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Lighting in Photoshop

Lesson 8 from: FAST CLASS: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Lighting in Photoshop

Lesson 8 from: FAST CLASS: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

8. Lighting in Photoshop

Next Lesson: Compositing Clouds

Lesson Info

Lighting in Photoshop

We're going to jump into Whiting today and lighting in photo shop. That's what I mean when I say lighting. So I'm not so interested right now in talking about some of the things that we did yesterday, which would be cutting and pasting and blending and stuff like that. This is going to be much more about how to create light that's really dynamic and photo shop. How to create light that matches different pieces, that you might be blending together things like that. So I went through and he's thinking about my process a lot in in terms of Photoshopped lighting, and I would say that in everything that I do in my process, the most important part is lighting and not usually in camera. I usually use really flat lighting. I Usually it's very I don't know. It lacks shadows and highlights. It's just gray, a sugar. So let's what I usually work with. And that makes it really easy to apply a lot of different lighting effects, too. The image in photo shop. So that's what we're going to talk about, ...

and I have a couple of different topics that we're going to go over that I use for almost every single image. One would be vignette ing, which I do in a little bit of a different way, traditionally than just creating sort of a four point been yet around the image. But sometimes I do the opposite of that. We're all create sort of a white and blurred edge around the image. We'll talk about that a little bit. We're gonna talk about changing the direction of light matching up body parts than they fit together. We're going to talk about lighting effects in in filter in photo shop and a whole bunch of different things. Radiance, Phil layers stuff like that. So let's get started with this image that I have pulled up here, and this picture is actually the one that you'll see in the Pdf download as well. So this is what I chose to go through. It is an example of lighting effects, and that's because it was quite subtle and yet at the same time really changed how we read the picture. That's what I love about creating images like this is that you can start with something that's that's really quite boring toe look at very neutral, very gray very flat and then turn it into something far more dynamic. So I'm going to go down here and take a look at my beginning of my Photoshopped process. Or if I can figure that out, then I will do that. Okay, I'm going to undo some of these layers here so we can start to see exactly how this image was created just by popping these layers off. And this was an image that was created specifically to deal with compositing, to deal with sort of a levitation aspect. But it was shot very simply, all on location. She's one like it now and let's see. So that brings us to nothingness and not how I want to start this. We have a blank canvas, and the first thing that I did was I started with this image. I started with this image because I knew that I wanted her body to be sort of in a straight line, but at a diagonal. So I started with her doing a back bend. That way I could use this upper body portion, and that would remain in the final image. And then I started to replace something, so I took a blank shot, and in that blank shot I was able to replace. I also did some cloning in there, so I just got rid of her legs because we did not need them in the final picture. Got rid of my helper over there who is holding some rope. And there's one leg. So I had or do each leg separately. She just put one foot out in front of her. It took a picture of that, the other leg out in front of her took a picture of that, and I continued building this. There's that other leg and then I put a rope on. So this was the main composite here. I least her body's put together. At least she is, um, not quite believably yet that somewhat believably hanging there are being supported by that rope. And then I started thinking about the white. So my first step is always in an image composite. Teoh put the composite together so I will always always start with Okay, well, she's missing legs, so maybe we should fix those missing legs and Well, okay, now we need to make more hair. Or now we need to make more dress or whatever. So I made sure that I had all the elements present because when I start changing light, that's going to change everything all at once. I don't want to start changing light and then realize, Oh gosh, she's actually missing a leg and I didn't notice that. Now we have to add it in later than I have to try to get that leg to match all the other lighting that I've just done. It makes it really difficult and I've definitely done that before. I have lots of images where I mean, I forgot to put a hand on my body once, like I just erased it off and then forgot. And then many layers down the road had to pop that hand back on and at that point my body was brighter and had more contrast and I had added color to it and then my hand that I popped on just looked grey. It just looked dull with no contrast and then I had to try to match that, so that's not something that we want to do hence the compositing first before worrying about light. But the first thing that I did in terms of changing the white was to add a sky here, and so you'll see that pop in there Now, that's not something that we're going to talk about at great length right now. Adding a sky, We're going to do that later. But I added this guy, and that was the first thing that changed the white in this picture. So once we have clouds here, the rest of the image doesn't make sense. If there are clouds here, then why is this so bright as though there were, you know, a sunsetting in a clear sky. This makes a lot of sense. A big, bright white sky makes perfect sense because the water is reflecting that, not something that I think about a lot. It goes into believability. It goes into that idea of If you're