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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.
At this stage of the project we are ready to experiment more with texture, color, and tone. And here it's kind of a fork in the road. We have a couple of different options. One of the things that you can do is simply apply a Curves adjustment, which will then bring out some of the texture and color and tone that you already have. So let's create one of those adjustments, just so that we can compare back to it. Well, here we'll click on our adjustment layer icon and then choose Curves. What we want to do in Curves is we want to darken up those blacks, brighten up those whites, simple S-curve.
And then go into the different channels, the reds, we are going to add some nice red into the photograph. We'll also go into the green/magentas, add a touch of magenta there and then also the blue/yellow channel, bringing in some nice yellow tones. And by doing this, what this is going to do then is really draw out some of the color and texture that's already there. And so here I'll just go through this and modify these adjustments and just get them exactly where I want them in regards to the overall look and feel the photograph. And in this case, I am going to go through all these channels and go back and forth until I come up with a nice combination with this particular adjustment.
And then of course, we can always lower the opacity of this layer till we get it exactly where we want it. And here I really like this look. Here is before. Now it was a little bit too yellow, almost too green. Here's after. It feels a little bit more rich, a little bit more powerful. And again that in turn brings out the texture. Now, of course, we can take this further by making stronger Curves adjustments, but it's just worth pointing out that sometimes adding texture is simply working on color and tone. That then enhances all the different textures and details that you have. You see these lines in a little bit more of a strong way.
Now another way to work on texture is of course to take a photograph of something. Here you can see I have a scan of this old piece of paper. Now this could be a scan or it could be a simple photograph. And these are really easy to create, they are easy to have around and they are easy to use in Photoshop. A lot of times the best blending for these is going to be Soft Light or Overlay or Hard Light. And here on the Soft Light blending, what we have is a shift which changes the overall color and look. Go to a blending mode of Overlay and you see that that brings in this really nice tonality, and also brings in some great texture, just changing this image completely.
Take a look. Here's before and then after. With one simple picture of an old brown paper bag we all of a sudden have something completely different. And with this image I added a few other elements down here as well, just to make it a touch more interesting. But you can do something simple and plain like this. If we turn on this old paper layer and compare the blending modes again we can bring in something intriguing or engaging, and this will then create a bit of that texture and tone. Now whenever you are working with these types of layers what you want to do is turn the layer on, choose your blending mode, and then create a layer mask.
So here we will click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Next, we need to grab our brush, and typically you want to grab a brush that's irregular. In this case I'll choose this brush here, I am going to increase the size, and I'll increase that brush size even more. That looks good. I am just going to start to paint this away and I am painting with Black at 20% opacity, so it's a pretty low opacity amount. I am just going to go through this and I am going to interrupt this pattern. Whenever you have patterns or textures it's kind of a dead giveaway if they are completely uniform.
So in this case I am just going to start to modify this, just pulling that out in a few little areas, creating some variation. Then I'll go into the Mask panel and I'll blur those brushstrokes and I'll blur them significantly. Next I'll decrease the Density which will decrease the intensity of those brushstrokes. Again, I'm just looking to do something to modify the way this texture is blending in with the image. Another great way to modify this is by lowering the overall opacity as well, because you kind of want to hide it a little bit. You don't want it to be so obvious that someone says, Oh yeah, I know exactly what you did.
Also keep in mind you can always use this texture in combination with your Curves adjustment. Take a look at that. That really makes this come to life when we have a lower opacity, a few brushstrokes and then that Curves adjustment. And as we take this from here all the way to here, it's now an image that has much more power. It's much more profound and much more interesting. All right, well there are few other experiments we may want to do with texture and tone, and let's explore how we can do those in the next movie.
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