Introduction to Compositing


Compositing 101


Lesson Info

Introduction to Compositing

Welcome to compositing one o one my name is aaron ace you can find me on twitter at a k nacer today we're couldn't talk about our first set but before we get into what we're doing here we want to talk about the three days and just what is compositing and how can you guys use it? Well, the three days we're going to be doing is actually too different photo shoots and a lot of what people think about when they think about compositing is photo shop and that's totally true but what I want to bring to you guys throughout these three days is the fact that you don't have to be a photo shop expert to be able to do composites well, a lot of it is done in the camera during the photo shoot so that's why we're going to be spending two entire days just doing the photo shoot so day one which is today we're going to be doing a photo shoot all day I'm barely going to be talking computer tomorrow we've got a really amazing set built for you guys it's going to be a cool surprise and we're going to be spe...

nding the almost the entire day as well on set with photography and I'm going to take you a step through step basically breaking down everything you need to know everything you need to like keep in mind while doing a composite image so that when you do transition into photo shop it's really pretty easy you don't have a lot to think about you don't have a lot to do I'm going to take you through it and make it really, really simple for you so during these two days of shooting were going to be covering two different types of compositing and compositing it doesn't really they don't really name the different types of compositing, so I thought of some names myself this's we're going to be doing a compositing type called elements compositing and a type called frame compositing and today we're going to be doing element compositing and basically what it means is we're going to be photographing different elements so we're going to photograph and you guys can probably see behind me here we have our first set today and we're going to be talking about the concept and everything in general, but we're going to be photographing this and then we're going to be photographing some other elements where it's actually going to be amazing giant pool right here filled with milk and just a little bit you're gonna see it's gonna blow your mind blow my mind too because we haven't done it yet, so I'm really excited so these are the couple different elements that were going to be photographing and then in photo shop we're going to put these elements together so this is a first tepic compositing now tomorrow we're going to be doing the compositing that's called frame compositing, and basically, almost everything is going to be in the same place the cameras going to stay lighting was going to say, we're just going to take a couple different frames that are actually going to be like there for you so you can focus on, like, using this little part of the one image and one little part of another image and kind of sticking mall together to create the final image that you guys want. So you're probably wondering about this time why you might even want to composite. Well, that's, a really good question compositing is all about to me, it's all about those crazy, wonderful ideas that you had in the back of your head. Those like things that fantasies you wanted to see come to life, it's a way to bring those things toe life so compositing basically is away too. Anything you can think of you can make happen with compositing and you guys have probably seen a lot of composites before. So much of commercial photography we see these days is compositing, you know, a person cut out of their background and put on a different background there's some cop composites, that air done really well and some cups composites that air not done as well and our goal today is to get you guys, no matter what skill level you guys are, and this is I really do mean this. You guys are going to be good at compositing at the end of these three days because I'm going to show you guys what is important to do in camera so that the photo shop work, he is very easy in the end and that, in my opinion, is the biggest help when you're doing a composite is making sure you can do everything you need to do in camera to make your job much easier in the end. So that's compositing and we're basically going to be bringing you two amazing concepts over these three days, first day in second day or shooting third days in photo shop and I can't wait it's gonna be awesome. Well, you guys can see behind me right here we have our set designer built this amazing big k froot loop ease, and we've got a big bowl of cereal here today, too, so one of the reasons why we're going to be doing this shot in particular is based on our const for today, and we've actually got a sketch of the concept that we're going to be bringing up right now, I wonder if we can see it. Might be there we go that's hard schedule the concept on dh you can see I'm amazing sketch artist I did that myself right but this is the whole idea you don't really have to be good at sketching you don't have to be good at drawing well that's why I take pictures because I'm not good at either of those things but everything that we're going to be doing today is based off a sketch it's based in often original idea that we had and this is the concept for today so I want to walk you guys through our concept