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Shadow Overlays

Lesson 15 from: How to Shoot and Composite Levitating Objects

Bret Malley

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Lesson Info

15. Shadow Overlays

Lesson Info

Shadow Overlays

with shadows and generals. As I was mentioning, You want to do a couple main things. So one, uh, whatever is there for a shadow. Whatever content is in the shadow area, it's darker than everything else. So even if you have things that were light, those air darkened down, so no matter what, you have to darken it. In this case, I just paint with the brush tool with black. Then you also want to keep the contrast, so you want things to still be dark with shadows to be darker than the highlights. So I do another layer where I paint with an overlay, er, overlay blending mode. And between those two, you can finesse him and get pretty good shadows for the most part, and I'm sure there's a lot of other techniques out there. But for what I dio that seemed to work pretty well. And then it allows me to paint, which I like to paint, right, so that's that's the idea. So let's give it a try. So one create a blank new layer for writing down the steps for this For shadow. There's your sort of head line...

there. Um, we're gonna call the shadow one. And, uh, let's just call it Shadow Dark, which all shadows are. But I'll call the other one shadow Dodge. So I know the difference. Overlay. And I don't need the space between. Okay, here we go. So with this, I'm just gonna paint with black. I'm gonna hit be from my brush tool, get a larger brush size, right, so I can either hit. Is it thinking about a larger brush? Science? What's it doing, O b, of course. Yeah, it's typing new. You gotta let me know. I once had a class I was teaching, and I gave half the lecture, and I realized, was on the other projector like they couldn't see what us. Millan told me. Like Thanks, guys. Thanks. That's great. Okay, here we go. Click off of your naming, then your shortcuts will work rather than trying to type them in. Here s O. B. Now goes to the brush tool, as I was hoping it would, uh, okay, then I want to make sure I'm painting the transfer. That way, I get my pen pressure on. That's good. Okay. Minimize those. Um, so yeah, we really like that shadow before So what I might do is disable that that layer mask back and forth. So for that, you hold down shift Really helpful to service. See? Oh, that's where that shadow was on. And I might actually be able to use this that section of it as with a blending mode itself. So what will play with a couple different ways? If you have something smooth like this for a shadow, there's ways you can incorporate that into it. So I'm holding down again. Shift and clicking on that masking is disabling it temporarily, which is awesome. Okay, so with this, I'm gonna start with it. Easier foot in general, beneath the subject. It's gonna be a little bit darker. I'm gonna bring down. Okay? Flu was already down, spring flow way down. Okay, so I'm just gonna start, and typically I'll do too much because I could always dial it back with the opacity. Eso it's always darkest right next to the foot itself, right at the very edge. So I want to kind of simulate that, and I'm gonna also could be looking over here at what's happening. Um, sort of take a look was happening there, so Is it about in here? Maybe closest. Just that he'll I might get just kind of play with it a little bit. Okay. What kind of extended out again? I'll probably just do a little bit Too much changes and how we're looking at it. Uh, okay. So generally darkened things down. And there's not a whole lot If there is material like that, say this was gravel or grass. You couldn't just get away with painting black. It will still look off with sort of painting on this. You know, concrete. We can get away with it. Perhaps, but in general, you're gonna need another layer that set Teoh. So we do another one. Um, overlay. Okay, so we do that by where it says normal. We change this blend mode to overlay on. This will allow us to the way this works. If you guys have had this before, nondestructive dodge and burn. So this is the way that I typically like to non destructively dodge and burn because anything that you paint with it is below 50% black. It will. It will make it darker. Anything that's above it will make it lighter. So it's Dodge and burning. The main thing is, it's It's way powerful. So you want to make sure that you're a passage is way down. It's not over sensitive. So the main thing that I want to look at um, it's just darkening. A little bit of everything here hit d to go back to my defaults Awaken, Go back and forth here. Okay. So again, I'll try to do a little bit too much. But how's it looking, your guys a screen. Okay, Terrible. Excellent. Can I just kind of paint over a little bit of where everything is? What's nice about doing this is to separate layers as we're going here. If I do too much, I can hit command G, put them in a group, and we'll call this the Shadow Group. Sounds like a evil conspiracy. Your game. Okay, so the shadow group is now here on Aiken. Bring down the opacity. Whatever I think feels right. Right. And I could make a copy of this. I can add a mask. This and I can literally paint out. If I noticed that it was looking a little too blobby. Technical term on. I needed to make it a little thinner right to go with that That line. Kind of like what we're seeing with the bike. Aiken, I can do that here, which is great. Also, if I want to add a little bit more sort of perspective to it, I can I can add some more dimension, right? Give it more of a vanishing point and sort of narrow it up. Anyways, there's lots of lots of different potential that you can dio and that's taking the whole group and moving those together. If you do as a smart object, you can do that as well. OK, so moving on, that's in general how you would work with shadows. So Okay, let's say that that's perfect. Clearly it iss right on. And well, we'll just see. It's gonna like the baking show. Um, here it is done in one minute. Okay, so let's see if we get that other other subject there. And let's also just see how things are looking with all the other pieces or that tree go. Okay. Tree magic left tree. Ok, All right. So I can tell that this the shadow in general is too much. Right on