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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.
I've had the privilege of teaching Photoshop for a number of years, and I've had the privilege of working with a wide range of students, and one of the things that I've discovered time and time again is that Photoshop really isn't that difficult. Now of course Photoshop is deep and there's a lot to learn, but what's really difficult, what's really tricky, is actually thinking about, hey, I have this internal idea. How do I express that externally? How do I create something that matches what I actually want to do? And here I want to explore another composite that will actually be quite simple, which will start off with this out of focus image and also some textures, with the goal of trying to express something.
Now this particular photograph I captured up at this place you have to boat into in order to go surfing. When you get out there it's really lonely. There is a lot of solitude and that's one of the reasons why I really like it. This particular wave isn't very good. It's a photograph of my friend and it's completely blurry and out of focus. Yet sometimes I find that shooting sports and action sports in an out of focus way can be interesting. Now many times I would delete an image like this, because it wouldn't really be worth anything, but as I was flipping through these images, this one kind of caught my eye and I thought, it is so simple. It kind of captures that loneliness or solitude that I enjoy so much when I get out there.
I want to try to create a piece just for myself which expresses how I felt that particular day. So here you can see I have some textures. The textures are all really simple and here's one with a frame or an edge, here's another one, a different edge and then another texture. These particular textures come from a program which is called PhotoFrame, which is put out by the folks at onOne Software. If you visit their site, ononesoftware.com, you can download a free trial of this plug-in. If you install it you can then access these different frames, or of course you could always shoot or create your own textures.
This could be an old concrete wall. This one you could use brushes, just to paint in those edges, or for this again, you could just add some film grain or noise to the layer and then paint in the different edges. So this isn't contingent upon these particular textures; more, it's contingent upon having something to start to create some kind of blending with. All right, well, what do we wanted to do here? Well, I want to start off by creating a mood or a tone, and so a lot of times I think about color when I'm doing that. So I'll click on my background layer and here navigate up to Color Balance.
Now in Color Balance one of things I know is that I want my highlights to take on a lot of yellows. So I'm just going to try to brighten those up, and it's really almost overexposing those yellows. Next, I'll go into my shadows and I want the opposite. I want really deep cool tones and a little bit of cyan there to almost give it a bit of this duotone type of look or cross processed type of aesthetic, but something that kind of matches the overall blurry aesthetic. All right, well now, that I have established a bit of a look in regards to the color, the next thing I'm going to do is start playing with my textures.
The stuff in regards to working with textures as you've discovered really isn't that difficult. It's all about experimenting. We turn on the visibility of a texture or we drag a texture into our document from another document and then we change the blending mode. We try something like Overlay or Soft Light, and sometimes we also try inverting the texture. We can do that by pressing Command+I. I kind of like the inverted version a bit better. Yet there's a problem. The texture goes through here in the surfer. I don't like that.
With texture you have to find kind of breaking points for them. So here I'll click on the add layer mask icon, grab my brush tool, and I'll paint with blacks. I will choose black as my foreground color and then I'll press the left bracket key and I'm just going to mask this out here. And currently I'm on a low opacity. I'll take that up a little bit more there. Again, just look to try to interrupt this pattern a bit. I'm just trying to hit it in a couple of different places, just to disguise things there a little bit, so that texture kind of flows into the rest of the image.
All right, well so far so good. We've established the mood. We have kind of started to think, yeah, I want to have a lot of this rich texture to build this composite really out of an ordinary image and some pretty ordinary textures. But I'm getting closer to expressing externally what's on the inside. In order to take this project even further, let's continue to work with these textures and with color and tone, and let's do that in the next movie.
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