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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.
Here at this stage, what I want to do is start to work a little bit more on color and tone, in order to take this even further. Now one of the things that I'm noticing is it's starting to look a little bit more realistic, but I want to modify the overall color and tone, and also I want to tweak the color and tone on the subject a bit more. So in order to do that, let me go back to this Curves adjustment here at the top. This is the one that's just affecting the girl, because the mask is limited to that area. Well, here, I'll go into some of my channels like the Red channel, maybe add just a touch more red there, and also add a little bit more yellow.
So, now that I see the background in this context, I want to change these colors perhaps a bit more so that it's starting to match that background, a little bit more magenta there, and just modify these just a touch there. Here we have our before and then after, again bringing those colors a little bit closer together. Now, another thing that I want to do is I want to darken the lower portion of the image a little bit. So, in order to do that, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to click on the adjustment layer icon and choose Curves, and I'm just going to darken things up a bit.
So as I'm darkening things up, I'm just kind of looking at the image and seeing what's happening here. I realize that it will be really nice to have some of the lower area, maybe this lower leg, a bit darker, and a bit more brightness up top. So I'm going to take advantage of the mask that I already have. What you can do is you can click in your layer mask, this good mask that we've created. Hold down Option or Alt, and then click-and-drag that to a new layer. That allows you to copy and paste the layer mask onto a new layer. Here it says, do you want to do that? Do you want to replace what's there? Heck yeah! So now what we have is this darkening effect, which is just affecting the subject.
Now, in this case, I don't like how it's affecting the entirety of the subject. So, I grab my brush, I paint with black, and I'll paint with black with a real high opacity here, with a really big, soft-edge brush, make your brush bigger by pressing the Right Bracket key. Next, we'll click in the mask for this Curves adjustment here, and with this brush, we'll go ahead and paint away this darkening effect in the upper portion of the image, because we don't really need that darkening effect so much up top. But it's kind of nice to have that lower portion of the leg drop off a bit, there is too much light there.
The other thing I want to do is bring more light to the face. Because this was a backlit subject, I need more light here. So, we'll click on the adjustment layer icon, choose Curves, I'm going to create a brightening curve, invert the mask, press Command+I on a Mac, Ctrl+I on Windows, select your Brush tool, here we want to paint with white, and we'll make our brush nice and small by pressing the Left Bracket key. We're just going to add a little bit of brightness here, and I'll lower my opacity a bit more. What I want to do is kind of bring the viewer's attention to the top portion of the image and bring them up to that area there, brighten that up kind of from the top-down just a touch, and then I'll lower my opacity even more. I'm going to add a bit more to this kind of glowing effect, and zoom out a little bit and add a bit more to this glow that is happening in the background here.
By doing that, again I'm just bringing the focus up to this upper portion of the image. Here you can see the before and after, just bringing in a little bit more focus there. Next, go to the Mask panel, increase the Feather to soften those edges. Currently, I happen to be using a mouse, so I want to soften things up a bit. I'll do so as well on this underlying Curves layer, just feather those out. Then I'll lower the opacity of both of these layers, just lower it so that we can modify this again. We want to go for this subtle kind of buildup of this type of an effect.
All right, well, so far so good, yet there is more work that I want to do in regards to color and tone, and let's explore how we can take a few more steps with this composite in the next movie.
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