Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying the finishing touches and making creative adjustments, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Compositing.
Here we're going to take a look at how we can reposition the subject, how we can clean up the mask and also modify the overall color and tone. One of the things that I have realized with the composition that I've created here is that I don't like how high the subject is in the frame, I want to lower her down. So here we'll use the Move tool to do that, we'll just click and drag down a bit, yet as I do that I notice that I am bringing back some of the original background there. If you Shift+Click on the mask we can see that background, it's just coming in at the top. Well that's because that was previously out of the frame.
So what I need to do is I need to fix that. Here, we'll select the Brush tool. To fix that we'll paint with black at 100% Opacity. I want to make sure that you have targeted the mask, you'll see the brackets around that, and then go ahead and just paint with black in order to get rid of that part of the background. And now that we have cleaned that up, let's clean up a few other little aspects of the mask. I'll press the left bracket key to make my brush smaller then I'll go ahead and paint with white. I am going to paint with white with a low Opacity, either use the slider to take it down about 30% or so, or just press the number on your keyboard.
I want to bring back some of the detail that was masked out here, a little bit of the brightness on this part of the arm, a little bit on the garment there, also a bit on the hand. What I think happened was because there was a highlight there, I had not included that in the mask, and so therefore I wanted to bring that back. Also a little bit around the edge of the hand, I think that's looking pretty good. All right, let's also clean up the shoulder here and I'm just doing this with a low Opacity so that I can kind of go back and forth and clean up those edges.
All right, well before we work on the hair, before we clean that up, let's add a color adjustment here because this is a sunrise along the coast, I want to have some really warm colors. So we'll use Color Balance to add some reds and also some yellows into the photograph, and by doing that it's going to change how much we might need to mask. These types of color or tone adjustments really affect the overall mood of the picture and what types of details we notice. So what I'll do next is after having modified the color here, I'm also going to go into my Shadows adjustment and perhaps I'll make this maybe a little bit more yellow there in the shadows, or maybe a bit more red might be kind of fun to have these really vibrant colors.
All right, well after having done that I'll then go back to my mask, and with this mask I want to kind of mask away some of the brightness of the hair here. Yet I don't want to wreck the mask that I've already created. So to save this, I am just going to duplicate the layer by dragging it to the New Layer Icon, then I'll turn the visibility of it off, in case I make a mistake, then click into the mask here, make the brush a bit bigger. We want to go ahead and paint with black, so we'll choose black there, and we will press 2 on the keyboard to go to an Opacity of 20%.
Then we can just paint over these areas. By doing that, what's happening here is it's just kind of softening the way that all of this hair looks and that can really help because it can help to kind of soften these edges so that they are not so noticeable or so harsh. You may want to soften a few other edges in the picture too, sometimes edges like the hat up here might be good. If you make a mistake press the X key and you can always paint detail back in. And by doing that, it just kind of helps us to soften up a little bit of some of these edges, also some of the hair there, to try to have this have a little bit more of a light tonality as well, and bring in some of that background there a little bit or background brightness I should say.
I don't want to bring in the background. I went too far. We'll do that when we get creative with this. All right, well now that we have done that, I am just going to zoom out and kind of evaluate it this from a distance. We can see here is that before and after. As I evaluate this from a distance, one of things that I'm noticing is that I'm bringing in too much color on the subject. So what we can do is we can reuse this mask that we have, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on Windows and then click and drag this mask to the Color Balance adjustment layer in order to be able to replace it.
Next click Replace Mask, so now we have this adjustment which is only being applied to the subject. Yet if we click into the mask we can go into the Mask panel and click the Invert button, or you can always press Command+I or Ctrl+I, that's Command+I on a Mac or Ctrl+I on Windows in order to invert the mask. Now here this adjustment is primarily affecting the background, yet I also need a little bit of color on the subject. So in the Mask panel, decrease the Density, as you do that you can see that you can bring more and more of that back into the subject, but that Density slider is controlling how much of that color is being applied to the subject.
And here I think if we bring this down a little bit, we can find a nice blend where this color is working on the background and then also the subject. All right, well now that we have made all of these adjustments, we can see how we can bring this subject into this different environment, yet also what I want to do is show you another creative option; a different way that you might want to process or blend images together. And in order to do that, what we're going to do here is click into the image layer then press Command+G on a Mac or Control+G on Windows, that will put that layer and that mask into a group right there.
Well, we can add a layer mask to this group. In doing that, we can then select our Brush tool, and we can paint with black at a low Opacity. We can start to paint across the image to bring back in some of the background, and here I am going to do this to try to create a little bit more of kind of just a fun effect, not necessarily realistic, but just fun, so I'm just blending this away here going around the Photograph painting in more and more of those train tracks. And by doing that you could see how we might create perhaps a little ad or some kind of an editorial photograph here where we have this picture, which is a bit more of an illustration than it is a real photograph, but sometimes when it comes to compositing you want to get creative with how you start to blend these different things together.
So here I'm just painting either with black or white to bring more or less of that background into the overall look of this photograph. And by working with this type of a technique, again what it can do is just help us to have a different option without really any detriment. In other words, because we put that whole thing in a group if ever we want to undo this mask, we can just hold down the Shift key and then click on it, and we can bring all of the image back. Or if we want to show a client, or perhaps post online a creative kind of compositing effect, we can then Shift+Click the mask and we can work with this option here. And by showing you this extra kind of bonus step, what I'm hoping is, is that it will start to get you thinking about how you can work creatively with techniques like this.
And then if ever you have a good mask, you don't need to modify that mask, rather you can put a masked layer inside of a group and then add a mask to the group as we did here in order to further customize what we have already done. All right, well that wraps up our work on this project.
- Combining facial expressions from two images
- Creating a better group portrait with Photomerge
- Removing a subject from the background
- Changing the scale of a subject
- Enhancing the color and tone of a composite image
- Masking together multiple exposures
- Filling in background gaps
- Correcting overexposure
- Replacing the sky in an image
- Creating reflections
- Building in shadows