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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.
These days digital cameras are quite amazing yet there still are things that we can see with our eyes, which we can't capture on our cameras, and in this document you can see we have two layers. One layer where I focused in on the magnifying glass and then another layer where I focused through the magnifying glass in order to make sure that a star was sharp. Now it's impossible to get both of these elements sharp at this range, due to the optics of the magnifying glass and due to the way cameras work. So what I want to do here is somehow bring in together these two areas of focus, and now while I will be working on a particular scenario here, keep in mind that this technique of bringing in multiple areas of focus can be used in a wide range of scenarios.
All right, well first let's turn on the visibility of the magnifying glass layer. Next, what we want to do is go ahead and click on the Add Layer Mask icon. From here we will grab our Brush tool, we are going to go ahead and paint with white. Now I want to paint with white with a nice soft-edged brush, no hardness there, a relatively small size brush. opacity, we want it to be somewhere relatively high, 70-80% or so. Next we are just going to start to paint over this area, we want to paint over this area actually with black. So I will press the x key to flip that so I have black as the foreground color.
As I do that I can slowly bring in this background. Paint over it multiple times to bring in a little bit more. You will notice that I am staying away from my highlights. I want to keep those in the mix because that's what makes this look interesting. All right, I will press four on the keyword to go down to 40%. I am just going to remove this area down here a little bit more slowly just to be careful and then I will press 2 to go to 20% opacity, and I am just going to paint through this highlight a little bit here, bringing in a touch of the star on that side and a little bit of this edge over here as well.
All right, well so far so good. Let's take a look. If we Shift+Click the mask you can see there is our before and then now our after. That's looking much better. Well the next thing I want to do is bring out the detail of the star. To do that we will click in the background layer. So let's go ahead and copy the background layer by pressing Command+J or Ctrl+J and then we will name this layer sharpen. Next step, let's navigate to our Filter pulldown menu. Here we will choose sharpen and then Smart Sharpen.
What's interesting about Smart Sharpen is what we can do is increase the overall Amount and then increase the Radius. This gives us nice edged detail, but if you zoom in even closer, check this out. If we turn on More Accurate, all of a sudden we are going to see all these little threads really come to life, and what we want to do is exaggerate this sharpness because we are photographing through a magnifying glass. We are losing a lot of detail there. We just want to find just the right spot with that Radius and also More Accurate, again just bringing out all of those nice details and texture, and then we will click OK.
All right, so far so good,. Here is that before and then after. Now that's really sharp. Well, one of the things that happens occasionally when you are sharpening photographs is that you can exaggerate noise, especially if you are working with More Accurate. So in order to compensate for that or to correct for that, we want to change this layer blending mode to Luminosity and that's something you want to do almost always when you sharpen. Therefore, it will only show you the luminance value of that layer. It won't create any exaggerated noise or any noise problems.
All right, well let's take a look at our image. Here we can see one of the layers and then this was the one where we added the mask which allowed us to see through to the star, and then finally we sharpened that up so it looked nice and crisp and that finishes our work on these images.
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