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Working with Color

Lesson 31 from: Adobe Photoshop Compositing: Essential Techniques

Aaron Nace

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Lesson Info

31. Working with Color

Next Lesson: Lighting Effects

Lesson Info

Working with Color

I'm so excited about this image it's so cool what we've done over the last couple of days and being able to photograph this in the studio and then again make this image completely from scratch stay here in the studio so we're going to kind of pick up where we left off we got still got plenty to do but there's no rush we're gonna do an amazing job here all right so kind of taking a look at the image generally I like to look at these images zoomed out and you know from kind of like full screen version and then it's usually a good idea to zoom in and kind of make sure that all the little details are taking care of us well so as I zoom in a little bit I'm just kind of taking note of some of the things that you know I think I might need to be taken care of and one of the things that's kind of popping out to me are the players in the background they seem like they're a little bit too sharp right now like they're they're running back there and you can see how well they just you know they stic...

k out their not only that but it's the same player is the program so giving those a little bit of a blur is going to help really integrate them into the image and make them not look like they're just you know the same person over and over again so I'm gonna open the layer for our background players and we're just going to turn on all these layers and basically just give these emotion blur these guys will be running left to the right so that's what we're going to get so click on this later we're going to get a filter blur and two motion blur we're going to change our angle down here to zero and then just a little bit of ah left to the right distance of twenty three pixels looks pretty good so we're going to hit okay now quick tip if you want to apply the same exact blur to multiple people here all you have to do is there we go let's go and open this one all you have to do is click on each of the individuals there we go I'm gonna apply the lame asked oftentimes if you're playing implore using a layer mask means layer mask does not get blurred but the player will so that you'll have a blurry player with a really sharp outline which looks really weird so a lot of time it's a good idea to right click on your later ask goto partly your mask and then if you want apply the same blur that you did on the other players just had controller command f and they'll get the exact same blur on them as well all right and there we go and last but not least lets just hit v for our move toe and I want to click on this guy here and make sure that he gets a blur as well so quick on our guy right click on here go to apply their mask and then comptroller command death and this would be a good opportunity if we wanted to make those into smart layers and give them you know a blur that we could change later after after we already applied it that would be a good opportunity to do that but in this case I think it's totally fine what we're doing there all right so we're going to take a look at our image and basically again still up until this point we've been in you know basically editing in black and white and I want to make sure we're you know we get to a place where we really like the image in black and white and you'd be surprised how much there is you know dealing with your image just lights and darks how much you can really really change your image and make it much much better dealing with just lights and darks so we're going to continue to do that and then in just a minute I'm going to pop it over to the in studio audience and ask if they have any suggestions or any ideas for this image we've got just a little bit of extra time and we're going to be ableto we're going to be ableto answer those questions and kind of roll with some other just so if you guys want kind of come up with some ideas there on the spot to be be cool all right here with our layer what I'm gonna do is just going to kind of make our grass which is right over here I'm going to make our grass just a little bit darker right over here kind of under a player just for our yeah creatine levels adjustment layer and option comanche just right under our player right over here I think it's just going to get a little bit more of a dramatic effect and these sports portrait's are there's supposed to be dramatic like that's kind of the whole idea behind these things it's like you know let's make sure that our subject is front dead center and let's make sure that he is like you know as dramatic as possible and that's why we created the lighting that we did that's why he's jumping in the air with giant kick to the ball on things like that this is that's one hundred percent what we were going for with this image all right now here with our subject we took a lot of care to make sure that our subject was super still in motion when we photographed him using our flash is to make sure that there was no motion blur and now I'm going to totally ruin that and I'm gonna give him a motion blur so it's just going to help make the image a little bit more believable so when you click on my later mask I'm in a right click here and say apply the layer mask okay and I'm going to right click here because he's so important I'm gonna convert him to a smart object and then we're going to be able to use a blur on him so we're gonna go to filter blur and over here to motion blur all right and I'm gonna give it kind of in the direction of the