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Compositing Finishing Touches

Lesson 10 from: Adobe Photoshop Compositing: Essential Techniques

Aaron Nace

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Lesson Info

10. Compositing Finishing Touches

Lesson Info

Compositing Finishing Touches

by the way this is a compositing class but there's still there's a lot of retouching that could happen here with with our subjects and things like that right like I would you know I would definitely go in and retouch our subjects to get it a little bit nicer skin and things like that and you know just kind of like smoothies things out and draw a little more attention to arrive so let's go to our red channel grab the curves adjustment layer um I'm gonna use the level's just so we stay on the same page with everyone levels just layer it's clipped to her subject now let's go to our red channel and I'm gonna click this and drive this have left so again this is only showing up on our subject right our red channel and then the blue channel we're gonna pull of the right so if I want some more of this orange to show up you know over top of my subject not that difficult we just add this right over here there we go especially over top of her hand things like that and then maybe I want this only ...

be visible in the highlights now the shadows so again we just double click there okay let's make sure we can see everything hold all tor option can go from the left to the right and then this will only make it visible in the highlights there we go maybe I'll just click on there paint black on this side of her face because I wanted to look I like that the look of like blue on half the face orange on the other half the face like that's when I was thinking about what I wanted to make like how I wanted this image to appear that's one of the things that I wanted teo that I wanted to happen was have her face be split with color because I I'm just a big fan of that of that look all right I can answer some questions I'm gonna I'm gonna continue kind of like working on this cooly how many from our in studio audience there we go I'm wondering if you could still show us how to put paint on her oh paint yeah we could do that all right let's do that I'm gonna grab one level adjustment layer real quick I'm gonna brighten up her eyes real quick so here I'm going to use a levels adjustment layer in conjunction with a blended flare so option manji again to clip that command I to invert it and then we're going to paint white here okay and then let's say I only want this to affect the dark since I was lighting up the dark's a little bit double click here there we go and hold alter your option and go from right to left so this is not going to make the it's not gonna affect the lights it's only in effect the darks which that actually looks kind of weird doesn't it so it never do this never mind let's just make that black I'll just manually painted in all right and then we'll paint in some of the wait I just want to make sure we could see some of that to tell all right so let's see I'm gonna have to invent something alright so I want to make it look like she's got similar paint on her um here we go on her arm as she does on her face so I'm gonna use my clone san tool and I'm gonna sample this color sample this area of her of her face where she does have that paint just like that cool and now let's see I could probably just hit command tea and I'm gonna write click and say flip vertical and I'm gonna do that and hold down controller command stretch that around there and then goto warp and then warp it up like that and and down like that I don't know and I hope this looks cool because I don't know um I'm gonna hit enter and I'm gonna change this from normal down here to multiply okay and then I'm going to use a double click on there and I'm gonna use my blend if now and I'm going to say on this layer don't be visible where this layer is lighter because I only wanted to be visible where this layer is darker right because I want that dark stripes to show up but you know I wanted to look like it was actually painted on their alright who she's even got a iot on there all right and now I can do whatever I want with this I'm just kind of like trying to think of a cool design um maybe around around this part of her arm or whatever this um you guys have any suggestions like that a couple of alright let's rotate that around bring that in all right cool yeah and then we just had like a layer mask on there and then just bring our brush smaller and then paint black so this should restrict it basically did just just that area there all right you have to make funny noises when you do this it doesn't work if you don't make the noises it's a trade secret alright man j and oh I was going to think of something that cool all right let's bring that down oh yeah we could do like that s o command teo I wanna show you something cool or do a eyes it's going to end result in something cool all right there's something called a step and repeat I'm gonna show you guys real quick I wonder if it's actually wind up doing anything that we want but there's a cool cool effect so a stepping repeat you khun do in photoshopped really simple by hitting option command tee let's make a selection first so select your layer then option command tea and then you want to make your transformation so I'm going to bring this down here and we're just going toe bring it here and rotating around there all right then herman hit enter so now if I hit shift option can t every time I do this it's going to actually apply the same transformation over and over again so it's a really cool way to make like an a defect that you basically looks like this because it applies the same rotation and the transformation over and over again so now I could probably do something with this um make it look like you know that's kind of cool huh make it come out from behind her sleeve or something yeah that's pretty cool all right so let's put a layer mask on there and I'm