Compositing Fantasy Background Part 1


Adobe® Photoshop® Compositing: Essential Techniques


Lesson Info

Compositing Fantasy Background Part 1

we're going to basically creating this image from scratch so if you guys remember before the before the break basically we brought in this image as the background for our subject and then matched the lighting in here in the studio to what was going on in this image and so now what we're going to do is basically we're going to create this image from scratch because it's it's just a composite of a bunch of different stock images and floren dot com we're partner with faux tolia dot com and they provided all the stock images for this workshop so we're basically going to be pulling in a bunch different stock images in creating this background and it's it's an awesome resource to be able to use a star website like tolia and build these backgrounds and then photograph your subject like we're doing today and really just create anything that anything you can think of so you will see something like this and think you know like okay cool maybe you know maybe you have an idea of like for this imag...

e for instance I wanted to create like a kind of a dark stormy night and kind of imagining what this character wearing this like really cool headdress and where where she might exist so I was kind of like thinking you know somewhere dark and kind of rocky and not a whole lot of color and then this orange or that she's got you know that was kind of bringing a little bit more color into the image so with this we're going to go ahead and basically start building this image completely from scratch so I'm gonna go ahead and just close this down and we're going to start bringing in our stock images so this section is we're going to bring this image in and then we're going to take a look at the images that we actually photographed during section two and then we're going to be bringing some of those and a swell all right so basically you think to get this started off we're gonna go to file down here two scripts and then over to load files into second and this is just a really nice way of loading a bunch of different layers into the same document so I'm gonna hit browse here basically try to find the images that we want to use and they're already in here and I'm just going to shift click on all these images so we're actually gonna be using just about every one of these different photos that were again these were taken at different times a day in different places we're gonna be combining all these together to treat that one photo that we just saw so we're gonna hit open here there we go and okay again and it's just going to bring these in again totally just as they are it's not going to do any you're composing work for you which would actually be nice that's in the next photo shop are there any settings you have for photoshopped to handle all of these files coming in and being large good question the big thing I've noticed with photo shop and getting it to run well is ram having a decent bit of ram in your computer the thing I was just is like when you go to buy a computer by the computer in always choose the option like the minimum amount of ram and then you can buy it from like a third party site online and install it yourself it's actually ram is super easy didn't stole and it's actually relatively inexpensive I think so our editing computers back at the florence studio they all have thirty two gigabytes of ram in them and I think that we spent like one hundred fifty dollars to have thirty two gigabytes ram so it's really come down in price and that that'll make photo shop run faster than that just about anything else you can do to the computer so yeah that would be that would be the big suggestion I'd have there yeah see that you're using mainly j pegs for this is it better to use j pegs instead of tiffs or something when doing this kind of composite good question if you have like the original tips or the original raw information always start with that sort of thing I'm using stock images and most of the time stock images are gonna be only available in j peg but if you did photograph the originals and you have those ross definitely start out with those especially if you're using a really powerful computer like these air if we've got twenty different layers and they're all going to be really lord trawl files your file sizes going really it's kind of kind of bogged time computer after awhile so a song is your computer can handle it start with like the best information you can cool the question all right let's get into it so I'm going after full screen and this is kind of what we're working with here so we've got some northern lights here in this image we're going to bring this in later so I'm just going to go ahead and turn that invisible we've got I went ahead and grabbed a couple different rock formation so we get this reformation and that rock formation and we're just going to kind of zoom in so you guys can see again I was you know on the stock website for totally and I type like a rock outcrop or like rock formation or something like that and you know basically just got these images so it's it's really just you know doing searches and finding different things the thing I like about it most stark websites to is you can download cop images which they're really they're going to be a very small size and they're usually gonna have a watermark but you can still bring those into photo shop I usually upscale them and do like a rough comp that's like you know the resolution won't be there and they'll have a watermark on there but you can see if it's gonna work in your final image before actually purchasing that stock image so always go like download that rough comp images like bring it into photoshopped size it accordingly and see if it's going to work before you actually make that purchase because it might be in the wrong perspective it might you know the lighting on the image might be incorrect or something like that and you