Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite
So I'm going to go in, let's look at the images that we shot earlier and see what we can do here. So I'm gonna start with our smoke. Our fire pictures. And we've got a couple that we can use here. I'm gonna use this one though, actually, cuz we only have one. (chuckles) I only shot one picture, and not because I'm a pro but because I don't think ahead. But because this one worked out really nicely actually. I thought that the lighting was perfect, you see the dark fall off toward the bottom. That's something that I'm looking for because I want the focus to be where the candle is, on the collar bones and on the face. So I'm gonna go ahead and use that image. That one option that we have, and I'm pulling that into Photoshop, you can see it's gonna open in Camera Raw which I am okay with. But I don't need to do anything in Camera Raw. The one thing that I would consider doing is changing the shadows or the blacks just to maybe brighten them up slightly in this image. But I tend not to do ...
that and the reason is that I'm compositing many images together, so I would either wanna open them all into Camera Raw and make that adjustment to every single one of them at the same time, or not make any adjustments at all, because if I'm importing each one individually and then I have to try to remember exactly how much I moved that slider, it's just not worth it, so I'm opening straight in without making any adjustments, if I did it was an accident. But I don't think that I did. And now I have this one image, so I need to go looking for other pictures that I might have that will fit. So if we just zoom through some of these, we've got some fabric that was really beautiful. I love the motion of it and I really only need one, I think this one was my favorite, so I'll probably use that. And then you can see we're back to normal. So I'm gonna go ahead and just grab that image in, again, straight into Photoshop. And I have Photoshop all set up so we've got layers, we've got our navigator, and we've got history, and now I'm going to choose the rest of the pictures, so really quickly, I had Tori step aside so that we could see the back of this just in case I wanted to add that in, so why not? We'll open that into Photoshop. And the rest that I need would be the red dress. And this was something that if I were doing this again, I probably would do it slightly differently where I kept the veil on with the red fabric off so that it was overlapping. But I still think there's something to be done here, so let's go ahead and look and I'll just show you each of the images so you can see what I'm working with. This is a really good option and I want you to know exactly what I'm thinking in terms of choosing images. I like this because it's actually against her skin. Well, skirt. And that's really good because there's a connection point here. I'm going to talk a lot about connection points, where one image meets another image, so if we have a clear connection point, I can see what the shadows are like, I can see the shape of it, how it's touching, so this one's gonna be really good and then the flow looks really elegant. This one not so good which we both knew when I shot it and when you did it, you went, "Oh no," and we knew, and that's okay, and so we have tons of options. I like the ones where you can see the edge of it, cuz that's of course very helpful. This one's coming straight to the camera. So I'm gonna go ahead and just choose a couple of these, I'm gonna choose the one that we just mentioned. I'm going to choose the ones straight to the camera that I really liked and my hope is that these will all fit together perfectly so that you can think that I'm amazing. Just kidding. All right so I'm just going to open all of these in and we're gonna put this together. And the way that we're going to start is by choosing our main image, which is going to be our subject which is clearly standing there with the veil, with the candles, everything is looking good, so we've got this image. It's really beautiful, but it's not big enough, because I shot this portrait style and really close to my subject so the first thing that I think about when I'm compositing is how can I move outward, how can I expand the frame outward and create the shape that I want to create? So that's what we're going to do here, I'm just clicking C on my keyboard for the crop tool, and I'm going to expand outward. And I'm going to do that by just moving, moving, whichever direction I want, I'm just clicking and dragging and then I'll say okay by hitting enter or return. All right, now we've got this empty transparent space, and that's good because we can fill that in with whatever we want. So if I just create a quick new layer here with the little page flip icon in layers, then I can click on my brush tool with B on my keyboard. B as in Brooke. And (chuckles) I can have my brush. So I've got my brush and I'm going to right-click and take my size up and I'm gonna take my hardness down, all the way down. Hardness is this little soft fuzzy brush, or this hard brush and everything in between, so the hardness is determining how sharp the edge of your brush is and I want zero hardness cuz I'm just blending really seamlessly. You can see the size looks a little bit big so I'm just gonna take that back down. And what I'm doing here is I'm going to hold alt or option to click in this background so I'm selecting the actual color of the backdrop and I'm just going to start coloring that in all around my edges. All I'm doing is using a big fuzzy brush and making sure that I don't accidentally touch my subject or the fabric, cuz that would not be good. And I'm just going to color this in. The next thing that I wanna think about once this does get colored in is going to be, all right, now that we