kick there and we'll just up our distance a little bit all right very cool go up a little bit more like that cool so this is a really good really good idea to give someone a little bit emotion but obviously I don't want this to be visible on his face it's a bit too much in some places so I've got a mask now because I used a smart object I've got smart filters and I've got a mask that controls things like my motion blur so I can choose to have this visible in some places and not visible in other places I'm gonna hit command I on the mask for just the blur and for instance like here on his leg obviously that's going to be moving a bit faster than you know other areas he's going to get a little bit more of a blur on his leg and his foot and things like that so just doing stuff like that look how much more real let's just turn that off and then back on it looks a lot more real and this bird's a crack me up but it looks a lot more real and integrated once we add some of this motion blur so again I'm gonna put it on areas where like it maybe it doesn't we don't need a focus as much but like on his face he's not going to get the he's not going to get nearly as much motion blur because I want I want to be able to see his face pretty clearly there all right and this this whole hand there that can have a little bit of a blur to it there we go and you'll see that's just it helps to kind of like integrate your subject into the background just a little bit better all right and there we go so again let's just zoom out it might not be entirely noticeable when you're all the way zoomed out but let's just turn this on and back off again and it should look like he's a lot more part of the image rather than just cut out and passed stuck on top of the image and that's that's a really big key when you're doing compositing is get everyone in place get your layer mass correct and then you can add these extra like little blurs infects that are really going to make your subject look like there in the photo like they're they're blending with the photo and it's it's couple you know takes a few minutes here at the end of the images but it makes one to make a huge difference all right so let's pop it over to the audience if you guys have any ideas questions suggestions for yeah if you could do a little bit of dodging burning on his chest make it like stick out a little bit more kick it a little bit more to find oh yeah let's go for it ok here on our subject later I'm gonna create a new ah a new layer and we're just going to go ahead and clip that as well I'm gonna change us later from a normal layer down to a soft light layer and we're going to paint with white and black on this layer so black is going to help get our get our shadows there and then white is going to help get our highlights more visible yeah and that's a great suggestion dodging and burning is it's a really great wayto just show a lot more I'm gonna make him look a little bit more muscular here is well dodging and burning is a really great way to kind of bring attention to some of these areas isn't and really draw attention to areas of highlight and shadow and there's a ton of different ways to dr burns so as I'm doing this you know if if you guys have other ways of dodging burning use use the way that you you find comfortable there's no right or wrong way um the dodge and burn in my opinion all right there we go and let's just paint black kind of coming in here all right all right so there we go this kind of helps to find a little bit better let's just make sure it doesn't look we're which could totally happen sometimes by the way all right let's just a race that away about that area just kind of looking a little bit off and then use your brush there we go just kind of to find that a little bit better paint this a little bit darker here and then let's do the same thing with his leg I'm doing a relatively quick job dodging burning right now if you know normally I would definitely spend a little bit more time on this and really carve out and to find all of his muscles and things like that but the basic idea with dodging and burning is find those highlights and make him a little bit lighter and find the shadows to make him a little bit darker so you can see there's a before and the after with that cool really good idea all right what else we have another image you had some lines and highlights more on the light moments like this kind of let's have those can you raise sure like what flare like a line for area a little bit more like almost there was a little bit more fantasy like because it had that long streak through it all right let's do it so I'm gonna create a new layer above everything now I'm gonna group this with itself and we're going to call this lighting effects all right and on this layer what we're going to do I'm gonna make a stamp visible layer again so shift option command e and now we're going to get a filter we're going to go down to render and then we're going to go toe lens flare again and this time I'm going to choose a different lens flare the movie prime and give it a little bit more of a blur so we're gonna hit okay there and you're going to see this is just going to kind of show up over top everything let's turn on chek group off and you'll be able to see this is what it looks like in black and white but I can make this visible in color again I just going to hit shift elite and fill this whole layer with black command f is going to bring our it's going to bring the layer teo uh basically apply the same filter and then we can go down to screen blending word and there we go that looks okay let's see I think we could do even better than that what do you think all right shift option