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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 16 of 60

Composite Image Cleanup


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 16 of 60

Composite Image Cleanup


Lesson Info

Composite Image Cleanup

So from here, I am going to right-click, Edit with Photoshop and it should take over all of our changes, there we go, perfect. Alrighty, so first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna create a new blank layer and I'm gonna call this Fx, you can call it whatever you want, it's just for me to keep things in order. So one of the things I'm gonna do here is I'm just gonna look around and see if there's anything that's kind of irritating, so if there's any like footprints or stuff like that, I'm gonna use the Heal Brush, so in this case here, I have my entire keyboard mapped out differently, so I've taken my keyboard and all of my hotkeys are reprogrammed to the left side of my keyboard, so I'm not jumping back and forth on my keyboard, of like brush bigger, brush smaller, this, that, all of the things that I use similarly are all on the left side of my keyboard. So in this case here, I can just hold Shift and cycle through A and that is going to change my tool, so I like to use shortcuts a lot, ...

it makes things way faster. I have my brush bigger and smaller as Q and W, so we can make it bigger or smaller without having to run to the other side, normally I believe it's the bracket. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna clean things up, it says Current and Below, which is what I want, so right here is this Current Layer, Current and Below and All Layers, so if I do Current Layer on a transparent layer, nothing's gonna show, so I'm gonna do Current and Below and Alt click to the finest source point, so when I'm using the Healing Brush, I'm gonna go Alt, click, we're just gonna clean up some of this stuff here and it's entirely possible that I might miss some things, while we're doing this, this piece here, if I'm kind of distracting, doing this kind of stuff live, I might miss some stuff, but we'll see. Some of this here, I'm thinking I might cut out, because one of the things that's bothering me is I can see from this side here to this side here, right, it's not the same, so it's kind of annoying, so I'll probably do some replacing stuff there. Let's go up here, her skin is really nice, she has really great skin, but there's just like a couple of things here, that we could probably clean up, I don't even know, I mean, that could be from hair, that could be from, you know, sensor dust, 'cause God knows, I have a lot of that on my camera right now and just tiny little thing. So the reason why I do it on a blank layer is I can just see here, all the tiny little marks that I've made, so then if I make a mistake, like epically, so my old computer used to kind of randomly slide all the way across the screen, I'd get a big healing stripe all the way across my screen and I wouldn't notice for like three or four hours of editing and then I'd like zoom out and like, oh man, what and it was too far gone to be able to go back and fix it easily, when I'm working on a blank layer, that means that I can change my mind or do whatever, so. Yeah, so I think we're doing not too bad there. I know all this stuff in the background is gonna disappear anyways, so sample that, make that, oh, reasonable, click, there we go, and you can use whatever tool makes you happy, you don't have to use this, you can use the Stamp tool, if you want to, it is totally your choice on the tool that makes you happy. Alright, so we have this, I wanna find another piece for this side here, 'cause this is kind of annoying, so I believe I can go right-click and I should be able to say Copy Adjustments, there we go, so kind like Lightroom and now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna scroll this up, scroll, give me the little bar thingy, thank you, so I'm gonna look for an image that I shot, where maybe there was more room on this side, so in this case, this image here works pretty well, even though we have like the repeating bush and whatever else, we can just start stamping some things out, so I think what I'll do is I'll sit here and I will go, right-click, Apply Adjustments, so that means that this should look pretty similar, the exposure is a little bit different in this shot, so it's looking a little bit bright, but I can do that in a Clipping Mask to match it a little bit smoother, so from here, I'm gonna go right-click and Edit with Photoshop, exporting as a TIFF, I'm making sure I'm in 16 bit and 300 pixels per inch, we're gonna go Edit. Okay, so I'm gonna grab my Marquee tool, which is the letter M, highlight this guy, actually I'm gonna see if I can get this really nice and close to her, Control+C, which is Copy of course, a universal thing, Control+Shift+V, V as in Victor, which is gonna Paste, kind of universal thing for that, Command or Control+T for those of you shady Mac users, (laughs) half the room's like, (laughs) we have Mac here