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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.
One of the best ways to learn how to do things in Photoshop is to be given an assignment or a task, and we have an assignment here and here is what it is. We have these different elements, and as I turn on the layers you will notice basically we have texture and some graphics, and then we have this photograph of this flamenco dancer. Now, none of these core images are very good, but our task is to somehow bring these together in order to create this small little piece that can be used in order to promote her upcoming performance. And what we want to do is add a little bit of life and texture to this.
And what's fascinating about using layer blending is that we can take elements which aren't even very good and come up with something that might be interesting. All right! Well, let's turn off the visibility of all these layers and target the wall layer. The first thing I want to do is actually remove this branch. I like the texture, but the branch, it's a little bit too much for me. So I will go ahead and navigate over to my Spot Healing Brush and I will turn on Content Aware, and what that allows you to do is to paint over areas like this and then remove them without a lot of effort, and in this case it removes that and tries to replicate a bit of the texture.
I think that will work fine. Next step, I am going to click on my layers and change the blending mode one layer at a time. The leaf layer, let's take that to Soft Light. The texture layer, let's take that to Soft Light. The sprockets layer, we will click in that one and again choose Soft Light. Yet here I decide you know what, that's too dark. I want that brighter up top, so I will press Command+I or Ctrl+I. All right, so far so good. Here is before and then after. All right, let's bring in the flamenco dancer.
Well, once I bring her in, all of a sudden she doesn't feel right. She doesn't feel like she belongs in this image. Well, all that we need to do is to reorder these layers. We can do that by clicking and dragging this layer down, or if you want to use a shortcut, here it is. On a Mac, press Command, on Windows, press Ctrl, then press the Left Bracket key, and as I reorder these layers, all of a sudden she is now much more part of the image and it's looking a little bit more interesting. Well, the next thing that I want to do is I want to create a series or sequence of photographs of this particular dancer.
So in order to do that, we know that we can duplicate this layer a couple of different ways. You can press Command+J or Ctrl+J, or you can go ahead and click and drag to the New Layer icon, or there is one more technique which is even faster, and here it is. You grab your Move tool. Then if you are on a Mac, you press Option; if you are on Windows, you press Alt. You hold down that key, and then you simply click and drag. And as you do that, you will notice that it then creates a new layer for you, and what we want to do with this new layer is change the blending mode.
So here, let's choose Soft Light, and in this case, all of a sudden it's there in the background. We could also try Overlay, it might be kind of interesting as well. All right! Well, I think Soft Light is kind of fun. The problem though with this layer is it's covering up the main layer, so let's bring that back down below that and then we can reposition. Next step, hold down Option or Alt, click and drag, and keep doing that so you can create this little interesting pattern of all of these versions of this photograph, and again, kind of making this come to life in a different way.
And some times it's fun to lower opacity sequentially, so this one has a little bit less opacity, and then this one also a little bit less, so that it slowly gets more and more. Now we will go through here and just subtly take this down, so it looks a little bit more intriguing. All right! Well, I am liking the way that this is turning now, except she is much too dark here. So I am going to click in this layer, which is f1, flamenco1. I want to bring more light to the dancer. To do that, let's create a Curves adjustment. Here we will click on the Curves adjustment layer icon and brighten this up, and then add just a touch of contrast there as well.
Well, this is affecting the entirety of everything. I don't want that. I just want light on her. So we need to create a layer clipping mask, and we can do that by clicking on this icon here. Next step, invert your mask. Press Command+I or Ctrl+I. Then we will grab our Brush tool, we will paint with white. We are going to paint with a relatively small brush, no Hardness, and an opacity somewhere around there, about 75% or so I think will be good. I am just going to simply click around the image here a little bit, just adding some light. I want to brighten this up.
Make my brush a little bit bigger just to add some more light, really bring the focus into this area of the image. I want to bring those hands out. I have a lot of detail on that. And let's take a look. Here we have before and after. All right! Well, the last thing I want to do here in regards to the images is click in f1, then just lower the opacity a bit, blend that into the background, so it's a little bit more of a texture. All right! Well, now we have come with something pretty interesting. The last thing I want to do is add some type.
So here, we will go ahead and click in our topmost layer, press the T key to select our Type tool, and I will go ahead and type out a name, and I am just going to make up a name here. And then press Command+Return on a Mac, Ctrl+Return on Windows, or reposition this. I will bring it into this area here, and then change the blending mode. And a lot of times Soft Light works well or Overlay works well whenever we have a nice bright tone there. This then adds a nice little finishing touch to this project.
And in a way what we have done is we have made something out of nothing. We have taken these ordinary layers and we have simply used some different blending modes in order bring those together, to create something completely different.
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