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Combining group shots

From: Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos

Video: Combining group shots

If you take a lot of group shots, you know how difficult it is to get everyone in a group to look their best in one photo. There is always someone who has her eyes closed or head turned the wrong way. But that's okay, if you take multiple shots of a group, you can combine them into one perfect photo using the Photomerge Group Shot feature. Here for example, I have three models, and I'd like to have a photo of all three of them looking at one another. I happen to have two shots, but in neither are all three of the models looking at one another. So here's one of the two shots, and here's the other.

Combining group shots

If you take a lot of group shots, you know how difficult it is to get everyone in a group to look their best in one photo. There is always someone who has her eyes closed or head turned the wrong way. But that's okay, if you take multiple shots of a group, you can combine them into one perfect photo using the Photomerge Group Shot feature. Here for example, I have three models, and I'd like to have a photo of all three of them looking at one another. I happen to have two shots, but in neither are all three of the models looking at one another. So here's one of the two shots, and here's the other.

I'm going to combine these two shots, so that all three of these models are looking at one another. To do that I'll select both shots in the Photo Bin. If your Photo Bin isn't open then click Photo Bin button in the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen. I'll select one of the thumbnails and hold the Shift key and click on the other, and then I'll open them both into the Photomerge Group Shot's window by going up to Enhance, down to Photomerge, and over to Photomerge Group Shot. The Photomerge Group Shot window looks a lot like the Photomerge Screen Cleaner window that we saw in the last movie.

At the bottom is a Photo Bin with a thumbnail for each of the open images. Here is the Final window, the window in which I'll put the base image from which I'm going to build my final composite. And over on the left is a spot for Source photos. The column on the right contains some instructions and tools that I can use to build a composite group shot. First I'm going to choose the base image that I want for my final. I can see one option up here in the Source window. If I go down to the Photo Bin and click on the thumbnail with the yellow border I can see the other option.

I like the first option best, so I'll go back to the Photo Bin, I'll click on the thumbnail with the blue border, and I'll drag that up into the Final window and release my mouse. To set the source photo that I want to use, I just click on it once down in the Photo Bin, and actually it was already set, but if I have multiple photos here I could choose among them by clicking on the photo thumbnail that I wanted to use as my source. Next I'm going to go over to the column on the right and select the Pencil Tool. I'll move into the source image on the left to see how big my brush tip is. I'd like to use a relatively small brush tip to get the most control from this tool.

Then I'm going to click and drag in the source image over the photo of the woman on the left, and I'll release my mouse. In just a second, Elements has sampled pixels from around that yellow stroke and placed those pixels into the final image, blending them in with the result. I think that looks pretty good, except if you look closely, you'll see that the model's hair isn't identical in the source image and the final image. If I turn on Show Regions you can see why. The yellow region represents the pixels that have been sampled from the source image and the blue region represents the pixels that are being used from my base image over here in the window on the right.

And as you can see the yellow region doesn't include that little bit of the model's hair up at the top that's coming from the image on the right. And the same is true of her feet. The composite is using her feet from the image on the right, not the image on the left. So to fix that I am going to uncheck Show Regions, I have the Pencil Tool still selected, and I'll come into my source image and click and drag over her feet and over the top of her head, and notice how her hair changes over here in the composite on the right. There is another tool here, the Eraser Tool.

To show you what that does, let's say that by mistake I draw over a part of the source image that I don't want to copy to the final, like the girl in the source image. I can undo that by getting the Eraser Tool and erasing all or part of that yellow line. Now there are a couple of advanced options, too. If I click the arrow to the right of Advanced Options and scroll down, you can see that there is a Pixel Blending checkbox. Sometimes when I click this checkbox I get a little different blend of pixels between the two images.

Keep your eye here in the final image as I uncheck and then recheck that box. And finally if you are having trouble combining images you can try realigning them, one with the other, by using the Alignment Tool. But in this case I think the final is just fine, so I'm going to click Done and that closes the Photomerge Group Shot's window and takes me back to the Expert edit workspace, where I now have three images in my Photo Bin. I have thumbnails of the first two images that I started with, and the final composite, a combination of the two that's just the way I want it.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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  1. 6m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Overview of the editing workspaces
      3m 34s
  2. 43m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 21s
    2. Making the most of the tools in Elements
      4m 6s
    3. Arranging the panels
      4m 32s
    4. Zooming and panning
      4m 3s
    5. Viewing multiple photos
      3m 51s
    6. Undoing
      5m 15s
    7. Cropping
      3m 46s
    8. Resizing
      7m 18s
    9. Saving images and examining formats
      6m 2s
  3. 19m 23s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 59s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      4m 33s
    3. Creating new layers
      6m 51s
  4. 38m 28s
    1. Why use selections?
      4m 20s
    2. Selecting with the marquee tools
      3m 56s
    3. Selecting with the lasso tools
      6m 40s
    4. Selecting by color and tone
      6m 22s
    5. Refining a selection
      4m 51s
    6. Selecting hair
      5m 42s
    7. Hiding content with a layer mask
      6m 37s
  5. 46m 54s
    1. Why use adjustment layers?
      5m 15s
    2. Adjusting color with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 32s
    3. Correcting lighting with a Levels adjustment layer
      3m 32s
    4. Adjusting part of an image with an adjustment layer
      5m 19s
    5. Exploring auto adjustments
      3m 55s
    6. Improving shadows and highlights
      2m 14s
    7. Removing a color cast
      1m 47s
    8. Fine-tuning with Color Curves
      3m 16s
    9. Converting to black and white
      2m 26s
    10. Correcting camera distortion
      5m 32s
    11. Reducing noise
      2m 56s
    12. Sharpening
      6m 10s
  6. 20m 51s
    1. Creating a panorama
      5m 6s
    2. Merging bracketed exposures
      6m 0s
    3. Removing people from a scene
      5m 25s
    4. Combining group shots
      4m 20s
  7. 29m 24s
    1. Removing blemishes
      3m 42s
    2. Reducing wrinkles and circles
      4m 16s
    3. Enhancing eyes
      5m 19s
    4. Removing red-eye
      3m 15s
    5. Adjusting skin tone
      2m 21s
    6. Removing dust spots
      4m 7s
    7. Removing content
      6m 24s
  8. 52m 36s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      5m 18s
    2. Using the latest Camera Raw controls
      3m 16s
    3. Camera Raw basics
      6m 22s
    4. Making use of the histogram
      3m 45s
    5. Setting white balance
      3m 44s
    6. Adjusting lighting
      4m 28s
    7. Adjusting color saturation
      2m 9s
    8. Cropping and straightening
      3m 58s
    9. Reducing noise
      3m 33s
    10. Sharpening
      3m 38s
    11. Synchronizing edits to multiple photos
      3m 36s
    12. Outputting from Camera Raw
      6m 14s
    13. Using Camera Raw with JPEGs
      2m 35s
  9. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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