grant he was going to make another stamp visible air all right we'll go to render down to lens flare again all right it looks so much more dramatic in this picture is going on all right I'll try a regular fifty millimeter prime and we are going to be adding some really cool lens flares and stuff like that there we go all right we still have a ton we need to do is faras coloring our image so don't try not to look at the color too much with this but we are going to be adding more alright let's just change at the screen as well I could hit command tea right click and say flip that horizontal and bring it in something like that the reason I like this on its own layer is because I can choose to move this around and I can also change the color as needed as well all right let's make that black black and white again and I'm gonna give this a little bit of a blur so these thes rings here are not so visible all right just a little bit of floor makes it a little more realistic alright cool any other ideas the folks out in the chat rooms were wondering if you needed to blur the grass on the ground yeah sure I could blow the crest at least take a look I'll take a look I think what I'm seeing is the line maybe it needs to be blurred a little bit but yeah maybe the grass needs people or it is a little bit of swell let's go ahead and take a look at her grass so grass and will go ahead and go all the way down to her grass later let's go to filter blur and then motion blur and this would be again probably aside cyber yeah that looks pretty good actually alright I'm a lower down the distance a little bit more perfect yeah that was a great suggestion tell them thank you whoever whoever did that they'd also really love to see this is from gina miller a few folks have asked little flashes of cameras in the stand what such a cool idea all right let's do it don't let me forget that I'm going to get go ahead and start working on our color and we'll add that to our like final lighting effects okay so now the moment we've all been waiting for working with our color and there are a ton of options here I'm going to go ahead and turn this off we're going to turn out for lighting effects and we're going to take it this look att in color now with our check groups there is another cool trick that I want to show you guys I'm going to make an adjustment layer when I'm gonna go up to solid color we're going to change this to bright red and um and changes from normal down to hugh okay now changing this from normal to hugh basically it makes everything in the image the same hue so really all I'm seeing is the variations in saturation so I can see like the sky is it's supposed to be the same red is the players and everything like that but I can't really see any read on this guy because that's because it's not really saturated so a lot of time when you're dealing with color and things like that it's differences in your saturation that are going to make things either right or not look right so it's just a really good way to kind of like see what you're doing and kind of howto work that into your image all right so if I'm gonna keep the blue shorts on our player I don't want this background to be blue as well so let's go ahead and start with our stadium and see about coloring that we can either choose to there we go we can either choose to de saturate that we're going to grab a huge saturation just one layer and hit option comanche or I could kind of change the coloring of of our stadium bring it a little bit more on the warmer side all right either way I think we're going to bring down our saturation just a little bit all right so we can already see bringing down our saturation here we go let's see how that matches with what's going on here looking pretty good in our subject is more a little bit more saturated so he's going to stand off a little bit better against the background all right and our in studio audience with saying the lights on our but our background those needed changing color too because they're they're a reddish color and they should be a little bit more daylight balance as well so what I'm gonna do is each of these layers is set to his screen blending mode we're going to shift click all these layers and hit command e to merge them altogether and then we're going to change all that to a screen blending mode so now I don't have to adjust it for each individual layer I can just do it on a just for one there so again let's go to hugh saturation hit option command g to clip this and now we can kind of push our lights really doors any range that we want we want to go with a little bit more on the blue side and then kind of lower the saturation down a little bit right is that kind of what we what we decided is that look okay so far all right let's take that as a yes why not all right cool let's see if our stadium can kind of replicate that like just a little bit all right there we go that looks pretty good you know what those lights look a little bit on the greenish side there we go that looks a little bit better all right so let's take a look at our image now with just this solid color layer on now you can see all these changes were kind of making play now it doesn't make sense that our stadium would be de saturated and that our sky would be be saturated and then a grass would be so saturated can ever conceived like the difference in saturation there especially if we want to call attention to our player and we couldn't do that with saturation so I want to do one of two things I want to add some saturation to my sky or I need to take it out on my grass all right and also check this out those players in the background look how saturated those are compared to the