obviously just playing around here like you can do whatever you want most of the time with this sort of thing like I would recommend like kind of knowing what you want or you know if there were a specific like you know design language or something like that that you wanted let's just create another one of those give it a little bit of a gassing blur if there were a particular language like I would probably look a like you know tribal art or something like that to try to find inspiration for this that would that would just be a really cool way to have this not just be like something I've just created all right let's bring this up and then on this one right here I want to make this red so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna lock the transparency on this layer and then I'm going to go to a nice bright red color something like this okay I'm no hold altera option and hit delete and that will make that red is she has um you know there's red here too so I kind of wanted to mimic that as well all right and then that one doesn't fit so much anymore um and these are a little bit too clear so I'm just going to add a slight blackout similar to them all right cool does it I'm answering question all right a little bang there that's cool all right um there we go so a couple more finishing things in this it's actually really cool image I'm like looking at it like kind of surprises like well it's like you're not good all right a couple more things that I'm gonna do it here on the top I'm gonna create a new layer let's just group this with itself command g and we're just going to call this color and then I'm gonna do some of these things just on the top of everything so like a levels adjustment layer and again I want even maur this orange in here I want more of this kind of glow so we're going to take a red channel we're gonna bring this over here take our blue channel bring this over to the right there we go and then now over top of everything I'm just gonna kind of you know paint a little bit more a little bit more invisible right cool now here I'm gonna lower the contrast and the color on our subject a little bit to help her blend into the background a little bit more so we're just going to go to a huge saturation just nuclear option command g again we we want to clip that oh we need to make sure she it's actually clipping to our subject these other layers are the are the um tattoo layers but they can they can be clipped as well okay so this you saturation layer we're going to take the saturation down and the lightness down on this as well norman hit command I I don't need this to be visible everywhere but you know down here on the bottom of the image it's just we don't need as much color down there and just kind of like fading it away it's like art trick you know like towards the edges you tend to lose the little saturation lose a little bit little bit of focus as well and that helps direct your eyes to the places that actually do have the saturation and they do have the detail and they do have the color as well all right and you know what up on top of here I'm just gonna grab this nice dark color here and we're gonna paint down there because there was there was too much detail there and we it was drawing the eye down let's just changes from normal done toe a multiply adjustment layer and then bring our opacity down so you can see just as the whole ivan hit command o which is goingto trans zero so you can see like right here you see how it draws your eye down a little bit but then now here like you're not looking down there at all like you're definitely looking at your subject and you're looking at the nice glowing orb thing which is which is kind of what you want so you know keeping in mind all these things air you know there are a lot of like really cool artistic elements that you could do you know when you composite as well all right and I'm gonna bring this mountain I think either up or down I just wasn't wild about oh yeah that looks cool I wasn't wild about where this uh where the actual mountain was like intersecting with our subject now that looks cool alright any any other questions I'm just kind of having fun right now the folks in the chair a murder just saying yeah just let's sit here and watch aaron work they're loving it s o one question I will throw out the jewelry you smart objects you ever find a need for them yeah yeah I do especially if I needed like blur something that's in my background or whatever smart objects are really really great let's just give like a really quick example of these birds in the background that air there too sharp right um so what I would actually do with these is you can totally just so here here are the are the birds in the background you can just click on the bird layer and apply a blur but I find with a blur I tend to put a blur on things like this and then like a now or later I usually decided put too much blur I'm like dang I put too much flour how did I miss it up so that's a lot of time when I use smart objects so really kind of simple to get a smart object I'm just going toe shift quick these layers and on clip them and then this layer itself you can either apply the layer mask or or remove it temporarily but I'm going right click on this and go to convert to a smart object and it usually it's going to apply the layer mask yeah so my layer mask was applied to it and now this is a smart object let's go ahead and turn those back on and go ahead and clip them again so we're good to go so now the birds are a smart object and smart objects allow you to use smart filters so now if I run a galaxy ambler on my birds and let's say I go too much right now not wait too much there we go within reason all right so we have applied that to a bird then I come back in an hour and like well why did I do that too much blur on them because we used a smart object now we have this what's called a smart filter and a smart gassing blurred so I can turn this smart filters off which is cool I can also mask just the filters which is also