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Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 20 of 60

Using Curves to Color Match


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 20 of 60

Using Curves to Color Match


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 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. :)