there. You can bring it back, especially when we're looking at the whole thing. So I might go in with another one and then paint in just a little bit more shadow or on that other area on their toe, get it looking right and really would play with it. So the dog I'm really not not happy with how dark it is. If I had more time, I would literally paint in the shadow on here. You can do a lot with that. Especially. We want shadow coming from this. The person, the lighting on the subject here, that's that's working. That's closer to here, right? That's almost believable. The color. It's a little bit too pink in the face, so I could do some color adjustments with that. But let's see if we can get that other subject in and very quickly move some objects around there. So let's go to where we Here's the studio shoot dog. Okay. And then pedestrian. Okay, here we go. All right. So I'm gonna do the same things that we're working on before I was thinking okay to do yet more. Yeah, perfect. Exactly. I was thinking there happens. Okay, I'm gonna get Yes, but renegade child. Okay, so I'm gonna get my quick selection tool. So one for that. I'm just gonna Very Why am I using the track, pan? All right, here we go. Yes. Perfect. Right. Great selection. Eso this. This happens a lot, right? So this is good where you hold on option, then if you subtract, it goes okay. All right, Human. Right. I know what you were thinking. If you're lucky. Uh, so we're just going toe? Go back with that and let it think. I think some more Think faster. It may be thinking. OK, okay. Let's get that arm there. Hair. OK, uh, let's say that that is flawless again. It's terrible. Okay, so here we go. So I'm gonna do my select a mask. In this case, I'm going to like it is good practice here, feather a little bit and shift edge. And that should be just fine for we have here. We nice. I could probably get away with some smoothing as it sort of a Z. I had to go back and forth. It will create a little more stair stepping, so I'm gonna add a little bit of smoothing for this one okay. See how it kind of smoothed things out there. I'm gonna add a little bit of feather osteo just over and let's shift edge quite a bit there. Okay, This one, we can tell that it's too dark, so it have to do a whole lot of clipping here to a whole lot with with, you know, shadows. So this one we probably don't have enough time to do on there. So maybe let's focus on the magic, because one see how that works. Um, let's say that that was done and flawlessly. Thank you. I know. I'm just so good. Okay, uh, actually, add that, had that a mask that we at least have it in there. Okay, mask. There we go. All right, so let's disable that. But that's that's the idea. Here is Let's zoom out, command zero toe to go all the way back out. So you get the idea, right? Piece by piece. So, ideally, had I'm or time, I would customize the dog, or perhaps even reshoot it. Now that I'm looking at it. Poor bucks. Uh, you know, it really makes sure there's not quite as much film because special without white hair. It just really popped. And sometimes what looks good as in camera and special in the overlay, you're not getting the full view. So it's a good example of one where okay, definitely reshoot the dog on perhaps this subject since we had him over there. But they didn't get light let down on the legs so I might a little more there. But for this subject, I think they came out the best. And that's where we would sort of do that there. So But I think you get the idea of where we're going with all of that soas faras the subject themselves, and this is really need. Let's take a look at the child, the child itself, himself, guys. So there's, ah, blur layer that I added, um, this onto that. And that's a smart object. But specifically with this guy. This is a smart object, and if I go into this smart object will see this is where he made my selection weaken. See, I sort of pieced together from a couple different shots. You can kind of see how this was working here. I knew the yellow is gonna be the exact same on there, so I didn't really have toe get that mast out. Um, let's see. All right, so there's that and there's that piece. And that helmet was shot separately as well, right? So that I can see that up here. So I just kind of plugged all those on there using the exact same tools we just talked about. Um and we can see, you know, before the mask here I am holding my son precariously there. Um, he had a fun time. That's what matters here. Okay, so that's in that smart object. Um, what's what's nice about putting your mask inside your smart object? Especially if you have, Let's say, legs that aren't in the proper position. You guys can see me down here. You can do puppet warp and move things around afterwards, especially if you got a really good mask. This is pretty cool. So if I go to if I remember where it is edit and puppet work, you can see how I literally made my son into a puppet on what that means is I can move where, where exactly his leg is. Once you get it, mask and you put that inside your smart object. So first to your selection right in your overall composite. Then do your mask all the refining and all of that, then turn into a smart object. It doesn't just crush that. What it actually does is puts that mask non destructively inside that smart object. It knows that you want to include that, and so it's it's safe. You can always edit it, so do it once you've really finalized it. But then that allows you to go into Puppet Warp. Uh, and had these little points, let's say I wanted to move this a little bit. So see how there's no point here when you go to edit. This is where if you need to see where that Waas edit puppet warp that will pull up this and basically what this is, it puts that entire image over a canvas of spandex. If you want to think about how pliable it is, it's much like that s so you can move it around, you can stretch it and do things. So in this case, I clicked each of these little points to create these anchor points. But this is so cool, right? So if I need his hand to be in a different spot. It could go wrong, right? So, you know, be careful lessons. Mawr. Do what you need, Teoh, but it's still really awesome. This believe that originally is came from aftereffects. Yes, if I just need to change the tilt of the helmet, it's not amazing. SoCo anyways is