Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 22/60 - Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography


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 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.

Join us for “Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography” and 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.


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

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. :)

Tristan Wilhelm

Very good class. I enjoyed the very friendly, approachable and quirky style Renee teaches with. I did feel, as others have said that she could get off on bunny trails and tell stories and I was glad for Creative Live's option to speed up the video. But great tips and it was extremely helpful watching it how she would do it. Thank you much Renee, and also, I'm a PC user that unites with you.