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View Full Version : How-To capture swirls, scratches, etchings and other surface defects with your camera



zeefauna
May 28th, 2006, 06:43 PM
How-To capture swirls, scratches, etchings and other surface defects with your camera (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13318)

This may sound stupid.... How do you take a picture of the swirls on a car?

I tried on my black car, and i am sure there are swirls in there, but it just won't show on the photo.

I'd like to take a before and after shoot before trying the G100A.

sneek
May 28th, 2006, 06:55 PM
take the car out into the sun and set your camera into "P" i have no clue what that is but i know if you want to capture swirls you have to put it in that mode

i have a canon S50

Mike Phillips
May 28th, 2006, 08:19 PM
How-To capture swirls, scratches, etchings and other surface defects with your camera (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13318)

A few tips and techniques for helping your camera to focus on the surface so you can capture the defects in the paint you're hoping to remove.


Finger Pointing Focus Technique
Besides figuring out the right camera setting for your specific camera, another quick, simple way to help your camera focus on a defect you're trying to capture with a picture is to simply place your index finger close to the defect on or hovering over the finish then carefully captures a few pictures and in most cases you'll get a couple you can use on the Internet. This works for Swirls, Scratches, Etchings, Water Spots both Type I and Type II, Stains, Oxidation, etc. Basically anything on the surface. The reason you need to give the camera something to focus on is because often times when taking shots of a large, uniform, flat surface, once any focus points are zoomed out of the picture your camera has nothing to sense and focus on.

Detailing Clay
You can also use a little piece of detailing clay because in most cases you have some detailing clay around. If the paint is clean and it should when trying to capture pictures of surface defects, then when you're done taking your pictures you should be okay to put the little piece of clay back into the large piece you took it from or just through it away. A small piece will work fine. (See picture below).

Coin
A coin can also be used if the surface is flat and horizontal like the hood. Place the coin carefully onto the paint so as not to instill a scratch. If you already have a flawless, swirl-free finish then maybe stick with the finger or clay technique. If you're getting ready to buff the car out then as long as you're careful you'll be okay; remember you're going to be buffing out the paint and likely the defect you're trying to capture with a picture.


Cobweb Swirls or Cobweb-Effect
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2LimoSwirls007.jpg


Cobweb Swirls or Cobweb-Effect
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2VolvoHorrificSwirlsCrop.jpg


Cobweb Swirls or Cobweb-Effect
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2VolvoHorrificSwirls.jpg



Detailing Clay
Another way to help your camera focus on a surface defect is to place something on the surface of the paint, for example in the below picture we placed a small piece of detailing clay on the paint, then let the camera auto focus and wa-la, perfectly captured swirls, scratches and a bird dropping etching in the paint.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/649/PieceofClayFocusTrick.jpg



Random, Isolated Deeper Scratch
Scratch Removed using Ultimate Compound (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29753)
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/1010/Jan10_2009OG_013.jpg




An Isolated Etching
How To Remove a Bird Dropping Etching by Hand using M105 Ultra Cut Compound (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25251)
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/797/M105RemoveBirdDropping002c.jpg

zeefauna
May 29th, 2006, 12:16 AM
Yeah!!! :D Got it now....

Look at the SHIIIINE to that SWIIIIIRLS!!! :wall:

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134Swirl4-med.JPG

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134Swirl3-med.JPG

My fingers almost got burnt...
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134Swirl2-med.JPG

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134Swirl1-med.JPG

It's amazing how a 3 month old car got these swirls.... :confused:

Justin Murphy
May 29th, 2006, 02:35 AM
Originally posted by zeefauna

It's amazing how a 3 month old car got these swirls.... :confused:

Thank your dealership for washing it for you!

zeefauna
May 29th, 2006, 04:19 AM
The next time i get a new car, i will inspect the paint under the sun... :cool:

Wingsof66
May 29th, 2006, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by Mike Phillips
Besides figuring out the right camera setting for your specific camera, I often times place my finger on the finish as though I'm pointing to the swirls, (which I am), but the main purpose of my finger is to give the camera something to focus on so the surface, (where the swirls are), is in focus.

That was one amazing tip. I've always have problems getting the camera focused on a glossy and "swirly" surface.
Great idea to give the camera something "solid" to focus on..

Thanks.

Wingsof66
May 29th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Originally posted by zeefauna
The next time i get a new car, i will inspect the paint under the sun... :cool:

... and if the sun is not there, use a xenon light...

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184fsb1.jpg

This is a Brinkmann Dual Xenon, portable and rechargeable.

zeefauna
May 30th, 2006, 06:11 AM
I will be getting my DA polisher soon with some other supplies.

