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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved the results of the last three exercises, for what its worth, as The masked capitol.psd. Now, let's switch over to an alignment puzzle that presents a little more of a challenge. It's called Boys on tube.psd and this is that classic group shot, by the way, and by that I mean this. Whenever you're taking a photograph that involves more than one person, you should take more than one photograph. Now really, you should be taking multiple exposures of single person shots as well if you want to get a halfway decent result.
But when you're shooting let's say a group of six coworkers or six family members or six anythings for that matter, then you should be taking at least six shots, and that way, you can pick and choose the best shots of each one of the people, align those shots together, and then mask the people into place. Now, the reason this one presents a little more of a challenge what I'm about to show you here is that I was not stationary. So if you can remain stationary with respect to your scene, as a photographer, that is, then you're going to have a much easier time, but if you do move a little, I want to show you what to do.
So what we've got here is a shot of my two children on top of a slide and in one shot, one child looks good and in the other shot, the other child looks good. Now, we've got Max looking very earnest, and sort of as if he has never quite seen a camera before in this Background image which we're looking at right now, whereas Sam is looking down. He's not even looking at the camera. The second shot here, shot number 2 has a positively glowering glare from Sammy looking tough or something I suppose, and then we've got Max looking more tentative.
So the top shot is the shot of Sam, the bottom shot is the shot of Max. So let's go ahead and name them that way. I'll double-click on the name of the top image and call it Sam, and then I'll double-click on the Background item to convert it to a layer and I'll call this one Max and click OK. Now, I want to take two swings at things and the reason I'm going to do this is because these images are more than nonaligned as I was saying. If I turn the Sam layer off, you can see that the whole scene jumps up. But in part, it's because I actually took a step forward I think, which is why I have a different perspective on the scene.
But here's the problem this presents for Photoshop. Not only are my children moving, but the slide in the foreground and the foliage in the park in the background are not going to align to each other. There's just no way to reconcile the differences between these two elements here. So Photoshop has to pick and choose one over the other. Most likely because it's got more information and it's farther away, Photoshop is going to settle on the background, because it's easier to reconcile those background elements. Anyway, let's see what happens but first, I'm going to grab both of my layers, turn them both on, click on one, Shift +Click on the other, and I'm going to group them together by pressing Ctrl+G or Cmd+G on the Mac.
I'm going to call this group GD off. By GD I mean Geometric Distortion. Then I'm going to grab this folder, and I'm going to drag it onto the little New icon at the bottom of Layers panel, in order to make a duplicate of those layers. You may recall I went ahead and turned that Copy feature off, so I'm not seeing the word Copy after every single one of my layers, or after the group name either. I'll show it to you again. Here in the Layers panel flyout menu. You can go down here to panel Options and you turn off Add "copy" to Copied Layers and Groups, and that way you don't have the word copy all over everything when you're duplicating multiple objects.
Anyway, I'll go ahead and cancel out because I already have that selected, and I'll rename the bottom group GD on. So let's start with the top group here. I'll turn off the bottom group. I might as well expand these groups as well, so we can see their thumbnails here in the Layers panel. So I've selected the group. Notice I didn't select the layers this time, just the group. That's fine by Photoshop. If you go up to the Edit menu, you'll see Auto-Align layers and now it knows that you want to align everything inside the group. Choose the command, turn on the Auto Projection option right there, so that Photoshop can do its thing and it has the flexibility to modify these two images in anyway it sees fit, and then turn off both of the check boxes; Vignette Removal should be off, turn off Geometric Distortion as well, click OK, and wait for a moment to see what Photoshop comes up with.
Now, it's a super fast operation this way, because it doesn't have to worry about the distortion. If I turn off the Sam layer and expose the Max layer in back of it, you can see that the park doesn't shift at all. So I'll turn Sam back on. That park remains absolutely stationary, which is awesome. However, the kids move of course and you can see Sammy's legs rotate around the slide but the slide moves as well. The ribs along the slide are not aligned with each other, and it's just impossible for Photoshop to do both is what it comes down to.
Let's turn off GD off for a moment, and turn on the GD on group, and I got to click on it too. I have to make it active, not just make it visible. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu, once again choose Auto-Align layers and this time let's try turning Geometric Distortion on because we're going to get a very different effect. We do not need to mess around with these options, they're not going to do any good. So leave that set to Auto, click OK. And this time Photoshop is going to have to work a little harder, it's even going to bring up a Progress Bar, because it's applying a heavier degree of distortion.
So you can see that it's applied basically a spherical type of distortion to both of the images in order to eliminate what it perceived to be a pincushion effect. A couple of problems with this; one is, it didn't help us with the ribs of the slide. So if I turn off the Sam layer down below here, it's still out of alignment, the same exact alignment problems that we had before. We also have this weird edge around the image. That's not really a problem actually because we just erase that away. But if I turn off the Sam layer for a moment, notice that the fence doesn't really line up; notice that the fence is sort of curving down here a little bit.
When I turn on the Sam layer, it curves down just a little bit more. So we have actually, worse still alignment between these two images, and check out this little sort of castley thing in the background here, right beside Sammy's hand. If I turn off the Sam layer notice that it jumps around a fair amount right there between those two geometric distortion images, that is, where the geometric distortion was supposedly corrected; whereas, if I turn this layer off, turn GD off on, and then turn off Sam, you can see that, that building moves, this little structure here, that is, moves to a much smaller extent.
So the best results where these two images are concerned happen to be the quickest results as well and we were able to achieve them by using the Auto-Align layers command with Geometric Distortion turned off.
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