don't want to you don't have to purchase the image only to find that out that you can't use that all right so just kind of going through this the next we have some lightning which we're going to use their really quick just a blending mode of that we've got the birds flying in the sky that's going to be in our background as well and then we've got a couple of different skies here one with the moon and the other one with our just regular a guy like this so I'm gonna go ahead and grab my crop tool when hit c for the crop tool and basically what we're gonna do let's just change this there we go all right we're just going drag our prop tool in we'll just this check box here oh okay this is a different version of photoshopped slightly they're releasing okay this button up here is basically going to be delete your crop pixels so I want to make sure that's not checked if that's checked let's say we're to crop this image like this and then I hit that check box up there basically it's going to you know on lee let allow me to work with that information you don't want it to delete your crop pixels if you do you can't ever get that back a tte this point I had that unchecked so if I decide teo I can click here and I can always crop back out to my original size image if I need to so that's one of the big things to keep in mind like crop in is much as you need to but make sure you're not into leading those crop pixels because you want to be able to get that information back all right and I'm just going to kind of go out just a little bit I don't mind especially when it comes to something like a sky I really don't mind most of the time if I need a structure didn't warp it around and things like that it's oftentimes I mean you're going to lose a little bit of resolution but with the sky or clouds things like that most of time it's not going to really matter that much because it's you know there is kind of just a amorphous shape like someone's face you don't want to stretch horizontal or something like that but you know clouds like if I were to click here and hit command tea and you know stretch these a little bit wider and a little bit taller like that doesn't look less like clouds right it's still looks one hundred percent like clouds so we're good to go there all right so just kind of building this background I already know that we're going to be using this as our basically we're going to make this look like it's melting so I want this to look like it's far away and I need a color matching toe what's that whatever is going on in our cloud image and this is the sort of thing to like right now I already know what I'm gonna do because I've already done this and that's a really important you know kind of step to keep in mind like in creating this background image I probably spent like three or four days just kind of pulling in different images and can't playing around and you know working things and kind of making decisions as I was just playing in photo shop so you know I don't never expected like you know exactly what my composites going to look like before I start it's usually like a long process it just kind of playing around getting things roughed in and then once I find that I like things in the rough state then I'll go ahead and like kind of fine tuned things and make things look a little bit more complete that makes sense all right um somebody had command tea and transform this again we're going to just scale it a little bit larger there we go and we're going to bring this on down there and I'm going to make this a little bit taller to kind of make it look like it's a little bit more like mountains okay so the next thing we need to do let's go ahead and start grouping some of our layers let's just shift click all of these layers and I'm gonna hit command g just two group those keeping them unused right now a lot of people choose the name all their layers and their groups things like that usually only my groups if especially if like I have a color group or a cloud group sky group whatever it is usually I don't go through a name every single one of my layers just I think it takes a long time and I don't find it helpful usually all just group like elements and then I will keep those together and named the group all right so what this basically I need to get rid of this sky here right so choosing basically a selection tool that's going to allow me to get rid of this guy a lot of the cases I've been using photo shop for years and I I know how to use pretty much every tool in photo shop and I always stick to the easiest tool every single time like there's no reason to go in here like the pen tool would do a great job cutting this out but it would take an hour to do where is like you know the magic one tool is you know this is like the like this one of the more simple tools and photoshopped you know like a lot of people said we just use the magic one tool but if it's the right tool for the job and it does it quickly then it's the best tool in my opinion so I would say like don't be afraid of these like things like the magic wand to well I don't think you do anything wrong by using it especially something like this I don't know if anyone has that taboo but maybe this isn't so we're going to grab the magic wand tool and I'm just going to click here on my my background and you can see selects out most of this guy this is gonna be based on my tolerance the higher my tolerance mauritz going to select out pixels that are similar to wherever I think when I hit come indeed d select we're gonna bring our tolerance up a little bit and let's see if it'll select out most of my sky all right looking pretty good I'm gonna hold down the shift key and add that selection and there we go so you can see it's done a pretty good job of basically selecting out my sky when your whatever you're trying to select something out like this I would always recommend selecting them or simple object in other words I wouldn't want to go in and try to select out my mountains because you know they're