Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Combining two frames together with masking, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Compositing.
- View Offline
In the next few movies we're going to take a look at how we can combine or composite two different images together. You can see in the Layers panel that we have two layers. On the top layer, we have a photograph of a friend and an amazing model, Kara, and what I want to do is change the environment where this picture was taken. Rather than having this out-of-focus tree in the background, what I want to do is I want to have this slightly out-of-focus train tracks seen here in the background. Well, we'll look at how we can do that in a pretty realistic and also in a creative way. Well let's first turn on the visibility of this top layer and let's think about where we could position this layer.
So use the Move tool and move this around. As we move this around, you can see that the sun is coming from this area. We also have the sun coming through the hair here. Well, we could position this image on the right side of the frame or we could put it on the left, if we could only flip it horizontally. Let's do that. If you press Command+T on a Mac or Ctrl+T on Windows that gives you access to Free Transform. Next, right-click or Ctrl+Click then choose Flip Horizontal.
In doing that, you can see how we now have this on the right side of the frame, or the sun I should say, coming through her hair on the right side. Next let's press Enter or return. Well, now that we have that I want to put this in the correct position. So here we'll lower the layer Opacity just a little bit so we can see through that layer. Here we'll go ahead and click and drag this up a little bit. In doing that, we can start to imagine that sun kind of cutting through right here and then illuminating her hair. So I am trying to look for elements here like light and position in order to be able to effectively bring these two images together.
Now that we can see that, now that we have repositioned the photograph, let's go ahead and take the Opacity back up to 100. Next, what I want to do is recompose the frame because I don't have enough of the image down below. So we'll press the C key or we'll click on the Crop tool here and then we're going to use Unconstrained, make sure you turn off Delete Cropped Pixels if you have that option in your version of Photoshop, and then we'll go ahead and just click and drag this up a little bit in order to change the overall composition of this photograph.
Next press Enter or Return. All right, well now that we have done that, we need to start working on blending these two images together. In order to blend them together, we're going to need to make a selection, and then build a mask, and refine that mask so that it looks realistic, that this subject, this person is in this other environment. Well let's start off by making our selection. We're going to do that with the Quick Select tool. You can choose that tool by pressing the W key or by clicking on it in the Tools panel. Next press the right bracket key to make that nice and big and then go ahead just start clicking and dragging around your photograph.
You know, as you use this tool, Photoshop pays attention to what you're doing. It kind of gets smarter as you work. We'll start off with this big brush then press the left bracket key and use a smaller brush, and let's paint across the hand. I will go ahead and paint across this area here, then I'll make my brush much much smaller so I can get into some of these little details here. I want make sure to include all those little fingertips. Then we need to paint across the hair. Now when it comes to hair in a photograph like this it's going to be really tricky right, because we have these little strands of hair.
We have this bright background and those two areas are really going to blend together. So what we're going to do is we're going to try to make a good selection so we have a lot of the hair, then hold down the Option key or the Alt key to try to erase from the selection some of that area. What you'll find is that it won't work very well. So if you select too much of the hair or even if you have this whole area selected, that's probably going to be okay. We'll fix this up in a few moments. Next I notice, I missed a little bit of the shoulder over here so I am going to add that to my selection, and when you use this little brush it allows you to get close to the edges.
Looks like I got a little bit too close, so hold down Option or Alt, Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, to paint away what you don't want. Now I'll go back and just make sure I have nice detail there on that edge. Also it looks like I didn't quite get all of the hat, so I'll go ahead and add a little bit more of the hat there as well. Well now that we have a decent rough selection of the subject of Kara here, let's go ahead and click on Refine Edge. Well this is what will give us our first glance of this project. Is this going to work? This is almost a proof of concept view, and with this view I can say yes, I think that this is going to work pretty well.
The way that the light is going to be coming through the hair I think will work and kind of function nicely, yet the edges they need some work. So here we'll click on Smart Radius then we'll go ahead and click and drag the Radius slider to the right. Before I get going too far I should also point out that you can change the view of how you see this. You could see this on a white background and you can view the mask, or you can view this On Layers. What I want to do is view this On Layers so I can start to see how this will blend into that background.
Well now that we have done that and I also want to increase the Contrast here a little bit to bring that up. Perhaps add just a little slight amount of feathering there. Well what about all of this white area here? Well, we can use this tool which is called the Refine Radius tool and you can start off with the small brush. Press your left bracket to have a smaller brush in order to be a little bit conservative and to kind of paint over these white areas. As you do this, you notice that it will correct some of the other areas as well, so as we kind of progress through this, it's going to go and improve the overall masking that we're doing on this part of our image.
Here I'll make brush bigger by pressing right bracket key and go ahead and paint over these areas to be a little bit more aggressive about dealing with some of the Brightness value that we're seeing behind the hair there. All right, well it's looking a lot better already. Let's click on the P button or press this icon here to see that before and then now the after. Well so far we have made some nice progress. You may want to experiment with our overall Radius slider after we have made some of those adjustments. We also may want to decrease our brush size and click and paint over any area that you think you might need to take out some of that background color even more.
All right, well after we have refined the edge of our selection, we still need to clean up our mask a little bit. We need to modify color and tone. We need to take a few more steps. So let's go ahead and simply output what we have done to a layer mask, so I will select Layer Mask from our Output options and then click OK. All right, well now that we have arrived at this step, we're ready to make some more progress, so go ahead and leave this image open, as we will continue to work on it in the next movie
- 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