Painting to Combine Images


Getting Started with Composite Images


Lesson Info

Painting to Combine Images

All right, so let's talk about painting, I'm actually going to switch back over to bridge, and we're going to talk about a little bit more complicated scenario for painting on a layer mask complicated in this case because we're actually going to work with three individual images, their individual images captured in the same place of the same subject, but the subject was moving, so I essentially want to blend these three images together so that I have three airplanes flying in formation, so are flying in the sky, getting ready to land, and so those are my three images. I want to assemble them now that I'm going through these images, I'm realizing I should have taken my tripod with me that day, because if you watch, you don't even have to look very carefully if you watch. As I switch from image to image, you can see that I was panning across the sky, sort of with the airplane almost I was not doing a very good job of holding. Still, I really should have brought the tripod now had I used ...

the tripod, this would have been so much easier, but then you wouldn't learn these extra little steps that can help you salvage these situations so that I use a tripod the background, the overall scene here would be exactly the same from one image to the next the only thing that would change would be the airplane. So the airplane we just magically moved from one frame to the next, but the background would remain locked. However, I did not do that in this case, I did not use a tripod. And so now I need to assemble these images. I don't want them to be lined up perfectly with each other. Based on their existing pixel arrangement, I want photoshopped to move them around a little bit. So actually, instead of just stacking, remember when I stack those images from bridge into photo shop or when I manually dragon image from one photo to the next, holding the shift key to center it that's just lining up those virtual four by six prints so that the edges matchup in this case. It's not the edges that I need to match up. It's the content of the images. If only there were a way and photoshopped to actually merge the photos. So stuff lined up. Oh, wait. We already saw that. And it's not called. Merge the photos. It's called photo merge. We use it for panorama. Well, this is like a panorama, it's. Just a panorama with lots and lots of overlap, not quite enough overlap because they weren't perfect, but very close. Two perfect overlap and I just want photoshopped to do that work for me of getting things lined up so justice we can take the individual frames of a panorama and have photoshopped line up those overlapping edges taken to the exact same thing here with multiple images that I want to have stacked one on top of the other, so once again select those multiple images. This is exactly the same is assembling a composite panorama I want to select all of those images in this case just three images and then go to the tools menu choose photo shop followed by photo emerge that will bring up the photo merge dialogue once again in photo shop and a couple of options that are available to me. I could use the reposition option or I'll just leave the set to auto, as I almost always do, unless I try to assemble something and it doesn't work very well again. You can see that the images have automatically been set as the source files, and I'm going to turn off blend images together because I want to do the blending myself because I'm gonna be selective about it. Perhaps so I'll go ahead and let photoshopped simply align those images and you'll see it looks like it did a good job, says I turn off the individual images. You might see a few areas that are slightly off but that's not going to create a problem for our purposes so I'm just toggle ing the visibility of these layers so starting off here is my base image you might say that's my bottom of most image layer on the layers panel and here's the next again think of these like four by six prints there just stacked one on top of the other but instead of lining up based on the edges of the prince they're lining up based on the content of the photo so you'll notice a little bit of a change there was probably some wind blowing there's some wide angle distortion of play here so it might not do an absolutely perfect job but it will be a good enough job for our purposes because we're just blending small areas of the photos together and then finally there is that last image now remember I mentioned that I'm weird in oh so many ways I like to have the images sequence in a logical order for me personally it just makes it easier I feel for me to stack things together for me to blend the images together using a layer mask so to me personally with my weirdness this feels like the backwards order because the top layer is the first in the sequence based on time that was the first photo that's the second photo and that's the third photo I prefer to have the first photo as kind of my base image the image on building from I want that at the bottom of my layer stack fortunately as we've seen it's very very easy to change the order I can just drag and drop the individual layers into the order that I want them again because I used bridge to assemble this little composite the starting composite the file names are reflected here, so I have painting o one painting o two and painting over three makes little