Filling the Reservoir With Cement


Finally finished. I’ve stared at this way too closely for way too long to be fully objective about it, but it turned out really well except for the parts that make it look like a vacation photo from Uncanny Valley. We ran the whole gamut of Photoshop features that are new since the last time I used Photoshop, though. My favorite new tool is the Color Replacement Brush, which let me fix the reflection on the pumper arm. I posted earlier about how the matte green pumper arm was getting a blue sky reflection, but it would be okay since it was going to be placed on another blue sky so it would look natural. Turned out, not so much. It ended up looking awkward because it should get a pine green reflection from the trees behind it. This is where the Color Replacement Brush becomes my new favorite Photoshop tool.


On the left is the pumper arm with the blue reflection. On the right, I’ve taken the green from the fir tree behind it and replaced the blue hue. Took only a minute and really helps place the truck in the background. At least that part of it.

To go back a bit, I started out with three images: two to build a panorama of the reservoir and a third image of the cement pumper and cement mixer loading the pumper. IMG_1095I discussed briefly joining the two images of the reservoir into one panorama in a post titled “Oops”.
The whole process of joining them went fairly quickly thanks to the Free Transform tool in Photoshop. I was able to line them up fairly well and hide any artifacts.

The exciting part of this whole endeavor was adding the cement mixer and pumper. That photograph was taken on the corner of Harvard and Thomas near Broadway on Capitol Hill in Seattle. There is some construction going on: IMG_1096building more overpriced apartments, most likely. That’s okay, let’s “borrow” some of their equipment and move it somewhere it normally wouldn’t be seen, shall we?

Isolating the vehicles from their background was the bulk of the work here. Thank you Eraser Tool. I didn’t keep track, but I spent about twenty to thirty hours deep in the eraser trance. There’s not a whole lot of magic that goes on, just a lot of painstaking work that alternates between drudgery and artistry. I posted a bit on isolating the pumper arm from the background in “Wild Blue Yonder“.


You can see that in the final image the vehicles are facing the opposite direction thanks to a flip horizontal. I described that process in “Words Fail Me” and “Ralph’s Concrete Pumping“.

Lastly, this wouldn’t have been possible at all without Astropad. I can’t believe how pleasant this app makes image editing for me. It used to be that I was content using a mouse (which has been likened to painting with a bar of soap). When I got an Magic Trackpad with my iMac, I thought that would make life easier, but it just feels unwieldy. The Apple Pencil, iPad Pro, and Astropad are a real Diagon-Alley-level magical combo.

#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="7">
#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 36.9907407407% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">

I’ve stared at this too long and only get an Uncanny Valley vibe from it. Still, I think it turned out pretty well. Full image at

#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A photo posted by “Jonnie” Wilder (@badselfiesinseattle) on