Will post the "after" shots... if it turns out well. :)

zeefauna
Jun 9th, 2006, 01:52 AM
I was looking around for the Dual Xenon by Brinnkmann and came across this cheap xenon flashlight on eBay for $10 with shipping.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134Police_Tactical_Flashlight.jpg

Tried it just now with these results...

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134IMG_1927-med.jpg

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/8134IMG_1928-med.jpg

You're right... it's swirl city down there... :(

Pasqualy
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by sneek
take the car out into the sun and set your camera into "P" i have no clue what that is but i know if you want to capture swirls you have to put it in that mode

i have a canon S50

The "P" is Program mode. I use the Auto and it comes out just fine.

J. A. Michaels
Jan 28th, 2008, 04:14 PM
I remember about 2 years ago. I think, Mike showed the tip about using your finger to make the swirls appear in the photo. It has always worked well. I guess the secret so to speak is to direct the auto focus of the camera on something else. This way the swirls appear in the background. Thanks again for the tip.

Jossy92
Jan 29th, 2008, 09:13 AM
I I guess the secret so to speak is to direct the auto focus of the camera on something else. ...Thanks again for the tip.
:xyxthumbs

I agree, I have beem searching for these little pearls since I joined. (Especially those regarding technigue.) Also want to shoot some pictures so I can get good feedback.

As for now, I am learning from the mistakes of others and hope to contribute by sharing my own. Where's my brillow pad...?

Mike Phillips
Jan 23rd, 2009, 01:41 PM
:bump1


Just to note this thread has been updated on page one of this thread. If you find a fellow forum member trying to focus and capture a defect in/on their paint try to remember to share this thread with them.

You can highlight, copy and paste the blue clickable link into your reply to any thread making it easy for someone to click the link and go to this thread.

:xyxthumbs

Mr Mustang
Jan 25th, 2009, 02:37 PM
thanks for the bump, I was looking for something like this

joncz
Mar 30th, 2009, 06:28 AM
Want to capture swirls and defects without looking like you're pointing at the obvious? Virtually every auto-focus camera has a halfway point on the shutter release (the take a picture button ;)) that locks the focus.

Set up for your shot, put your finger in the frame close to the defect you're trying to capture, press the shutter release halfway to lock the focus, move your finger out of frame, and finally continue to press the shutter release to take the picture.

jdoria
Mar 30th, 2009, 08:33 AM
Want to capture swirls and defects without looking like you're pointing at the obvious? Virtually every auto-focus camera has a halfway point on the shutter release (the take a picture button ;)) that locks the focus.

Set up for your shot, put your finger in the frame close to the defect you're trying to capture, press the shutter release halfway to lock the focus, move your finger out of frame, and finally continue to press the shutter release to take the picture.


Nice trick there!

But make sure your camera is not set to "continual focus". Nothing is easy anymore is it?

Johnson
Jun 24th, 2009, 12:25 PM
I am not having very good luck with this. I am taking these pictures in my garage. Is that my problem? I have swirls.. just not showing up on this camera. where do I put the flash light so it will catch it

Samir
Sep 21st, 2010, 11:39 AM
I had the pleasure of attending a detailing clinic with Mike back in the early part of 2009 with my brother's Altima. He showed us the coin technique of capturing swirl marks.

And now I've been tasked with photographing imperfections regularly for a friend that has a detailing company. The swirls are easy, but what about orange peel or surface imperfections like unevenness due to bondo?

I've tried using something else to focus on like a piece of tape. I've also tried setting the aperture higher so that it keep everything in focus sharply in order to avoid any depth of field that could blur out the imperfections. I've tried using something to reflect in the paint like a piece of paper with lines. Some of these methods work, but inconsistently. Any ideas appreciated.

nick98338
Sep 24th, 2010, 02:18 PM
Spider-web seems to show up better around the outer edge of a direct, single point, light source reflection. The sun directly over head... a bright light of some kind. Water spots seem to show better in a reflection of an indirect light that is a light color and quite bright. Bright sky, full sun reflected at an angle. But not a dark color reflection. Dark clouds in sky, or dark wall in background doesn't help to show. Orange peel also shows up better against an indirect, bright color reflection that is not as intense. But, I think seeing orange peel also needs a contrasting background reflection. You'll see it in the bright part of the reflection if there is a dark reflection next to the bright part. Another good way to see orange peel is when two cars are right next to each other, in bright sunlight. Like in a parking lot. The sun reflects off of your car onto the car next to yours. The orange peel from your car shows in the reflection on the other car.

cadillacman91
Apr 10th, 2011, 07:37 PM
Great tips! I've got a white car so its even more difficult to capture the swirls with white paint!