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Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing
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Project 1: Working with shadows


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Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing

with Chris Orwig

Video: Project 1: Working with shadows

One of the things that we want to do at this point is start to add some shadows so that this composite begins to look a little bit more realistic. Again, it looks like she is floating on top of the books rather than sitting on the books. Now, there are a couple of different strategies that you can take when working with shadows. One easy approach which you can begin to use and then modify is to create a drop shadow, to then copy that drop shadow to its own layer, and then to mask in particular areas of the shadow that are relevant. Let me show you what I mean. Well here on our top layer, we'll go ahead and double-click this layer and we'll click to add Drop Shadow.
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  1. 2m 30s
    1. Welcome
      52s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 38s
  2. 20m 12s
    1. Combining layers with blending modes
      1m 36s
    2. Using blending modes and color adjustment layers
      2m 21s
    3. Layer blending and shortcuts
      4m 3s
    4. Creative project: Wisdom begins in wonder
      6m 23s
    5. Creating a flamenco dancer advertisement
      5m 49s
  3. 17m 39s
    1. Snapshot project: Using Auto-Align and Auto-Blend
      3m 27s
    2. Flag project: Combining depths of field
      3m 46s
    3. Nature project: Combining foreground and sky
      4m 47s
    4. Nature project: Adding clouds and creative color
      5m 39s
  4. 15m 28s
    1. Combining multiple frames
      5m 21s
    2. Cleaning up the details
      5m 5s
    3. Modifying color and tone
      5m 2s
  5. 11m 48s
    1. Combining interior and exterior architecture
      6m 57s
    2. Increasing drama and visual interest
      4m 51s
  6. 25m 27s
    1. Composite project overview
      4m 12s
    2. Masking multiple images together
      3m 28s
    3. Extending the canvas and adding elements
      2m 58s
    4. Enhancing the main elements
      1m 47s
    5. Cleaning up the background
      4m 27s
    6. Award-winning composite inspiration
      4m 30s
    7. Photoshop composite inspiration: Web sites
      4m 5s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Project 1: Removing a model from a background
      9m 27s
    2. Project 1: Combining multiple photographs
      3m 23s
    3. Project 1: Working with shadows
      8m 15s
    4. Project 1: Adding light and color
      5m 18s
    5. Project 1: Working with curves and masking
      3m 45s
    6. Project 1: Final color and tone adjustments
      6m 56s
    7. Project 2: Combining multiple photographs
      7m 51s
    8. Project 2: Adding shadows
      7m 21s
    9. Project 2: Organizing layers and adding blur
      5m 48s
    10. Project 2: Adding film grain
      6m 19s
  8. 22m 58s
    1. Illuminating the eyes
      4m 16s
    2. Blending graphics with photos
      4m 25s
    3. Making final color modifications
      6m 19s
    4. Creative portrait blending
      7m 58s
  9. 25m 54s
    1. Working with color and tone
      3m 46s
    2. Adding texture
      4m 4s
    3. Adding film grain
      2m 44s
    4. Modifying texture
      4m 32s
    5. Darkening edges
      3m 34s
    6. Applying a creative color effect
      7m 14s
  10. 14m 39s
    1. Creating a selection of the TV glass
      4m 14s
    2. Masking the images into the selection
      5m 16s
    3. Modifying the color and tone
      5m 9s
  11. 27m 42s
    1. Extracting elements from their backgrounds
      6m 49s
    2. Removing the words from the book
      4m 31s
    3. Masking and image blending
      4m 35s
    4. Creating composite options
      4m 56s
    5. Enhancing the color
      6m 51s
  12. 11m 39s
    1. Setting the stage with color and tone
      4m 30s
    2. Working with textures and blending
      7m 9s
  13. 20m 31s
    1. Project overview
      4m 54s
    2. Using masking and blending modes for emphasis
      5m 8s
    3. Adding and modifying typography
      4m 55s
    4. Making final color and tone adjustments
      5m 34s
  14. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing
4h 41m Intermediate Sep 02, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Extending the canvas
  • Combining multiple frames
  • Cleaning up the background
  • Modifying color and tone
  • Masking images together
  • Removing a model from a background
  • Blending graphics with photos
  • Illuminating eyes
  • Adding texture and film grain
Subjects:
Photography Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Chris Orwig

Project 1: Working with shadows

One of the things that we want to do at this point is start to add some shadows so that this composite begins to look a little bit more realistic. Again, it looks like she is floating on top of the books rather than sitting on the books. Now, there are a couple of different strategies that you can take when working with shadows. One easy approach which you can begin to use and then modify is to create a drop shadow, to then copy that drop shadow to its own layer, and then to mask in particular areas of the shadow that are relevant. Let me show you what I mean. Well here on our top layer, we'll go ahead and double-click this layer and we'll click to add Drop Shadow.

Now the Drop Shadow that we want is going to be pretty tight and we also want it to show up underneath the image. So we'll go ahead and change the direction there and I'll bring the distance down a bit so we can see that. Now, press Spacebar in the image to move it over there so we can actually see what we have. Now this Drop Shadow doesn't look very good, right? And the problem is that again it almost makes it look like this image is sitting on top of the background, it's not part of the background. So what we want to do is just keep modifying our settings here and look to see what might work with this and I'm guessing that we're going to need to have a real low Amount on these different values, perhaps a bit more Size or Spread there but a pretty low tight Amount, and then we'll go ahead and click OK.

