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Why Composite ?

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Why Composite ?

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

2. Why Composite ?

Next Lesson: Logic Checklist

Lesson Info

Why Composite ?

one reason why people composite is to correct a shooting mistake. You know, maybe you maybe you have a bride and groom, and maybe this picture is beautiful. But then you notice that there's a runner in the background or something like that, and you're like, Oh, no, I can't give that to them. Maybe it's something even bigger than that where you could just can't use the clone stamp tool, and you need to figure something else out. Well, then maybe you need to move that couple to a different background altogether. Maybe that's going to just make that image pops so much more. And it's gonna be the centerpiece of your images that you give to them. So sometimes it's just to correct a mistake. For me, it is very often to correct a mistake. Very often, it's about fixing something that I didn't notice and something that I do constantly is. I'm too lazy to move my bag out from the shot, so like I'll have my camera stuff right there and then I have to get that out later, and and I know that I'll b...

e able to, because I know that I'm going to be taking enough pictures to be able to do that. It saves time and energy. You're probably thinking compositing does not save time or energy because that is a very Liberace process. But I beg to disagree what I find to be a very Liberace processes to take a whole bunch of lights out to the forest and try to do it all perfectly all at once. I have huge respect for people that do that. I just don't have the patience for it. And I don't have that technical. What's the word when you really, really want something? I don't have that for lighting. So, uh, so I do this to save time and energy. So I spend my time planning. I spend my time trying to figure out what exactly it is that I want to say with my image. And then after that process, I shoot for about 15 minutes on average. I like shooting for a less amount of time because that means that I can go sit at my computer and edit for more time. So I try to budget my time like that. So when you think of maybe I don't know, let's say that you like to shoot on location, you like to shoot with lights? Maybe your fashion photographer. Maybe your processes, like six hours for an average photo shoot. Well, that's my average time editing. So that means that my average time spent is the amount of time somebody's been shooting a picture. So for me, it actually does save a lot of time in a lot of energy. I also have some physical problems, too. So I have some physical limitations where I can't really spend six hours on a photo shoot doing manual labor and stuff like that. So this is really, really great for that. I go out, I shoot a self portrait done in 15 minutes, and then I can edit for however long it takes. And I would say that a typical edit for me lost minimum of two hours and not because it needs to go, because I feel that I need to give it that much attention. But the compositing element is usually 30 minutes, and then it's composited together once you know these basic, simple techniques for making it blend. So my time is spent doing the fun things like color, corrections and color overhauls and lighting effects and stuff like that, adding elements later. This is probably the biggest one that's going to help a lot of people, and the fact is that you might not think of everything right when you're shooting. You might think later on. Oh, if only I had a ground hog in the pictures and think, I don't know. It's just what I thought of. So maybe you're thinking something like that and you're thinking, I need to add that in later. Well, knowing how to shoot it. And then how to put that in leader is going to enhance your images, and it could be for a bride and groom. It could be first senior portrait. It could be for any type of photography, something added, and leader can be a really good thing to enhance it. Fix bad posing. So I think that is something very obvious. But I don't know if you've ever shot somebody who's just not used to being in front of the camera, and they're a little bit stiff in this and that, and it can take a while to get them to loosen up. Now I've done this in a couple of ways I shot somebody recently are really short hair, and I needed to hurt a very long hair. So I said, It's fine, We'll take your picture. It's gonna be great. And then I photographed my own hair and I put it on later and you know, nobody would ever know she was fine with it. So eso I do stuff like that that's not technically bad posing. But that's certainly adding something later to enhance the pose. And then things like, maybe you have the most gorgeous picture of a model space and she just looks so beautiful and and you love it. But then her hands like and she's like doing something weird. Then maybe instead of like this, you have a picture of her like this in another shot, and you could just simply add that arm on and and fix it all right up. That's our goal there and creating more atmosphere. No, I say creating atmosphere because adding things like clouds into your picture is going to be huge in creating atmosphere. It's going to give it a whole new