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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.
Let's first explore how we can work with the overall color in this photograph and then let's examine how we can save out some of these different options, just so that we can view them really quickly and also so that we can show these to the client. Well for starters, let's click on the topmost layer in this little layer group and then here we'll click on our adjustment layer icon. We'll choose Color Balance. Let's explore what would happen if we were to really warm up these pages. I'm adding a lot of reds and yellows into the page. We get this really nice look here is that before and than after.
Well, we may decide that we want that to affect everything. Well in that case simply click- and-drag it outside of the group. And what you'll see there is, if we click-and-drag it actually for real this time, all the way up to the top there, that it will now affect the background of the book as well. And in my opinion this adds that extra bit of vibrancy that I'm really going for, the nice vintage color saturation that makes this come to life and it kind of ties everything together. If we want to go even further, what we might want to do is click on the Adjustments layer icon and choose Curves and then even add a little S-curves, just boosting the contrast.
Again, making this a bit more vivid. Now, with this image I don't think we need that extra little bit. I think that this color balance layer really did exactly what I wanted it to do, but just experiment with your own projects. Don't neglect Curves or Color Balance, just because you're working on something and you're focusing in on a small area. Don't forget to step back and think about the entirety of the project. All right, well, let's double-click the Adjustments tab, so we can focus in on our layers. Our layers are just a little bit of a mess, right? And this happens a lot when you get creative, because you have now all of these different adjustments and if you're to show a client all of these layers and click things on and off and change what it looks like, it's not going to be a very good way to display your composite you've created.
So what I want to do is turn on certain layers, then go to my Window pulldown menu and open up Layer Comps. Now, the Layer Comps panel is actually really great. You can see I've actually saved a couple layer comps here. I'll go ahead and delete those so we have a nice fresh start. What I want to do with these layer comps is I'm going to click on the New icon. Now, when I click on the New icon, I'll go ahead and call this one savannah, and then click OK. Next, I want to change this up a bit. I'll turn off savannah. I'm going to turn on the lighthouse, and the fisherman, I kind of like that one.
And with the logo, because the logo is up top, I don't really like that. I'm going to need to duplicate this layer. Drag this to the New Layer icon. Turn off the underline logo layer and then move this logo to a new spot, say some where down here. That might look kind of interesting. What I'm going to try to do is find just a good spot for that. I also don't like the blending, so I'll try Soft Light out or even just Normal, nice white logo there, I think that could work as well, and then lower the opacity just a bit.
All right, well, now that I have this new logo position and also a new logo layer, I have the copy over here in these two graphics. I'm going to create another layer comp, I'll click on the Layer Comp icon, and I'll go ahead and call this one lighthouse. The other thing I may want to do is turn off the bio, just to show an example without all of that clutter, all the other content there. So add another layer Comp by clicking on the Layer Comp icon and I'll go ahead and type out lighthouse - simple.
And again, what I could do is simply turn on and off all of these different layers, trying to find an interesting combination. And here perhaps we'll do another one. in this case right here we'll call this a lighthouse - simple 2. And I forgot to name that in the dialog, so I'll just type this out here. And now that I have these layer comps, what I can do is click through the different layer comps. In this case, I'll press the arrow key, and then it'll show me these different versions for this particular composite. Now, what I like to do in order to show clients work is actually simplify this even further by creating a custom keyboard shortcut to go through my layer comps.
And I actually do this throughout my lynda.com movies, whenever I'm showing the demo slide, or whenever I teach in a classroom, or whenever I'm working with a client. So in order do that let's navigate to our Edit pulldown menu. Here what we're going to do is scroll all the way down and choose Keyboard Shortcuts. This will open up a dialog where we'll have the ability to add a custom keyboard shortcut. So we want to do that and then what we want to do is go to our Panels Menu. And in the panels menus we're going to go ahead and scroll down to Layer Comps.
It's about three quarters of the way down this menu. Next, we'll keep scrolling down until we see Next and Previous Layer Comp. Now, by default there won't be a shortcut here, so let me delete these shortcuts that I'd added. And let's now add our own. You'll just see a blank field next to Layer Comp. Click in the blank field and the shortcut that I use on a Mac is Control+Option+Command+Plus and then for Previous I'll press Control+Option+Command+Minus. Now, on Windows you'll have to come up with your own shortcut, or on a Mac for that matter, simply find a keyboard combination of keys that you can remember and that you can use in order to go through your layer comps.
Well, once you've decided on a custom keyboard shortcut, the next thing that you want to do is you want to click OK in order to apply that. Now, what we can do then is show our client this in a little bit of a cleaner environment. Here we'll press F to a full screen view mode. That will then get rid of everything, so I have this nice clean background. If you don't like the black, well right-click or Ctrl+Click on that. Here I'll choose Custom Color and what I'm going to do is select white, because that kind of connects with the white of this project.
Well now I have this really clean aesthetic of this book just floating in this context. The clients are going to enjoy looking at this and what I'll do then is press my shortcut and I'll walk through a few different options here. And we can talk about them without all the clutter of Photoshop. And sometimes what that will help you to do is to really get to the core of the idea, get to the creativity, get to the concept. You can start to talk about things at a higher level rather than simply saying, oh, why don't you change that Curves? Or why don't you modify that Color Balance? Or why don't you change the mask? You never really want a client to get into your layer so to speak; rather you want them to stay on the concept.
And here, again, we can scroll through these different concepts in order to find the option which will work best for the project, both between the client and ourselves.
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