background and those air just sticking out like sore thumbs right so if we want those two really look like they're in place they need to have the correct amount of saturation on them as well so this is where I don't even worry about color up until this point because I need to get all this stuff right and then my issues might just take two or three minutes and they might just all be saturation issues okay let's go ahead and see what we can do with our sky I'm gonna go ahead and go down to our background layer again and we're just going to go to a huge saturation adjustment layer option command g to clip that now I could just crank my saturation up a little bit and kind of see what that looks like I can also hit this colorize button and give this guy a little bit more of a natural color somewhere around here is blue right flora saturation again okay or a lot of the time when I'm adding color I'm just going to do this with the levels or a curb adjustment later so let's go ahead and go with the levels if I wanted a warm this up again I could grab my blue channel and pull this a little bit in that way and then grab our red channel and pull that up in that direction so I now have the option like do I want this guy to be a little bit more on the warm side or do I want it to be on the cool side and that's going to kind of play with the flow of the entire image so that's what it looks like on the warm side not so great in my opinion I probably spend more time on it making it look a little better but pulling this off to the left a little bit that looks a little bit more natural doesn't it on the blue side and on the green side if I were to find something that I did want to be a little bit mohr let's say I did want to go with the reddish background I would probably use a different sky something like a sunset or something like that would actually have a warm sky to it all right so that looks good too oh you know what I should have done it before and after I'm gonna I'm gonna do that really quick the huge saturation all right what else they didn't change the color on the lights all right I want to show you guys before and the after so I'm sure there were a ton of questions out there people had about you know like why are you waiting to the end to fix your colors and stuff like that this before and after hopefully will kind of answer those questions show you that it's just adjusting these colors as long as you know howto look for them and if you're looking for differences in hue in saturation because we already have all of our lightness figured out so at that point all we have to do is make sure our saturation is right and just the hue and we're good to go so I'll show this is this will be there for the before and now let's go ahead and turn these layers back on there we go all right so we used the levels adjustment layer all right we're going in here on our life's a swell and then our stadium cool okay so let's take a look at our layer one more time this colorful layer our grass is a little bit on the saturated side right so let's go ahead and go down tourist grass all right here we are in a grass and I'm just gonna grab a huge saturation just nuclear option plan g and we're going to pop down the saturation and you can see like in this dialogue with everything still red like you could see how if it were like that this is what it would look like you know regularly we can see that it really doesn't look right all right I don't mind actually I don't mind that so much um it definitely gives us a little bit more of a punchy look but this saturation does look a lot more natural so what do you guys think should I go with like more punchy look or should we go with a more natural look we're natural born naturally I don't want to draw attention away from you that's a really good point sound like me all right cool so now that we're kind of working with that and if we didn't want to do any kind of coloring into the image like behind our subject we can do that too and I wanna show you guys that in a little bit but now you should really start to see like ok now the subjects really need to be changed like these guys back there right like that does not look real at all so we definitely need to change those we need to work on the saturation with those again so let's just turn this on and that it doesn't really goodjob highlighting because it turns everything to the same hue so now you can see like ok it's really really clear to see what the problem areas are all right here we go let's use our moved to we're going to use the layer technique that jim showed me earlier bold control her command and click on here oh it looks like it's selecting our colorful layer which is above everything else so we might need to make those things invisible for we're going to do that again but nevertheless it's an amazing technique all right foreground colors players are background players all right and let's just make sure alright figure out which which guy were editing first all right this guy we're going to grab a hue saturation adjustment there all right we're going to lower down the saturation on him till he looks like he's blended in with the background quite well so let's just turn this layer off we can see here was it before or after with that so there's the before and the after with him so it could be really tough to know like does he need more saturation less saturation things like that like those sort of questions would be really tough to answer but when you turn these layers on to kind of check it makes a lot more clear all right let's go ahead and find our next guy all right there's our next night let's just grow and grab a huge saturation just met later with that option command