for today we're going to talk about actually what we're going to be doing is this might not be that clear maybe you're like oh I get it but it might be that clear we're going to be talking about what we're going to be doing how we're going to be pulling this off some important things to think about when actually like coming up with your composite idea and making that appropriate for your audience so I'm just gonna back up a little bit here we're gonna talk about this screen right now and this is about as good as any of my sketches get they really don't have to get any better than this but what we're going to be doing today it's really, really amazing we're going to be creating this fantasy type image where we're gonna have ah young girl very, very cool. Sarah eve is going to be our subject today and she's basically, like hunched over a bowl of cereal that she's about to eat in the morning and in our cereal bowl we're gonna have some like froot loops, which is really cool, but we're gonna actually have a person inside of syria ble they'll be probably about that big in the final frame and it's gonna be amazing there's a basically just going to be a dude with his shirt off and inter to maybe like a little bit of beer guts take it out and I wanted like spitting milk out of his mouth too, so he's going to be like in the actual bowl of cereal and she's going to be looking at him like, oh my god, what's happening, maybe this is in her imagination maybe this is just actually really happening, so we have a lot of really cool props I just want to draw attention. Clay who's, the set builder did a really amazing job we have, like even a miniature ladder here that we're going to be doing this's maybe like how the guy got into the bowl of cereal there no fruit loops used on the set we're using fruit loop ease and they're going to kind of like sprinkled around in there and that's going to be our subject so there are a lot of things that we kind of want to keep in mind when doing a composite like this and we actually have a board of things to keep in mind now during one of these photo shoots usually will have something like a checklist that we actually do like to keep in mind like, okay, these are all the things that were going to be doing and there's a board right over here, and these are the elements of our composite. Now this is specific for today, and basically we're going to make sure we focus on all these different points and kind of cross them off the list as as they come across. So these are all things that you kind of have to keep in mind before starting the entire photo shoot, and you might be thinking, well, how do we come up with this list and that's a really good question? And it all goes back to our sketch let's, go back over your sketch really? The only thing you guys need to do when doing composite is figure out what you want your final image to look like. And if you know exactly what your final image to look like, you can break it down into little pieces and then put them all back together so these air you're going to be creating these different elements are like pieces of a puzzle that you're going to stick back together later so let's just kind of break it down with the sketch we can see we've got a person looking into a serial they're holding a spoon maybe they haven't got a glass of orange juice there is there any compositing needed there? No, not really right that's like yeah pretty easy I could just photograph a person in a cereal bowl so you've got that whole element the next element you have is the actual, like many person inside of the cereal bowl. So can you do that like, you know, on the set or would you have to composite that in afterwards? Right? Totally. You have two composite it afterwards, so we know that the majority of the set the majority of my sketch I can do in one frame the only thing that I really need to worry about in the composite is this right here what's actually inside of our cereal bowl. So what we do, I think of is like, okay, we've got the majority of our set kind of like figured out with that part of it now we need to construct something that's going to be our cereal now the really cool thing about compositing is that scale doesn't really matter things could be large or small and you can you can blow them up making larger small in photo shop so scale is really not that important. The only thing that's important or your lighting and your camera angles to make sure those match. So now that we know we just need to get a guy floating in a giant pool of white liquid that's really our entire goal? How would we do that? Well, you can probably think of many ways to do it, and what we've got is where actually being a pool like a little kid's many pool here and filling it with what is going to look like milk? I have no idea what the actual mixture is a little scary for the guy who's gonna get it. I'm sure it's safe, but yeah. So that's that's the second part of the composite is just figure out how to make a giant pool of white liquid and then put a person in it. So we've got those two elements, and once we photograph the main subject, then we can photograph the pool and then we can put those together in photo shop. And if there anything else that we want to bring in a swell, we can photograph those afterwards and put those in a swell. So does that make sense? Kind of like not too hard, right it's like we got a really cool idea now we know exactly what we wanted to look like we just have to have to break down those