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The Creative Composite

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[♫ piano music ♫] [Adobe TV presents] [The Complete Picture with Julieanne Kost] Hi, and welcome. My name's Julieanne Kost, and in today's episode of The Complete Picture, we're going to create the composite that you see onscreen. Now, one of the things I'll just say before I start making the composite is before I actually start working on these digital images with many components from not only different locations but also from different periods in time, before I start just throwing together images, I do typically start with some kind of idea of what it is that I'm going to do. And it's not necessarily that I have a fully formed image in mind, but I do actually have a concept that I am trying to communicate. So in this case, what you're looking at is the result--I was reading a book, and I came across a word that I didn't know, and the word was called "isostasy" and that's actually what I ended up naming the piece. Isostasy is a word that's used by geologists to describe how icebergs of various heights--how they float in the sea where a certain fraction is visible but the other fraction is always betraying the hidden portion underneath. So what I wanted to do is create an image based on that concept and also kind of based on the concept of isolation. So you can see here that--for example, I started with this field. And let's actually go into grid mode, so I'll tap the G key. I started with the field, and I started with this image because I thought an image broken up in thirds would be a good place to start because it could kind of show something above the surface and something below the surface. And in this field, because it's taken after the grass was cut, to me it seemed very isolated because there's just a huge distance between you and this grove of trees, and it would appear to be difficult to get there. So let's just do this. Let's go ahead, and we'll start with this image, and I'm just going to right mouse-click and say edit in, and I'm going to say edit in Photoshop® CS5. Now I could have opened this as a smart object, which is what I'm going to do in the future, but for right now I'm actually just going to the image size dialog box-- I just used the keyboard shortcut there, but it was under image and then image size-- because I'm going to make this one quite a bit smaller just for the demo purpose because I want this to move forward kind of quickly. So let's just make it 6 x 6 at 300 pixels per inch. Okay. Great. So let's go ahead and grab this second image right here, and again I'm going to right mouse-click and say edit in. But this time, because I don't know how large I want the image to be, I am going to open it as a smart object. That way I have the opportunity to resize the image as many times as I want to without actually losing any quality. So, that opens as a smart object. I know it's a smart object because right down here in the lower right-hand corner of my layers thumbnail, I've got this little icon, and that tells me it is a smart object. For those of you who aren't familiar with smart objects, you can see if I transform this down really small, and then later I change my mind and I want to transform it larger, you can see that I'm not losing any image quality. If I hadn't made that a smart object and I transformed it down and then made it really big it would look terrible. So I want to combine those two images, so what I'm going to do is I'm just going to show you another window menu. You can see that under the arrange, there is an area to tile--or a command to tile and a command to consolidate the tabs. And I've created or I've assigned custom keyboard shortcuts to that, because I like to go back and forth really quickly between tiling my images, where I can see all of my images, because then I can drag and drop them together. And then, I go back from there to consolidate tabs. All right? So, command SHIFT+T will tile. I grab my move tool by tapping the V key, drag and drop this in here, and we can go ahead and close that file without saving it, because we don't actually need it open. Well, that came in way too big. So we'll use free transform, command or control T. Do you notice--it is so big that the handles, the transformation handles, are like way outside my image area? So there's a keyboard shortcut. And I don't know if you're aware of the one, but under the view menu, if you use command or control 0, that will fit onscreen. That's what the normal keyboard shortcut is. It also works, however--command or control 0--when you're in free transform to show the free transform bounding box. So, awesome. We will now just make this smaller, and I also want to flip it. So I'm going to use my right mouse button to flip this horizontally, and scoot this over. It's still too big. Hold down the SHIFT key there. And one of the nice features in Photoshop® is even though I'm in free transform, I can come over here to my opacity, and I can actually decrease my opacity so that I can see through this layer. Because--for example, I want this layer to actually kind of be aligned on that same line as the base. I want to make sure there's a gap between them, because I want to get that feeling of isolation, of distance between the foreground and the background or in this case, what's going to end up being underneath versus on top. So what I'm going to do is--this center point right here? If I