Join Justin Reznick for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with Nik plugins to enhance water, part of Landscape Photography: Waterfalls.
Now, here we are in Photoshop. We've got two images, and we have little eyeballs next to the images. We're looking at the top layer, and the top layer has a nice and sharp leaves. If I click on the Eye, I can see the bottom layer, and the bottom layer has the beautiful water. And so we, are going to take these two images, and put them together. Now, this is not something I do all the time. And again as a reminder, the reason we did it is because the leaves were moving in this image, and that's why we're going to composite.
Remember, eyeball will enable us to see the layer, and if I click on this, we see the top layer. Now, before we composite we need to ask ourselves, which layer should be on top? I like to work with the layer that has the most information. And what I mean by that, is this layer on the bottom. I'm going to just drag it to the top. This has, an entire area that I want to include, and just a little bit in the lower left that I don't. So this is what I like to put on the top, the image with the most information. What I'm going to do now is Shift+Click, and that's going to select both layers.
I'm going to come up to Edit > Auto-Align Layers. Auto's going to be selected as a default, I'm going to hit Okay. What's happening is, every time we take an image, alignment can be different. Slight movements of the tripod, maybe a focal length difference, there's variables which will cause some shifting. Photoshop can then align all the subjects in the image, so that you can blend those images together. What I've noticed here now, is a checker board pattern on the border of my image. And that indicates, that it was not properly aligned, and now it is.
What's really important to remember, is we're going to have to do a little bit of cropping, to compensate for that alignment. I'm going to go ahead and select on that top image. So, I want to make sure that top image is selected. I'm going to come down here. There's a square with a circle, and that, creates a mask. The mask is white, and what white does, is it reveals the top layer. Now what I want to do, is conceal the top layer, and reveal the bottom layer. So I need the color black.
I'm going to hold down the B button, which indicates brush, and you'll notice, over here, I've got black brush selected. If I didn't have the black, I could hit the X key, and it switches to the white. X key, brings the black back. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to make sure that my mask is selected. I'm going to check the opacity. Right now I have an opacity of 100%. And as I paint through, I'm just going to click and hold down my brush. I'm actually going to reveal, what's going on the bottom.
As I come over to my mask, and I hold down the option key and click On, you're going to see exactly, what is revealed. Everything in black, is going to show the bottom layer. I'm going to click on Option click one more time. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in. I'm going to hold the Z key, and hold down. I'm going to zoom all the way in, and I want you to see that, nice and close. So I'm going to hold down the B key. I'm going to hit the X. And what I'm going to do is paint with white, and bring it back to the way it was, so you can see the difference.
So, over on the left here, I'm going to do a circle right around it nice and soft leaves, that are moving in the wind. I'm going to hold down the X key, bring back the black, and I'm going to paint it in, and there they are. Those are the sharp leaves. Let's go ahead and paint that black again. I'm going to zoom out. Option click, will zoomize, zoom it out. B key, let's get it nice and black, and it's really simple as that. Once you understand that white reveals, and black conceals, you can blend two images together.
From here I'm going to go ahead and flatten the image, and it's going to bring those two together and now I'm back to one image. And remember we have a checker board pattern on the outside this is where the images did not align. So you're going to do Cmd+0, which is going to bring us back to the image. We going to hold down the C key, and I'm going to do a crop. Now, I'm going to keep my ratio at a two by three, which is what I originally photographed it in. This makes printing a little bit easier. And, I'm just going to bring it in a little bit, and hit Enter.
And let's bring it in the left side a little bit, hit Enter. And now we have no checker board pattern, and we've got the images put together, we've got the sharp leaves, we've got the flowing water, and we are ready to go to the next step. Now, one last thing I love to do in Photoshop. I love to come to the curves adjustment layer. I'm going to click on that. There's an auto button, I'm going to hold down, Option, Auto. I have four algorithms selected. What these algorithms do, is they process the image by adding contrast, color and white balance to try and get you to where you want to go, as quickly and easily as possible.
And what I want to do is select, and look and see what each of these algorithms do. And as I go through these four algorithms, there's an excellent chance, one of them is going to work for you. I like the first one. I'm going to hit Okay. If I come over to this layer, I can click Off the eye and On, and you're going to see pretty subtle differences, but a little bit of contrast, a little bit of color added, that's what I'd like to see. So, I always do this, in auto curves layer.
Now what I'd like to do, is to show you the power of Nik Color Efex Pro 4. I'm going to go ahead and click, Color Efex Pro 4, and we'll see you there.