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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.
We're going to continue to work with this creative layer composite and I want to take a look at how we can add some texture and also do a little bit with color and tone to finish this image off. Well the next texture that have is this emulsion layer. Let's turn that on. Well, it's pretty black, pretty strong, almost overpowering. What about inverting that? Let's press Command+I to do so. Well, that's kind of interesting. It diffuses those edges a bit and could perhaps be used in a certain way. Let's leave that on for now, and let's go to our next layer.
This next layer is this frame which has all of this interesting and rich texture in it. One of things that I notice is that this layer is really nice because of all of the film grain that we have here and whatnot. The underlying texture is interesting because it brightens up the edges, but it doesn't quite work well underneath this one. So simply, let's reorder this layer and let's turn on a blending mode, say like Soft Light. Now, with that Soft Light blending can do for us is again just add a bit of distressed nature to those edges there.
All right, next I'll click in this frame and then go ahead and add a layer mask. And one of things I'm going to need to do with this is mask out some of this content. So I'll go ahead and lower my opacity. I am going to actually choose a brush which has a little bit more variation here. If you have custom brushes, go ahead and use those. If you don't, you can use one of the ones that comes with Photoshop. Again just on a little low opacity here, I'm going to try to bring out some of this film grain structure, just try to limit this texture here a little bit at this particular one.
I just want to control that so I have some nice control over those edges. All right, well I kind of like that. If I Shift+Click the mask, there is before and after. Just brightened things up a bit, and made the texture not quite so straightforward. I will also put a few little scratch marks across it. Make my brush a bit smaller. Sometimes having small brushes can give you a little bit more defined edge. I think that works pretty well. I'll paint this back in over here though. So I'll go ahead and bring back that. All right, well with this particular edge I'm not too keen on these little points here.
I think they're a bit distracting. I want a straightforward frame. So in order to fix that up, I'll click on my topmost layer and create a new layer. Press Shift+Command+N to do that. We'll just name this layer cleanup and then press the S key to grab our Clone Stamp tool. Make the brush a little bit bigger and then Option+Click or Alt+Click, sample an area and just bring that right on top of that area and build that up. You want to do it with a higher opacity. I forgot to change that. There, and now you can go and do that again and you can see we can just knock that little edge out and just bring in a new version of this part of the image.
Sometimes it's helpful to sample a little bit further away just so that you can hide your tracks a little bit more. Other times, you make it away with just sampling really close. So some simple adjustments but I think those are important because they are again not drawing your eye to the edge of the frame. Well, I'm really liking this and it wasn't very difficult to accomplish. And next, what I want to do is work with color and tone. So I'm going to close all of my texture layers here. Here's before and then after.
I want to create another adjustment. Click on the Curves adjustment layer icon and then select Curves. And here what I want to do is just brighten this up a little bit. I want to bring a little bit of a boost there. The image became a bit too dense for my liking. Here's before and then here's after. Then I'm going to create one more adjustment layer. So we'll click on the adjustment layer icon. Choose Curves. I think I will do one more brightening layer. This time though I want to invert the mask. There's a lot of ways to invert the mask. One technique that you can use is to go to the Masks panel and there you'll see that Invert button. You can simply click on that there.
Here I'll grab my Brush tool and I'm going to paint in some brightness into the image. I want more ordinary soft edged brush. To select that, right-click or Ctrl+Click and then choose the brush that you want to use. And all that I'll do is just start to bring in a better brightness into this area of the frame. I want this to kind of be the focal point. I'm also going to kind of draw a few little lines here, pointing in towards this, just with these edges kind of going towards this area of the photograph. Now that I've done that, I'll feather out my brush strokes, which will just diffuse this, make this a litter bit more of just like a little kind of spot light in that area, and then lower the opacity so I can find exactly where I'd like it.
Here's before and after. It's subtle but again it's just trying to bring in a little bit of that expressiveness there. Next let's go our brightening layer down here. On this one, we'll click on the mask and make our brush a little bit bigger. We'll paint with black at a low opacity. Basically we'll just just bring back in a little bit of that edge darkening that was already there. So I'm clicking around the edges, darkening those up. Again I am just thinking it might be nice to have it feel little bit darker around the edges, adding to the overall kind of illumination idea that I'm trying to create.
If we Shift+Click the mask, there is that before and after again. Just darkens those edges up there a little bit. And we'll just do a touch more with this, just darkening those guys up there. Let's feather out this mask, soften it up. Okay, it creates a little bit of that natural kind of vignette type of a look. Now we can turn these layers on and off and they're not hugely significant, yet they are nice. We may want to just modify our opacity or we may want to go into the Curves adjustment, modify this one way or another, just to get it exactly where we want it.
In this case, I'll just do a little bit more on my blacks there. And I think with this project that's a wrap. And you know sometimes, creating projects like this, they're actually really quite simple, yet they start off with a good idea or concept. Let's evaluate this one. We'll press F to go to a Full-Screen View mode, pressing the F7 key to bring back our Layers panel. Here's before and then here's after. So here's my challenge for you. If you want to get really creative with Photoshop, I mean if you want to take things to the next level, do something like this.
Think about what do you value, what do you like, how then you express that, what are you feeling today, and really tap into that whole emotional or physiological side of the visual arts. Then try to create something like this, and then try to replicate it. For example, let's say that I created 10 of these. Well, I could have a little show right. If I had 10 photographs styled the same way with different textures and unique looks, I'd create the set or the small body of work, and that's what fine artists do. They have this connection, this thread that ties all of their work together, and you could have different words associated with different projects.
And it would be something that could be really interesting and fascinating and draw people in. And when you get to something like this, it kind of transcends a little bit Photoshop. It's not was this done with the film or with Photoshop. Rather no, this was done to try to express something. So if you want take your Photoshop skills to the next level, think about that. Think about how you can start to create these creative layer composites in order to communicate something that's internal in an external visual way.
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