have the frame set and I have it cropped how I want it, how am I going to start creating a more believable image? You can see I need to get a little bit of a smaller brush to get in this area, so I'm using my left square bracket on my keyboard just to make a smaller brush size, get around this area. Okay. Looking good, you look like you belong in a church I think. I'm going to go ahead and just grab this fabric now that we have picked out and I'm doing that with my lasso tool. So I'm choosing L on my keyboard to very simply select this large area and then command C or control C to copy, command or control V to paste. And here I can add this on. Now you'll notice that something seems a little bit off because there's a lot going on on this side of the frame and not on this side, so we're just going to have to see if we need to expand more in a certain direction or not. So I'm moving this around my keyboard with my move tool, and I'm just going to pick a place to set it. I think that looks good, that's at the right height, I'm generally matching up the dress and the shoulder. We've got this arm here which might be an issue in a moment because as you can see, there should not be an arm there (chuckles). So we might have to get rid of that which is totally fine, but aside from just placing this and starting to erase, I'm thinking about the shape of this image, and I'm actually gonna warp this into a more pleasing shape for me. See how the floor looks like it's coming up really high compared to where the other one is down below, I'm going in to edit, transform, warp on this layer and now I can just sot of play with where this should go. So I might just make ti come down a little bit more, create a little bit more elegance up in this area. Again, see I'm not caring about this arm that I have just made very awkwardly short at this point. I'm just paying attention to the shape and the flow, and something that you might notice is that once you start warping, you're stretching pixels, and we talked about this already about how if you start to warp things in weird ways, then it might not print well, so you don't wanna go overboard with it, but it's definitely worth doing, because if you don't, then you're just stuck with whatever shapes you had and you don't need to be. I'm going to create a layer mask on this layer, layer two, which is this little circle within a rectangle box down there. And what I wanna do is click on my brush tool and I actually don't know where my color swatches are on this version of Photoshop cuz I don't know anything and I usually use a different version of Photoshop. So I'm gonna hope that that has automatically turned to black and white and we're gonna test it so if I start painting, now we know it's on black, because I'm able to erase right through that area. And the same thing as before, using my square brackets to adjust the size and I'm making sure that my hardness is down because what I wanna do is softly, really softly blend one piece of fabric into the other, definitely wanna get rid of that weird hand sticking in there. Okay. So I've got it generally in place, and the first thing that you're going to say if I said, "What's wrong with this?" You're gonna say, "It's too dark. "It doesn't match." Or, "She's too bright it doesn't match." So the way that I edit is not to just put every single image in and start erasing and make sure that everything's in place but to do one layer at a time. So I'm going to make sure that I change the color or the lighting or whatever needs to change as I go. So on this layer two, I'm going to create a little curve adjustment layer, and this is going to create a curve box that's on a separate layer above all my other layers. If I start to adjust my curves up, down, whatever I might need to do, it's adjusting every single layer right below it so I'm going to pin this layer right just to layer two. So if you hit that little box with the little downward arrow, that's going to attach your curve to the layer right below it within your layers palette, and now I can make that veil brighter so that it matches a little bit better and everything is okay. Nobody worry about anything. All right, so we've got that in and you can see now that it's not perfect, that we've got this piece out here that needs to be erased because it's not blended, and this is what I would caution is that if you're blending multiple images together, always get those sharp lines that you see, even if you feel confident that texture will cover it up or you can change the color later, get rid of it. Because I have had way too many prints where you can just faintly see a straight, sharp line in the background and it is the worst feeling to have that happen. So always get rid of it. I'm gonna get rid of this image that we don't need anymore cuz we've already used it. I'm gonna save because I have notorious issues with computers crashing, okay. And I'm just going to look at what else we have. I don't remember why exactly I took this, I think I just liked the flow of this piece, but that's a little detail that we can add later if we have time. So instead, let's go ahead and maybe use this piece of fabric to pull in to see if we can shape this dress a little bit more. Again I'm just doing a really wide selection with my lasso tool, copying and pasting. Okay, now an interesting thing has just happened which I'm glad that it did because this will happen to you as well where I was clicked on layer two, and when I pasted the image in, it went right above that but I already had a layer pinned to that, so this has automatically pinned my new layer to layer two. I don't want that. So I'm going to drag this to the top and then I'm going to right-click and I'm going to say release clipping mask here and that's how you undo that if that happens to you. I chose V on my keyboard for the