individual pieces of the puzzle. So that's that's, the whole idea behind element compositing is very important to have the sketch. If you don't have the sketch, you don't have it's really interesting when you could figure out with a sketch and even the sketches this bad, I think it's important to see that, like, you can kind of figure out our focal length, right? Like this is probably not shot it two hundred millimeters because the bulls like pretty large inca parents into the subject subjects a little bit smaller and they need to be kind of compressed, so we're gonna be shooting this a little bit wide angle. Like, can you figure out wide angle from a sketch? In this case, you can I mean, not not like exactly, but pretty close. The second thing you know you can kind of figure out is maybe your aperture. So let's say our folk are point here that we want this person who is going to be actually in are in the cereal bowl, they need to be in focus, right? If they're out of focus, you won't be able to see the detail it's not really that important, but our girl who's behind. Needs to be in focus too, because she's also really important so we're going to be using a depth of field that's a little bit mohr deep so instead of shooting it like one point four or two point oh, now we're going to be shooting it like f eleven or f thirteen so we can get that little bit wider depth of field so even things like that then you wouldn't think like a sketch could tell you your aperture but like it totally can if you just kind of like, think about a couple of those things, so but if you get it like slightly wrong or you're just making a miscalculation it's usually not that big a deal as long as you get most your elements pretty close that's the important part of compositing all right, perfect. Does anyone have any questions about compositing or what we're going to be doing today? We did have a question come in just about your general process. Sam cox from loving colorado is wanting whether you usually are always take time to sketch your ideas like this before shooting that's a really good question now with a lot of types of photography, you don't really have to create a sketch like if you're just going to go, you know, put a model in a pretty dress and go outside and take pictures in natural light you don't really need sketches, maybe you would use like references of, like the lighting you do want to use if you want to use a back, back lighting or things like that when doing a composite, I always recommend using a sketch one hundred percent of the time and it's because some of the things can really change. For instance, once I have my camera angle, once I know what I'm actually gonna be photographing, I can't really change my camera angle that's why, during these next two days, my camera is going to be on a tripod for basically the entire shoot it's going to change positions for each of the different elements, but you'll notice today we're going to have our subject she's going to be sitting right here, and the camera is going to stay in the exact same place. The reason is, if I were to bring the camera down lower a little bit, then that completely changes my perspective on the cereal bowl, which means that we have completely changed the perspective on how we're going to shoot the pool in the end. So every little change that I make with my camera means a completely different change for every single one of the elements of the composite, so in order for those elements to stay consistent, we want to make sure as much as possible. Does stay consistent so the lighting we don't change the camera angles, we don't change, we just photographed each of those elements and put them all together. And so having a sketch really does help that out. Not only that, but in this case we built, like all of this and things like that were built based in chicago, and we're here in seattle, and I had to tell our set designer the production, you know, everyone like, how is this shock can actually come together? And without the sketch, even though it's not really that nice of a sketch, it would've been a lot harder for people to understand what we're actually trying to achieve. And now, you know, everyone who's going to be helping you out during the set? I mean, looking around this room, there are, like thirty people in here who are going to help make this picture possible and, like, keep in mind, it's, not just me. So this helps everyone kind of get on the same page and say, this is the end goal this's what we're all working for, and we're going to make it happen and hopefully it's going to look a little better than the sketch, so that's the end goal.

Class Description

Compositing is about making complex, visual masterpieces driven by your creative vision. Through mastering compositing, you will deepen your understanding of color, light, and movement — vaulting your photography skills to the next level while bringing more value to your clients and your pocket.

Instructor Aaron Nace has taught millions of photographers at every skill level how to construct vibrant images through photo manipulation. This 3-day introductory course will teach you everything you need to know about compositing — from basics to mastery.

During this in-depth workshop, Aaron will show you how to conceptualize the idea, plan out your composite, photograph and light each piece of the puzzle, and artfully combine the many parts using Photoshop.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CS6, Adobe Lightroom 5