really need. So it's basically a canvas of spandex keeping your mask very close toe what it was. And yet you can move it around. This in recent versions has gotten much better. So that's that's where that part is. A Sfar, as if you want to do these kind of swirlies. Let's go to the magic with this. It's nondestructive, right? Since it's on a smart object, check this out. It works is just a filter so you can see what it was before the puppet work. Whenever you see that, so over here it counts as a smart filter. So another benefit, too. Smart objects. That's what it was originally, uh, and because I was just holding him, we didn't have the bike there because I decide I'm gonna do it all by myself, you know, So we didn't actually have it would've been much easier toe have everything there. But afterwards I was able to just take that subject, turn into a smart object with that mask and move the league around wherever I need to. And it's still pretty convincing, right? You can move it around, especially some things won't look right. But you can get away with quite a bit. So, uh, that's puppet warp on a smart object. Really great. You can do that with fire, right? If you get a good mask on anything, you can puppet warp a lot and do some really neat things. Another fun one is just warping itself. You can get a lot, and actually, we'll do that. We'll add the magic to it right Then we'll say this is all complete. Um, actually could add some to the dog here, so I have a couple different. Fuller's here 14 for fractals. That's thes sort of things. If anybody is interested if you have a PC, Apotheosis is the old PC app, and you can just do these really fun magic swirlies. Um, and we can see the layers themselves. Okay, so here's all of them. What's this? Let's find one that we can identify. Okay, that bigger one on the bottom. Okay. Okay. So for that one, uh, just change the blend mode to screen. As long as you have it set on screen, all the lighter elements will come through. So if you guys saw Lindsay Adler's blending modes, she probably mentioned that where there's so much different options you can do with this one. If you have something with the dark background screen will just make it pop. And it's awesome. So I played with all that seem with light painting. So if we go to this other, close the fractal section here and go to a light painting just painting on a dark background right and said it to screen and the only thing that's gonna come through are those lights worlds, right? You can really add a lot of fun to it. But where I was going with that is when you have this and you get your move tool, you can right click. So I click on the edge so it's under transform right click and do warp, and we can move. We can warp this around to something else if it's not quite the right direction. So there's a lot where things are more pliable than you first think. So anyways, warping magic. So had we have more time? We had reshoot Bucks North. We would, uh, add some magic. Two bucks north were not right. Adds more to the scene, finish the shadows and really get that other subject with things flying out there. But I hope you can only see the idea in the process in which how I composite things and some of the tips and tricks that I that I do. But the main thing with any composite is you need time, right? So but that's that's it. But any general questions you guys have with the general process we've done so far from makeup, Do you do this just for fun or personal use? Or do clients request this type of work as well? Yeah. So mostly I do a lot of the child ones, obviously for fun. Uh, but I've just did work for Ah, an LG. I was doing what storyboards. They wanted digital storyboards. And so they there was some magic in there, but it wasn't anything flying, but definitely light. So client work wherever I can fit it. But mostly these kinds of one's right there. Just mostly, my child done some really fun trade ones, but yeah, it's is used in more and more. You'll see it in the graphics. And this is the idea behind composites. So, personally, this is when I'm not teaching full time. This is where I get Teoh creatively. Do things outside of freelance least for this kind of composite work. So that's a little mix. Use it some and client work. Um, other words. But for most part or personal, Bi, the way you've had this squirrel right now, you might want my You might need to replace that differently. Yeah, right. So maybe is it would make sense to leave some of the final touches on editing until later. Because once you have the position people pieces positioned, things moved. You can then match I lines and that sort of thing. Yeah. Yep. So I look at everything as influx really until the very end. So, in general, the processes copy and pasted all the main pieces on there and this way had a prep as much as I can beforehand, I wouldn't put that much detail into one of the objects before I have the rest of it, but it just so we could see it for the cooking style method where here's more of it. You know, that's what I was envisioning with that said usually would just be some squirrels. And I had a whole squirrel shoot. Right, which is just fun. Luckily, right outside my window, I could just have a bunch that could work in a bunch of different scales. And so typically, yes, that would be later in the process. Yeah. Is there any final filter like you put over the whole thing? Turned it. Thank you. Yeah. We don't get to talk about effects. Yeah, so? Well, in general, you know, Vignette is really nice. Let's go back toe everything. So typically, all if I want to crop something, I'll put some little crop. Are to know if I resize it every single time were used, the actual crop to overtime on a crop it with this many layers, it will crash. It will do things that aren't great. So I just temporarily say Okay, want my image there? In general, I added vignette usually doom or colored control, but otherwise generally curves darkening things down, getting things looking mawr cohesive on matching. I flow. So that way, we want to make sure this is nice dark here. So we're not sort of leaving image there. Same with over here. Um, and then some other curves. Just a lighten things up and looking at the history Graham one last time. So, uh, yeah, General do color, but mostly curves and I flow adjustments in a more general global effect.

