setting Things Up!

You’ll need:

  • Desk-lamp
  • Notepad
  • Black-Background (black paper)


  • Open your notepad up and curl the sheets of paper over into the middle
  • Curl at slight angles and layers of 2 – be creative!
  • Now direct your lamp through the paper curls, similar to below:

Lamp, Black-Background, Notepad



2. Camera Settings

  • I found that a shallow depth of field work really well, especially with the layered paper sheets where they started sharp and in focus then gradually blurred out.
  • The shutter speed was not quick, but not slow enough to allow any blow outs.
  • ISO Speed is better low to minimise the amount of noise – if you are finding your photographs are too dark as a result, then increase shutter speed (tripod could be handy here).
  • Zoom in and fill the frame with all the paper.
  • White Balance – I went for the warmer tone, however it is very easy to adjust this later in Photoshop or GIMP.
  • The examples below can give you a better idea:

3. Styles


Curls of Paper


  • ISO 160
  • F4
  • 1/40 secs
  • 22mm

Layered Sheets


  • ISO 160
  • F4
  • 1/40 secs
  • 22mm

Fill the frame


  • ISO 160
  • F4
  • 1/40 secs
  • 22mm

4. Post-Processing

  • Adjusting the Hue in Photoshop or GIMP is a simple way to experiment with colours.
  • I used the desaturate mode for a few of them and then increased the levels.
  • If you are unhappy with the dark shadows, you could try Inverting the image.

I used GIMP to add colour for one image:

  • I inverted the original image
  • Created a new layer and filled with Red-ish colour: da150b
  • Set the layer blend mode to HUE

Layer mode: HUE


Inverted – Colour added

Hue shift:


Simple Hue shift in GIMP

That’s it! If you need any help or have some suggestions, just comment below :) !

If you’d like to use these photographs please Contact Me!

All images on this site are copyrighted© – All Rights Reserved.

Written by Mike

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Michael Scott is the publisher and photographer behind Scott Photographics! He is very passionate about his photography and enjoys sharing the best of his experiences for others to enjoy too! Contact Mike via email!
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