really cool and any time I want to I can double click on this cows in blur and I can readjust this at any point in time and I can hit okay there so this is it's a really good failsafe for something that is so like a blur just applies it to the layer and there's really nothing you can do to change that again later unless you do applied a smart object so that's usually when I used smart objects good question right it's pretty cool like thinking what else I want to do this all right yeah so something you know basically I would probably add a little bit more to this orb itself on dh let's actually look at here because we didn't do a whole lot to this orb in terms of here we go I think all these air the orb command he'd emerge all those together we didn't really do a lot to this orb in terms of making it look any any different we could actually change the layer blend modes on this from normal done to something like screen and that would get rid of that dark part right which like if this war light source you probably wouldn't have that dark part so that might make a little more sense what changes to lighten okay that would work too or let's try let's go back to normal and then I want to just sit command j so maybe I'll make a couple copies in this one this one I will change from normal down to screen okay but we're gonna hit command l on this to bring up our levels just like we've done earlier and I'm gonna make my darks a little darker and it's just going to kind of change how this layer looks and now I can make this a little bit larger like what if you know what if the order were were a little bit larger you know what would that look like if it like had a little bit of a blur on it or if I you know if I blurt it it's gonna blur and then I'll go to motion blur you know if I blurt it kind of with the direction of that there we go and then I brought back my my other orb inside of it right so it's at this point it's just like a lot of kind of like playing around like you know okay that's cool and then like what if I wanted to change the color it hit command you and then I can change the color of the of the other you know kind of like glow around there so you know it doesn't really I don't need to see all the detail from these things but a lot of the time like adding like little little bits of layers and things like this those effects kind of tend teo stack on each other and build to get you something that you want in the end all right see where's my color group all right yeah so here in the color another thing you guys can do when you're looking at creating a composite and bring everything together is you can color balance at the end so we're going to go to a color balance adjustment layer and then here I can adjust the highlights mid tones and shadows and the cool part about this is because I've got mostly image how I want already I khun put this color balance on top of everything now and it's going to affect the highlights mid tones and shadows of my subject of the orb of the rocks behind her and of the sky so if I wanted to add some like yellows into the sky and say cem like greens or something like that I can I can totally change the feel of the image now because everything is color match so you wouldn't want to do this like beforehand but you told you know you can do this after the fact and get all these like really cool color facts so I've added a little bit of yellow to this and then let said some mid tones the skoda are blue channel and then pushing into our greens as well so you can totally change the colors around after you're done so that's one way is using a color balance adjustment there another way again is been levels is the levels can affect color just like they can affect lights and darks if I go to my blue channel and click and drag this it's gonna allow mohr yellows to show up in my highlights and that's oftentimes a really cool effect and if the idea the opposite it's goingto put more blues into my shadows so doing this is you know like a little bit of like a duo tone just you know it's a subtle effect but these these changes can add up to make really cool differences in the images all right let's go back into our helmets and just kind of play around here all right and at this point this is all of this stuff I mean this is all the things that I would totally do while working on an image so you know here at the end it's like what does this look like what does that look like because I don't always know right it's it's not always like the answer is not always one hundred percent clear to me what is going to look really good and image sometimes I'm totally surprised like I'll do something I think you look great and it'll wind up looking horrible and sometimes I'll do something that you know just unlike away mirza almost like a joke and it'll wind it really making the image quite a bit better so I would really recommend getting in here you know and just kind of playing around and having a little bit of fun and that's that's basically how I've learned photoshopped I was just just that exactly kind of playing around and having fun all right cool I'm pretty you know I'm happy with this image and I find that whenever you're happy with the image it's okay toe not work on it anymore um that's uh the life lesson right there but I really like this maybe I can just kind of wrap up everything we talked about today I say that sounds great great and I also talk about what we're gonna do tomorrow as well tomorrow okay cool and I'll talk about some of the reasons why in my opinion this image works um okay big one tip is complementary colors use them in your images and they're going to make things look just great I mean if if there was no orange in this image it would look really flat in plain and boring second one is you give your subjects a prop something to kind of play with like this is there's something going on in this image you're like what is going on like something is actually happening and that creates questions in the brain like what is happening like when someone