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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
All right. We are going to have some fun in this project. We are going to take a series of shots taken of our good friend Nick, a producer here at lynda.com, riding his unicycle down a ramp down by the Harbor here. I am going to show you the final composite we are going to end up on. I am in Bridge right now, looking at these thumbnails. I am going to hit the Spacebar to go to full screen preview. This is the final image that we are going to be creating. If I use my arrow keys, I'll go backwards. You'll see these are just individual frames taken in an Action Sequence. What we want to do is combine these. Now, you can see it was hand -held. It wasn't on a tripod.
So, there is some slight shifting from frame to frame, but that's okay. We are going to be able to fix that, no problem. All right. Hit the Escape key. Let's get started on creating this cool, little project. What we want to do is select the images that we want to combine, and we've got these six different images. We are going to go to the Tools menu in Bridge, down to Photoshop, and say Load Files into Photoshop layers. Photoshop is going to combine all six of these individual files into a single file, with six different layers, with the last one being there on the bottom there.
So, we are going to go ahead and select these six layers by holding down the Shift key, and clicking on the first layer and then the last layer in the layers stack to select all of them. Now that we have got them all selected, we are going to go to the Edit menu and choose Auto-Align layers. We want Photoshop to register all of these layers on top of each other so that they are all perfectly registered. I am going to go ahead and choose Auto and Vignette Removal, just to make sure all the skies look the same. I am going to go ahead and click Ok. Photoshop will do its thing to align each of these layers. It will take a moment to go ahead and evaluate each layer, and figure out what it needs to do to make sure they're all perfectly registered. That looks great.
To check the work, we can just go ahead and deselect by clicking anywhere in that Layers panel to deselect those layers. Then we can turn off some of these layers, so we can see that while the unicycle guy is moving from frame to frame, the dock and the trees are all in the same position. All right. So to get started, what we are going to do is we are going to turn off all the layers but the bottom one. We are going to work from the bottom up. This is our final frame. What we want to do is turn on the very next layer, select it. We want to just see this portion of the image on that particular layer.
So, to do that, we are going to go ahead and select the Move tool. I am going to press V on the keyboard to switch to the Move tool. I want to be able to see this version of the unicycler, and this version of the unicycler at the same time. Now, the easiest way to do that is simply change the layer Opacity of this number 5 layer. I am going to just press the number 5 on my keyboard, and now I have set the opacity of this selected layer to 50%. I can see both of them at the same time. Next step is to add a layer mask to this layer by clicking the Add New Layer Mask button.
This is a layer mask filled with white, which means 'show me the entire layer.' I am going to switch to the Brush tool. I am going to press B for that. And I want to paint with black over this little guy right here. Basically, I am erasing that unicycler. I just want to erase it from my view. Seems maybe opposite of what you were going for. You'll see where I am going with this in just a minute. I am going to erase that, and don't forget the shadow. All right. We want to make sure he still has the shadow. So, we are going to go very closely up to that guy's leg there. Great! I've got the rest of that erased. Now, we'll switch back to the Move tool. Press V, for move.
Press 0 on the keyboard to get it back to the 100%. Then we'll invert this layer mask. This layer mask is hiding everything, but the biker. We want the opposite of that, so we'll go to Image > Adjustments > Invert or Command+I or Ctrl+I. Now, we have got two frames composited. So, we are just going to rinse and repeat and do these techniques again until we've got the final composite. So, again, we'll turn on the next layer. Select it by clicking on its thumbnail. Switch to the Move tool by pressing V. Type 5 for 50%.
Add a layer mask to that layer by clicking the Layer Mask button. Switch to the Brush tool by pressing B, and it will erase this unicycler now, on that particular layer, again, just being very close and careful not to get into the final version of that guy in the final frame. Great! Switch back to the Move tool, V. Type 0 to go back to 100%. Then invert that layer mask. We'll just use the keyboard shortcut this time. Command or Ctrl+I to invert. All right. We are almost done. Let's do this layer again. We'll select it, turn it on, V for the Move tool, 5 for 50%, B for the Brush tool, add a layer mask by clicking the Layer Mask button, painting out with black on the layer mask to hide that version of the unicycler.