Class Materials

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Bret Malley - final image from How to Shoot and Composite Levitating Objects

Ratings and Reviews

Molly B

I agree a bit with Eric Burke's review (which was a thumbs down), however, I feel like this is neither a thumbs up or thumbs down recommendation, more like a 3 to 3.5 star rating. :) That said, I agree that there was so much talking and not doing in the initial portion of the class sections. I feel like when there is a class offered for Compositing, much of the science people want to know is in the editing tips and tricks AND some of the shooting tips and tricks. Photography of the subjects is important to understand, but examples of live shooting should be kept fairly minimal. Aaron Nace still nails the science behind planning and shooting for composites and also rocks in the editing (in my opinion). Brooke Shaden is also a good example on the editing details. I feel like Bret had something different to bring to the table from the class preview with puppet warp and some of the cutting / masking tips... I agree that all the editing portions of this were super rushed and just touched on a lot of last comments of "oh isn't this neat" and no in-depth instruction on how that feature is used. I just felt like he really ran out of time. At the end he talked about re-shooting the dog, perhaps he could have gone in to puppet warp to change the lower legs and tail a bit as an effort to make it look more like his sketch? Bret seems likable, but does continuously talk about side stories and extra noise that seems could be more focused on the topic at hand. :) I still picked up some tips, but this would be more ideal bought on a sale rather than full price. :) I have a lot of photoshop knowledge and own some other composite classes on CL, so I don't feel too lacking, but this would not be for a very beginner of compositing. I wouldn't mind seeing Bret back with a more refined class structure focusing on the magic of puppet warp and other tricks to get the most out of compositing.


Had a good time with this course! Bret is a great instructor, you can really tell he enjoys his work and has a lot of fun engaging the audience. I've done some compositing in the past but with a much older version of PS. This course really helped me take advantage of the new features in PS CC and also helped streamline my workflow. It's a course that both experienced and beginner compositors alike can learn from. A big thanks to Bret Malley and CreativeLive for making this course!

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