These photos may seem to depict a $160,000 luxury automobile zooming through sand, snow, sea foam and salt flats, but the objects on your screen are smaller than they appear. The lack of a person sitting in the driver’s seat is not an indication that the car is self-driving: it’s because the car itself stands only a few inches tall. This version of it, anyway. Photographer Felix Hernandez bought a $40 scale model of the Audi R8 sports car on the internet and created the sets in his studio, with astonishingly realistic results.
The automaker commissioned Hernandez to create the series as a promotion for the high-end car. As behind-the-scenes photo of his studio setup reveal, most of the work is done with miniatures and special effects rendered mostly in ordinary edible household products. Careful lighting, staging and camera angles make the models appear full-sized, so minimal Photoshopping is needed for the final effect.
“I love photo manipulation and digital art, but what’s really cool is doing as much as you can in-camera,” says Hernandez in a piece he wrote for PetaPixel. “For snow scenes, I use wheat flour. For desert scenes, I use corn flour. For atmosphere, I add smoke. For rain, I spray water. For droplets, I add corn syrup. In some photos, I add images into my background. I also use Photoshop for adding effects that are difficult or impossible to do in-camera – things like adding a sense of motion, color grading, etc.”
Previous photosets have included a series in which the artist took photos of a young boy and a miniature boat and blended them together in Photoshop, as well as Stormtrooper figurines hand-painted to make them appear more rugged and worn. See them all on Behance.