move tool, and I'm going to move this into place. So I'm just going to maybe put this I'll say here. I want this to be a little bit wider, so I'm gonna go ahead and edit, transform, warp. I'm just going to start to pull it away. Just create a little bit of a more billowing shape here. I like it coming in at the top though. And say okay, and now this is going to be a really similar process as the veil. So I'm going to move through it a little bit faster this time, creating a layer mask, choosing my brush tool and then painting to get rid of whichever pieces I don't want. So we already know that we're gonna be adding even more fabric in so I'm not too worried about how much I erase on the sides knowing that that will change, but I do need to be careful about where this touches under the veil. So one thing that we can do to just sort of eliminate some hassle is to drag layer three, which is our fabric, underneath our veil layer so that nothing is touching it. We can erase more of the veil if we want to to show more of the fabric through underneath. So that's one thing that we can do, but I actually prefer just to keep the layers in order here and erase more of the dress wherever I might need. So one thing that I'm going to do is start erasing to just get a sense of where the edge of the veil is, and I'm starting to see that it's coming down through this region and this is one of those really weird teaching moments where maybe this will apply to your edit and maybe it won't. But what I'm doing is I'm finding the edge of the veil, just generally where you can see that little rim. And let me zoom in here so you can see it even better. And now that I've erased and you can see the veil, I'm actually gonna go in with a smaller brush and I'm gonna lower the opacity on my brush all the way to 35% right now. I'm hitting X on my keyboard and that's going to allow me to bring back what I've just erased. And this is that issue that we were talking about with having see through transparent fabrics is that, well now, we've got transparent fabric that has to be seen through something that was not there to begin with. This is all very confusing, isn't it? Very meta. So I'm going to take the opacity down even more, gonna make my size bigger and just continue to layer in that color so that it looks like there was red fabric beneath without getting rid of the natural lines of the transparent veil. Hopefully that will make sense. Yeah, I like that. Okay. So let me zoom out here. And see, so we've got something popping in there, right, you can see how it's sort of looking pretty good around that region. And it looks like it's there, where it wasn't before. You can believably think that there was some red fabric back there, except for this little line which was just the studio, we'll get rid of that later. Don't worry about that yet. And so now I'm going to add in one more piece of fabric on the back side. We're gonna get rid of this cuz I don't think we're gonna use that, because I was able to use that front piece on the left hand side to make that look good. And so now I'm just looking for that final piece of fabric that was off in the shadows. We're gonna grab that the same as we have been. And pop it right in. So let's just drag that down, now I have used the warp tool on this front image, right, on this piece of fabric here. So I'm gonna probably wanna do the same thing here cuz now it looks super tiny, doesn't it, compared to the other one. So edit, transform, warp. And this is, oops, I did it on the wrong layer. Layer four. And this is just allowing us to literally move pixels, to stretch pixels around and in my opinion, it makes fabric look a lot more, what's the right word, elegant I suppose is the right word. So we're just creating a better shape to the dress than she had originally. Creating our layer mask and blending. Now this might be one image where you would wanna put the fabric below and you just wanna practice and see what looks good where. And if you even need these things. So right now I'm gonna take the opacity back up to 100%. I'm going to make sure that I'm on black to erase, because black will erase and white will bring back. And I tend to erase too much as you see me doing here, which is in my opinion better than not doing that. I would rather erase too much and then simply switch to white on my keyboard and bring back some of that fabric, still really gently, so that there aren't any harsh lines running through the fabric. And I think that this is looking pretty neat. I think that this piece though is too dark. But what you'll notice is that this piece of that fabric is not too dark, it blends really well. And this often happens when you have dresses that are made from pieces of fabric that certain pieces will be too bright to match with another piece of fabric. So here I'm going to take my lasso tool, just select this whole big area right in there. Maybe a little bit less by holding alt or option. Just to get rid of that little bit. And this is where we need to talk about feathering. So we've already talked about the hardness of a brush and feathering is the same exact thing but for selections. So determining how hard this line will be when you make your adjustment or how soft it will be. I'm going to right-click and feather. And this is going to bring up this little box and if you're looking at that like, "Uh, I don't know how many pixels to choose," it's a trial and error thing. And I like to start big and then if it's too much of a feather, if it's too soft, just bring it down. So my good starting point for this type of small selection would probably be 75 pixels, let's just start there. And I'm going to create another curve layer, curve adjustment layer. And I'm going to wanna pin that down just to the layer below because we don't wanna make the adjustment to everything just