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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 22 of 60

Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 22 of 60

Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color


Lesson Info

Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color

I'm going to do Color Effex Pro, it's Nik's software, N-I-K software. It's by Google, it's a good time. I am going to jump into Color Effex and start playing with it here. I'm going to click on Color Effex Pro Four. I might change my mind on a couple things first, going in, but we'll see how it looks. And Runi, while this is opening up and processing a little bit, I just wanna reiterate something that you said yesterday which was, I get it, you're using Nik. Oh yeah. Right? Yeah, people are usually just like, Holy crap that's a lot of Nik Software. Right, you really do subtle uses of Nik, right? For your own work, just wanted to. Yeah, a lot of times people use plug-ins. We can tell. Somebody who uses a plug-in a lot, when I first started using Nik Software, like most of us do, I was so over-the-top, I was like, "Oh my god, cross processing is like the greatest." I was like, "98%, all the way through." my old artwork is online so you can see it, it's pretty awful. You can t...

ell the day that I discovered that plug-in. It's the same thing with any plug-in. If you overuse it, it's really obvious. It's the same thing. When you're using retouching, try to make it subtle. Try to make it so people can't really tell what you did. You just want people to enjoy the image. In this case here, I like to use detail extraction. It's way too strong. I know some people who use it like this and I'm like, "Whoa, that's a lot of detail extraction." I just want it to be a little bit more subtle. I might increase the contrast a little bit. We're basically kinda blending this together. It's too saturated, I'm going to desaturate it a tiny little bit. See here we can still see that tiny little bit of orange glow, it's very subtle, the starts are a little strong. We are spending more time in the sunlight when I spend a little bit more time making them more staggered, more layered, whatever else. We only have x amount of time today. Detail extractor, a little bit, I'll increase the contrast a little bit and the saturation is just kinda bugging me so I'm just going to turn it down a bit. That's a little use of detail extraction. I'm gonna just hit okay. We can do all of this stuff all at once, if we wanted to, but I like to have my independent layers so I know what I did. This case here it says detail extractor. I can see what I did. If I zoom in here, I go before, after. It's a little strong in the clouds, I don't like it up there as much, so I'm gonna create a layer mask, I'm gonna paint it black and I'm gonna kinda just pull that out of the clouds. There are techniques to do this in Nik Software, but I'm a control freak and I change my mind a lot so I'm gonna do it manually. I also might take it out of some of the stuff that's a little bit further away because remember, things that are further away have less detail, have less saturation and less contrast. I'm very loosely doing this because I can get away with it, if I don't have to have a perfect mask, then I'm not going to. Before, after. Looking not too bad. From here, I'll probably will, let's see here. If I go into this little half-circle thing here, go select color and play with my neutrals. This is where things get a little interesting. I spend so much time on color, it's just rude. Play with blacks. I'm just sliding on feel. I'm just like eh, let's move this around a little bit here, let's move this here, well that looks terrible, that looks awesome, whatever. Let's just try the things. The reason why I'm making this adjustment here is because there's an adjustment in Nik Software that I'm gonna do. If I go here, back to Nik Software, it's gonna do a color tweak that I quite like. But, I know that because I just spent a lot of time moving color sliders around, being like, "How do I make it suck less?" I go cross-balance here, some people like it, oh my God I like the blue, it's pretty. Eh. Let's see. It's looking kinda green. Clicking things. It's looking not too bad. Let's go ahead and filter and totally sliding around here, a little bit. It's not too bad. Once again, we're getting a little too much yellow on her skin and I'm like eh, I don't know and we've lost some of the orange, but some of it's still here, it's nice and subtle. Let's try that. I don't know, I'm just totally guessing right now. That's not bad actually, slide that down. Nope, it's too strong. I'm gonna stick with that right now, I'm gonna go okay. Her skin is still too yellow. I'm gonna go into Color Look Up. Color Look Up is super fun. If you haven't heard of a LUT, you can actually make your own. If you're familiar at all with it, this is definitely for the more advanced Photoshop users out there. If you're familiar with working in different color profiles like LAB color, CMYK, so on and so forth, you can tweak colors differently than you can in RGB. When you're making an LUT, you can make a color profile that is in a different color space and then apply it to an RGB image. I'm gonna go through that today in detail. But, in any case, I'm just gonna slide through some of these here, these color strips. It's not too bad. Playing with it a bit. Do-at-do. There's so many ways to tweak with color. I mean, like I said, this is one of hundreds of ways to play with color and to get it how you want to. I'm just sliding through these guys. There was one that I liked. That's actually not too shabby. I think I'll, desaturation. I'm running on instinct here. If something looks really weird. Often times when I do workshops my color kinda goes a little but weird because I'm not just full-on in my head. In any case, this is looking not too shabby in my mind. It's just kinda hanging out, it's a little bit flat in color and I'm probably going to do some other tweaking first and then I'll come back to the colors. Sometimes this will sit there and I'll look at and it and I'll be like eh, I kinda hate it. (laughs)

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. :)