Compositing with Simple Masking


Adobe® Photoshop® for Photographers: Beyond the Basics


Lesson Info

Compositing with Simple Masking

Today we're going to start off talking about compositing, which is just whatever you want to combine more than one capture together into a different end result and I'll show you a variety of techniques there but just so you know what else you should expect in the day after that we'll get into creative explorations, which is if you want your image to look different, you want it's cross process textured, bordered whatever it isthe you'll see how to get a more creative looking and result if that's what you desire then after that we'll get into how to extend photo shop by not b being limited by what comes with it but adding other software usually plug in filters that can help us either speed up what we're used to doing in photo shop or getting a lot more control over what would otherwise have to use more crude tools. Foreign photo shop now, at the end of the day, I'll share with you some start to finish example images where we've used the techniques that we've covered over these three days...

and also throw in just general tips in that last session so I want to jump in and get started we're going to start off talking about combining multiple images, so we're going to start with simple things and kind of ramp up into more complex things and let's see what we can end up with first sometimes I'm out shooting and I'm on a tripod I'm trying to get a good shot in this case, I'm trying to do a panorama of a particular thing in theirs, other shooters there and however long I stand there, they will not go away and they just keep going. So how do I deal with them sometimes? Well, sometimes I end up sitting there and just being patient and if they're never going to leave because the sun is just not going to be looking good once they're gone, because they're they're like, right at the perfect moment, what I'm going to do is just make sure I capture them when they're in more than one location if they're walking around, I'll get one of him there and I'll just wait for him to move away from there and he's not moving far enough, yet once he gets over there, I can take those three images, then go to the tools menu, choose photoshopped in choose load files into photo shop players to stack those images. Since these images were shot on a tripod, I don't have to do anything to align them. They should line up nicely, and I think I probably only need two of these images to really do the work because here we have him in that particular position and at the bottom we have him way over there so I'm going to just use those two images, and all we need to do this one simple is create a layer mask for the top most layer. I'll do that by going to the bottom of my layers panel in clicking on the icon looks like the circle inside of a rectangle, and just with a soft edge brush is long asked, my exposure was the same and my camera's on a tripod, I should be able to paint him out because wherever I paint, I'm gonna hide the layer I'm working on and reveal the layer that's underneath. So if I hide that bottom most layer, you'll see that there's just a hole in that top layer might want to do something else. Here I was using exposures that air were somewhat long and either a bird or a bug or something flew by right here, because that's not on my camera sensor esso I might want to paint there as well to hide that in reveal whatever it's on the layer below s o that's one simple, simple thing that I do with compositing is to get rid of tourist in sometimes that's at a major. Place like if I'm at the eiffel tower or something like that there's no way I'm going to find it with no people whatsoever, but if I take you know, six or seven shots, I can probably get rid of a good number of them as long as they're moving around so that's one concept the main thing I want you to learn there is that if we have more than one image, we can used the load files into photo shop players in simple masking other times I'm doing other simple things which he is here I have a waterfall and with waterfalls oftentimes I like the silky look and to get a silky look he do a long exposure. The problem with the silky look is that if there's any wind in the area yet the trees and branches and things around it are going to be moving around and they're going to be blurred. So oftentimes what I end up doing is that captured two images one with a longer exposure where we get the silky look and a second one with a much more brief exposure where the trees won't look quite as soft. And when that's the case I do a similar technique, select the two images, load files into photoshopped layers and I usually put the one with the with the sharp leaves on top it's just I'm used to work in that way and I'll end up creating a layer mask and when I create that layer mask I just paint with black wherever the waterfall is and then that brings the silkiness from the other image which is underneath and simply reveals it so then I can get the best of both worlds by painting like that and I just have to be very careful where for those branches overlap the waterfall that's right? Zoom in and be careful with my painting but all I'm doing is taking the one that had the short shutter and putting on top I'm asking it so it's creating a hole right there revealing the image that's underneath so just another simple idea like I said we'll progress another thing that I do commonly is my wife karen and I travel all over the place one of the things we're trying to do at the moment is visit every national park in the states and it'll take us a while to do that but it's slowly checking them off and enjoying seeing them but oftentimes were out shooting and sometimes we don't have a tripod with us and we want to take a shot something like this but with no tripod what do you suppose to dio? Well what I usually do is I'll end up taking a picture or in this case this was the first picture I take a picture of karen and I just hold the camera wherever I had it's okay, karen, come on over here and I try not to move the camera before she comes over and grabs it, and then she takes a picture of me. Sometimes the camera moves, though, and that's the issue. So for this one, I'm going to grab the two exposures that I have. I'll go to the tools menu, choose photoshopped in shoes, load files into photoshopped players, same thing with chosen with the others, and the problem here is or shooting hand held. This is even with I believe this was with an iphone handheld, and if you look at the two shots, cameras moved quite a bit. So how the heck are we supposed to able to combine those together without spending too much time? Well, what we can do here is if I select both of the layers so my layers paint all hold shift and I'll cook in the layer that's below. Then I can go to the edit menu in choose otto align layers