that one little piece. And I might now make that area just a little bit darker so that it blends a little bit nicer. And you can do this again and again if you think, "Oh, that little piece right there shouldn't be so bright." Hey, I agree, and I think that we should do that. But not right now because that would take too much time. So instead, let's just finish up this image really quickly. I'm gonna show you just a couple of things that I would do before we move onto our miniature scene, which I think is super fun, so we've got this big dress and the first thing that I would do is consider first of all, does the editing look seamless? Now you don't have to answer. But I know that it could be better. One thing that could be better is this piece of veil right here that was already there. I actually think that it looks kind of clunky falling down like that. And I don't like that so much, so I already know that I have this fabric and I could just get rid of it if I wanted to. I could just use this fabric with my brush tool and bring back that fabric right through there, and just get rid of it. Just be like, "Oh, that didn't exist before, "what are you talking about? "I don't know what you're talking about," and then we could have the dress there. So that's one option. I'm going to just step back in history. Cuz I think that was a bit much. I mean, it's a nice piece of veil, so we'll keep it somewhat, and instead, I'll just lower the opacity on that brush. And then bring back just a little bit so that it's just a little bit lighter and not so visually distracting. But I like the flow of this, I like the way that the pieces of fabric both go off the edge on either side, it's a nice center composition. So for the sake of time, I'm going to move on, what I would do is get rid of these little pieces of white underneath the dress that you can see by cloning, but that's not a big thing in the grand scheme of making this image look really nice. So instead, let's move on then and think about overall as an image. First thing that I tend to do is color. Once I stop compositing, I tend to think, "Okay, what colors do I need to focus on?" And in this case we've got an interesting piece of color theory here where we have quite a bold color with nothing else in the frame. We have lots of beige because apparently that's the theme of our photo shoot is lots of beige, and I wanna be able to change the color of this dress. One reason is because maybe it looks better blue. I mean maybe with our concept we want it to be a blue image, but the other thing is that red is very rarely actually red when you get it into a photograph and the reason is that you have skin tones reflecting, other light reflecting from different places, the color temperature of the light itself, and so when you have blue light hitting a red dress, it's going to diminish how red that fabric looks. So I wanna go ahead and just for the sake of time, I'm going to duplicate all of my layers here and just merge them together so that we're working on one layer instead of multiples. The reason why I'm doing that to save time is so that we can make overall adjustments to all the red pieces in this image instead of having to adjust every single layer that has red on it. So we're just combining everything together. And then I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to, as I mentioned, we would talk about our image adjustments replace color in more depth. So I'm in replace color. And that's going to allow me to choose the color red from this dress and then make changes to that color. Some things that you'll wanna pay attention to, we have the eyedropper tool and then you have fuzziness. And if you pull the fuzziness up it's going to select more red tones in that selection that you've made with your eyedropper tool. Or you can have way less, depending on what you want. So if I go all the way, you can see that the veil is selected, the background is somewhat selected. Whatever is white will be affected by your changes. So I'm gonna pull it back so that we have no skin tones or anything like that and then I'm just gonna use this little eyedropper tool with the plus sign to select more variants within the color palette here. And we'll see how that looks. I still see some skin tone, but it might be okay. Because I'm not looking perhaps to go blue with this image but you can see what it looks like if you do. It's really beautiful and you can see that we've missed a little bit there. You can always go back into replace color, you don't have to worry so much about, oh my gosh, is every single tone selected in that same one graph. Oh no. Go back, aah! Well, we're gonna have to cancel that because I accidentally clicked my mouse. We'll go back in and do the same thing, so replace color, selecting with your eye dropper tool, changing the fuzziness and then using the plus sign to just add to your selection. You can always take it back if you think it's too much. But I don't wanna do hue so much here. I would much rather do maybe just a richer red. And I'm going to up my saturation, take my hue in the direction of the yellows, because that's going to allow for a richer red. And then take my lightness down just a little bit and just keep toggling that saturation with the lightness with the hue. And I think that looks really nice, so if we preview, you can see that we're just getting rid of a lot of the blues in this image, which, perhaps we did too much cuz now you don't really see the veil so much in that region, but for the sake of time, we're gonna say okay to that. Now there are a lot more things that I would do with this picture, but I wanna make sure that we get to our miniature scene, so let's definitely move onto that but I'll make sure to edit this up and make sure that you guys see that eventually. And save because that is my main issue.