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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, now that we're seeing our composite start to come together, let's now begin to work on color and tone a little bit. So, one of the things that I want to do is I want to work on the model. So, in order to do that, I'll press Command on a Mac, Ctrl on Windows, and then click the layer mask for the model here, for the girl layer. Next, I'll go ahead and click on my adjustment layer icon and choose Curves, or I'll go up to the Adjustments panel and here we can also click Curves. Now, what we want to do with Curves in this case is I want to brighten her up, but also darken things down. I want to add a bit of contrast.
I also want to go into my different channels, and I want to bring up some of the different colors here that we have, bring up a little bit of red, go to green/magenta, perhaps a little bit of magenta, even a touch more there, and then go to blue-yellow, and bring in some of the yellow, especially in those skin tones. I'm going to bring that down, so that we have a lot of that, a nice, deep yellow there. I'll go back and forth through these layers, just trying to find a nice spot of bringing in the touch of color, a little bit of life to the subject there. All right, well, just a hint of color there, also a hint of contrast, I think it's going to work pretty nicely. I am just going to modify this a touch there.
I don't want to go too far with it, but here is our before and then after, adding a bit more definition to the subject. Now, if we zoom out a bit, one of the things that we notice is that she now has this really nice warmth to her, but the books in the background are a little bit cool. So, what I want to do is start to work on the background as well. I kind of want to bring these two images closer together. We've talked a bit about how we have this light coming in behind her. So, it'd be really fun to add a bit of a light source here to this portion of the image.
To do so, let's scroll down to the bottom of our layers stack, click in the background layer, and press Command or Ctrl+J. Let's name this layer lens flare. What we're going to do is go to our Filter pulldown menu, here we'll choose Render, and then we'll select Lens Flare. This will open up this Lens Flare dialog where we have a number of different types of lens flare. In this case, I think this 50-300 might be kind of fun, and what we can do is kind of choose where we want to position this. Again, I think it might be fun to have that right behind her.
What you want to do is you want to try to position that, click OK in order to render it out, and if it's not right, press Command+Z, undo it, go back, Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Try it again. It's a lot of give-and-take here, back and forth, trying to find just the right amount of brightness and also the type of flare that might work. I'm going to undo that one. I think I want it even a little bit more behind her, just really coming from behind her head there, so that it kind of ties into the glow of the hair, and also adds a bit to this kind of imagination feel of this photograph.
Again, I need to bring it up just a bit more and it takes some tinkering here to get this right, doesn't it? Okay, well, that's kind of fun, and again, I'm trying to create a bit more of a surreal image. So I like how that looks. Well, the next thing that I want to do is create a Curves layer to work on the overall color and tone. So here I'll click on my Curves icon, and I'll go ahead and go under the Red channel, bring up the reds there, also go into the Blue-Yellow channel, bringing up those yellows, all these neat vibrant colors, Green channel, a little bit of magenta, go to the RGB Composite, we can brighten things up a bit.
Again, we're just trying to bring it a little bit closer to this type of a look. Well, let's scroll down. With our lens flare layer, what we might want to do is lower the opacity a bit, just kind of scale that back so it's not quite so prominent. We have that light source, that glow, but it's not so strong. We also might want to experiment a little bit with this Curves here. What you can do is you can click on your Gradient tool and choose a gradient like this one here. Then when you click-and-drag across an area, it can allow the effect to come through in a particular area.
So as I click-and-drag we are bringing in that color and tone a little bit more prominently in this area. It's not affecting the rest of the photograph. Now, in this case, I kind of like its intensity here, but I want some of it in the background. This is a nice thing about the Mask panel. Go to the Mask panel and simply lower the density. So what we're doing here is we're saying, "hey, you know what, I want it to be 100% here, but a little bit less in some of those other areas." Again, here's that before and after, and here we have that lens flare layer.
With the lens flare layer too, one of the things you can do is if you don't like perhaps a part of the lens flare, we'll click on the Add Layer Mask icon, grab your Brush tool and paint with black, and then paint with black to conceal part of it, so we could conceal little bit of this. If we want a little bit less of that ring there around the background and it kind of shoots forward or perhaps we want a little bit less of this over here as well. So again, we can really modify this however we see fit and then still have the advantage of having that kind of glow, but a little bit less of the noticeable lens flare little circles there, but it still gives us this really nice type of look and feel.
Well, now that we've worked on the background, we of course need to go back to the subject, because there is something a little bit off with her, isn't there? We need to do a few more adjustments to the overall image to really finish this off. So, let's explore how we can push this even further, and we'll do so in the next movie.
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