Add Smoke & Texture
This image was pretty fun because, and I'm just throwing away layers that I didn't end up using, so that's what I'm doing right now. This image was really fun to do because I was able to go on location but it didn't quite look right when I went on location, so this was just field that I found and you can see houses in the background and things like that, it's a little bit busy, I don't really stand out in this field, especially with these bushes and stuff like that. So, my challenge here was to figure out how to draw attention to my subject in a space that was already really busy to work around. So I've gotten rid of my remote, you can see that hand just popping on there, and I'm expanding my frame out, which I did not remember to do when I was there shooting, so I just mirrored this side of the frame over to the other side, and then I simply stretched my image down because I thought I looked really short in this picture. I was like, you know, I'm just going to give myself a little bit...
of height and just stretch that down, and so you'll see a couple of changes, which these changes don't quite make sense yet, but they will when the smoke comes in. So this seems really simple, right? Like, I could just stand here and say, oh I just painted in the background, it was really simple. But of course it wasn't simple 'cause I had fingers to get around, and fabric and pieces of hair, and things like that, that required me to edit around when I put this piece in, and hopefully this is something we'll get to talk about later, is methods for that type of cutting and pasting, and things like that. Okay, so here's the smoke, which is totally normal white smoke that I photographed on a black backdrop, that I inverted the colors of, so that the smoke was black, the background was white, and then I didn't have to cut the smoke out, I simply blended the edges of it into the background there, which is much easier. This is another layer of smoke except this one is red, I just added a little bit of a tint to it and then I lightened it up so that you could really see the detail through that area, adding some smoke going around my body, which was quite the debate for me. I wasn't sure if I should do it and I'm still not sure if I should of done it, but it's done, and then I'm, that's it. I'm not going to think about it anymore. And so, let's see what else went into this. I'm just fixing up the top, making overall color adjustments, adding more smoke all around, so that it's believable, because you can't have one single plume of smoke with absolutely nothing else with texture filling in the background. And then changing the direction of light, changing how we see our subject in this space, which I think is really important to put the focus where you want it. If you're not using lighting or depth of field, or things like that, do it later. It's going to be worth it to just make sure that what the viewer is seeing is going to be seen, especially given how quickly people are going to look at an image online and move right past it, if they don't what they want to see. So that was how this one ended. Any questions on that image? Yeah?
How did you, with the smoke on the white background, how did you match the gray that was in the image from the gray on the background?
That's a great question. So if we go back to, mm, easier to do it this way. So we've got this layer, right? And if you can imagine it was just white back there, and if I were to use this layer mask to bring it back it wouldn't even show because what I did is I had this smoke that was now black, that used to be white and a background that was black, that is now white, and I went in to Replace Color. So, if I go to Replace Color, which I will do in more depth later, so don't worry if this is like, you're like, where are you going, don't worry yet. I went in to Replace Color and I selected just the white on the outside edges of the smoke, like this, and then I was able to change the lightness of that area. So it was like this, when I started, and I simply took it down to be as dark as the background. So that's one way that you could do it. Another way, for example, would be to go in to Curves, or Exposure, or Levels, and simply work from the highlight portion to take that down or up, or whatever you might need to do. That's one way that you could do it. But, in general I like to use Replace Color when I can, it's much faster, yeah. Any other questions before I close this one? Okay, now we're going to open the very last one here, and I wanted to open this because we actually have an image that we're going to be creating where there's going to be a very similar scenario for my series, for this class. And I thought it would be really go to take a look at how I've worked with this concept in the past and how it came together. So, we're going to take a look at the start of this image, which, was not under a tree but I did have a tree. And this was a lucky find, there's a tree, and there are roots coming underground in this sort of little alcove. So then you might be thinking why didn't you just photograph yourself under that tree? I should have, but I was embarrassed 'cause there were lots of hikers and I was in a nude leotard and I decided not to do it there. So I did it somewhere else in more privacy. And you're going to see weird things happen here too, as you will in most situations. I didn't like that tree enough. It was leaning kind of an odd direction, so you'll see a new one pop in. Oh, there it is. And then we've got some extra pieces of ground and that's a lot of what you're going to see here, is the ground transforming to cradle the subject in the end. Uh, I can't get away from it. I'm painting colors in ever single picture. So I'm just creating darkness because I don't know if you feel the same way, but I have trouble editing if this is all distracting for me. I really like to have as clean as slate as possible, and that's why you see this coming in so quickly. Here I'm taking extra shots that I had from the same little forest area that I found, just photographing the roots, and photographing little walls of dirt and things like that. Here are more, so I decided I didn't like part of that, and I put more in, oh, there I am. Okay, so then we've got our subject and I'm just darkening her down, and this is a shadow that you will see make sense, hopefully very soon. There we go. So there is my root and there's the shadow for it. And you can see the difference that it makes, one looks pasted and the other one, hopefully, looks less pasted. I won't say that it looks totally realistic, 'cause we're not finished yet and then we have more. I love the shape of this, just to mimic the shape of my body. Okay, more branches. I kept feeling like the tree was a little bit bare and I had to keep giving it little branches to feel better. There we've got even more, creating that circular shape again, and a lot of Photoshop, you know what? We can talk about compositing all day and we can talk about how things blends together, but at the end of the day, if you're not choosing the right images to go into a picture then it doesn't matter, you know? I needed this spiral shape to be able to create more believability here. So we'll just zoom through these. If I go up, there's my, another image from the same smoke shots that I had showed you before. I got so many good stock images and I use them all the time, and I've got some for you guys too, to download, with the class, so you will also have smoke images if you don't have smoke emitters where you are. And so here we go through this color process, it was very fun, and this is probably the weirdest layer that I have here. This is my rainbow layer, where I went through my normal process of just painting over the picture, but I did so at a very low opacity. You can see that that layer is set to 16% and if I take that percentage up, you can see what's happening here. Part of me regrets not just totally going for it with this picture and creating those vibrant colors, so there are things that I would choose to do differently. So this is 100% opacity of just painting over the image with different colors. And what I did was I thought, okay, I want there to be separation between the cool unground and the warm above ground and so I simply gave it that color by painting on a new layer and then blending it in to the image. So, we'll take that back down to 16 begrudgingly. It is something that I wish that I had done differently. Texture and we'll see how that comes together just by changing the light and bring our focus in. Okay, any questions on that last one?
Okay, when you were out in the forest taking all your shots, did you know exactly what you needed, were you just wandering around,
finding different things.
A little bit of both. I mean, I was hoping that I would get lucky and I went specifically to a spot where the trees were, a lot of them were disconnected from the ground because I knew that I would need roots on their own, separate roots, so I was looking for a couple of things. One, walls of dirt, like where you could look at a wall, and there would be maybe some roots, and maybe some dirt spilling down, and just flat spaces, so that there would be a good background to my subject in this picture. Another thing that I was looking for were roots on their own, so like a tree that had one weird root just like out totally isolated, so that I could cut those out later and as in this root here, that went overtop of my subject. Just making sure that I had roots isolated that could go in that space. Aside from that, just lots of bramble, lots of little sticks to fill in the spaces that looked awkward, where there's just flat dirt, you know, 'cause that's not really believable. So those were the three things that I mostly looked for and I took tons of images that I never used here. Like, images of random sticks that I was holding up, hoping that they would look like roots and stuff like that, and textures that I might use, and specifically pockets of dirt, you know, where maybe it could look like somebody was inside of it, where there was natural shadow, but I didn't end up using those in this final one.