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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.
Simply to have a bit of fun with this image let's explore how we can work with color and tone in order to bring these two items together, and also to have a bit of fun with enhancing the overall look and feel and aesthetic of this composite. All right, well the first thing that I am going to do is go ahead and click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Curves. I want to create a darkening Curves adjustment here. It just kind of bring down the details. Invert the mask, press Command+I on the Mac, Ctrl+I on Windows, press the B key for your Brush tool. We'll paint with white with a low opacity.
You can change that by pressing a number on your keyboard, like press the 3 key. Opacity goes to 30%. I am just going to start to darken some of these edges here. I want the image to be a bit more about the face. I am just going to bring down some of this area. Press the Left Bracket key make my brush a little bit smaller there. Again, just look to create a bit more drama, darkening up some of this content and start to bring this together a little bit. And I'll work on the pants just a touch there too, adding a little bit more of that weathered feel.
All right, so far so good. The next thing I am going to try is to click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Hue/Saturation. And to use this muted contrast look which we can accomplish by lowering the Saturation here and then might changing our blending mode to Soft Light. What this can do for us, it can give us this contrast but we can control the color saturation of that contrast by modifying it. We can bring it all the way down or you can try Colorize as well and bring up your Hue a little bit, and then modify the Saturation.
So you bring in just a little bit of color into that desaturated type of a look. Well in this case, what I'll do is simply choose just a low saturation and then I'll lower the opacity of this. It's a bit too intense there. And then bring back some of the overall warm tones. We will click on the Adjustment Layer icon. Choose Color Balance. Now with Color Balance we can do so much. We could just simply work on our Midtones and bring in some reds and yellows and kind of give it a little bit more of that vintage type of aesthetic, and that really bring things together nicely.
On the other hand, another way that you could approach this perhaps would be to go into your Shadows and bring some deeper tones in the Shadows and then in your Midtones bring some of those warmer colors and also in your Highlights bring a little bit of that warmer tone. So you have this kind of warm-cool type of a look. Well here with this image, I think it's going to work best. Simply just to add some red and yellow, give it some of that really warp. That looks like an old book. It feels like this is an older story. All right well so far so good. We've really added some interesting aesthetic.
Here's our overall before and after with that, before and then after. Last thing I want to do here is zoom in a bit. I want to add a touch of film grain to this photograph. To do that, we click in our top layer. We merge to top. And to do that, on a Mac we press Shift +Option+Command+E, on Windows we press Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. And then we'll go ahead and name this top layer grain. Next what we are going to do is navigate to our Filter pull-down menu. Here we are going to choose Noise> Add Noise.
The type of noise that we are going to add is Gaussian Monochromatic. We are going to increase the noise here. We are going to increase it actually more than you'd be comfortable with. We have la ittle bit too much noise in the frame. So we would bring up that noise there then click OK. Once we have all that noise, what we need to do is somehow mask this off or scale this back. Here's how we'll do that. We'll click off the visibility of this layer for a moment. We'll go to our Channels panel and then we'll Command+Click or Ctrl+Click one of our channels.
So on a Mac, let's Command+Click the Red channel, on Windows let's Ctrl+Click the Red channel. Go back to the Layers panel, turn on the visibility of this top grain layer and then click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Now what this will do for us is this particular mask will reveal or conceal that grain in some pretty interesting ways. Shift+Click the mask and you'll see the before and after. And so what it's doing is it's just limiting the grain. So it's not so intense. It's not so prominent. Then we can lower the opacity so the grain falls back even more, again just so we have a bit of that texture.
Another fun thing to try is to invert your mask, press Command+I. And sometimes what you'll find is that it will allow you to bring grain into different areas of photograph that look really good. Other things you might want to try with this type of a grain effect is to go to the Masks panel and just modify the density of the mask. This will have a little bit less of a masking type of effect. But still as you Shift+Click this you can see the before and after that what it's doing is it's bringing this grain in a subtle yet significant way, adding a bit of this texture and tone and feel to the overall image. All right.
Well these last few layers have really been all about style and then finishing the image off, so let's group these together. We'll click in this topmost layer, hold down the Shift key, click in the bottommost layer, then press Command+G or Ctrl+G. And what we'll do is we'll go ahead and just call this style or aesthetic. Let's evaluate the overall image. To do so press Tab to hide everything in the Photoshop interface, press F to go to full-screen view mode until you have this view mode with the black in the background. Then press the F7 key to bring up your Layers panel.
Let's take a look at what we've done. If we turn off the visibility of our layers we can see the original photo. There's the photo where the guy was brought in. We have the thimble which we brought in the hands with the few little shadows. And then finally some style adjustments where we blurred out the feet, we worked on color and tone, and we also, just for the fun of it, added a bit of film grain in order to accomplish this overall aesthetic and vision that we had for this composite. And one of the fun things about working with composites like this is it starts to expand our vision for what's possible.
It's really fascinating how we can photograph a subject in one context and then successfully bring them into another context. So here's one of the things that I recommend for you. I recommend for you to try this out with your own photographs. If you haven't ever given this a try, give it a try now. Stop watching these movies, take a couple of different photographs, and see if you can use all the skills that you've learned to bring a model or a subject from one context into another.
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