Well, now that we've done this, we need to put the drop shadow on its own layer. To do that we can go over to our Layer pull-down menu, choose Layer Style, and then go all the way down to Create Layer. This will then create a new layer of this particular drop shadow. Here it's warning us just saying, "hey, you know what, sometimes this won't work very well. Do you really want to do this?" And yes, we do. All right, well, here you can see we now have the drop shadow on its own layer. Click on the eye icon; there is the before and then the after. What's great about this is we can click in the shadow and then use our Arrow keys if we have the Move tool selected and just nudge this around a bit.

Again, just try to nudge it to get it just in the right spot there. And what I think we want to do is we want to have a shadow where we have a little bit of this point of contact here. We want it to be really small. We'll build a bigger shadow later but for now we're going to have a little bit of a small little shadow. So next let's create a mask. Press the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on Windows and then click on the Add Layer Mask icon. This creates a mask filled with black. In other words, we have no shadow. Next, we want to zoom in for this. We grab our Brush tool by pressing the B key or clicking on it.

We also want to paint with white, so we choose white in our color picker, and then we'll increase the size of our brush, so we have a size of a brush which allows us to paint in a shadow in the area like this. We want to lower opacity so that we can then incrementally bring in the shadow and here all that I'm going to do is just start to bring in the shadow in this area. And you can see that what we can do is where the shadow is touching something, perhaps it's going to be a little bit more prominent and then it might taper off a bit. So, again, I'm just going to go ahead and make my way through here, bringing in this little shadow that we have, and the great thing about this is that if we make a mistake, we can always press the X key to invert and then just paint that shadow away.

So we'll go ahead and just bring in these shadows back and forth. Again, just that little bit of that point of contact that the object should have. It should get a little darker in that area, kind of showing that we're getting close to this. And again the nice thing about this is we have such precise control over the intensity of this type of shadow and also over how it's starting to look. Now, if the shadow is too far dropped down, grab your Move tool and then just nudge it up a bit. Again, we're just looking for that touching point. We need that point of contact shadow. We also will need some other shadows of course, but this little point of contact shadow starts to begin to build that believability that we really need.

Now of course there's going to be more work that we need to do, so whenever you start to work in a project like this, don't be dismayed if it doesn't look great initially. Keep in mind there is a process here. We need to go through these different steps in order to get this looking even better. All right, well now that we've created this point of contact shadow, what I want to do is create some more bigger shadows. So in order to do that, we're going to create a new layer. Let's go ahead and click on the New Layer icon here and let's name this layer shadows. Next, let's lower this underneath the point of contact shadows and let's rename this layer point of contact, because that's that touching point, and let's name this girl up top just so we have our layers named really nicely.

All right, well now that we've organized our layers, let's click in the shadows layer and change the blending mode to Soft Light. Soft Light is a great blending mode when you want to either brighten or darken areas of your image, as you know. So here we press the B key to select the Brush tool, we want to paint with black, and we want to have a real low opacity so that we can incrementally build this up, so around 35 might work. Maybe even a little bit higher, we'll see. And then we're going to make our brush nice and big. Right-click or Ctrl+click, with this brush you want to make sure you have no Hardness there, so we have no Hardness, which is great.

We just want to think about shadows and we want to think about you know what happened here is that these certain areas should just be a little bit generally darker. If there's someone near it, it will trap the light into that area, and this is just some general, more environmental shadows, and we'll lower the opacity way down to get a little bit more of that darkening effect. This will help connect these images. We also want to play on the shadows that we have here on the books, darkening those up as well. So I'm just painting across some of these other shadows. I'm looking to bring those down a bit more around the leg, also around the knee, because if the knee is close to this, there is going to be a shadow and it's not going to be a point of contact shadow but it just happens that the light should be blocked a little but over here, the book should get a little bit darker in those areas.

So again, we'll start to just work on that and work around the hand and darken that up, and as you work on these shadows, a lot of times what you'll feel is that you're not really doing anything, it's not really worth it and you'll kind of second-guess or question your progress here. Well, that's good. You shouldn't see anything really dramatic, anything that stands out like a sore thumb. If you do or if you feel like your shadow is getting a little bit too prominent, what you might want to try is to go to Filter, choose Blur and then Gaussian Blur, and then soften out your brush strokes and you can see that you can just incrementally bring this up, in order to add a little bit more diffusion so that those shadows, again, aren't quite so dramatic. Or if that doesn't work for you, another thing that you can do of course is create a layer mask.

You can create a layer mask and then on that layer mask with your Brush tool, paint with black and make your brush nice and big and just paint away some of the shadows if you think that you overdid it in a couple of ways, and this can be a nice back-and-forth way to start to again bring in some of the shadows which will make this look a little more realistic. Let's take a look at how we're doing. Here we have our before and then our after. And it's these type of shadows, combined with our point of contact shadows, which really help the subject rather than float, start to be part of the overall frame.

And another thing that we want to do is I have been mentioning earlier is that we want to make sure on the shadow layer that we work on some of the other shadows in the image, we darken up some of these, we add a little bit a drama here. So burn and dodge other areas, other shadows in order to add to the overall aesthetic of what we're trying to accomplish and we can really come up with some interesting results in this sense, and just by darkening up some of those books and adding those shadows, it feels a little bit more like light is traveling this certain way from a certain perspective.

Let's zoom out and see how we've done so far. Here we have our before and then our after, the shadow layers are looking pretty good. Here's before without the shadows and then here is with the shadows. Well, now, we obviously have a few more issues we have to deal with. We have this light source coming into the hair. we have this rim light around the subject. We have a couple other things that we need to do in regards to color and tone and to creating a bit more of an imaginative look and feel. Let's explore how we can do all those things and a bit more in the next few movies.

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