right now. I'm gonna right-click and we're gonna go Flip Horizontal, I'm gonna move this over here, so this obviously looks like a mirror image, it's not gonna line up perfectly, I'm going to right-click again, I'm gonna go Warp and I'm gonna see if I can change the Blending mode, there we go, so I've changed the Blending mode of this layer, so I can kind of see what's going on with my background, so I'm gonna zoom in a little closer, I'm gonna grab this point here and just kind of play with this a little bit, try and get it to look a little bit different, whoop, not that much different, (laughs) just a little bit of that, 'cause I don't want those posts in there, it kind of sucks and so now I'm gonna go Normal, and I'm gonna get rid of all of this stuff up here anyway, so this is a little bit too extreme, I'm gonna hit Enter, Control+T, right-click, Warp and I could do this using the Smart Objects and if we do something going forward, we might get more into that, but today for the purpose of the course, we're not gonna get too involved in that stuff. Okay, next up, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna mask in her dress, so that it makes more sense and I'm gonna start getting rid of this horizon line, so I'm gonna create a Layer Mask, which is right down here, the square with a circle in it, I'm gonna go to my brush and I like to hand mask, that's just how I like to do things and I'm gonna paint with black and so I'm gonna go over the edge of the dress a tiny little bit, which is fine, 'cause then I'm gonna refine that in a little bit more, 'cause I wanna be able to bring in her shadow here, right, because her shadow is real, so frame that there, I just wanna make sure that when we zoom in here, this tiny little detail, where we had changed that is going to line up still, I'm gonna increase the hardness on my brush a little bit, I try to make the hardness of the brush the same hardness as what I am trying to mask out, so I'm just doing this here by my hand, it's not totally perfect, but like I said, you guys don't wanna watch me mask all day long, but this is how I spend most of my days, doing this kind of stuff. So we're getting closer, awesome. I don't really care about this line here, 'cause it's all gonna disappear anyways. So we're looking pretty good, brush, see if we can blend that a little tiny bit, softer edge brush, because we're trying to blend and that's that, so this little brush guy here makes this really obvious that it's been switched, so I'm probably going to stamp that out, I'm gonna use a textured brush for that, because we're working with a textured surface, whenever I'm working with a textured surface, I like to use textured brushes. I am going to click on the actual background piece itself, if I was really picky, I could create just another blank layer on top of this, but I'm just hacking things out at this point, so I'm just gonna get rid of it like that. Texture brushes are nice, because if you're working on a textured surface, it's always nice to mask out stuff with texture. Alright, how we doing so far? Pretty good, We have any questions? I'm gonna throw in with a question on what you just did there. Yeah. If you zoom in on that particular area, we can see on that left-hand side by that bush, we can see that the water, not looking good and like someone out there might be saying, "Well, that water doesn't look really good," but we know in the future, you're gonna replace all of that. Yeah, all that's disappearing, I don't care. And build layers, exactly, I just wanted to, Yeah. clarify that. Yeah. I don't care about what's going on all over here, 'cause I'm gonna cut it all out. (laughs) 'Cause right now, you know that you have that final vision of what you want, you're replacing the water, so let us know, you're gonna replace the water, replace the sky, Yeah, but the bushes will stay? Yeah, the bushes are gonna stay, unless something epically fails when I'm cutting out, which sometimes can happen, but in any case, my plan is to keep her in, to keep the grassy stuff here in and to keep the sand in, my last case, like worst case scenario, sorry, I keep hitting the mic, my worst case scenario thing is that if I really have a hard time cutting out all of these grassy things, I'm just gonna cut them clean out. (laughs) Got it. So, because it can be a very difficult extraction, but there's techniques that we can do, that can make some of that a lot easier, so we're actually gonna do that now. Cool. So yeah, it's okay at the beginning stage, where some of it looks like crap, have you ever watched a makeup artist put on makeup? In the early stages, you're like, no, this is no good, this is bad, this is gonna look horrible and then it winds up looking incredible, well, this is the same kind of thing, you're just at the building stages, when you build a house, at first it just looks like a structure and you're like, awesome, there's holes everywhere, we're gonna freeze to death, because you're not leaving it there. (laughing)

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. :)