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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.
Before we begin to work on this project, one of the first things I want to do is evaluate what we have in our Layers panel. Here you can see I've combined a number of different layers. Let's click through these, just so we're familiar with what we have. In the next layer, we have a photograph of a sunrise, and then we have a coffee stains graphic, a tree graphics, some grass, an interesting edge, and also a border. Now eventually, we'll be using all of these different elements, and we'll blend these together with the image. But for now, let's turn off the visibility of those layers. Let's start off with the portrait.
Well here, what I want to do is zoom in to 100%. So we can do that by double-clicking the Zoom tool. All right, well, now that we're in at 100%, let's work on the eyes. To do that, let's duplicate this layer by pressing Command+J or Ctrl+J. Then let's rename this eyes. We want to do that so that we can really sharpen the eyes in a unique way. Well here, we'll navigate to our Filter pull-down menu. Then we're going to choose Sharpen and Smart Sharpen.
In Smart Sharpen, what we want to do first is turn on More Accurate. Next, we want to crank up the Amount. We want a really high Amount, and also a pretty high Radius. We're going to overdo things here, because we're trying to create a more conceptual type of an image here. We're not going for realism. We're going for a snap, and pop, and visual interest. So in this case, I really want those eyes to come to life. There is the before and after. I'm going to go ahead and even increase my Amount even more. I think that looks good. Now the More Accurate will bring out all the little texture there. So let's click OK.
The next thing we need to do is to limit the sharpening to the eyes. So to do that, we want to click on the Add Layer Mask icon, but we want to create a mask filled with black. You remember how to do that one. On a Mac, you hold down Option. On Windows, you hold down Alt. Then you click on the Mask icon. That will create a mask filled with black. All of a sudden, we lost all that beautiful sharpness that we had. Well here we'll grab the Brush tool. We'll plaint with White with a pretty high opacity, and a nice small brush.
So I'll make my brush nice and small. I'm going to go ahead and just paint this in. Whenever you're working with sharpness in eyes, it's a lot of times a good idea to paint from the inner part of the eye out. So in this case, we'll start in the middle of the eye and go out, kind of bring in all of these fun details that we have here. There is the before and after. I'll zoom in even closer, so you can see that before and then after. All right, well, let's keep working on the eyes. Here we'll click on our Adjustment Layer icon and choose Curves. What we want to do with Curves is we want to brighten this up, and we'll go ahead and change the color as well.
I'll go to the Green channel, and I'm going to add a little bit of green there. the Red/Cyan channel, a little bit of cyan. Then I'll go to the Blue channel as well and add a bit of blue. We're just mixing the color together for an interesting effect. Next, we need to invert the mask. Command+I on a Mac, Ctrl+I on Windows. Grab our Brush, and once again we want to paint in this particular color. Well, what we're going to do with this color is we're going to change the blending mode. We're going to duplicate this a couple of times. So first, we have just this really intense effect, a lot in the eyes.
We're going to make this even more so by going to a blending mode of Screen. So all of a sudden, we just have all of this really bright vivid color. Next, I'm going to go to my Mask panel, and just Feather out my edges there a little bit. It will make this look a little bit nicer. Then we'll duplicate this layer by clicking and dragging this to the New Layer icon, and changing the blende mode to Soft Light. That will bring back our contrast. Now here, we want to go ahead and lower the opacity of each one of these layers one at a time. As we do that, we can bring in the exact amount of brightness or color.
Here is that overall kind of before and after with the eyes. Well, now here at this juncture, the eyes are indeed over the top. But that's what I'm going for. We can soften this up later, and you'll see how that will work in a second. All right, well, now that we've worked on the eyes, and we have these three layers. Here is before and after, we're ready to transition to working on some of the overall blending, bringing in some of these interesting elements into this photograph. So let's explore how we can do that in the next movie.
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