easier in this case because I had that sequence number so I know which is my first second and third photo so on starting with this image the first image in the sequence the first image that I captured of this plane that is my base in the john a buildup from there all right? I'm going to start off with on lee that layer visible and then I'm gonna come up to my second player and in theory I want to make this layer visible except that's just going to confuse me and so I don't want to do that just yet, but I do want to make a mental note of where the airplane appears so here's the airplane I'm about to add to this photo but I'm going to add it essentially to this base underlying image I just want to make a mental note of where it we'll be able to work around that if I can't find it so easily later. It's not really a problem, but it'll be good for me to know that for example the nose of the plane starts kind of to the left of the starburst here I believe that invisible for the moment now I want to add a layer mass so remember layer mask is what allows us to block or reveal individual pixels in the image and for the most part it's not quite as simple as this, but for the most part what I want to do here is block the entire image. The second image I want to block it in its entirety except for the airplane. All right. And so that means I'm gonna have a layer mask that is shaped like what a stencil that has shaped like what? Like an airplane so black because that blocks the pixels except for the airplane the airplane will be white because that reveals the pixels. And for that second layer I want to block everything except the airplane itself. So I'm gonna make a stencil where the airplane is white and the rest of the images black very easy that sounds like it's mostly black and so I want to start off with a black layer mask and then I will fill in the areas white where I need them so when I'm adding a layer mask to an image where I can actually create an inverted masked by holding the altay on windows or the option, keep on macintosh while I click on the add layer mass button that circle inside of a square icon at the bottom of the layers panel so now I've added a layer mass, but instead of being filled with white, which would be by default, I was holding the altar option key. So now that layer mask is filled with black, so when I turn on the visibility for that second image layer, nothing happens because I'm revealing the image I'm enabling the visibility for this image, but the layer mask is hiding it in its entirety, so it feels like I've done a whole bunch of stuff and have accomplished absolutely nothing but that fortunately, is about the change I will click on the layer mask that black layer mask, but I added to my second image layer, I'll click on it to make sure it's active because I'm going to be painting my stencil. I want to paint on the layer mask not onto the pixels. I don't want to be painting white onto my airplane photo, I want to be painting onto the layer mask to hide or reveal specific areas of the photo, so I'll press the letter b on the keyboard for the brush tool I'll press the letter d on the keyboard to get the default colors, which in the context of a layer mask will set white as my foreground color white reveals and black as my background color black box and I think it's worth noting, by the way, for ground color, background color, really it's just the color your painting with and the color that's in standby mode ready to come into action anytime you need it, too, and so it's really just a way to have very easily two different colors available in this case, black and white, we can switch back and forth between those colors the foreground background color by pressing the letter x on the keyboard for exchange for running background. In this case, though, my layer mask is set to black it's filled with black my foreground color therefore needs to be set toe white so that I'm actually able to see the image the airplane in specific areas where I paint. Now comes the hardest part of all have to remember where the airplane wass so I'm using the brush tool I'm using the hardness setting of zero percent in this case, a soft edge will get a little bit of transition in the sky opacity one hundred percent because of course I want to reveal the airplane in its entirety this is not going to be a ghost plane it's going to be an actual airplane in the sky so I just have to remember it wasn't it over here somewhere you guys think was right there the studio audience says right here therefore if it's the wrong spot it's not my fault, but if it's the right spot if I get the credit for because I painted there and sure enough there is the airplane being revealed, so I paint with white in the area where I believed the airplane to have been and now I can essentially trace airplane do I need to paint absolutely perfectly right now? No, because just a psych campaign with white to reveal this airplane I can paint with black to block portions of that image if I've gone a little bit too far so I might use a smaller brush back here at the tail so I don't paint into kind of cover up the nose of the plane behind it obviously the same airplane just moments before and I reveal the rest of this etcetera thank goodness the images were aligned so I can actually just paint right into that palm tree and it's just revealing the palm tree from a different layer, but they're lined up with each other so everything looks great