dimension, and then creating atmosphere goes into those lighting effects and color adjustments that we're also going to talk about which I know is not strictly compositing, but it is adding a huge element into the image that wasn't there before. I'm not gonna go in deep about storytelling right now, but that is in my opinion, one of the best ways to tell a story is to understand that you can put elements together that just couldn't be put together in real life. Or you might need a very, very large budget to do so. In this case, I wanted it to look like I was coming through another dimension in time and space, mostly because I'm obsessed with Doctor Who Anybody else. Okay, I'm very inspired by things like that. And I wanted to create an image like that, but I thought, How does one go about doing that? I can't actually create this sort of wall of space time goo. So what am I going to Dio? So I thought compositing, obviously. Now then it's just a matter of logic. How do I actually do that? What are the steps that need to be taken and how many times am I going to fail before it comes together? In this case, it was two times so creating something imaginary, something that could not exist in real life. That is something that I'm interested in doing with compositing. That is why I personally composite and manipulating reality. I think reality is pretty cool, but not the coolest thing. That's why I like science fiction and fantasy so much so that's why I create what I create. We're not gonna focus on that today. It's not gonna be the main centerpiece of what we dio. But that is what we're building up to, creating a composite that requires a ton of different pieces to come together to create something that just we could not shoot in real life. And that's going to manifest itself in a flooded city. So we'll see how that goes. Enhancing reality. It could be that you just want to make something look even more magical, and you just want to add a little element to it, and that's really great or fixing reality. I mean, we all get upset with real life sometimes, so why not make it a little bit better through compositing? There two ways of thinking about compositing, In my opinion, they're very, very simple ways of thinking about compositing, but make a huge difference in how you approach this and that is Teoh. Shoot first and then think so. That's something that I won't be doing, but something that I don't think is a bad thing to do necessarily. So maybe you just like the process of maybe you're going to go out and take pictures. You don't know what it's going to be of. Your just gonna be inspired. You're going to shoot a bird over there in the building over there. I haven't say a plan 95% of my shoots. But that's not to say that I never just get inspired. I shoot stock images all the time. I shoot locations that I don't know if I'm ever going to use, and I'm okay with that. I'm okay with gathering the material and then saying now what works? And what story do I find in that? And that's why I don't think this is a bad way of shooting at all. However, if you have a client shoot, let's that you need to do something for somebody else and you need to get it right. You don't have the luxury of just walking around town and getting inspired and hoping that things come together. Then that's when we might want to think first and then shoot. And so that's kind of a difference. There is. How do you naturally get inspired and go with it? You don't have to do anything. You don't have to shoot a certain way. You don't have to think about it first, but knowing how to think about it is going to be so handy for being able to not think about it. Does that make sense? So if you understand the basic concepts, if you understand the checklist of logic that you need to go through, then that means that when you're shooting and becoming inspired, then you're already shooting for the composite, whether you know what composite it is or not. And that's why I think it's so important to go through these elements of what to think about. And then however you're inspired, be inspired that way. So I have this image here, and this is just an example of a recent image that I did. Can you see, by the way, No. I walk over here for just a little bit Okay, So what I have here is a recent image that I created, and and this was done in my typical fashion of sitting in a sewer and, uh, just my favorite place to be. So I go to this location for a couple of reasons, and they're important to note it's not just that, you know, I like sitting in sewers and anything like that. It's a very clean sewer. It's more of an underpass. I would say my other one had a lot of goose poop in it, but this one doesn't. So that's great. So in this case, I went to this spot because of the background because my skin was lighter than the background. That meant that I could darken it leader, and that would be a pretty easy process to go through. I liked that the floor was just cement because that meant that I could add anything in the foreground. So if I had weeds and stuff growing in front of me and then I wanted to add a rocky floor, I couldn't really do that. There has already grass growing up in front of me, so that wouldn't really work in this case, though it was just a plain floor and I could add whatever I wanted in front. So that's what I'm doing here. And I want