place this like right over here, when I rotate now look. It's rotating around that point, so that I can accurately see when these two lines are parallel. So I'm just going to scoot it to about there. And I think I've actually got it a little too small, so let's just make that a little bit bigger. And then tap the ENTER key or the RETURN key to apply that transformation. Again, because it's a smart object, I can go ahead and transform this as many times as I want. So if I think I'm a little bit off, we just go back to free transform, make a little adjustment, don't lose any image quality. All right. So it's not really merging very well, so what am I going to do? I'm going to change the blend mode to multiply. And what that's going to do is basically it's going to look at the two layers, and it's going to take the darker content from either layer. So, basically the image--more often than not--I want to say all the time, almost, gets darker, and anything that's white actually disappears, which is why the sky is gone. But I also need to do some masking. So let's go to our masks panel. Click on our mask icon. Grab our paintbrush, which I did by just tapping the B key, and now I need to make sure that I'm painting with black, right? Because look at my mask over here. My mask is white. And wherever the mask is white, I can see that image of the landscape with the trees. So if I paint with black in the mask, it's going to hide--it's not going to delete-- it's just going to hide the information that I don't want. So you can see here my foreground and background colors. I want to actually exchange them, which is this icon right here, the double-headed arrow, or I can just tap the X key, and that will exchange them. And let's see what my opacity is. Okay, it's all the way down to 20 percent. Let's set it way up to--like--you know--100 percent or something. And I'm going to do that by just dragging my opacity slider. All right. Got my brush. Got black as my foreground color. Opacity set at 100 percent. Nice, soft-edge brush here, and I'm simply going to remove any of the area that I don't want. Okay, now this is way too hard of an edged area here, so now I will tap the 4 key, and that takes the opacity down to 40 percent. So then I can kind of soften the way that that disappears over there. All right. Excellent. So I like that. I like that there's a distance between that foreground or that orange part and the background. So now I need to actually go and get something to put in that red or orange area. And what I want to put there is I want to put some tree limbs, because-- because of the irony there, right? They should be roots, right? So there's these trees up here--right--that we have. And somehow they need to be kind of locked down into that bottom area. But because this is about isolation and abandonment, I want there to be a disconnect. So I'm going to choose something that looks like it should make sense, but it can't. And so by choose the tree branches--they should be going up into the sky, but instead, they're down under. So there's no way these tree branches can ever really reach this mound of trees here. At least, that is what I was thinking in my head. So let's go to Lightroom, and we'll grab the trees. I don't know how big I want the trees, so I'm definitely going to open them as a smart object. Okay, and now I will go ahead and use that keyboard shortcut, command, SHIFT, T. Use the move tool. Scoot over. Close that file because I don't need it anymore. And now we'll free-transform this, command 0 or control 0 in Windows, of course, and let's rotate this around. Let's move it over here. Now I'm not sure exactly how I want it to look. So I'll go ahead and hit the return key for now to apply that transformation, but let's hide it for a minute. Go grab our marquee tool, we can make this a little bit bigger here. And we'll just kind of marquee off--we'll select this bottom area. And then we'll make this visible, and we'll add our mask. Right? So the great thing is that if I unlink--you can see right now if I use the move tool, the mask and the photo are going to move together. But I don't want that. I want to be able to move the photo underneath the mask. But I don't want that. I want the photo to move underneath the mask, so I'll just unlink it, and then we'll click on the photo, and we can move this around. All I need to do is find where I want it positioned. I think that looks good. Excellent. And then I'm going to change the blend mode to multiply. And we get that really cool overlay of all of the black branches, and the white just disappears, because that's what happens in the multiply blend mode. If I wanted to soften the mask a little bit, because right now it's a really hard-edged mask, I can do so. And I can do it in Photoshop® CS4 or 5 by using this feather slider, which is completely nondestructive. Which means I can add a feather and change my mask-- so actually if we option or Alt-click on the mask you'll see what I mean. See, here it is without. See how sharp-edged this mask is. When I add the feather here--it's totally non-destructive--I can save this file, I can come back next week, next month, and change my mind if I want to. So I love that feature. All right. Let's go get another image, because I need to put the clouds in now. All right. So we'll grab this one. Right mouse-click. This I'm pretty sure I'm going to make smaller. So it's going to come in, and I'm going to transform it down, so I'm not going to open