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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 15 of 60

Preparing Your Image for Composite


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 15 of 60

Preparing Your Image for Composite


Lesson Info

Preparing Your Image for Composite

So we're gonna work in Capture One a little bit here and just tweak around with the colors a little bit. I don't wanna push them too far. One of the things I am using, I am using a Wacom tablet. If you don't use a tablet I highly recommend getting one, whether it's from Wacom or another company, but I find Wacom makes some of the best quality out there. I have my tablet mapped down to a very small amount on my surface. So this is the entire surface that's available and I'm using this much of the surface of my tablet. The reason for that is, is I've found I used to have a medium sized tablet and I was burning out my joint on my elbow, my hand, my wrist and my shoulder. And I was getting injured and I was finding that I couldn't edit for more than a few minutes at a shot. And then I went to a workshop by Pratik who runs Soulstice Retouch who did a CreativeLive course here that's awesome. It's so good. I went to a course with him in London and he was like, oh yeah just map it down. I was ...

like, you can change that? (audience laughs) So it took me a little bit to get used to, but yeah my mapping now is just a couple of inches on my entire tablet. So it means it can be a little bit more finicky but it also means that now I can edit for many, many hours without destroying my joints. So something to keep in mind. I also recommend people, if they're first getting into using a tablet, don't spend the money on the Intuos Pro, like the expensive one. Don't do it. Unless you are a really good illustrator, it's gonna be frustrating. Cause this thing is so sensitive, which is great for experienced users, but if you're very new at using these things, it's just irritating. So you can get those entry level ones, they're like 40 to 60 bucks, something like that, you can't map them down, but they're great for learning on. And then they're really nice for traveling if you happen to travel while you're working with them, cause then these big ones can take up more room. So it's really nice to start on a beginner one and then once you're used to that after a couple years, upgrade to the Intuos Pro and it's way more sensitive and it's like getting into a Ferrari. You're just like, oh this is awesome. (laughs) All the sensitivity and the tilts and everything, now it's exciting as opposed to being irritating because it's too much information. And then if something breaks you have a backup tablet. I actually used, back when Wacom was using the Bamboo system, I had a Bamboo tablet that I used for like four years. And then I upgraded to the Intuos and I was like, whoa! (laughs) This is cool! So another case, yes, please stop using your mouse. (laughs) It's just, I mean there's no right or wrong but it is a lot easier, once you start getting into more complicated digital art to use a pen and a tablet than it is to use a mouse or worse yet, a touch pad. One thing I like to do, is I actually give myself like once a year, or something like that, I give myself a touch pad challenge, where I have to make an entire composite using the touch pad. That's frustrating. (laughs) But I love to challenge myself and I love to grow and I like to make things hard so I go back to other things that I used to think were hard and now they're easy. So, another case, yeah. Get yourself a tablet. So I'm using Capture One here and I'm just going to move around a little bit. So I'm looking at this and I'm not gonna do tons of color editing on here. Some of the things that I might look at and a lot of it is gonna be taken care of in post-production, is I'm gonna look at, where are we here. Doot do doot doo doo. My exposure, there we go. So I will admit, Capture One is newer to me. It's kinda fun, but it's extremely complicated. Let's see, let's grab here and just expose this just a tiny little bit more. So I'm not sure how that's looking out there. On here it's looking not too bad. So I'm just making this just a tiny, tiny, tiny little bit brighter. I'm gonna go to my High Dynamic Range and I might pull, no, that doesn't look good. So essentially, when I'm editing, (laughs) I basically push around sliders until I decide that it sucks less. (audience laughs) Some people get really offended by that. They're like, what do you mean, that's like admitting that things suck and like, well considering what I wanna do with this, it does suck right now and I want this to be better. Let's see, Color, Sharpening, Curve. Ah, Curve. Cool. So the sweet thing, and there's lots of sweet things about Capture One, but one thing that I really like, is see here when we do an RGB curve. So we go up like this and down like this and this is gonna look not right at all, but see what happens here. Is that we get all this saturation mistakes, right, and it starts to look really, really terrible. What Capture One has done that's really cool is to have this Luma Curve. So you can actually play with this and make the same adjustments and it is not screwing with your saturation nearly as much. So you can push it a lot further. But another case, so now we can create an S Curve that isn't going to be cranking with the saturation nearly as much. So of course if you push it to the extremes you're going to have some tweaks, but if you're wanting to make those kinds of little tiny adjustments, that's awesome. (laughs) So, Lightroom, I don't touch it, because this is one of the reasons why I love using Capture One, is that I can do that. I'm just gonna pull up my highlights here a little bit. I'm gonna pull this back down. Yeah. I'm gonna compare it to the screen here. (laughs) Because we have a slight discrepancy but that's okay. So just a tiny little adjustment. So here I can compare, before and after. Of course one of these is a JPEG because I shoot JPEG in Raw. Downside of Capture One is that, for some reason, they don't have a before and after thing yet. Rumor has it that they're working on it, so. But when you shoot JPEG in Raw then you can just look at them side by side and go, okay, you know, and it's mostly. Can you go back? You can go back. You can reset it all, yeah. So this is looking not too bad for me. It's enough for me to wanna pull this into Photoshop. I might look at Clarity a little bit. So Clarity and Structure, we can slide this up and down and see. I like to push things to the extremes. It says here it's like natural, so we could have this be extremely unnatural as well. So I might up the Structure just a tiny little bit, so we see here we slide it all the way. And you see what's happening to the image, right. So I might just increase the Structure just a tiny, tiny, tiny little bit. And the other thing that's kind of bugging me is it's a little too much saturation. I don't really like loads of saturation in my image but I think this is gonna look not too bad. And it's gonna make for a relatively easy extraction.

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. :)