so complex there's lights and darks and color shift in there the sky is like basically just about the same color from right to left so it was selecting up the sky is a lot easier than just selecting out mountains okay so now that I have the selected I'm gonna click on my layer mass butts in here there we go and it's going to add a layer mask basically making part of my letter visible and then part of my later invisible it's the opposite of what what I want right now so I'm gonna click on the lame ass hit command I and that's going to invert my layer mask all right and let's just zoom in kind of like see what the outline of the mountains looked like you know like how how good does this actually look does it look really do I need to change that you change the selection all right and here's a pretty good example you guys could see there was a little bit of like fringing basically this is around the edge you can see it's a little bit lighter around the edge than then it should be so we're going to take care of that here on her lay a mask all right so to get to that I'm gonna go to select and then down here to refine mask all right so here no refund mask I'm going to choose my selection here I want to choose this to be on layers so that's going to give me a pretty good preview of what I've got and I'm gonna bring up my feathering just a bit which is gonna make the edge a little bit more fuzzy and in this case I actually do want this edge to be a little bit more funny than it wass the reason being the background is a little bit more out of focus and these mountains they're not perfectly in focus as well so if you have like a super hard edge just kind of looking at that can you see how I like it just looks kind of jagged on there it doesn't look like a photo so oftentimes you know like a perfectly hard edge selection is not the right answer oftentimes you actually wanted to be a little bit fuzzy which you know a lot of people want you know I think it needs everything needs to be like perfect but ah lot of the time you actually want your selections to be a little bit fuzzy because you want to match the resolution of the original image all right so I'm gonna bring my feathering up a little bit and then I'm gonna hit this shift edge and I'm gonna bring this down a little bit and it's just going to kind of pull my layer mask in and the further I click down the more it's gonna pull it in towards my mountains if I were to click over here it would shift it out the other way so you can see it's gonna add a little bit of fringing but we're just going to shift it in there we go and that should do a pretty good job getting rid of my fringing so I'm just gonna hold the space bar here you kind of move around my image and just make sure that that kind of works for the most part now it's not going to correct exposure and things like that for me but as long as it gets sorted by fringing and it keeps that edge a little bit fuzzy which is what I want then we're good to go so adding a little bit of feathering and then shifting the edge in and hit okay it's that kind of fixes that issue on dh that's a lot you know when it comes to masking and things like that it's gonna be a lot of your issues just like you know that little french and I know there was some questions about taking care of the green screen the color casts and things like that infringing around the edges a lot of time it's a simple is that choosing to feather the edge a little bit and bring it in and a lot of the time that's going to take care of your issues all right cool so here we have here we have the beginning of our image now I'm actually gonna flip around our sky in the background so I'm gonna click on my background and hit command tea right click and goto flip horizontal that's just going to bring my lighter point over there because if you guys remember from the original image I had that light point on the left so I just want to make sure that I'm staying consistent okay another kind of like important kind of thing to keep in mind is I generally work in like depth wise the same is it what's going on in my image so let's say like the sky for instance the sky is going to be furthest away from the camera so I want this to be my lowest layer that way like I'm adding mountains on top of the sky so like the sky and usually doesn't get a layer mask on it right especially if you're compositing like this like the sky is going to be in the background and then you add mountains on top of that and then you add things on top of that and on top of that and on top of that so I could actually work like my layer order makes sense the same is the depth in my image does that make sense okay so it's like early on I would I'd like to bring in the sky over top of that and I try to mask out the sky and you're just going to run into a lot of problems especially because if I need to move these mountains now like I could move these up if I needed to I can stretch them out and I don't have to affect my skies well so it makes it a lot more clean when you actually go to edit your images all right so that looks pretty good except for the color is obviously like totally off right now like the color of the mountains are these rocks doesn't look anything like what the sky looks like so we're going to take care of this using using a couple adjustment layers and we're going to clip those layers before we do that let's go out in groups so many group the sky with itself in a double click there and we're just going to call this sky all right we're gonna click on the mount I'm gonna hit command g double click on there and called us mountains all right cool so I really want to do some color correction these mountains and that's one big things with compositing is like I think a lot of people kind of get begins at this point in compositing where they get to this image right and they're like okay well the colors don't exactly match for the light doesn't match or something like that and that's where they stop like that's where they're going