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In Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing, Chris Orwig demonstrates how to take photographs to the next creative level by combining images in Photoshop. This course covers multiple compositing scenarios, including portraits and architecture photos, from selecting the images, to blending photos with layer masks and blend modes, and resizing and sharpening the results. Chris also covers tips and tricks design to inspire and increase the drama and interest of photographs. Exercise files are included with this course.
At this stage, we're going to start to look at how we can blend in some of the other graphics that we have into this photograph. Now these graphics have come from various places. Some are photographs, some are other graphics that I've created, and you can find a lot of these out there, whether it's coffee stains or trees. All you need to do is some Google searching, and you can find these by a way of Photoshop brushes, or simply as graphics. Many of these are available for purchase, or some of them are free to use. In this case, I've just gathered a bunch of these, and put them in this document. Well, one of things that I know that I want to do is I want to blend all of these adjustments in.
I want to do that by using a Soft Light blending mode. Now here is a great trick for you. What you can do that you can actually select all of your layers that you know will need a certain blending mode, in this case Soft Light. You can group those together by pressing Command+G or Ctrl+G. We'll go ahead and name this layer, graphics. Next, what we're going to do is we're going to turn on the visibility say of one of these graphics, so we can see how this works. Well, currently the blending mode for this group is Pass Through. Well, if we change the blending mode for the group, what's going to happen is all of a sudden we now have Soft Light blending applied to the contents inside of this group.
So here we can then turn on our layers. I'll go ahead and turn on my coffee stains as well. There you can see even though the blending mode is Normal, it's blended by a way of Soft Light, because that's the group layer blending mode. Now with this coffee stains, I may want to invert them by pressing Command+I, and it's kind of fun to see what they look like, dark or bright. Let's bring the tree in. Again with the tree, we can darken that or brighten it. In this case, I'm going to go for a darker tree, and then lower the opacity. Once you lower the opacity, again press Command+I or Ctrl+I. See what looks best.
The nice thing about all of this is that all we need to do now is just dial in our opacity, because we've selected the blending mode once, we don't need to do that again. So here we can just go ahead and modify this as we make our way through this graphic. All right, well, let's zoom out for a minute. Here as we do that one of the things that I want to do is evaluate how this is looking. Well, in this case, I think this is looking pretty good except for my edge, my border. I shouldn't have included that inside of this group. Well, what I can do then, how can I bring this out of the group? Well, there are a couple of different techniques that you can use.
One is you can simply select the layer, and drag it out. Then now it's without any blending mode. Another technique that you can use rather than dragging is a shortcut. If you're on a Mac, you can press Command+Right Bracket. If you're on Windows, you can press Ctrl+Right Bracket. That will then remove that element, and put it on its own layer. All right, well, let's zoom back in on the image, so that we can evaluate this with all of these different textures. Well, it's really starting to take on a new life here. What's important to see at this stage is that with these graphics on this layer, it's really essential that we brought the eye detail back.
Let me show you what I mean. If we hadn't have brought those in, what we would see is we kind of lose the eyes there, especially because we're building up contrast, but by sparkling those eyes, adding that sharpness there, a bit of brightness, and also contrast, it's now starting to work much more clearly. Now keep in mind that one of the goals with this photograph is to change the overall Color palette. So here at this juncture, things feel a little bit muted, they feel a little bit strange. That's because we haven't worked on our color. So the next step of course is going to be work on and modify color.
Yet before we that, I want to go back to my graphics. With the tree, I'm going to invert that by pressing Command+I on a Mac, Ctrl+I on Windows. I'm going to lower the opacity down even further. I want this to be a little bit more faint. I also want to take down the grass here in the foreground. I'm just looking for a bit of texture there. I don't want that to be quite so strong. I'm going to invert that as well. All right, well the coffee stains I think I'll leave those as is, but lower their opacity. Again, all of these elements, I'm just looking to add a bit of texture, a bit of erosion.
Then change the overall mood in the photograph. Now a lot of times what happens, when you get to a stage like this in a project, you think you know what, this isn't worth it. This doesn't look very good. But the trick is don't give up. Keep progressing. See what else you can do, because a lot of times you'll find that it's that last 10% or 15% that makes all the difference in the world.
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