g to clip that adjustment layer to our player lower down the opacity and then this guy we're going to treat the same as well you saturation and lower down the capacity no word on the situation rather alright cool and those are our background players all right so what we're getting now is a much more natural field to this image and it's definitely more focused on her subject because he has not on ly is their subject the most you know the most foreground in the most like composition wise he's the focus of the image but he also has the most saturate saturation on the image all right the bull I think we could lower the saturation on that just a little bit a swell so we'll go to hugh saturation slower the saturation on the ball just to make it fit a little bit better with the image you can see that kind of stuck out a little bit too much and a lot of times it took me years before I realized that saturation was often the culprit of why images looked weird like why does this look so weird right there ah lot of the time the saturation is going to be wrong and that's going to totally throw off your images which is really really interesting all right there we go looking pretty good let's go ahead and turn this back on and see what we've got going on with our subject here in the foreground I think that this guy might need a little bit more of a blur he's looking a little clear and I wanted to look like he's kind of running past the past the camera there all right so this motion blur we could just change the angle of that there we go and that should help out with that just make sure that he's in the right place and we can turn our distance off remember we were able to do this because we were using a smart object all right and let's see about turning his saturation down just a little bit of swell I think I'm gonna make him a little darker too all right let's bring about light levels all right and then we're gonna bring our saturation down all right so what we've done essentially is we made the image in black and white and we made sure it looked good in black and white and then we took the color on but we could turn this colorful layer on and then our our our basic goal was make it look good like this too so if it looks good in black and white and then you get your saturation correct what's the next step well you can change this layer from something like normal toe luminosity and then you can see what your image looks like with only your hue so we took the image we made it look right in black and white then we've corrected our saturation and now we're about to correct our hugh and once you correct all three of those your colors going to be perfect and it only takes a couple of minutes to do so looking at our blue I'm just saying maybe you know what maybe it needs a little bit of cool color in it because the sky is so cool and that color is going to affect what's going on here in our grass so I might need to cool down our grass a little bit to make it look a little more real all right and I don't really mind that our skies so cool but our color is our subject is warm because that really nice play of colors is going to help us focus on our subject so let's see about that I'm gonna go down here to our grass but we're looking pretty good we don't have anything that's like an outlier let me just show you what it would look like if something like you know if one of these background players if he was like totally the wrong hugh let's just click and show you that like you would you would see it right away especially if we didn't have our saturation corrected like if he was something like this right there you'd see it right away he would just stick out right but because he's not sticking out like that you know that he's he does a good job blending in and the hew range that he's in is in a similar he range to the rest of the image all right so let's go take a look at our grass we have so many layers of awesome all right but because we stayed organized from the very beginning it's not difficult to find anything we need to find all right currents just nuclear option queen g I'm gonna go to my blue channel oh you know what I mean using a levels adjustment layer all right levels option command g and I'm gonna go to my blue channel and just pull this a little bit to the left they're going to pull a little bit of blue into my green it's still green but now it's got a little bit of blue so it should look more like the skies actually lighting it so let's go here and I'm gonna show you what that looked like before and after so there's before and the after it's just a little bit cooler and I see that but now it looks like the sky's actually lighting the grass so we're getting everything in the proper color range as well which is really really cool alright end we started out in black and white and this image looks great in color doesn't it that wasn't that hard so we still have more lighting effects that I want to do to this image to really like give it that really this cool refined look but let's just take a look at the before and after this is the after spending five to ten minutes on color and here's the before without thinking about color at all well I don't have same keyboard shortcuts on this was cool okay there's the before so the before and the after again so you can see that's why I was not concerned about colored the entire time because correcting our color just takes a couple of minutes here we go and getting in writing black and white means that it's probably gonna be able to look good in color

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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!

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