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Your Mind is the Camera

Lesson 2 from: How to Shoot and Composite Levitating Objects

Bret Malley

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Lesson Info

2. Your Mind is the Camera

Next Lesson: Set the Scene

Lesson Info

Your Mind is the Camera

The main idea is to imagine it right with photo shop on image capturing and all the different devices that we have. No, basically, your mind is the limit, right? What, you imagine it and what you bring to it. You can make any of it happened. So it's about getting inspired. It's about really seeing what could be not just what is in the image. We'll talk about this. If anybody is gonna go into the fantasy landscapes as well. Basically, you can, ah, you know, imagine it re imagine it. You can do so many different variations, then shoot and make it happen and then repeat as needed on over and over again. Also not the repeat as needed is not just because you're addicted to it and keep wanting to do it again, because it's often you have to repeat, you'll have an idea. It'll be just brilliant idea is gonna work might be this one. Uh, we'll find out, but you'll find out that you actually have to reshoot it right, because it didn't quite work. But the idea is still solid. You just have to finan...

ce um things once you see it. So this formula goes on, Let's see. So my process typically begins with a sketch. So however you want to visualize, some people are terrible sketching. It doesn't really matter. It's more about the conceptualization process where you're really building your idea. Maybe it's just even a brainstorm in words right where you're talking about, um, what could work? And so whatever it is sketched out your idea, I'll show you some just amazing sketches that I've done here. Uh, by that they're not amazing, but they're fun. They communicate an idea. They communicate a game plan for me toe really play with visually and go after eso for planning a composite. It's about the lighting I look at general. I flow right, all those things that I want to go into it just in the sketching process itself, right? That's before even get to the shooting. So for this one, for instance, this is what from a house we're we're renting in Westland. Just, you know, outside of Portland, there were from on there is the little guy when he was little little on our poor cat. That's in some of these composites. You'll see. She's good. So funny story with this one. The sketch happened the night before I was sitting in bed. Michael, that's great idea. Will be great because I was watching the morning with light would come through these windows, right? I would just take note, like that's great contrast would put something up against there. So again, getting inspired by the environment, seeing what could be their potentially on, then imagine it as something else. So I sketched out this idea, and in order to shoot me up high, I was actually on my little guys high chair, which was on top of the table in order to get that shadow up there, uh, and so on. That's right. The moment that Mama Aaron, uh, iron walked, walked downstairs and saw me sitting on a high chair on the table. What are you doing? Like you're being the shot. Come over here. So, anyway, that was blessed on there. But the child is mine. That's all that matters in the cat to, uh, but so and shooting this, you know, to bring things together. This is the original sort of sketched the night before, right? So least, um, you know, it wasn't in that room, So at least got the concept. You can tell the cats not in the same place. But I knew that would be great to have the animal right. That's part of this concept. Everyone sort of at the beck and call of this creature, which is the center of all control of things. Parents, you guys, no eso anyways, but you can see some things that did sort of work out in the end. I knew some of the framing. I knew I wanted to put Mama's face there, you know, framed by that that window. Um, and I knew the general direction of light and things like that that I could play with. So in sketching this out, here's another one. Sometimes it's it's more of a rough idea. Uh, and sometimes it's more of Ah. Oh, when this be nice. Such as? Yeah, would be nice. It was that much tall in my wife. Yeah, right. We're both hobbit people that are, you know, he's five foot. Nothing. I'm barely taller than that, right? That's why we're hat. Give me another half inch there. No, Uh, so you know, But this idea the idea was there, right, child, Sort of walking on the edge and doing this impossible balance. Mama Kind of worried dad, like all he does it all the time. He'll be fine. Um, and so that translate into this. So I didn't have the room, but the concept was there, right in the sketch. It wasn't exact. It all next time just grow taller. But you know the idea. You know, I had the lighting. You can see I wanted experiment with some unusual, fantastical lighting can make a little surreal on then that that sort of ended up in the plan there in his room for the one that we're gonna shoot here. The sketch really came from the idea of where you know, coming from the farmers market where we live in Corvallis or again. And, you know, this is when my little guy just got is his bike to and this wall was so striking, like, Oh, I have to do something with that. Um, unfortunately, now I realize anything to put in that yellow wall looks composited already, but we'll have fun with it, in any case. So you know, I had an idea of this. This wall So is looking at in General, when you're looking at something that you're going to sketch or making positive taking consideration point of view right where you're shooting from the general composition, right? Where do you want things toe to be in the, uh you know, as far as where everything lays the rule of thirds, those sort of things look at lighting. So if you know that you want directional lighting, harsh lighting, pay attention that everything has toe match up in this case, had a wait forever to wait for an overcast day, you know, in the Northwest here. But I managed. It s oh, well, we'll talk about that and sort of replicating as much as we can here, which is harder than you think. Let's see it So and then also looking at inspiration images, which this is the This is one of those here. So here is the sketch that came out of apparently the set. I know the idea. Anyways, you make hesitates tales out of that. So this the ideas, you know, some communicating my experience on the surreal, fantastical version of every time I take my little guy to the farmers market. Plus the dog, it's basically this, but without the levitation, right? Every you know, he's wanted to zoom around, and the dog is like another dog or squirrel. So how to make that into a fantastical narrative, right? How to convey that same idea but magnified and make it sort of over the top. So this is what we're going to be doing today. I've already shot some of the child on the bicycle, and that was just I don't know if I want him to a wheelie or floating. We'll have some options with that. But then the the dog and the person that we might have someone jumping out of the way with some groceries or something depends on what we have time for and what you guys want to bring to it as well. So sort of engaged you guys, but that's that's the plan. So here's the shoot on, and I do a lot of these. Obviously, you know, Mama came down that one time from the stairs and, like, What are you doing? Um, I try to make it just ah, you know what I can do with just me, right? And having toe to set it up so I'll talk a little bit about interval. Ah, mater's anybody play with inter kilometer, basically have a flux capacitor and transfer. It sounds complicated, but it's basically a time trigger, right, You say Okay, go Then It just shoots for however long at whatever interval you wanted. Teoh, also with newer cameras, will talk about how you can get APS right where you can have a time lapse feature. Right? There's some really neat new things, especially for compositing, that the technology is bringing you to it. So here's the wall, uh, again, that tree had this image show this image to my students and like all you composite that treated like No, that's actually really there. So you know, that's a thing when you're expecting things to be, you know, it's going to be Photoshopped always looking for that. But I see the tell time there, so that's something that always be aware it off. Um, so here's just sort of that the process of getting there, so I don't know if we want to do more magic, I realized his old bike. He's kind of growing out of it s Oh, there's a squirrel on. So then we brought in his new, bigger bike That's actually Flames turned it into a blue Flames to go with that blue theme to really contrast against that, that yellow wall there. But this is the latest idea of the kind of sketch on top of that image. So we'll be working with that. The white sketched part and working from there. Yeah, so I don't know if we wanted to do more of a blur and make it more very realistic clearly.

Class Materials

Free Bonus Materials

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!

Student Work