to take a look at what was composited into this picture. What was added, what was changed. So what was added to this picture? We have butterflies that were not there. We have strings that were not there and we have a field that was not there. Let's see. Oh, and a hand. Did you guys catch that hand? So if I foot back, come on, There we go. You can see that I, um, didn't I had a remote, but it wasn't working on the two second Delight. Don't know why, so instead I took the picture with my remote in my hand, was pointing and clicking. It clicked immediately. In that moment, I didn't have a couple seconds to put it down. Because of that, I had to shoot a new hand. This is exactly what I'm talking about with what we're going to do in the next segment, which is swaps, simple swaps, things that you can do to swap out hand swap out eyes, pop out, heads, legs, whatever you'll see an image coming up where I have six limbs altogether at one point. It's very entertaining to me. So in this case I move the hand and that's what was added. But what was changed then? From this we have the color of the dress which was changed. We have the color of the hair and we dark in the background. So those are things that did not go into the composite. But if I just had let's see what if I didn't dark in that background? And what if it was just, ah, sewer in the background with a field of growing up all around me that wouldn't make sense, So compositing can't just stop when everything is added? It has to stop when everything has changed and blended together. And that's why I think it's important to note what was added and what was changed in this case because it makes a really big difference. It makes a difference in how you understand this image now, the backgrounds dark, so now you're not thinking, Hey, she's in a sewer, wonder what she's doing there. You're thinking, Oh, it's dark and mysterious and I don't know where she is She's in a field and it's nighttime. Maybe, and I don't know what's going on. Well, I don't know if that's what you're thinking, actually, right. That's what I hope you're thinking. Okay, so now with this image, this was done kind of strangely. It was a very makeshift studio thing going on here where I wanted a white backdrop. But alas, I do not own a white backdrop of any kind. So I used a bed sheet and I hung that bed sheet from a balcony, then just had it hanging, and that kind of stopped, like, here on my body. So I made sure to pose with my hair behind that white backdrop because who hates compositing hair onto a different background, I dio so I didn't want to do that. So I made sure that the white was covering my hair on my upper body. But then I also had to composite the flowers in and things like that. So let's talk a little bit about how that came together. The first thing, if you can see over here on this side, that one is the main pose that we ended up using. I don't know why I say we it was just me, but I love the Post that I used, and that's what I started building on top of. And that's a concept that we're gonna talk a lot about throughout this three days is what is the main shot. What are the details, shots, and what else do you need to put it together in the end? So this is the main post. This is the shot Where once I got that image, I said, That's it. I'm going to use that picture and then I'm going to build on top of that. So once I had that, I actually ended up taking my hair down, taking some hair shots, just in case I had it just in case I wanted that. And then I started taking these flower shops on. What you notice about these flower shots is that they're right up against that background and they're up against their for two reasons. One I don't want to cut something out to. I wanted to create natural shadows and see how it would actually look with the lighting and how it's touching the fabric and all of that. So I took a whole bunch of flour shocks, and I made sure toe that I had enough that I could put them all together for that final image. And then I took some dress shots from the dress shots were just me wearing that sheet, throwing the sheet out to the side, knowing where the dress would be created. So let me step back here again to the spinal image. Now, in this image, we have a couple of things going on. We have flowers, OK? And that's that's all well and good, we shall we? I must have an imaginary friend or something. So I shot the flowers right there where you see them roughly in those same positions. I tried to maintain the shadows which you can kind of see happening underneath some and then I have the main post. But what was added was the sheet where it wasn't before. So we've got sheet happening in through here where it wasn't in the past. And then this exactly right here is right where you saw that fabric moving where I threw it. And I threw it from that point because I knew that that's where I wanted the dress to come from not up here, not down here, but right where it waas and right. So is that something we talk about later when we talk about compositing dresses and creating fabric dresses and stuff like that? But it's something important to note that every single way that I shot these things, it was important for how it came together in the end.

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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