it as a smart object. I'm just going to commit on this one, because the one thing--using a smart object does tend to make your files a little bit larger. So if I don't have to, I don't always use them. Okay. So, command SHIFT+T will tile my images again. Use the move tool. Scoot it over there, and then close that image; don't need to save it. See how big it came in? So let's just command T for free transform and command 0 again. You'll notice that these shortcuts--I mean--I use them over and over again, like day after day, and so they become kind of like second nature. You know--that's very typical. I don't think anyone knows all the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop®. You just will know the ones that you use all the time. All right. So we just transform that down. Let's go ahead and zoom in a little bit so we can see it a little bit larger. Add our mask. And again, I add the mask from the masks panel. You can always add it from the bottom of the layers panel, if you want to, but I like adding from here. Get my paintbrush. What are we set at--40 percent? No. Let's tap the 0 key, or we could just use the slider here in order to set that to 100 percent. Black is my foreground color. Black is going to hide the information. So let's just get rid of all of this. And then I'm going to go ahead and lower the opacity. so maybe set it to like 5--well, I tap the 5 key and that sets it to 50 percent. So then I can just kind of slowly make a little bit better of a transition here. Now, when I'm doing this kind of compositing, I'm not really worried about all the colors, because I can always change those later. What's more important to me right now are the concepts, right? So, even though I'm not really liking the colors, I'm going to leave it. We're going to wait and fix that in a minute. All right. Let's go ahead and--I kind of like that set to normal. That might look good, but I want to darken it down a bit. So I'm going to go to my adjustments panel. Now, the adjustments panel has an icon down here in the lower right-hand corner that will actually clip the adjustment layer, because I want to add a curves adjustment layer, and I only want it to affect the clouds. I don't want it to affect all the layers underneath. So, clicking it--right now it's on. If I click it again, it's off. This will make it clip, and you'll see what I mean in a second when I click on the curves adjustment layer. See how it's clipped? So how this is only affecting the clouds? It doesn't affect anything else. So that actually looks really good. I'm going to leave it like that. Perfect. All right. Let's go get another image. Now, this image. I just wanted to show you both of these. I'll tap the N key--that's survey mode in Lightroom, so we can see them both. So this is a teabag that I unfolded and kind of stretched out and then scanned. So you can get textures from anything. They don't always have to be scanned. All the textures that I work with in my images are mine, that I have either photographed or scanned. I don't actually purchase them, but that's just because I feel like since I sell my work through a gallery in fine art, I want them all to be unique to me. Okay, so this image on the right, basically I made out of this image. So this is part of that teabag. And this is the one that I want to open, so we'll just edit this in Photoshop®. I think this is really big. I'm pretty sure this is a really big image, so when I open it in Photoshop®, I'm just going to edit the original. I'm not going to worry about bringing it in as a smart object because I just know it's going to be huge. So. There we go. We're just moving that over again like we have with all those other layers, and close it. Sure enough. Look at how big that came in. Oh, it also came in clipped. So that's good. It's a good example because I need to tell you what to do if something comes in clipped. See how it's only being displayed in the sky? I don't want that. So I can go to the layer menu, and I can say release clipping mask, and it will just release that texture so that it's no longer part of that clipping mask. All right. It's huge, so command T to free transform the layer, and then we're going to need to do a command 0--ooh. Look how big that is. And I don't even care if I'm stretching it out or anything. I'm just going to make this kind of fit to that size there. Because, after all it's just a texture, so it really doesn't matter. All right. And I didn't make it a smart object because I'm sure that I want it this big. If I thought maybe--you know--I wanted to make it bigger later, but I don't. Okay. So let's see that really large. Now whenever I add a texture like this to an image, I'm doing it to kind of pull together all the elements, and I'm also doing it--well, I'm setting it to soft light mode, because-- Right here, soft light, you're barely going to see the texture. but it's kind of nice that it's--I don't know. It brings a consistency across all of the separate elements and kind of makes them look as if they're blended more together. All right. So now let's work on the color because now at this point I've kind of got all my elements in there, and the color is driving me crazy. So, what am I going to do? There's a few things I can do. If I just wanted to get rid of the color, I could use a black and white adjustment layer and kind of mask off. In fact, let's start with that. Let's mask off this area. I'm going to select it, right? So that--well, I shouldn't really