looks at my images I want them to like I want them to ask questions like what's happening here like I wonder may be pulled into it like you know and little details things like that this that's what kind of like pulls you win like I want to know her story now like I I want to know where what her house looks like where she lives like does she have children is you know like is she the ruler of some foreign land that you know I've never heard of using those props in the photo shoot like the headdress I mean that it makes a huge huge difference eso you know rachel did an awesome job as a model but I always like to help my models out and I helped him out by giving them something to work with and giving them like a character to kind of play and you know using these these props and the makeup and the wardrobe and the you know the orb and things like that all those things come into play too where there wasn't really a whole lot of pressure on rachel to be an amazing model right it wasn't just like her on a white backdrop in address right like that's a lot of pressure on your subject to do something amazing thing like this was already going to be great and she she just you know she was kind of the cherry on top on dh she did a great job I just I did I started out my photography doing a three hundred sixty five day project where I took a self portrait of myself every day for a year and it was really tough because I was a subject so I had to kind of learn what it was like on the receiving end of the camera and when you don't have anything to interact with and when there is no story it's it can be pretty stale pretty quick so that's kind of some of the reasons why why the individual works for me the other things that way we built that really cool background to begin with we had that background it kind of helped build the story and you know that we were able to match the lighting on set to the backdrop so the fact that she kind of fits like the language of her kind of like works with what's going on in the backdrop but it's not really as much of a coincidence like that we kind of built all that so preproduction and kind of coming up with a concept from early early on is so important I did not actually didn't think it was gonna look this school I'm pretty surprised by how cool this looks but I thought it was going to look pretty cool and I had a pretty good idea what this was going to look like you know well before today and I think that you know bringing those elements together because they don't know that doesn't cost any money that's just spending time developing that image in your mind before the day of the shoot so so when it does happen I mean we literally created this entire thing today live which is pretty amazing so yeah absolutely beautiful just be just incredible work could you hit your like full screen mode so you just get a really nice yeah that's awesome really great work thanks what we did is team well some of the team helped out a little bit more than a man I couldn't have done the makeup that well I couldn't have done the hair I couldn't and I definitely couldn't have been the model on chris and christina did great job wanted to shout out she does my make up every morning and most she didn't mind too on then and then let's mention again the name of the the rooster rooster baby address she really pulled in yeah came through from rachel rachel was our model and she was just fantastic all right all right so hey let's let's talk about we're going to the soccer mode we are yeah I'm super excited so over the next two days we are going to be doing a sport shoot more specifically soccer and without giving too much away we're bringing the crash pad into the studio so we're gonna have a lot of jumping in a lot of action going on it's compositing again so we're going to be compositing a subject onto a background so we're bringing in the background and I'm to show you guys again how to set up lights to make it look like your subjects actually in the background with this image it was a little bit more of like a you know a general soft blue light tomorrow is going to rim lit and all kinds of crazy cool lighting effects so totally different effect and we're going to be spending the entire day doing a photo shoot of our subject and we're going to cap that off with a really nice portrait shoot and then on day three we're going to bring all that together again I'm gonna show you how to create a background from scratch build it all up completely from the beginning again and then we're going to put our subject in there and really make an amazing sports portrait sports action image and then we're going to show you how to take basically a sim really similar background and in a very short amount of time put in a portrait as well

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Fantasy Composite
Soccer Composite
Adobe® Photoshop® Keyboard Shortcuts
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


This was the Best Creative Live course I have had the pleasure to watch. Aaron was so informative and explained each technique very well. He was so pleasant to watch because he was so humble and was so happy and excited about what he was creating. What an excellent teacher. I hope he does more seminars.

Curtis Roberts

Fantastic Course! I've watched (and purchased) many courses from Creative Live, and there are many good instructors; excellent instructors, in fact. Aaron's course on compositing essentials is one of the best. In addition to being a technical expert, he is a great teacher; a real talent. Great information and good illustrations/explanations. He does go a little fast when using Photoshop, and while I was trying to find the short-cuts keys, I would find he was three more points down the trail ahead of me. (That's part of why I bought the course ;-) )

Juli Miranda

I love the class he is generous, clear an super fun!! i highly recomend it. A lot of trics and cool information. He is Great teacher and super high level photoshoper... So greatfull. thanks!

Student Work