to get stuck they think that they can't fix these sort of things and when it comes to compositing there are there are three big elements we talked about when shooting for composite there's your there's the light and then there's perspective and then there's composition and light can't really be changed in photo shop you can change the intensity of light like you can change whether these mountains are lighter or darker but you can't really change like the direction of the light right like I can't make the light the sun looks like it's coming from the other side like unless I go in there and actually paint every single like highlight and shadow on this image that's insanely hard to do but as far as like colors concerned and exposure I could totally change those in photo shop so that's actually it's really not that difficult to do all right does anyone have any questions about this stuff this pretty we sure do we always got questions let's bring on some questions yeah I feel like I'm just talking toa air great no I'm loving this so one question from one of our students do you set up your files is three hundred d p d p I from the start always or do you let the size of the stock imagery dictate good question usually I'm going toe sock images that I'm pulling in are going to be like the largest size possible so usually there at like ten to twenty megapixels each if the stock images are quite a bit smaller than that I'll bring in an image of my subject and then I'll make sure to size my stock accordingly you don't generally don't wantto upscale stock images or any images that much they tend to lose a little resolution but if it's like a background like it's asai and it's maybe going to get a blur anyway I find it's totally okay so let's say I was working on this image and then I want to bring my image of my subject in and she's like way larger than you know my stock at that point I don't have much of a choice either need to make my stock image larger or I need to make my subject smaller like and I wouldn't have had that choice to begin with anyway so all that stuff the image sizing and re sampling that can be done at the time in which you bring your you're photographed images and if you need to cool and serving attendant to that what is your general as you're working in your profession what is your prince your final output most likely oh good question for me it's not most of my work goes on the web on dh so most of the time when I'm doing a ce faras my color settings go usually I'm working in like pro photo rgb or adobe rgb nineteen ninety eight and then when I'm exporting out usually I mean s rgb which just like a really quick explanation s rgb is like the smallest color space it's actually it's the worst color space tow work in because you're going to be limited to how much colors you actually have available to you it's like having a box of like eight color kranz versus like the box of two hundred fifty six colors right you want the two hundred fifty six colors so start working in either adobe rgb or pro photo rgb then when you export out srg b is really good color space and I get most of my work is going out to the web and s r g b is a good color space for the web but I'm interested that you actually do work at three hundred dp I general is that true yeah yeah sure on dh then at export usually I don't I don't adjust my dp I usually I keep it at three hundred dp I even even if it's going on the web but I do generally saved for web and devices so let's say that I'm done with my image here this takes care of most of what I need to do so what I really like to save for weapon devices because I can choose I can resize my images if I need to so it's going to size my image to a width of five hundred pixels I can choose usually I'll choose a j peg it'll automatically have this check to convert to srg be if I need to do that you can choose your quality it's goingto also allow you to see how lord your file size is going to be and pop possible upload speeds or you know how long it's actually going to take you can change this to no one viewing weather fifty six k before so if you click there you can see like you know web optimization and things like that on dh then you khun usually do a couple different versions so you can say like okay this is my original this one is my j piggott sixty percent you can kind of zoom in and check out the differences in quality and I find that saving for web and going down to like fifty to sixty percent like that's a huge difference in file size but not a huge difference in quality when uploaded to the internet now I don't wanna work with an image that's in s rgb especially like compressed j peg but going out to the image going on the web is the final destination that's a good place to put it okay it's color spaces always like a really weird topic because it's it is pretty confusing but and if anyone has any more questions throughout these next couple of days I'm more than happy to answer those all right so the next thing I want to do is I do want to color match what's going on here on my sky too what's going on here in these mountains because it's it kind of took a while for me teo really make sense of this but basically the sky is going to be your light source if you're outside and the color and you know light source basically the feel of the light source is going to dictate the feel of whatever's on land because you know if you have like a a blue sky like this it's going to make things a lot more blue like I don't know if you've ever been in like a club or a place where the colored lights and like a big red light in the middle of the room if there's no other light it makes everything look red right that's the same thing with the sky if this guys like you know like a sunset it's like a really warm colored sky it warms up everything like look at your friend's faces they're gonna have like a orange tint to them where is light like this everything's gonna have a bluish tint to them so if I have these mountains and you can see