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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 56 of 60

Adding Atmospheric Elements


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 56 of 60

Adding Atmospheric Elements


Lesson Info

Adding Atmospheric Elements

I think that's pretty good for the dodge and burn. I mean we can spend tons and tons of time on that too but no point in beating it up too much. So next thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start adding some atmospheric elements. I like doing this, I do this a lot in a lot of my images. I'm gonna go to the supply stuff and these are all images that I've photographed on that beach, so I like to keep things consistent. I'm just gonna double-click this guy, this looks like it might be interesting, so I'm gonna go Open Image. Select All, Copy and Paste. Gonna put it over top of my burn layer. I'm gonna try putting this on multiplier, this is obviously gonna be too dark here around her face. I can go CTRL + T and I can flip it horizontally, see what that's gonna do. Maybe I could stamp some of the stuff out, I could also stretch it a bit because it doesn't really matter. Because I'm gonna blur it anyways, right? So we have a little bit covering her face, which I don't really want. I could also s...

ee about rotating this thing. If I go to the corner here, that little arrow shows up and I can spin it. That's looking a lot better. Let's stretch it out this way. Ka-pow. There we go. So, pixels are properly stretched right now, so I'm going to Filter and Blur that stuff, Gaussian Blur. Probably two pixels or so is good. But I don't like this dark spot here that's coming across her dress, so I'm gonna grab my Stamp tool and I'm actually still using that textured brush which is gonna work nicely, but here remember we're set to All Layers, so I wanna set this to Current Layer. Gonna sample from the brighter area and bring this over here. The reason why I'm still using a textured brush, wow, I used that way too far. Wait for that to settle down. Go back, all right. If we're really curious what we're doing, we just go Normal and this dark area here is what's screwing up, so I'm gonna click here and I'm gonna click there, click here and click there. Now I'm gonna bring that down a little bit because we already blurred it beyond oblivion. We already know that our noise is kind of messed with. Multiply. Awesome and so it's still a little bit too dark around her face, so I'm gonna create a layer mask. Gonna go to my brush and I'm going to just loosely mask her out a little bit. I did all that work dodge and burning that dress and I just wanna have some of that back. So how we feeling about that, guys? Yes, question? I was wondering if you could just go back to the part where you added the hair to the masked layer? Yep. And you applied it. Do you have to re-mask that? No. Because I don't see it now on her. The hair, the hair is there. It should be there because I applied it. Yep, the hair is still there. You can see all the little drawing lines. So what I did with it, so yeah, what I did was I merged it down. I'll turn off this Curves layer, okay? So let's duplicate this and we're gonna pretend that we didn't do that. This is the hair layer, right? So what I did, I'm gonna un-clip that, I went here and I went CTRL + E which is merge down. So the underlying layer has a layer mask, so I wanted to apply the layer mask and go Preserve and go there, so that's what happened. The reason why we saw a duplicate there was because I have, when I duplicated this layer, then we get double stacked. Actually though to be fair, you might have a good point in this because... Yeah, sometimes this happens. I am not infallible. So what happened here, and actually you bring up a good point, I love this, when people point this out because I am a human. So I did actually draw out this hair but what happened here is that we have the layer mask that because I preserved the layer mask, I didn't say hey, get rid of the layer mask, we'll mash it all together, because I preserved the layer mask, it hid some of the hair we were drawing. So I will totally eat crow on this one, absolutely because yeah, that's exactly what happened. So we turn this on, bring this down, I'm gonna un-clip it, I'm gonna go CTRL + E, I'm gonna go Apply and there we go, now we have her hair. Good catch, that's a super good catch. Everyone on the internet is like "Fail, kKick her off CreativeLive, "she has no idea what she's doing!" Thank you for catching that, that's awesome. Okay, so back into the atmospheric stuff. So this is where we're sitting at right now, before and after by adding that little bit of cloud layer. I like to add in clouds, I mean I just like it. I don't know, it works for me. You can manually dodge and burn this stuff all day long if you want to. I also just find cloud layers work quite nicely. This is looking pretty good. There's a little bit of halo here going on from the sky. I'm gonna really lowly bleed this over just a little bit because it's bugging me. I can see it when I'm zoomed out. There we go. Sweet, okay. There we go.

Class Description

With the right Adobe® Photoshop® know-how and studio shoot experience, you can merge fact and fiction into a reality that lives up to your imagination. Renee Robyn has made a career of turning everyday photos from her travels into eye-catching images. Robyn will teach you how to add people and other elements to your existing landscape photos using ethereal custom effects.

