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With our castle base and crenelations tone, it's time to start adding photographic elements. In the following sections, I'll show you how to take photographs of castle details from a lot of different sources and add them to your castle to make it come alive and look photo realistic. I would open a photo I took in Ecuador of a dome of a church. An added advantage is that it's in Camera Raw format. Those of you who are lynda.com premium members might want to open this up to get some more practice using Camera Raw photos.
It's in the resource folder called Dome.CR2. Double click on it and it opens the Camera Raw interface. This is a nice piece of reference, lit softly from the right. We'll need to relight it to match our project. Before we open it, let's tint it a bit more towards red and add some yellow, and darken the exposure over all. In the lower menu, make sure that the photo is opening in 16-bit and is full-sized.
We need to extract the dome and, as always, looking through the alpha channels to see if you can find a mask and avoid having to hand-select, is the best practice. You'll still have to do some hand selecting, but in this case the blue channel has the dome pretty well isolated. Duplicate the channel and apply a hard curve to make it completely black and white. You'll need to curve these edges a second time to clean them up. Then fill these messy sides with white. And do a little clean up on the interior of the dome. But that looks like a terrific extraction mast with a minimum of work.
This is the opposite of what we need. So Select All, invert it and load the Selection Mask, copy it out and paste the dome into our new project. With the Transform Tool, scale it down, move it roughly into position. You might want to zoom in so you can see it a little clearer, and start fine-tuning the scaling and position. Once you have it close to what you want, move it to one side. You can press Cmd or Ctrl+Z so see the original position and then off to the side so you can check the reference.
When you're happy with the scale and position, press Return or Enter to accept it. Go through and trim off this junk on the edges that we're not going to use. When I zoom in and look at the edges of the dome, I notice there's some bright pixels left over from the extraction. There's a terrific tool inside of Layer >Matting >Defringe, that will clean up a lot of that. See how this edge looks much nicer after running it. Let's take a minute and look at the problems we have with this. Basically, we have a round object, the dome, and then these side boxes which are square, and they'll need to be distorted separately.
There's no automated way of getting the dome separated from the square boxes, so you're going to have to do some hand selecting to get it separated out. You'll want all of these side boxes and these nice little top details, so take your time and get it selected cleanly. You've seen me select stuff before, so I'm going to speed through this. This only took me a minute or two to do but it is a little tedious to watch. You'll want to cut these off of the dome, Cmd or Ctrl+Shift+J, if you just press Cmd or Ctrl+J it copies the section out, but it'll be easier to see what you need to clean up if you cut it out.
Let's name the two layers first one Dome and the second Side Details. In the next lesson we'll distort the dome in the side boxes to match the perspective of our castle.
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