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Compositing for Digital Scrapbookers

Lesson 7 of 20

Drop & Go Blending

Tiffany Tillman-Emanuel

Compositing for Digital Scrapbookers

Tiffany Tillman-Emanuel

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Lesson Info

7. Drop & Go Blending

Lesson Info

Drop & Go Blending

In our next one we're gonna do drop and go blending with the fireworks photos from the practice exercises. If you're following along in the workbook, this is gonna be on page 12. We're starting right at the top. So first we need to create more of a layout style workspace so we're gonna start with a new workspace. So go to file and new or use command+N or ctrl+N on your PC. And I'm just gonna create a page size of 12 inches by 12 inches with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. My color mode is RGB. As I discussed yesterday, I do work in RGB for pretty much everything scrapbooking related. And background contents are white. Actually no, we're gonna do background contents are black. So let's see what my background color is. My background color is white so I'm gonna just go to background contents on my new screen here and select other and just choose black with the hex code of and click OK and then click OK again. And now I have a black background. So why am I starting from a black backg...

round? Because I know this trick is gonna work so we're gonna start with black and you'll see why in a second here. So next we need to go grab our photos. We're gonna go to file, open, and then navigate and I'm just gonna grab all of my fireworks photos. And you can probably tell the reason why I chose a black background is because the photos are black, okay? Very simple stuff. Like I said, any time i have something where I'm gonna go, "Oh, I'm just gonna make this easy on myself "and use a background," I'm not gonna start from a white background when I'm using black photos in the background, I'm gonna start from black. If my photos happen to have blue and I want a blue background I'm gonna start with blue. Make it easy, don't make it hard. So we're gonna just start dragging some of our fireworks photos into our layout. And that looks pretty cool. I haven't played around with exposure or anything like this. I mean, pretty much, if you take a picture of the night sky, it's gonna be black. Unless it's dusk or dawn, it's just gonna be black. So we're adding them in and as you can see, even though they are all black, their backgrounds are still covering one another. So there has to be some kind of blending or compositing that goes on to make all of these come together and you guys saw the layout where this was inspired by with these photos. I wanted to create an entire sky that was filled with all of the fireworks that I could fit on a page, okay? So we have all of these photos into our workspace, now we can create the composite. So on step three, we're gonna arrange the firework photos to overlap one another together on a single scene on the page. So we've done that. Kinda maybe one will be right here and I don't know, we'll have to blend them first. So next we need to change the blend modes. Now the magic blend modes for things that are dark is screen. The opposite is true when you're working with things that are light. If you need to blend something into a white background, you're gonna use multiply. That's the magic number there. So we're gonna apply a screen blend mode to all of these and you'll start to notice what happens when I apply the screen, they start blending into one another. Now this is compositing at its best, I don't have to work hard for that. But if you've been wondering how someone puts these beautiful like Disney, all these fireworks in them, someone's looking at me like, "I know, girl." Well that's how easy it is to do and you don't have to work at this. So now I have these photos and I can put them as close to them as I want to. I need to zoom in a little bit 'cause I can't see what I'm working with here. So I can take my photos, and I use the transform tools when I need to grab a photo that I don't know where it is, there we go. And I can start to arrange them so that they happily make their own kinda scene. I can apply some together on different layouts, I can move them around one another. And so now I have this huge scene of fireworks together that looks like they were all happening at the same exact time. Very simple. So the opposite is true again, if you were working with a white background, and you can't have firework photos that are gonna have a white background but if you had something, anything that had white surrounding it, you throw it up there and you put a multiply mode, it's gonna automatically start to composite itself together and you don't have to work very hard. Another simple example, okay? Now that is a form of exterior blending because I didn't have to work hard but it's still the outside of things. You can still work an interior part so let's come to this top layer that I have here or let's work with this one because it's a little bit bigger and let's say I wanted to add more color to it. And again, this is, if you're following along, this is step five for optional, adding self blended layers to improve the contrast. Now I'm not gonna jump the background layer, I'm gonna jump the background layer instead of create a dummy layer. So I'm just gonna use shortcut keys, command+J, ctrl+J, and then apply, for example, let's say a contrast mode like overlay so we can see it. Then I'm gonna create a clipping mask from it and this is just practice, we'll talk about clipping masks, how you would do it. But now, you can see how much extra contrast I've added to that firework layer. You can see less smoke so it took away some of those, it deepened the shadows and increased the highlights and took away some of those mid tone values and made it a lot stronger in its contrast. So, we've exterior blended and we've interior blended in a single idea. Simple, right? Why do you clip it to the other layer? Okay, very good question. For this, if you unclip it, let's see right here what's going on. Let me give you an example of this. Yeah, there we go. Let's look at this here. Let's get really zoomed in so you guys can see it. You see this seam right here? If you don't clip it, you're gonna see a seam. You want the contrast, you want the blend, especially if you jump the background or doing a dummy layer, you only want it to apply to that layer that it's blending with. If you don't, it's gonna blend with anything else that it finds behind it. So you have to clip them when you jump the background layer. In the previous example, since it was the only photo we were working with, there was no reason to clip it. But then when you bring it into a layout and you have multiple layers behind it, blend modes are not going to care about what you are blending, it's just gonna say, "Well, I see all of these pixels behind me, "so this is what I'm gonna blend with." So, very good question. So for this kind of example, we're gonna clip it. You may not see it everywhere but you will see it at some point. That's where it pops up here, excuse me. One of the other reasons why you may not see this because these other two layers are on top of it. That was drop and go blending. Very simple exercise. I just wanna say for sure that if you know you're working with a black background or a white background that you've already won the game of compositing, you've pretty much just shot a three point shot and it's just all net. I'm a sports person so that's how I relate it to. Other colors are gonna be much harder but drop and go blending always works that way. In a future exercise when we're working with I believe the Cosmic Girl layout, I have a picture of a moon and it's surrounded by black. Well that's a drop and go blending technique because it's just black. All you have to do is hit that screen and boom, it's blended.