they're kind of like this you know nice reddish color a little bit more of a warm color they're not gonna look as real because there's a there's a dark blue sky behind it so we have to take the mountains and we have to make them look a little bit more of this like dark blue color okay so to do that there are a ton of ways to this suffering photo shop and if people at home are you guys have other ways to do this sort of thing that they're totally valid I'm just going to show you guys some relatively easy ways to do these so the first thing we're gonna do is I'm gonna grab adjustment layer and we're going to go up to our cue slash saturation so hugh saturation basically gives me the option to completely change the hue of my image and I'm gonna talk really quick we're just going to move this over here so we'll help illustrate my point and then I won't talk about clipping masks because everyone in the audience know what clipping mask is yes because I've been watching florin okay for anyone who doesn't know what equipping mask is basically here's what a clipping mask it's it's a really really cool tool in photo shop um basically you can use a all right let's just choose a brush you can use a brush let's just grab this I'm gonna paint it like seventy percent capacity or seventy percent flow some of whatever it doesn't really matter paint something on my layer and then I'm going to paint a new layer and I'm gonna put a just put this yellow on there all right and this is just for an example all right there we go let's just go to our russia lll all right and then I'm painting with this new color on there so I've got basically two layers they've got nothing to do with each other now let's say I want layer three toe only be visible where layer two is I can create what's called a clipping mask and that's going to make this layer just it's going to make this later defined the visibility to find by the layer underneath it and to do that it's really simple just right click on your layer and go down to create clipping mask option command ji is the keyboard worker for that so now if I move this lay around you can see it's only going to be visible where the underlying layers visible so this yellow is now on ly visible where green was visible so when you're doing composites these clipping masks are huge the clipping masks are a really big party composites because it allows them to you only have to create one layer mask you don't have to continue masking over and over and over again you just use the original image with the original air mask and then use these clipping masks over top of that all right I'm gonna do one more I'm just going to grab a huge saturation justin layer and put it on the same thing so you guys kind of get a feel for what I'm talking about so option grand g is going to clip that on there and now I'm going to grab my huge and you're going to see it's only going to effect that area that I originally painted and if I did grab this layer and I started painting around here it would continue to change that as well so these layers would continue to change wherever I painted on that layer as well so basically that's a quick instruction how clipping mask fork I'm going to be using them many many times over the next a couple of days so if you guys didn't get it one hundred percent don't worry about it then but this you saturation later you can see right now it's affecting both the sky and the mountains which that's not helpful because I want to match what's going on in the mountains to what's going on the sky so we're going to glory created clipping mask we're going with option command g and that's going to clip it so you can see it goes from affecting my sky and my mountains to just my mountains ok and now what I'm able to do is I'm able to choose what color I'd like my mountains and we already said we need I'd be in like the blue range right so let's go with like the bluish range here I can bring my lightness down a little bit there and we can start playing around with by saturation let's bring that down a little bit as well okay so we can see something already that looks a lot more like what's going on in the sky right one simple layer and it looks a lot more like what's going on this guy a lot of the time though you don't want to leave it just here because this doesn't really look that really it just looks like I grabbed a huge saturation layer and totally changed color so we're goingto we're gonna do a little bit more of an adjustment to this you saturation adjustment layer and basically I'm going to restrict this to either the highlights or the shadows and for that we're going to use blend if and I guess if you guys know what clipping mask are you probably know what blend if is everyone yes awesome is it you guys are too advanced it's awesome all right well I'm still going to explain blended because there's someone at home who doesn't know what it is just yet and they're gonna they're gonna benefit from this alright so blend if is basically all right blend if is basically a way to control whether this layer is gonna be visible on your on different parts here image so kind of show you guys what's going on with this later I'm just going to choose my brush cool and kind of paint on my image and a lot of the times especially when you're coloring part of your image she wanted to only show up on your highlights or your shadows and I'll go more in depth with that kind of like explaining why you would want something only visible on your highlights or your shadows and why that's important but a lot of times you don't have to actually create a layer mask to get this visible you can use something called blend if so again just painting this yellow I'm gonna double click right here on the outside of layer one so double click right there and what it's going to do is bring up my layer style let's just kind of bring this right over here so we can see it the thing that we're doing ok there here's your layer style totally normal overhand left you can add like a bevel