say I'm going to mask it off. This is the area that I'm going to select, and then when I convert or I add my black and white adjustment layer by clicking on it in the adjustments panel, it's only going to affect this area. But I have to be careful. I almost blew it. See down here? It would have clipped it. I need to release that so that now, this time, when I add my black and white adjustment layer, it does not put it into a clipping group. So now this black and white adjustment layer is adjusting the top. Too much, though. Right? So that's okay. All we need to do is just decrease the opacity there. Kind of bring back a little bit of the warmth, but not too much of it. The thing is is that I'd really like to kind of punch up the blue in the sky, so let's go--umm, I'm going to add another layer. And it's kind of a different type of layer. It's just a fill layer. And the reason that I'm adding it from the menu here is because when I go to the new fill layer and we go to solid color or gradient or pattern, if we choose it from the menu it allows this dialog box to come up. And then I can come down here and change it to color. All right? So when it's in color mode, it's like a color overlay as opposed to a solid color. So we'll go ahead and click OK. And, you know what? I added a fill layer, and that was actually the wrong thing. I didn't want to add that. So let's just go back. Know that you can add a fill layer, but you can also add a gradient. The gradient is actually the one I want, because I don't want just one solid color. I want it to gradate from one color to the next. So we click OK. And now we can go and we can choose and you can start to see what these would look like as we overlay them. See how it's like a color wash as opposed to a solid color. So I have one here that I made that I love the blue, and I really like the gold area here, but it's this red area that's terrible. But I don't really care. I mean--I could go in here and I could edit it. Right? By clicking anywhere here on the gradient you actually get the gradient editor. But I'm okay with using this, because the blue, to me, is just perfect. So I'll click okay. And now what I'll do is I'll use the mask on that adjustment layer, and I'll grab my paintbrush. I know that I want this area down here to be completely masked, so I'll set my brush to 100 percent. Just paint that out. And then I'll set my brush to like 50 percent by tapping the 5 key, and I'll just paint out some of that yellow here that we've got. And if I decide--you know--that's the way I like the blue and the yellow, but it's just a little bit too much, don't forget you can always change the opacity on that layer and just bring that down a bit. All right. Great. So, here's the thing. I've got the clouds. They're looking a little too nice for me, actually, because what I wanted was--I wanted them to be looking like tired and worn and covered with--kind of--scratches and decay so that when you look up into the sky the view would be kind of vague and ambiguous. Right now it's too pretty for my sense of abandonment and isolation that I wanted with this image. So let's go grab another image here. And that's just going to be this one right here of these--kind of--it's like this bubbly surface, and we'll edit this in Photoshop®. I could just use command E as well to do that if I wanted to. And we'll need to bring this over as well. And we'll close that. And here we are. It's huge. This time, though, before I start resizing it, I'm actually going to change the blend mode because I know that I'm not going to want it at 100 percent here. So what I'll go ahead and do is maybe set it to overlay. Okay, that's really strong, but don't forget we can always change our opacity here. So let's bring the opacity down. See, I just like this kind of dirty feel right in here, this worn look and kind of corroded look. And now we'll go ahead and free transform it. Again, command 0 so that we can get that. And I don't really care for the corrosion to be down here; I just really want it in the sky area. Maybe I want a little bit of separation. So a little bit of separation here. Just like we had the separation between the trees here and the ground. Hit Enter, Return. And I like that. But something else that I don't really like? Let's go back down here for a minute. With the landscape image, I'm just going to use my little quick select here, and I'm going to add a curves adjustment layer. I do want it to be clipped, because I only want it to affect the landscape. I don't want it to be affecting the background. And I'm just going to go into Curves with it nice and clipped, and I'm going to add some contrast in there. I can see if I can't bring out just a little bit more contrast in the tree area. So let's see what that did. So that was before and after. So I like that except for the hard edge. But that's easy. We just go to the masks panel and just increase the feather until we can't see that hard edge when I go back and forth. Okay. So that just kind of separated it a little bit more for me. And then the last thing I did, if we return back to Lightroom for one more time, is I used this image right here just for the texture. So we'll edit just as a regular photo. And when this comes in, it's--I'm not going to use nearly all of this. So I'm just going to grab my marquee tool, and I think--I don't know-- somewhere interesting. I kind of like this textured area maybe right over here. And so you know what? I'll grab a little