Pixel Playground
Illustration by John Hersey

Changing photo contents with Auto-Align Layers


From:

Pixel Playground

with Bert Monroy

Video: Changing photo contents with Auto-Align Layers

This week we're going to look at a little feature in Photoshop which a lot of people don't really understand. There's this little guy right here called Auto Align Layers. Right now it's grayed out because I only have a single layer. Just a picture right there. Just a background. But we're going to see how this can be used for two different purposes. One, to take something out, the other to put something in. So now, right here, I like this image. I like the way the tree was playing this against this brick wall back here and I like this shadow but I knew I didn't like this sign.
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    2. Changing photo contents with Auto-Align Layers
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Watch the Online Video Course Pixel Playground
14h 9m Intermediate Jun 07, 2013 Updated Apr 24, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Take a 10-minute recess every week and join Bert Monroy in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the playgrounds of digital artists. Every Friday Bert walks through a fun, self-contained project that tests your skills and challenges the imagination. These programs aren't just image editors; they are sandboxes for creativity and experimentation. Take a spin through a carousel of tools and get reinspired, each and every week.

Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Bert Monroy

Changing photo contents with Auto-Align Layers

This week we're going to look at a little feature in Photoshop which a lot of people don't really understand. There's this little guy right here called Auto Align Layers. Right now it's grayed out because I only have a single layer. Just a picture right there. Just a background. But we're going to see how this can be used for two different purposes. One, to take something out, the other to put something in. So now, right here, I like this image. I like the way the tree was playing this against this brick wall back here and I like this shadow but I knew I didn't like this sign.

And I didn't like the little piece of car. Well the car is fine, I could just crop it right there. But the sign, well that's in the way. Little fill with continental wear isn't going to quite get it because of the random structure of these bricks back here and then that shadow. That shadow has to continue and be nice and clean to make it look like the pole isn't there. So what we're going to do here is plan ahead. Now since I knew I wanted to take this little sign out, what I did is I took a couple of steps over to the left and took a second shot right here.

Now they're not perfectly aligned, it doesn't matter. But you notice that now that the no parking sign is a little over to the left, exposing that part of the shadow back there that was hidden here. There you can see the difference, right there. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this image right here, and I'm just going to drag it right on top of that one. There it is just place it right on top right there like that. So now, I now have a layer. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to select the background, and even though the background is not a layer, Auto Align Layers is going to treat it like a layer by first converting it to a layer.

So I look over here and see now they're active. So I'm going to say Auto Align Layers. Click OK. Now there's quite a few choices here. I'm going to leave the auto. Do whatever is necessary. Twist it, bend it, whatever is necessary to make it fit so the two of them are perfectly aligned. Click OK, and there we go. Now if I turn the top one off, there you can see that the tree's moving slightly over. The shadow's pretty close, but the tree and the sign are moving over. So what I'm going to do right now is I see I've got a little bit of extra stuff going in there.

I'm going to go in and crop it just to get those little pieces that were left out. In fact, we'll even crop out the car right there. We want just a little grass at the bottom. Then go over here and say Image Crop. And I can deselect it. So now I'm going to come in close here. I'm going to come in close. And there we see our sign. There's the sign. So what I'm going to do is in this particular layer right here, I'm going to take the first layer and I'm going to give it a mask. It has a mask. Now you know right now it's completely white so everything is visible.

Black is going to hide, so if I take my paintbrush and I choose black for the foreground color and we'll make it a little bigger. There we go. Nice size brush right there like that. And I'm in the mask so when I start to paint You can see what's happening. Now we got a little piece of that sign showing there. No problem because we are working in a mask. So notice, when I go all the way down, everything's been taken out. So, in the mask, I switch to white, and hide that up and there you can see that we now have the pole is gone.

There's the original, there it is the pole is completely gone leaving us with our tree and its little shadow in back. Now, how many times have you gone on a vacation with someone and the two of you want to kind of take a picture of the two of you so you hold the camera out. It's not always as as optimal as you would like. Like for instance in this particular case where my wife is standing in front of this hotel. If I was standing right here, we're holding the camera, we're just going to get this area here, we want to get the whole building. So you sometimes can ask somebody to take the picture for you.

But, it's really early in the morning, there's nobody else around so you put a tripod. Oh, I didn't have a tripod. We were going to go out and have some breakfast. I wasn't going to walk around with a tripod. So what I did is I had to stand where I wanted her to pose and I stood on a specific brick in this street right down here. She then came over to where I was standing, and took this picture. Now, notice, I moved myself over a little bit to the left, kind of right behind where she is. So right there. That gives you an idea of what's going to happen next. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to come in here and I'm going to take this picture, and as I did before, I'm going to drag it into here.

Take both and say Auto Align Layers. Again use Auto and that is going to be a lot of empty space there because of the fact that she's shorter than I am, standing slightly off or whatever. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to just crop out just the portion that I want, right there, like that. Crop that. And let's get in close. So what I'm going to do is I got that layer and I'm going to give it a mask. Just like that. Now I'm in the mask, so with the paint brush and black and I'm going to start to draw right in here which is going to expose me and bring me into the image.

So, I go in here and I just put myself in. Get it all in place. And let's go down to the bottom. Get me all in there. Now I'm going to kind of tighten my my hardness here a little bit and continue. So that way I'm a little closer, and let's get the brush a little smaller. Make our brush a little smaller now. And I'm going to just paint right up to that edge, right in there like that, see? So it's just getting in there. And you would really take your time if you're trying to do a good job. I'm just going to kind of speed it up a little bit here, just so we don't waste a lot of time.

And there we can see that we have my foot in there, and then we go around and we do this part of her jacket right through there. And there, you can see that I am now in. But, when you do things like this, you have to keep in mind how things really work, okay? So when we pull back a little bit, I'm now standing behind her. There you go. We are both in the same picture. However, I am standing behind her. Look at my jeans. See how evenly lit they are? I'm behind her, which means she should be casting a shadow on me. So what I'm going to do. As a final touch, I'm going to go into that layer. Alright? So we go right here to the, layer where I'm standing, right here.

And what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my Burn tool. So I take my Burn tool, right there. And I'm going to just kind of darken right back here. Darken my leg. And back, and my jacket right in here. And these areas here. I'm going to set this to Shadows, cause we're going to be dealing with those dark tones. And we just kind of add a shadow right back there behind me, right there like that. And a little darker right in there. And there you can see that now the two of us are in fact standing in the same spot in front of this hotel.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Pixel Playground .


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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
Q: Why are some of the 3D menu items grayed out when I try to follow along?
A: The 3D features in Photoshop CC require a computer with at least 512MB VRAM. If your computer doesn't meet this criterion, the 3D menu features will be greyed out.
 
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