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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.
In order to create a vintage aesthetic, one of the best places to begin is with color, tone and texture. And here in the Layers panel, you'll notice that I've included different texture. Some old scans of paper, also an old edge, and then also a torn out page of an old book. Let's turn Off the visibility of those layers. We'll be referring back to those at a later time, but first let's evaluate what we have. Well this particular portrait was captured with available light. The person was standing in their garage, there's simply a painter's drop cloth behind him, and there is a lot of really nice light being bounced up into the subject.
So what I want to do first is I want to remove the color and then work on the tone, and also work on the light a little bit. So here, we'll go ahead and click on our adjustment layer icon and choose Black & White in order to convert this to Black & White. Next, we'll work on the brightness value of a few areas in the image. We'll just customize these in order to get them to look just as we want. Now in this case, we get some nice brightness in the face, a little bit more darkness in the shirt. But I don't have the contrast that I want. Well I'm not too worried about that because later we'll be building up our contrast with a number of different adjustment layers.
For example, one of the layers we'll use is if we go back to our Adjustments panel, we'll click on Color Balance and here we're going to add a lot of reds and also a lot of yellows here in the highlights. We're going to bring in a ton of yellow. The next step is going to be to change this layer's blending mode to Soft Light. That will then blend this color into the image and it'll give us this nice mix. From here, we want to modify our sliders in order to just dial-in the exact aesthetic we're going for with this color. Next, I'm going to lower the opacity so it's not quite so strong.
I want a little bit more of a muted color palette to start off with. All right, well I think that's looking good. Next, I'll click on the adjustment layer icon. I'll choose Color Balance one more time, and here in my mid-tones I'm just going to add a little bit more of a Red, and Yellow, and Magenta. Again, I am just shifting the color, just a touch more, and as we do this, I'll then lower the opacity, bring in just a hint of this color. What I'm trying to do is to build up this nice kind of weather type of aesthetic, and here we have it, with a few simple adjustment layers, there is our before and then after.
Let's zoom out a little bit. And as we zoom out, one of the things that I notice is that there are a lot of bright areas around here. I want to darken those up. So to do that, we'll create one more adjustment layer, this time Curves. All we'll do here is simply click-and- drag down, and then we're going to invert the mask and paint this into specific areas. We can invert the mask by going to the Mask panel and then by clicking on Invert. Now keep in mind we want a bright image because we'll be adding more contrast as we progress.
So when we grab our Brush tool and when we select white to paint, we don't want to paint it 100%. When I bring that down below 50, little bit of a smaller brush there and then we'll just start to make some brush strokes in this area, darkening up this portion of the photograph and also around the subject, little bit on the shirt there, what this will do is it'll help us begin to build the focus around the subject, not so much around these other areas. Now these steps can be really helpful because they can help draw the eye to a particular area of the photograph.
We really want to bring everything up to the subject there. All right, well let's look. Here's before and then after. Let's blur out our brush strokes by increasing the feather. That will just diffuse those brush strokes. Now we have it before and then after. Our overall progress so far, before and after, great work.
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