Awesome. Switch back to the Move tool. Type 0 to go back to 100%. Command+I to invert the layer mask. Two more to go. Let's turn on the eye for that layer, select it. V for the Move tool, 5 for 50%. Add a layer mask. Get the Brush tool by pressing B, erasing that unicycler. What's so great about that Auto-Align feature is that I don't have to worry about anything else in the image, but the unicycle, because everything else has been registered. All right. We'll go back to the layer mask. We'll invert it. Command+I. Press V for the Move tool.
Go back to 100% by pressing 0, and we have one more to go. Let's turn on that last layer at the top. Select it by clicking on the thumbnail, V for the Move tool, 5 for 50%, B for the Brush tool. Add a layer mask by clicking the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Paint out with black over that guy. Invert the layer Mask. Command+I, Ctrl+I in Windows. Get the Move tool, and last, type a 0 to go back to 100%. Pretty darn easy and pretty cool. You can do this with any action series shots.
It's really a lot of fun, especially if you have kids at sporting events. Maybe they are running, doing soccer or swimming, diving off a diving board, or swinging on a swing. It's really a lot of fun. It's a great way to do a poster for a friend or for your child for their wall or whatever, kind of fun technique. You can see I didn't quite do a very good job on the shadow right there. So, let's go back to that layer here where this layer mask is. Get the Brush tool again, and we are just going to paint with the opposite of black. So, we'll press X to exchange our foreground and background colors. We'll just bring some of that shadow in a little bit tighter on that leg, to make it look a little bit more real. Awesome! The last thing we want to do is crop this.
So, I don't have that transparent edge around there. Maybe add a white border and maybe a soft edge glow as well. So, let's get the Crop tool by pressing the letter C. Switch to the Crop tool, and we'll just crop real close to the edge there, and come around right about like that. Great! I am going to choose to Hide the crop instead of Delete. I want to hide the parts that I can't see, just in case I want to change the crop position later. I want to go ahead and hit the Return key. That will apply that crop. Actually, I want to crop it even further. I want to chop into his head to make it a really a tight looking image here, give it a little bit more action.
So, I want to come in right about there with the Crop tool. Just press the letter C and drag that under crop boundary again. Again, I've got this set to Hide. I am going to go and hit Return. Then last, I am going to add a white border around this. Now, to add a stroke around the image, I am going to go to the top layer, and I am going to add a new blank layer to this file. We need this layer to be filled with something, so that I can apply an effect to it. It has to have some pixels in it. I'll just use the Edit > Fill Command, and I'll fill that with the Foreground Color or White, doesn't really matter.
I am going to go ahead and click OK. I don't actually want to see these white pixels. I just want Photoshop to think that there's something there. That's what the Fill Opacity is for. It's saying, "Make these pixels transparent, but not any effects that you add to that layer" So, the Fill Opacity just makes the pixels disappear, but we'll show you the effects that are on that layer. Let's choose the Stroke Effects from the bottom of the menu there, at the bottom the Layers panel. We have Stroke chosen. We are going to make our Color white. If it isn't already, you can just click on that color chip. Make it be white. Click Ok.
Maybe a stroke width of say 25 pixels is good. Make it down to 25. While we are at it, let's add a little bit of an inside and glow as well. We'll go to the Inner glow by clicking on the word Inner Glow. I am going to click on that color chip. I don't want it yellow. I want kind of a dark blue from the image itself. So, I just move my cursor into the image and sample that blue sky there. Click OK. Instead of Screen, we are going to change the Blend mode to Multiply, to darken the edges of that frame there. We'll make the Size just a little bit bigger, so it creeps into the inside of the image, kind of like a vignette effect.
Go ahead and click OK, and there is the final result. We'll zoom up once. Press F for fullscreen. Maybe hit the Tab key to hide everything. There is your final looking image. Pretty cool result by combining multiple frames of an action sequence to create a compelling looking image.
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