Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 20/60 - Using Curves to Color Match


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography


Lesson Info

Using Curves to Color Match

Alrighty so we are going to play with color right now and we're gonna play with color a fair bit but right now, one of the things I want to correct is the inconsistency of color between my background, and my foreground, and everything like that. So she is a little bit too tungsten for me compared to what's going on around her. One thing that I noticed is that things that are further away tend to get a little bit more daylight balance and actually this mist mountain range is a perfect example of that. So see here, that mountain range here is nice and tungsten, it's fading off to the stuff that's further away; there's a little bit more daylight. So you'll see this a lot in cinematic stuff. I'm not gonna make this that extreme of course but I like to kind of blend things in a little bit smoother. So I do think that in Capture One I might've been a little bit trigger happy on some of the saturation adjustments which happens sometimes. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna turn off these two la...

yers so I'm gonna move back to here, and I'm gonna select this part of my image here. I'm gonna go Alt + Control + Shift + E or Command + Alt + Shift + E and that's just gonna merge everything up underneath. So what I'm gonna do with this now is I'm gonna create a clipping mask so I'm gonna click here, I'm gonna go to my Curves, but right now if I make a curves adjustment, it's going to affect everything below. But I'm sure I don't need to clip it but for out of good habit I'm gonna hold Alt and I'm gonna click - see that little arrow shows up - so it's only gonna affect this image. So if I had a whole bunch of layers of different stuff then this is gonna make more sense when I make more adjustments to the other layers. But if I'm doing that kind of work when I clip the mask, it's not gonna affect all the things in the shot; actually there's probably a better way that we can demo this so it makes more sense so it's more clear. Let's put a Curves there on top of everything, click, drag, it affects everything. If I clip this to the clouds, it's only affecting my clouds now. So, that's the beauty of a clipping mask but in this case we're gonna use it so that we're adjusting our color balance. So I'm gonna go to blue and I will be totally honest, I'm doing this in a really bright room, my colors are probably not gonna be super accurate but I'm gonna do my best here. So I'm just gonna pull this up, she's looking just a little too tungsten, and that's way too much blue but I can reduce the opacity of that curves adjustment layer, and I can go like okay well you know it's looking not too bad, her skin's looking a little better but the dress looks too blue. But because this is a mask, we can paint that. I might just bring back in a little bit of that yellow, not as much, move the Flow, make it a little smaller; I'm just using a soft brush and I'm just slightly blending that. So you wanna make sure cause just because her skin tone was just a little bit too much for me and so when I adjusted the blue, of course it made it a little too blue so our super specific mask looks like that. (chuckles) Sometimes if you don't need a perfect mask, don't make one (laughs). Perfect masks count for lots of things but sometimes they just don't matter. The sky I think I'm gonna add just a little bit of blue tone to it but just a tiny, tiny little bit. Gonna go to my blue channel, I'm just gonna play with it just a little bit and so that, even just that tiny little bit is almost too much right? See that's too much in my opinion anyways but once again, if you make it a little bit too much, it is a clipping mask, I can turn down the opacity of that layer so that it makes just the tiniest little bit of adjustment, and the devil is in the details right? So, we're getting a little bit more cohesive color, it's looking a little bit more realistic, we're going through here, we're looking at these greens here and these greens here, and they're not too bad. These are a little bit too hypersaturated for my flavor so I might make another clipping mask and I'll go Hue Saturation, hold Alt + Click, there we go, click on Hue Saturation there, and then I might go to my greens, and let's just slide down the saturation a little bit on the greens. So let's see, I wanna make sure I'm actually adjusting anything which nothing's happening right now; let's try a different color. And this is kinda what happens, sometimes things just screw up - there we go. So now when we push it all the way we can see what's going on. So I want to reduce the saturation just a tiny, tiny, tiny little bit; minus three. So let's look at this, let's see how we're doing. That's before and after, and the difference is really, really small, and that's totally fine with me. Okay so if we turn on and off our curves adjustments, and our saturation adjustments, we look like that, and like that to that. Very, very, very subtle adjustments. It's just lots of subtle adjustments.

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.