in boston all this stuff but we're not going to mess with that for now for now we're just going to mess with here we've got our blend mode opacity and film things like that we're going to play it right around down here it says blend if gray most of the time you're just gonna want to leave this on great because that's going to affect the lights and the darks which is pretty much what we use blended for so down here you have controls for this layer and for the underlying layer now this layer the only thing that's on this layer is this yellow that's all that I have control over the underlying layer is the mountains and the sky and everything like that so let's say I wanted to add yellow highlights to my mountains well I can control these yellows I can say only show up where the mountains have highlights or only show up for the mountains have shadows and to do that just hold cult or option and click on any of these little sorry just click on your little sliders here and go from left to the right and you're going to see as I do this there we go it's basically making this yellow disappear from where the underlying layer is darker and I'm gonna bring this one over two and there we go so right in here we can see it's on ly showing up where the mountains let's just assume in its only showing up where the mountains are lighter so it looks like in this case it's yellow so it doesn't look like moss or something like that but if this were green which were actually into new in a minute it would kind of look like moss type of effect and again it's only showing up in the lighter areas of our sky so if I wanted to just this even further and have this really only be visible in the lighter areas I could do that as well all right and if I go from the other side it's going teo hold altera option this is now only going to be visible where the underlying there is darker there we go so it's disappearing from lighter areas and it's only showing up in the darkest shadows now yeah just um like for a green screen as well possibly like by using the dropping down the when this took green and um sorry you are for taking the green screen and blending in with the great with the if you change your blend if two green oh good question you ever use it like that to do the blending question I've tried that and well okay so red green and blue these air actually these are my color channels so it's still blends on the luminosity of the color channel rather than just the color red which I actually think it would work better if it did allow like based on the color red green and blue but this is based on my color channels red green and blue so it's it doesn't work as well as you think that it would if you did grab the green if you did then yeah you would totally just go like this layer and have it not be visible where it screen but I find that really it doesn't make that much of a difference yeah that's a really good question so the color channels we're talking about a right over here in our channel sai log so it would be based on the lightness of this channel rather than the lightness of that channel so it's in most cases is not going to make that big a difference and it's it's not going to do just the greens it's it's the dream the green channel here that's good question though okay so one of the folks asking a lot about calibrated screens is that something in your studio that you guys used for best practices yeah we use there a few different devices then you can use way at our studio we have like twenty seven inch I'm axl we work on most of the time and I find the straight out of the box they're pretty good if you have if you're working with like a really high end monitor like they started around like four to five thousand dollars just so if you know you have one of these you probably already know you have one of these yeah then it's a lot of those have color calibration built into them and those were going to be a step above anything that you can get from apple something like that but at the at the level that you know apple ships out most of them are calibrated just fine we still do color calibration in our studio there's a couple different vices there's like a color monkey and like a spider elite something three or four whatever it is now to be honest we have someone who works in our studio really likes into that stuff so I just let him do it but I can tell you I went like two years without ever calling calibrating a monitor and then I borrowed a friend's calibrate er and it made like almost no difference on my twenty seven inch I'm back so I have noticed however that if I'm working on a laptop my color tends to be horrible and I I just I wouldn't trust the laptops color and the screens on those tend to just not be that good in my opinion I don't know like only work on an image on my laptop and then put it on my on my real monitor and there's just there's a huge difference so yeah but yes color calibrate

Class Description

Compositing allows you to bring the vivid images of your dreams to life. Join Phlearn’s Aaron Nace for an exploration of the artistic and technical skills that are essential to creating stunning composite images.

You’ll see Aaron’s core techniques in action, from start to finish – beginning with a green screen photography shoot and ending with an elaborate post-production compositing session. Aaron will shoot a sports-themed action shot and a model in a flowing dress. Then he’ll teach you how to build a background out of multiple images with a focus on making the new background dynamic and believable. You’ll also learn lighting techniques for matching your photo shoot light to the light in the alternate backgrounds. Finally, you’ll explore the best ways to use Adobe® Photoshop® to assemble your images so they match your unique, creative vision.

This course will teach you everything you need to know to conceptualize and produce complex, visual masterpieces driven by your imagination. What will you create?

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 15.0