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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.
Now, that we have removed the background and removed the copy on the book, the next thing that I want to explore is how we can make this book fit into this context a little bit better. Well, one great way to do that is with shadows and a really simple and easy way to work with shadows is to select the layer, in this case our top layer, and to double-click it. When we double-click it, it will open up our Layer Style effects. From there I'm going to choose Drop Shadow and what I want to do is I want to choose a drop shadow with much smaller Spread and Size.
I just want to have something which is down below here and we can see that's kind of bringing in this nice little shadow. It's going to be pretty subtle, but again it's just a nice little touch, kind of adding this into this context and we can try to find a nice spot for this. Bringing in those edges and keeping it really nice and simple. Next, I'll click on the color here and I'm going to sample a color from my book. I'm going to try to have a dark shadow, but with a little bit of hue into it and then I'll click OK in order to apply that. I think for the most part we're going in a pretty good direction.
It might just be a little bit too big there. I want to keep this thing it really pretty subtle. A little tiny edge there just kind of adding a bit of context to the image, and that needs to be modified just a bit more. Well, I think that's good. It's a subtle little adjustment, maybe even hard to see on this. So I'll zoom in so you can see the bottom base of the book, but there is our before and after. It's softens out some of those edges and it's just looks nice. It makes the book feel a little bit more like it has more dimension.
Now that we've done that, the next task of course is going to be to figure out how can be start to add some content to the book, how can we get this to look interesting? Well, in order to do that, we need to define the area where we want to have content. And what we really need to do is to bring the content into just the pages. We don't want the content to overlap on the background or the edges of the book. In order to build this selection up we can try a couple of different techniques.
Of course, it's always a good idea to try Quick Select. Here I'm on that target layer and I have a nice quick selection there. I'll keep adding to this, building out this side over here as well. Now, for the most part it did a decent job, except it brought in these pages. So I'll need to hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows. Make the brush a bit bigger by pressing the Right Bracket key and then just try to limit this to that little edge there, that page, so that we can have the content come into that context there and go beyond it.
Again, we'll click back and forth as we've done before, trying to use Quick Select. Another great way to work on this would be to use a path and to draw a path around this edge. If we wanted real precision, we could go ahead and do that with the Pen tool. We could get it exactly where we wanted to, but here we'll give it a shot with Quick Select and see how it does. I see if we can fix up our mask just a little bit here as we modify these edges. The nice thing about this is because we're going to eventually do some layer blending, we'll be able to disguise some of the roughness of these edges in a few minutes.
Well, here our first rough selection and for the most part it goes to the edges approximately. Let's open up our design_elements folder and let's turn on the visibility of one of these layers. For example, let's start off with this savanah shot. Well, here if we click in this layer we can then click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Here we can see that it's starting to come into this area, but the edges aren't looking so good. Before we modify the edges, let's change the blending mode here.
We're going to go to the blending mode of Soft Light. Now, once we do that all of a sudden the edges or the edge imperfections become less important. Still though, we want to fix them up a bit. So we'll click in our Masks and we'll feather these out just a bit. We'll go to Mask Edge and in Mask Edge we're going to turn on Smart Radius. We're going to increase that there, smooth things out, add a little bit of Feather, and we can also s hift this edge one way or another. Now, here with just a few small little variations all of a sudden this is looking much more interesting.
We have this there in the page. It feels like it's part of the book. And we're able to start to think about how we can build this composite combining images and a few other types of contents in order to further this composite project.
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