naturally I would want to zoom in and kind of just make sure I didn't miss any weird areas of the airplane so for example, I might have something like this where I didn't quite reveal the airplane than its entire does have a little ghost engine there but I can paint begin with white to reveal black to block switching between black and white as needed using the letter x on the keyboard so just go around the entire edge of the airplane and it looks like we've got a good result here I've revealed all of the airplane maybe a little dab right there that looks to be pretty good wonderful so success with that first additional airplanes now we're up the two airplanes one to go same process I can reveal this image as you can see if I just reveal the photo by itself it's covering up the rest of the image this photo on lee had one airplane actually that would be about like eighteen percent of an airplane here I suppose but that's just one airplane it's covering up the rest of the image blocking the other airplanes so I need to do the exact same thing I need to block most of this top image and then reveal on lee the airplane so once again I'll hold the alteon windows option cheon macintosh make sure that that layers active just click the thumbnail ford if it's not already active and then hold the altar option key and click the add layer mask button and again because I was holding the altar option key now the layer mask instead of being filled with white to reveal all of this layer it's filled with black to reveal none of this layer and now I can grab my brush to a letter b on the keyboard pressed the letter d for default colors make sure white's my four round color just confirm all of my brush settings I do like to kind of spot check everything as I'm working do I have the correct color as the foreground color and I working with the correct tool et cetera so I like to kind of just double check everything just because I'm weird that way and then oh now I forgot where the airplane wass how am I going to find it? I don't know oh no it's not the oh there it is so here's the wing and I'm painting with white on the layer mask to reveal the image in this area for this specific portion of the photo the third airplane essentially and here's the fuse lodge and the weapon edge I actually think it's french so that's something right pronunciation of all would you believe that I have a pilot's license? It is true but not for seven forty seven's just for little single engine airplanes so I should know how to pronounce all these things my french is really bad but in the meantime I've distracted you from all my painting and how we done looks pretty good so have we gotten a good result here I'll zoom in once again yes, it looks like we've got these seven what have you ever seen? Seven forty seven's flying in such close formation never until today through the magic of photo shop we could make even dangerous things look easy. All right, so now we've got a good result don't wait. Well, sort of now we get down and use some of the dirty secrets behind composite image ing especially the dirty secret of the photographer who was not using a tripod. We've got things lined up thank you photo shop for making that so easy for me. So now here's my background image my original photo as it were my base image I add the second airplane I add the third airplane wonderful. Well, this airplane is mostly missing that's just because it was flying out of frame. No problem this airplane is mostly there, but if you look closely, you'll notice that we got cut off kind of weird because that's actually the edge of the frame for the second image now that's just one example of where things don't match up critical. You can see up here that these blobs around the top because the third image goes further out than the second image did et cetera so now what am I going to do to solve for all this weirdness simply crops, I'll press the letter c for crop on the keyboard that'll give me the crop tool. I'll make sure that the delete crop pixels checkbox upon the options bar is turned off because in this case, I definitely want my crop to be known destructive I don't want to get rid of the pixels. I just want to hide them from view, because there is that just tiniest, most infinite testable possibility that I made a mistake in creating these layer pasts, and I might need to come back later and clean them up, especially in this case because you were all staring at me and making me nervous. And so I'm going to drag the edges of the crop box into the image, making sure that all four corners of the crop box are inside the actual image areas, so get that left it's right about there will bring the top edge down, too, right about there. By the way, if you find your crop tool is snapping to the edges of photos, you can also hold the control key, literally. The control kate that's one rare instance where it is the same key on windows and macintosh, the control ctrl key on windows or the control spelled out key on macintosh, not the command can usually it's control on windows command on macintosh macintosh doesn't actually have a control key, so just to keep things interesting and make it confusing, sometimes it's the control key on both, so that allows me to turn off that snapping behavior temporarily, if so desired. Once again, that delete crop pixels checkbox is turned off, and I think that's a good crops will go ahead and click the checkmark button up there on the options