In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to choose or set up a shoot for your background image
  • How to direct posing during a shoot, and work with directional light in-studio to make your subject fit into the background image
  • How to composite your subject into your image using Photoshop

Photo compositing allows you to breathe interesting ideas into your photos. Open your hard drive, walk into your memory, and turn past experiences into fantastic new realities.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Why You Should Sketch Your Composite
  3. What to Look for in Your Background
  4. Posing Your Model
  5. Communicate with Your Team
  6. Elements of Compositing
  7. Learning from Failure & Criticism
  8. On-Location Safety Tips
  9. How to Nail the Right Perspective for Your Composite Photo
  10. Gauging Light & Exposure On-Location
  11. On-Location Posing
  12. Cliff Shoot Location Final Thoughts
  13. Tips for Culling Images
  14. Culling Images Q&A
  15. Preparing Your Image for Composite
  16. Composite Image Cleanup
  17. Adding Background Image to Composite
  18. The Difference Between Flow & Opacity
  19. Composite Sky Elements
  20. Using Curves to Color Match
  21. Adding Atmospheric Depth to Image
  22. Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color
  23. Using the Liquify Tool
  24. Color Theory & Monitor Calibration
  25. Adding Smoke Layer to Image
  26. Selective Sharpening
  27. Crop Your Image
  28. Goal Setting for Digital Artists
  29. Review of Location Composite
  30. Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image
  31. Base Plate Focus Point
  32. Base Plate Lighting Tips
  33. How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image
  34. Capture On-Location Base Plate Image
  35. Student Positioning Demo
  36. Base Plate Sketching
  37. On-Location Sky Capture
  38. What to Look for in a Base Plate Model
  39. Building Composite Model Lighting
  40. Composite Model Test Shots for Angle Matching
  41. Composite Model Shoot: The Art of Fabric Throwing
  42. Composite Model Shoot: Working with Hair
  43. Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques
  44. Composite Test with Final Shot
  45. Lighting Setup Overview
  46. Culling Model Shoot Images
  47. Adjusting Skintone Colors
  48. Merging Background with Model
  49. How to Mask Hair
  50. Creating a Layer Mask with the Brush Tool
  51. Creating Shadow Layers
  52. Removing Visual Distractions with Stamp Tool
  53. Replacing Sky with Layer Mask
  54. Drawing Hair Strands and Atmospheric Depth
  55. Creating Contrast in Your Composite
  56. Adding Atmospheric Elements
  57. Using Particle Shop
  58. Selective Color Adjustments
  59. Cropping, Sharpening, & Final Touches
  60. Closing Thoughts


Dino Maez

i have to say, the class was AMAZING! in every way from the tricks and technique's of mastering this art form to the personalized attention given by Renee. through the class you are able to learn information that would normally take the average person years of trial and error. Renee gives you the gift of benefitting from her her experiences and what she has learned THE HARD WAY! Renee is an outstanding instructor full of passion for what she does, and with a strong desire to not only improve the art, but more importantly, pay it forward, by sharing her knowledge with others. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event in person, truly a once in a lifetime experience for me, the staff at creative live were THE BEST! they are helpful in every way and really made this event something special, i can't say enough about the experience i had and would highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to go down for a class, it will be an experience that you will never forget. but the best part of creative live is that wether you are there in person or wether you are watching from the comfort of your own home, you are involved in the class in REAL TIME, you have the ear and attention of the skilled artist giving the instruction, being there myself i can tell you that Renee was regularly given questions and comments from the viewers via the creative live staff and she would respond to them as they came, in that way you are very much apart of the class you are never left without getting that personalized attention of an amazing artist or that specific question you have answered, and even better you have the option to purchase the class and have it as a constant resource in your tool kit that you can refer back to at any point that you need a refresher or want to recall that special technique that was demonstrated. thank you thank you to renee and all the staff at creative live you have a life long member in me. and i would recomend that everyone take advantage of this valuable resource dino maez

stephen lenman

I have completed many creative courses. This is by far the best so far. Quite the most amazing and inspiring presenter with a true passion for their craft. The core information is excellent, but the thing i liked most were her subtle tangents, dropping incredible information completely on the fly. A complete real world honest view of business and practical side of the industry. Especially her advice on how she started to her business. Saving up enough in her day job so she could pay the rent, and do photography for 3-6 months.

Sheldon Carvalho

Awesome class. I've been following Renee for a very long time. I love her work and to finally see her work and get an image done from start to finish was quite something.. I love the way she sees things and the way she treats her work and all fellow creative. I would recommend this to everyone interested in getting into composting. Looking forward to creating and making my own art work. But it now :) Have fun creating. :)