Floating Ball

Module 2: Floating Ball

In this module, you’ll learn how to create the magical Floating Ball effect. We’ll discuss in detail how to capture the photographs and the role post-processing plays in achieving this effect.

Floating Ball

Section 1: Introducing the Floating Ball Concept (0.18)

In reality, there’s no floating ball. It’s just a photographic effect. In order to create the effect, some post-processing job is involved.

Attempting to show the ball in mid-air is tricky. Trying to do this by throwing the ball up and down is even harder since it would be difficult for the camera to keep the ball in focus.

So we do it a different way! To create the floating ball effect, you need a couple of equipment to capture some photos; then some post-processing job on those images.  

PART A: Taking the Photographs (1:46)

Section 2: Equipment Needed

Following are the equipment required to capture the floating ball photos:

  • Two Tripods (or a tripod with two arms)
  • A camera with a self timer, manual focus, and manual priority.
  • Telephoto lens
  • Lensball

The telephoto lens is used to compress the background to make the ball appear floating in air. A wide-angle lens can also be used if you choose to capture more of the background.

Floating Ball

Section 3: The Equipment Set-up (3:06)

Following are the steps to set-up the equipment to capture floating ball photos:

  • Place the camera on one tripod aimed at the ball.
  • Use a ball holder to place the lensball on the other tripod (or second arm of the tripod).
  • The subject should be behind the ball and image composed inside the ball. Make sure the subject is well lit.

Section 4: The Camera Settings (4:07)

To capture floating ball photos, the camera should be on fully manual mode which means you need to manually set the focus, aperture as well as the shutter speed.

Manual focus setting is needed so that when you remove the lensball from the frame the camera doesn’t lose the focus position. Similarly, manual settings for aperture and shutter speed are required so that the camera doesn’t lose the correct exposure for blending purposes during post-processing.

Choose appropriate aperture and shutter speed to capture your subject in the ball.

In the photo in the video for example an 1250th of a second, F.5 and ISO320.

Section 5: Taking the Photo (5:33)

For the floating ball effect, you need to take three photographs.

1st Photograph:Click the photo of the lensball with the image of the subject inside it.

2nd Photograph:Set the camera on a self-timer (for example 1o seconds). Then lift and hold the lensball a bit up in the air. Let the camera take the photo.

Floating Ball
Floating Ball

3rd Photograph:Remove both lensball and tripod from the frame. Then click the picture of the background.

PART B: Video Post-processing (6:50)


Post-processing is the stage where you actually create the floating ball effect with the three photographs from the last stage. You’ll use software like Photoshop and Nik’s Color Efex to achieve the final image.

Recapping, the 3 images are – image of the subject, ball being held up and the background.


Import the three images into Photoshop and layer them. The base image will the one in which the lensball is placed over the tripod. The other two images will be used to remove the tripod stand from the base image.

Step 1: To remove the tripod from the photo, drag the layer with the background photo (3rd photo) on top of the base image layer.

Step 2: Create a black mask layer on the background layer. It will hide the background layer to reveal the base image underneath it.

Step 3: Use a white paint brush over the black layer mask to remove the tripod from the image.

Adding smooth edge of the Lensball (10:43)

To add the smooth bottom edge of the lensball, the 2nd photo in which the ball is held a bit up in the air will be used.

Step 1: Use the selection tool to select only the bottom part of the 2nd photograph.

Step 2: Copy and paste the selected portion on the image in which you removed the tripod stand. Photoshop will automatically create a new layer.

Step 3: Drag the new layer (selected portion) over the bottom edge of the image. Use arrow keys to adjust the edges until it fits perfectly.

Note: If needed, adjust the brightness and contrast using the image adjustment option.

Step 4:Create a white layer mask and use a black paint brush to smooth the pasted area.

Step 5:Rotate the image to 180 degree using the image rotation option.


Nik’s Efex: Enhancing the Final Image (16:50)

To finish up the photograph, some post-processing is required to make the final image look better. In the image, the background as well as the image inside the lensball needs to lighten-up.

You can use Niks Color Effex and some filters to give your final image a bit more punch. Choose the Pro contrast filter. Then opt for the dynamic contrast option. This gives a lot more detail and color around the ball.

Another filter is the Darken/lighten centre which has the option to either lighten the inner or the outer area of the image.

Play around with these filters to achieve the best final image.

Floating Ball

Thanks for your attention during this second module. I hope this magical Floating Ball effect will inspire you to create innovative lensball artwork.

Floating Ball