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Combining group shots with Auto-Align

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: Combining group shots with Auto-Align

If you've ever needed to take a photograph of a group of people, you know what a challenge that can be at some times, to get everyone looking at the camera with their eyes open and smiling all at the same time. Don't worry if that doesn't happen. As long as you have a digital camera, just keep pressing that button down and get a bunch of shots, because you might actually be able to just composite the best of each frame into the final image. So, here we have two images. Let's go ahead and hit the Spacebar in Bridge to get the full-screen preview. And you can see, in this particular image, she's smiling here, the third from the left there, but the hair is kind of blowing of the woman in yellow.

Combining group shots with Auto-Align

If you've ever needed to take a photograph of a group of people, you know what a challenge that can be at some times, to get everyone looking at the camera with their eyes open and smiling all at the same time. Don't worry if that doesn't happen. As long as you have a digital camera, just keep pressing that button down and get a bunch of shots, because you might actually be able to just composite the best of each frame into the final image. So, here we have two images. Let's go ahead and hit the Spacebar in Bridge to get the full-screen preview. And you can see, in this particular image, she's smiling here, the third from the left there, but the hair is kind of blowing of the woman in yellow.

If I hit my arrow key to go on the next frame, you can see these two look better on the left, but then she's got her eyes almost closed. So, what I want is to combine these two shots and just use the best of each. Let's hit the Escape key to go back to the Bridge view, and we'll go ahead and select these two group shots. And there is no limit to how many frames you can use here. You can use two or more. We'll go to Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop layers. This will combine these into a new single file. Each image has its own layer. We'll go ahead and select these two layers in the Layers panel by holding down the Shift key and clicking on them.

Then under the Edit menu, we'll choose Auto-Align layers. This is going to make sure that from frame to frame, all the common pixels are in perfect registration. And it may have to rotate or distort each layer to make that happen, so you might see some shifting there, and that's okay. We'll crop it at the end. We'll go and deselect these layers, and then we can turn them on and off to kind of see the shifting here. So, what we want to do is hide everything on this layer, but her, where she's smiling. To do that, we'll add a layer mask. We'll go down at the bottom of the Layers panel.

We'll select that layer first. Add a layer mask. By default, the layer mask is filled with white, meaning reveal everything in this layer. I can invert that by doing Command+I or Ctrl+I. That hides everything on that particular layer. Now I can just press the letter B on my keyboard, switch to the Brush tool, and I'm going to paint with white on this layer here to bring in that other version of her. We can just actually go and just do right round the face, because everything else is in perfect registration there. There you have it.

You've got the best way to combine multiple frames of a group shot and just make sure you get that final looking-good group photo that you're looking for. All right. Let's go ahead and close this. We won't save changes, and we'll switch back over to Bridge here. You can do this for pretty extreme things. We've got these two images as well. Let's do the same thing. We'll go to Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop layers. It's going to do the exact same thing we just saw with the other set of photos. Here, it's not really a group shot per se. It's just a couple.

I kind of like how this image of him, the boy on the left, he's not cropped and clipped like in the other frame, but the image of her, she looks little bit better with her face looking this way and see more of her smile. So, I want to combine these two and get the best looking composite. All right. So I'm going to select those two layers again by holding down the Shift key, select them together, go to the Edit menu and choose Auto-Align layers. Again, if I just go ahead and choose Auto, Vignette Removal, click OK, Photoshop is going to do its magic and register all the common things in these particular two layers.

I can turn the top layer on and off to kind of see the difference. You can see everything else is pretty much good registration. Now it's just a matter of masking out this version of the boy on the top layer. So, let's go ahead and select just the one layer at the top, add a layer mask, press B on the keyboard for the Brush tool. We're going to make the brush quite a bit larger on this particular version. You use the Right Bracket key to make that brush pretty big. Let's just start painting with black. Since I have a white layer mask right now and white is my foreground color over here in the bottom left, I'm going to press X to exchange my colors, so that black is now my foreground color.

And I'm just going to paint out that version of the dude on the left. Looking good! Awesome! I'm just painting big strokes with my Brush tool here, making sure I get all that. Might make the brush a little bit smaller, left bracket, and to get into the finer details of the hand here, making sure I don't go anywhere into the lemonade jar there. Okay, it's looking pretty good! Finish up that hand, and we're pretty much done.

Now we might see a seam here, so let's get rid of that. I'll use the Left Bracket key to make the brush a little bit smaller. We'll paint out that corner of that seam there, no. If I go too far, you just press X and paint that back out with the opposite color white. Then let's turn the layers on and off to see the before and after. So, here's before. There is after. We can kind of see these two images compositing. What I might want to do here is get rid of this little person that was walking by. You guys can see the difference there. So, let's just paint that out with black. Press X to exchange our foreground and background colors again, and we'll just paint out that person walking through.

Press C for the Crop tool. We'll go ahead and drag out a new crop boundary for the composite. This time I'll hit the Delete option instead of the Hide Option. We'll press Return, and there is your final-looking composite. So, very handy technique to combine multiple photos of a group shot, whether it be two people or four people or twenty people, to get the best of each frame, so you end up with the perfect group photo.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 93456 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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