Class Description

Scrapbooking is the experience of pulling together disparate elements of your life and creating stories that could never otherwise exist. And yet scrapbooking in the physical medium still limits your creative scope to what exists in the real world. Digital scrapbooking removes that barrier. By mastering the practice of compositing your personal photos, you can build fantastical, entirely impossible scenes around your favorite subject material.

Join Tiffany Tillman-Emanuel for this intermediate-level class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to develop and digitally sketch a theme for the page.
  • How to find and gather complementary photos for the fantasy theme.
  • How to use graphic design principles to improve the overall aesthetic of the final page.

Fantasy composites are difficult digital effects to create, and require the confident use of a photo editor. Tiffany will walk you through implementing the right kinds of blend modes and adjustment layers for different compositing results. You’ll learn her tips and techniques for creating quality selections and extractions, and applying them to your composited photos. Add new dimensions to your scrapbooking practice. Transform the things you love, and send them into worlds that exist only in your imagination.

Purchase to get the in-depth Compositing for Digital Scrapbookers workbook. The workbook includes step-by-step instructions on digitizing media, altering elements in Photoshop, and so much more!

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Blending Practice Files

Cosmic Girl Working Files

Exclusive Bonus for Students

Outter Space Papers

Tiny Hero Working Files


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I was in Tiffany's Mixed Media class and was also lucky enough to be in this class. Tiffany is an AWESOME instructor and well organized. Her Mixed Media class was a great building block for this class. The class is well worth the money--well organized workbook and other great bonuses. If you want to take your scrapbooking to the next artistic level, I highly recommend Tiffany's two classes at CreativeLivel.

a Creativelive Student

Great course with easy to understand ways of blending more than one photo together for a great composite layout. Excellent materials and workbooks.. Thanks Tiffany for a wonderful class! - Christa (cfile)

E.L. Bl/Du

I think Tiffany is good at explaining it so those who arent pro photgraphers can start at the basics to learn photoshop. I really liked watching this even tho my vision is in another direction, I like how she explains how to get there in photoshop. She makes it not so scary to jump in. She is clever mom too, every parent wants their own kids to be a star and she surely did that. What a neat thing to "scrapbook" the photos. I liked learning adjustment layers, would like more in curves too. But great place to start out in ps. I recommend if your lost in PS.