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Photograph Otherworldly Environments Using a Fish Tank, Salt Water, and Dyes

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If you want to capture photographs or videos of otherworldly environments without using any computer generated imagery, one way is to create miniature worlds in your garage using a fish tank and salt water (a technique that has been used in numerous Hollywood movies). The video above is a tutorial on this trick by filmmaker and visual effects guru Joey Shanks.

The basic idea is to fill up a large fish tank with both heavy salt water and lighter fresh water… without having them mix. You can do this with the help of a large trash bag; simply pour in the salt water, place the bag on the surface, pour on the fresh water, and slowly remove the bag.

What you’ll have is a tank with water clearly divided in the middle. Drip various dyes into this water for extremely cool effects.

Shanks is uploading one of these visual effects tutorials once a week to his YouTube channel. Although they’re geared toward filmmaking, some of them can be applied to still photography as well (here’s one on creating “warp speed” with steel wool).

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