bar. Oh my goodness, it isn't a minute this is even better than the last one, wouldn't you say? I know the studio audience loudly and excitedly agrees with that. So now we have these three airplanes blended together into a single seamless image just one more example of how we can blend photos together. So in this case, having photoshopped, align those images thanks to me not using a tripod thank you photo shop and then using layer masks to blend the various images together to create that composite result and again with lots of flexibility, because I'm doing all the way I'm asking myself rather than having photoshopped blood things together, I can pick and choose exactly how I want to blend the images together and then that crop well remember I made the crop non destructively, I told the crop tool, please do not delete the crop pixels leave them there, just hide them from view if I share this image senate, the facebook or if I make a print of it, this is exactly what I will see the cropped version, but if I later decide, wait a minute, I made a little bit of a mistake here I need to reduce the size that crop or whatever the case might be, I still have access to those original pixels. I could just go up to the image menu and then choose reveal all, and that will expand my canvas. So when I cropped non destructively, really, I'm just reducing the size of the canvas toe hide part of the image from view if I choose image review all there's, all of those pixels in their glory, and so I can see all of those pictures I can clean up my layer mask as needed. Go back paint with black two blocks and pixels white to reveal some pixels notice, by the way, or just as a reminder, I was using a hardness value of zero percent for my brush tool when I was painting on the layer mask so that now I'm having a little bit of a blending so let's actually just take a look at one of those airplanes, and in fact I'm going to add another layer down below like so let's make it black, justcause it's more dramatic so now I have an image layer just for kind of visual evaluation purposes, just to make things a little bit easier for us to see. I've added another solid layer, and I've turned off all of my layers, except for that second airplane image, and we'll zoom in just a little bit, and you can see that I've got this fuzzy transition between the airplane and the rest of the photo. Will those images match up? Absolutely perfectly, in theory, yes, in reality sometimes, yes, sometimes no. If I was shooting an aperture priority mode, for example, rather than manual mode with fixed exposure settings, the exposure might have changed a little bit, as I was panning across the sky, or is the airplane you know, basically blocked the sun from view? You know, whatever the case might be, so the matching might not be perfect. We'll talk a little bit more about matching images in a moment, but a big piece of matching those images together is just to use a soft brush when you're painting on that layer mask so that you get a blended result where you can't even see where the image was added. So we don't see really any indication well, except for this, look at this over here, my little starburst effect, and you can see that the obviously, what was happening is the airplane was flying so fast that it was bending the rays of the sun, and so as we go from one to the next, if you pay attention to the nose of the plane here, you'll see that not perfect alignment, but it's ok, because everything sort of just blends together already pretty cool and fun. Can you imagine all the fun you can have with this sort of technique and his relatively straightforward layer masking? So now what else can you do? Well, you could have a dog jumping over, you know, an agility course set on a tripod and just snap, snap, snap, snap, snap the dog multiple times, or I could have one of you jump over one of the couches and snap, snap, snap and take pictures and embarrassing by posting the result the facebook but the point is, if we can take this same concept and blend all sorts of different images, so we confined wacky results like putting the squirrel against a different sky or more interesting kind of sequences like this, where we're blending multiple images of the same scene with a subject moving across the scene or whatever the case, maybe use your imagination, there are unlimited possibilities.

Class Description

Compositing allows you to bring together the best elements of separate images into a single masterpiece, but doing it well is often tedious and complex. In Getting Started with Composite Images, Tim Grey will teach compositing techniques that simplify the process.

Tim will demonstrate “automatic” methods you can use to create composite images in Photoshop. You’ll learn about assembling a composite panorama, working with focus stacks, and high dynamic range (HDR) images. You’ll learn how to create seamless layer masks and how to ensure an object placed in a photo matches in terms of tone and color. Tim will also teach you how to resize and reposition objects so your composites come out beautifully.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2



This is a beginners course, with some very handy tips for advanced users also. I am considering myself an intermediate one :), but enjoyed this course a lot! Tim's style is very relaxing, entertaining, and you can learn a lot! I want to see more of this teacher, in advanced setting. Worthwhile buying this course!!!!!