going to add something to an image that wasn't there, then you need to understand the physics of that image that you're adding. So when I add in a sky, then I'm thinking to myself, Well, if I add this in, there's a water element. There's a reflective element. Does that need to reflect it, even if there's just a field on thinking. Would we see the pattern of those clouds on the field on thinking things like that? Because if you don't, then that's when the viewer will sort of subconsciously take a look at what you're doing and say Something's not right And it's again the kind of thing where people might not even understand what's wrong about it. But it all goes back to light and shadow like we talked about yesterday. I think that light and shadow, you know, they're the most important thing, especially in compositing. And that's why within this sort of building of these layers that you're seeing, that's why I ended up adding these clouds to the bottom of the frame as well. Then in doing that, they're now reflected within the water. So a little bit of how I did that if I click on do this layer layer five copy. This has the clouds that are flipped down below. If I click on that, then you can see that they're blended with a blending mode, which is something we're going to talk about today and the opacity is down. So if I take that opacity up, then you can see it becomes too much. I mean, it will not from far away, cause I can see a monitor far away that looks OK, but close up. It looks really crazy, and so we wouldn't see that much of a reflection in the water. It's not very realistic. So playing with opacity is really excellent. And then also playing with that blending mode. You know, if I had it on blending mode normal, which is essentially just saying this, this layer is not going to blend it all. It's going to be full opacity if you keep the opacity up. So if I were to take this opacity up coming, then it would just be normal clouds down below, and we don't want that. So what I wanted to dio in blending this was to create a layer by putting it on blending mode multiply that would stick a little bit better, blend itself in, not cover up as much in this an engine, just blend right into the water. So again, we'll talk about that later, blending modes and things like that. But for now, let's keep putting this image together again. And so a lot of these steps now, now that we have the light sort of worked out in terms of if we want it to look overcast. If we want it to look bright, we know that we want it to look dull, at least through here. But I can see that the light in these clouds is coming from this portion on this left hand side of the frame. And because of that, I wanted to make sure that the subject matched. So I looked at my subject was putting this together and I said, Well, the white is sort of hitting her from this area. I can see that her hair is lit up, whereas this side of her body is not lit up. And that was just natural, based on how the sun was setting. So when I go back to this image of the blank shot, I can see that it's brighter over here than it is over here. Not to mention I can remember shooting it. So I know where the sun was setting. And because of that, I understand the lighting on my subject. So I put on the clouds and the clouds are very subtle. I think that at this point, the light is not entirely motivated yet from these clouds, you can see that it's brighter. You can see it's darker over here. But she has a nice golden hue to her hair that is not being reflected in these blue clouds, their blue white in terms of like white. They're not that on the yellow cast of them. And then there's a blue sky behind that. That blue sky is really what's going to take the light and the lighting effects and really mess us up here. If we don't make some adjustments because she looks like she's lit from a son that has gone down so we can't have a bright blue sky in the background cause that's not really how skies work. So if I continue here, we'll start to see some more lighting effects. So I made the background a little bit darker there. Just that strip because I thought that was actually a little bit distracting for me, didn't quite blend there, and then I took that saturation down. So this next adjustment layer is just taking a lot of the color out of the image. Now this goes into lighting effects because for me, color and light sort of go hand in hand in a lot of ways, because the color of white is very often what we're adjusting and Photoshopped, it's not usually the color of a specific thing that we're talking about when we talk about adjusting color, we're talking about tonality and how much color is affecting the overall image. So if that's what we're talking about, then we need to pay attention to what is a different color in the image and what is going to take color differently. So right here we have yellow red hair, bright blue sky, and those are two very contrast ing elements in this image. I want to make sure that they match, and so I am taking the saturation down on everything. Now, if you didn't want to do it like that, that would be totally fine. You could always just go into photo shop, and instead of doing one big hue saturation adjustment layer, you could just take down the color of the hair by selectively dispatch a rating that area or selectively de saturating the blue. So that's something that will talk about in a little bit, playing with selective color adjustments, But I like to do saturate everything to start the reason being, I can now add color back in over everything. Now what I've done with adding this curves three here is I'm starting to add some color back in in terms of let me just scroll over here. Now if we focus on this area right here and I toggle this curves three on and off, you can see what's happening in the shadows and highlights. There isn't a lot of change in the mid tones here because the greys air staying gray. But if we take a look at the shadow in her hair here in the highlight here, we can see that there's actually some blue popping into the shadows in this area. So when I start adding in my light and color and things like