bit more than that. The reason being is that when I go to Image and then go to crop here, what I'm going to do is--let's zoom in. I want to straighten this a little bit. So let's just do a free transform. Now it won't let me do it because I'm on the background, but if you hold down the option key and you simply double-click the background, it turns the background into a layer and it does it without bringing up that dialog box, so of course that would be the ALT key on Windows. Now we can just free transform this, and if I wanted to, I could use-- it's command quote mark here. That will just bring up my grid. So that should make it easier if I want to straighten these. So again I'll hold down the command key here, which would be the control key, of course, on Windows--you guys know that, I'm sure. And I was just trying to straighten it out a little bit. So let's get those lines straight right there. And let's get those lines--I'm looking at like these lines straight right here. Okay. Great. And then we can go ahead and crop this down again because this is really all that I want. I just want this kind of texture, this kind of--you know, it's almost like it's going to be rain, so it's kind of like this corroded rain look. All right. So we'll just bring that over. And I don't need that. A lot of times when I'm doing these composites, when I'm adding elements like that, I will try to do as much as I can in the original file so that when I drag the piece into the composite, I don't have to do a lot of work because that just takes up more history states. So I try to do everything I can before I close that other file. All right. We'll bring up layer 4 all the way to the top here so we can see it. Transform it, maybe right down in there. Hit enter or return, and again probably the best thing would be one of the overlays. That's a little bit too contrasty, so maybe soft light, and if I wanted to we could just bring that down to like 50 percent by tapping the 5 key. All right. And the last thing I'll do here--because I really want more of a separation. I need a separation between the lower third and the rest of the file. And I also want to put some dark edges on this. So, at the very top of my layers panel, I'll click on the topmost layer, and I'll add a layer. And I'm just going to fill it with anything. It doesn't matter what you fill it with. Because then what I'm going to do is go to my effects panel, and I'm going to add an inner glow. And this inner glow is not going to be set to screen. It's going to be set to normal, and I'm going to make it black. And I'm going to start increasing the size, so you can see how this is adding an edge. And of course if I wanted to use this over and over again, or if I wanted to make this a default, I can do that in Photoshop® CS5, or I can go up here to styles and I could add this as a new style, and we could name it, and there it appears. But I know you're thinking that I'm crazy, because it's got the white fill in it, but all we have to do to get rid of that is to go to the blending options and then decrease the fill opacity. So now all I have is this dark edge, and in fact, I would probably go and add this as a style as well, if I was going to use it again. Okay. So that's great. So now I have my dark edges, and now, really, all I need to do is do the one more line across there, so let's go ahead and add just a new blank layer. I'll get my brush. And I'm going to use control option, because in CS5, if you use control option, if you drag left to right, you can see that I can get a bigger or smaller brush. If I drag up and down, I actually get a hard or soft-edge brush. Let's see. On Windows that would be a SHIFT+ALT drag left and right to either decrease or increase the brush size, and if you SHIFT+ALT drag up and down, that would decrease or increase the brush hardness. Okay. So let's get this smaller--way, way, way smaller. That might still be too much, but that's okay. Oh! I'm also painting with it only at 50 percent, so let's bring that up to 100. Maybe a little smaller. There. I switched to my left bracket. Okay. So I like it, but it needs a blur. So we just quickly go to filter, to blur, and then Gaussian blur. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to make a decision here--like, maybe 15. If I wasn't sure how much I wanted to blur it, I might have made this a smart object first, because that would have made it a nondestructive blur. But I kind of like that. And then we'll just change the opacity of that layer down a little bit. Ohhh, that's too much. How about right about there? All right. So now if I tap the F key, that takes me to full-screen mode, and if I tap it one more time, there is our final image. My name is Julieanne Kost. Thank you for joining me for this episode of The Complete Picture. I hope you enjoyed making this composite, and I hope that you'll join me again next time. [♫ piano music ♫] [Adobe TV Productions]

Video Details

Duration: 24 minutes and 42 seconds
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 123
Posted by: adobetv on Oct 7, 2010

Somewhere between the decisive moment and moving pictures lies the world of digital compositing - where multiple images captured at different times layer together to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In this episode Julieanne Kost will demonstrate how to transform concepts and ideas into images by mastering the tools used in compositing.

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