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In this movie I want to share with you a bit of realistic composite inspiration by way of deconstructing a really fascinating realistic composite that was created by photographer and digital artist John Fulton. John Fulton was one of my previous students at Brooks Institute of Photography, and has gone on to really soar to great heights in regards to his overall photography and creativity. Here we can see his photograph that was a Communication Arts Photo Annual winner, and that's one of these contests that's really prestigious. All right! Well let's take a look at how John actually created this photograph.
What he started off with was something that was actually pretty ordinary. Here we can see we have this background element, a few people standing with umbrellas on a runway, and he captured these images for a commercial shoot. Yet whenever John does commercial work, he always combines that with personal work. So what he has done here as I click through these layers is he simply built this up, and the way that he removed those subjects there is he just flipped the background, and then masked this in. If I Shift+Click the mask you can see that before and after. One of the things that's important in regards to compositing is starting off with really building the context.
Here you can see he's bringing in a plane, he's working on the overall contrast, and then he decided to add a bit more sky. Again, just with some simple masking, he used another exposure, brought-in some more clouds there. All right! Well, again he is starting to build the scenario, then he works on a bit of brightness with curves and also tone there, and adds a bit of a shift overall. So far you can see again we have this really nice context. A lot of good composites are the results of many different layers, working with these layers together in order to build something up.
And what's brilliant about composite work is that people have to have that diligence, that persistence to get there. It's not necessarily incredibly difficult Photoshop work, but it is tough to have that persistence to see your vision all the way through and that's definitely something that John has. All right! Well, here he brought in a plane, and we will go ahead and turn on some of these plane layers. You can see here he just brought a plane from another context dropping some water there, and then he started to work on the plane in regards to its overall brightness, and really make that look good.
And it's those adjustments which make this come to life. Next, he worked on a few small little areas making the rim lights pop there on the wheels. Then he started to add some water. With this water one of the things that we will see is he brought this water in from another photograph, and then he worked on its overall tone, and he slowly built up this effect in order to add drama and make this a bit more interesting. Then he worked on the overall tone of the image, he also brought in some other water. He needed more there, he wanted more direction, and you can see this build up as I add these layers, and it's all of this together which really leads to creating something which is interesting.
Next, the Curves adjustment working on the spray, and another Curves adjustment working on light, overall tone, darkening up a bit, and then here he brought in some detail on the prop, he added some radial blur, and masked this in the different areas, and then he also started to bring in the characters. What's interesting about the characters is he brought these guys in, and then he also simply flipped them over to create the reflections. In order to modify the reflections, he simply used a curves adjustment to change the density there.
Then he worked on the brightness of the guys up top, and you can see slowly they built this up in order to have this really interesting reflective type of a look. Well, we are getting close to the end here. Lastly he made a few final adjustments and again it's all of these adjustments together which really lead to the best results of creating this award-winning and stunning composite. Take a look at just these last layers. Here they are, before and then after. So what my hope is is that by seeing this, one of the things that you can start to do is say, "you know what, I want to try to experiment with things like this." And what this takes again is that discipline to really see your vision all the way through.
What John did is he started off with some pretty ordinary photographs, but he had a vision which was extraordinary. He then explored how he could execute that by using Photoshop. So what's the trick, what's the secret that he used with all of these different layers? Well really, there isn't that much of a secret at all. It's simply multiple exposures and masking, then adjustment layers, and it's that combination together which helped him create this stunning celebrated and award-winning composite.
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