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Introduction to Character Composites

Lesson 11 of 14


Renée Robyn

Introduction to Character Composites

Renée Robyn

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Lesson Info

11. Sharpening
Using Smart Sharpen gently sharpen the image.

Lesson Info


the last thing we have to do. Well, second last thing we have to do is sharp in this thing. So there's a bunch of different ways that we can do this. And, yes, we did do a little sharpening in adobe camera. But how I like to sharpen a lot is using smart sharpen. So I'm going to delete this color layer that we don't need because there's just that one patch there. Otherwise the color is identical. Don't need it. So now, in order to sharpen this does involve having to merge. Well, I like to merge it up into its own separate layer again. And the reason for that is at least sharpening is on its own. There, I can delete and re sharpen really, really easily. I don't care. So out of control shift e basically the whole side left side of your keyboard. I'm gonna go filter, sharpen, smart, sharpen and smart sharpen is pretty great. I don't need it to be quite that sharp. Turn the radio down a little bit. I want to make sure I'm not getting any halos from the sharpening. So we're getting a little ...

bit of it here. Um that I always try to be careful of. See here. Now let's go. Okay. And that's basically like, I don't do tons and tons and tons of like, super hardcore sharpening. The only time will do that is if I have, like, some really intense image in mind that I want to make, so it's very, very, very subtle to hear. So let's sharpened. So basically like it's really obvious here on the band. I'll do that in nice and close for you. So that's a sharpened version, and it's on sharpened version. Now, I did make a comment about there being a little bit of color correction here to do. And actually, now that we're on the sharpening their I might do it quickly because this is how my brain works sometimes. And I'm like, Oh, yeah, there's something here that was going to bug me. So this is pretty easy. We're just gonna grab a hue. Layers are going to create a new layer. I'm gonna put it on. Hugh, call this neck fix next fix. Nice. Make that at sea. Here we go. Okay. I'm gonna just sample a nicer color of his neck there, and I'm basically just painting down that little bit of color, so it's really subtle. I just didn't like that burned highlight there on his neck. It doesn't take too much to get that going. Nice color. There we go. It's nice and it's not distracting anymore that yellow burn part. And I don't mind that I did it on top of the sharpening layer because it's not an area that's gonna meet any sharpening. But, yeah, that's sharpening one on one and then, like a really quick emergency colour fix.

Class Description


  • Style a compelling character.
  • Extract subject and replace background.
  • Use textures and brushes to bring the subject into the image.
  • Add a realistic atmospheric element.
  • Color grade in Adobe Camera Raw.


We can’t always shoot portraits in our dream locations. Sometimes we go to amazing places on vacation, or we find some great stock imagery online, and we want to transport our clients to somewhere special. For some artists, the most interesting places to create come from within.

For Renee, character portraits lean heavily on a compelling subject, something rooted in reality. In this class you will be guided through her process to style, pose, and hand paint texture and light to emphasize a portrait of a cowboy.

Take your studio portraits from clean and simple to compelling and eye catching!


  • Beginner and Intermediate Photographers
  • Portrait photographers interested in compositing
  • Beginner and Intermediate composite artists
  • Artists interested in advancing their styling choices


Adobe Photoshop 2019 (20.0.6)
Adobe Camera Raw


Steve Vick

Great hands-on course. I love Renee's straight forward approach. This is the tool, this is what we are going doing with it and here's how to use it. For me it is the fastest and most practical way to learn. No fluff, no long-winded stories... just doing! In some of the other courses I viewed, I find myself skipping ahead waiting for them to get to the point. But this course has a great pace. I will certainly look for more from this teacher. Thank you.

a Creativelive Student

I've been compositing for a few years, but masking a subject always presents its challenges. Renée gave a series of tips that were very helpful, including information about how to use the "burn" tool to enhance a mask. That's something I'd never done before. Can't wait to try it! The part of the lesson that explained how to make the subject look as though his clothes had been in the rain was also an eye-opener. The method is simple, but the results are outstanding. I had tried making my subjects look as though they had been rained on, but it never looked real. Now I know how to fix that!

Julie Holbeche-Maund

Brilliant Class. I love Renee attention to detail and her explanation of what she is going and why.