that, what I'm really working on is trying to figure out in terms of highlight mid tone and shadow and what exactly needs toe happen in each of those spaces with the color. So I'm looking at the shadows, and I was thinking to myself that maybe the shadows could be pulled up a little bit, made a little bit brighter, but I don't typically like to like to just make the image brighter because of certain part needs to be brighter. So instead, what I would be inclined to do is add blue to the shadows. Because blue is going to add some detail into the shadows, it's going to make the shadows a little bit brighter. It's going to make those shadows a little bit more interesting to look at. So if I add that curves three back on, I can start to see just a little bit more detail in the shadows. And, of course, you can always just pull the shadows up. But if you don't pull the shadows up, then adding blue might be a good sort of fairy tale twist in there for the color. So let's go ahead and take another fresh look at this image. And so when I'm adding on this next portion, this is an example. This curves for is an example of sort of a custom vignette, I would say so I've added a custom vignette on just the right hand side of the image, meaning that it doesn't affect all four corners, so any normal vignette would go ahead and equally affect all edges of your image. Now, in this case, I've just drawn it in myself. So I have just gone and sort of selected the edges on the outside wherever I want. And then I pulled that curve down with an adjustment layer. So the next layer that I want to put on his curve layer five. This is an adjustment layer you can even see right now from that layer mask. Hear exactly what's about to happen so you can see whatever's white in this layer mask. That's where the effect is going to be applied. Whatever is dark, it's not going to affect that portion of the image. So we know that something's going to happen over here. And just based on what we know about this picture and building this picture, it's probably going to get a little bit brighter over here because we're trying to enhance the light in the clouds from that area. So when I click that on, you can see that it's warming it up, and it's making it brighter just through this area here. So that was really important to creating this image, because now the clouds are much brighter in this portion, which motivates the light on the subject. So I started playing with color after that, just taking the color in a new direction. In this case, I was adding a little bit of red to the highlights and a little bit of science, the shadows so you can imagine in curves. Let's see if we just open this curve up. You can see what's happening here, Ammon RGB right now. But I'll take it down to the red and so we can see this is the shadow portion of our image is the highlight portion so we can see what happens when we move it up. Now, if I move the mid tones up, they're becoming more red. But we had them down here in the science portion. But then the highlights come back up to read instead of all of it being science. So that was one little change that was made in this image. Now, if we continue on, I applied a photo filter, which is a technique that I think is wonderful for getting a feel for sort of color overall color in your image. And so a photo filter. If I opened that up. You can choose from a whole bunch of filters, so we have warming filters, cooling filters underwater so you can kind of see what all of them do. If I take the density up on that slider, there's underwater. We have sepia. If that's the kind of look you're going for, Yellow would have been a little green, actually orange. And so I ended up choosing just the top warming filter for this picture here. Now, if we continue, you can see this is another big shift, and this is an overall curve shifts so you can see right over here in the layer mask. It's white. I didn't make any adjustments to it. I very simply just added contrast to the entire image, which again you can see here with the curve when I open it. So moving on there, just a couple more layers, and they're mostly just some overall texture stuff like that. So we've got a couple texture layers popping on, which we'll discuss in a little bit later. One more saturation and then the final image there so you can see how the lighting effects are changing as the picture goes on. so if I go back to the beginning here, there we go. That's how it started. And then we have this image where yes, there is compositing. But for me, the really big changes, how we see the light, how we see this image. I think that we read him and just from left to right. That's just my theory because of how a lot of us read books. So if you read that way, then you're going to naturally look from the left side to the right side of the image. And I like toe have white coming from that side of the image. I don't always follow that rule. Sometimes I have a vignette going around the whole image, and I just see the center as the brightest part. But it's very rare that will have light streaming in from the right hand side of the picture just because I don't like my eye to be confronted with the dark part of the picture first. So if I go into image, image, rotation and flip canvas horizontal, which is something that I highly highly recommend doing just to see the image a little bit differently than suddenly we get a whole different feel for this picture. If you were to look at this fresh, So let's say that I just minimize that real quick. Okay, take a moment and then leads. Pop it back up. Then you're going to look at it from the left to the right, at least in most cases. So I don't want to see the darkness and the shadows. I want to see the white part, and so that's why I decided to keep it angled in this direction.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Favorite Photoshop Tools
Lighting Effects
Adorama Gear Guide
Logic Checklist
Must Have Shots
Practice Files - Building a Dress
Practice Files - Cutting out Hair from Background
Practice Files - Levitation
Practice Files - Swapping Hand

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