Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Combining the expressions from two images, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Compositing.
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Here we're going to take a look at a technique that I think you'll find to be very helpful. We will be working with this photograph here and this is a picture that I captured last weekend of a couple of great friends and former students who had their wedding at our home. And here you can see we have two layers in our layers document. If we turn off the Visibility of the top layer, you'll notice that this image and this expression here on the bride isn't going to work. Yet the groom is smiling, yet if we turn on the visibility of the other layer, you'll notice that the bride is smiling but the groom isn't. So here we'll take a look at how we can composite or combine both of these frames together so that we can create an image where both the bride and the groom are smiling.
All right, well in order to do this, we first need to analyze the photograph. If you click on and off the eye icon, you'll notice that there is a significant jump or shift. That's because I was hand holding my camera and there's a little bit of camera movement. So before we do anything we need to auto-align these layers. To do that go ahead hold down the Command key on a Mac or Ctrl key on Windows and then click on both layers so that they are both highlighted. Next, we'll navigate to the Edit pull down menu and here will select Auto-Align Layers. This will then open up the Auto-Align dialog.
In the dialog, we're simply going to use the Auto Projection which will automatically align these layers so that we can then more easily mask or combine these two images together. So let's go ahead and click OK in order to apply that. Now that we've done that, we'll see that there are few gaps here in the background. You can notice that and if we click on the eye icon here, you can see the before and after. Well, these two images are now much more closely aligned. Next, what we need to do is some masking.
So here we'll go ahead and click into the top layer and I want to add a mask, yet I want to add a mask which is filled with black. So if we simply click on the Add Layer Mask icon, what will happen is the mask will be filled with white. We don't want that. So here I'll press Command+Z on a Mac or Ctrl+Z on Windows to undo that. How can we add a mask which is automatically filled with black? Well to do that, hold down the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on Windows and then click on the Add Layer Mask icon. That will create a mask which is filled with black.
And what this is doing is it is hiding or concealing all of this layer; all of the good expression for the bride. Well we want to bring that back, so to bring that back we'll go ahead and grab our Brush tool, you can select the Brush tool by pressing the B key or by clicking on it in the Tools panel. Next, we want to choose white as our foreground color here, then we want to define a few brush characteristics. So if you go up to the Options bar, you can click on this icon and here we'll increase our Brush Size.
Let's go to about 95 pixels there. We want to remove all the Hardness, so take that down to 0. Next we want to leave the Opacity nice and high, we'll leave that at 100% then we'll position our cursor over the subject that we want to mask in. In this case, the bride here, and we will just start to paint and as we paint this in, what we will want to do is really paint all around the subject here. Because really in this photograph, the bride is most important, so I am going to go ahead and mask in all of these details, and eventually we will need to create a spot where we're going to blend these two together.
So I'm going to go ahead and paint over to the groom here, paint over that candle, and then the place where I am going to create the blending moment, or the seam, is really to be right here along the shirt. So it blends in nicely because there isn't any detail there. So with that Brush tool, we will press the left bracket key to make that smaller and just paint over that area, nice little transition there, go ahead and paint in some other details. This area--the photograph, all right, that's looking really good, just want to make sure we have all of this painted in.
So I am just painting with full 100% white here to bring in all of the details into this part of our picture. We're almost done, just a few more little spots there. All right, that looks great. Let's click on the eye icon to see how this looks. Here it is before and now here after. With the few simple adjustments of aligning these layers and then masking in the better expression we now have a much stronger photograph. Well now that we've done this, the next thing that we need to do is we need to modify the overall size of this photograph or the composition.
You can see up here that we have some gaps, so let's crop the photograph. To do that, press the C key or click on the Crop tool in the Tools panel. Next, you want to make sure to turn off this check box, Delete Cropped Pixels, click on that so that it's empty. And that way, if you're working with Photoshop CS6 or later what you can do is undo the way that you've cropped the photograph. Next, in regards to its ratio, let's leave this on the Original Ratio, then we will click on one of the corner handles here, just drag that up, then we can click and reposition this crop onto the image, so that it looks really good.
Finally, press Enter or Return to apply to that. Then what I like to do is I like to select the Move tool so that we can exit out of the Crop tool here, and so that we can evaluate our overall before and after. Let's take a look at it. If we click on the eye icon, here it is, here's our before and then now here is our after. And then let's go ahead and zoom in on the photograph by pressing Command++ on a Mac or Ctrl++ on Windows. Then we can press the spacebar key and click and drag to reposition the image, so that we can see this photograph up close.
Now we'll go and click on the eye icon one more time, here it is, our before and then now our after.
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- Filling in background gaps
- Correcting overexposure
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- Creating reflections
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