in with auto align layers. I just leave it set to auto and click okay, and it figures out what looks similar in both shots and tries to line them up. Then, just as with the other images, I'll click on the top most, uh, image an addle air mask. Remember that layer mask icon and I paint with black wherever I'd like to hide this layer and reveal the one that's below. So I think karen was seated right about there so I can get her in there and then it all depends how much camera movement there was. I'll have to crop the image, and sometimes I'll just creatively rotate because you see the edge of my body at the very bottom to get it at that edge, to see if I can come up there and do it without cutting off too much it. Karen, if I decide I need to have this out further, I can always use the content aware phil option to get it to try to fill in some edges, like up here on the very edge of the image if I don't want to pull it any closer, let's, see if we could fix it with content. Aware what I would end up doing this, I would merge these layers together. I'll just choose merge down and I would command click on the layer that contains the picture command clicking always gives you a selection, and then I need that to actually give me the opposite of that I need the empty area, so I'll go to the select menu and choose in verse. And I also need that selection to overlap the picture and not just include the empty area so to make it the little of bit bigger come over here and choose expand and I'll just use the setting of one all you need is toe overlap the picture by one pixel then I could go to the edit menu in choose film and if I use what is usually the default setting content aware it should be able to figure out what to put in that area so if I get rid of my selection then we don't have to crop it perfectly and if it messes up I can always go in and make a selection of the area where it messed up because here it added a few little lines and just run it again and usually giving it to or three tries we'll make it look fine I can see a little bit of stuff right there all right so so that's just sometimes we need to align it sometimes we also need to crop creatively teo be able teo utilize as much as possible then sometimes I'm out shooting and I need something like this there's an eclipse going on and I'm going to capture multiple images but it doesn't mean that the moon or the sun whatever it is I'm capturing here moved it exactly the amount I want where will be equally spaced like this instead what I end up getting us talking to capture them all in one shot what's goingto happen instead is I'll have a folder where I took a bunch of pictures as it progressed in, since he only have one chance to shoot it while it's happening. I was bracketing my shots, too. Make sure that I had leased one shot that had a good brightness that wasn't used to shooting eclipses it's not like I get him every day, and so I over shot uh, the number. Then I went in and I found the ones I thought were the proper brightness, and I just did them using adobe came a raw in first, I want to find the images. Hopefully they're in here. Ah, that I've already adjusted, and so usually to do that there's a little icon, which actually I'm not seen at the moment usually two little circle icon that indicates something's been adjusted. Uh, let me see if photoshopped confined once that have been adjusted if I go to the filter panel in bridge. So that thing we talked about on the very first day where you could tell it to show me only images that have certain keywords in it, or ones that were captured on particular date, that type of thing well, one thing that I use quite frequently is an area down here called cameron if I want to see all the images that have not never been adjusted, I could choose no settings and that would be in showing the ones that have the default settings from camera. If I come down here and shoes this setting called custom settings, it will show me all the images that have already been adjusted. So if I need to find the images within that folder that I've adjusted that's, how I'm going to end up doing it, then what I can do is take these, go to tools, photoshopped load files into photo shop layers, and that should stack them, but I don't feel like peeing on a mask on every single one of those layers I want to do something that it could take up a lot less time than it would to paint on masks. Uh, so let's see if we can come up with something that'll help us out here. I think I'm going to use is at the top of the layers panel there's a little poppet menu it's usually set to normal and it's noticed the bloody mod menu and one of the choices within the bloody mod menu is a choice called lytton lighten will look at the layer that's currently active and say this layer can on ly shou upwards brighter than the layer that's underneath? Well, the moon is always going to be brighter then the black sky in one of the images that's underneath and so once it's done stacking these if I set all of the layers toe lighten mode I should be able to see all the moons that air there these air high res pictures though so it takes a little time to stack them alone should be done in just a moment just so you know an older versions of photo shop you could only change the bloody mode of one layer at a time so if you have something like photoshopped would say c s five something like that you might need to click on each individual layer and change the menu at the top to lighten but in newer versions of photo shop you can select all the layers I just had the top player selected I held shift and clicked on the bottom one and now you can finally change them all at once so enlighten mode you see all our moons and so now it's a matter of repositioning said moons and so you can go to each one and I hope they're in order because they would be in order by file name all I'm doing is changing which layer is active in moving him around to get them is close to lined up as I think is useful I don't know that I'm going to spend the time to do every one of them here because it's just not the funnest thing to watch, but let's say that I have moved them around. I might need to come down here in end up beyond the edge of my screen if that ends up happening where I moved things beyond the edge, I go to the image menu and choose reveal all reveal all means make my document large enough to include all the stuff that goes beyond the edge. And so therefore I should get a larger document and I could continue looks like I only have a few laughs. Oh could continue coming like this. I would spend just a little bit more time refining exactly where these are and then on ly other thing I would need is to fill the empty areas with color, and what I would do is simply go to the bottom of my layers panel click on the adjustment layer icon and there's a choice called solid color. Grab that and then I'm going to choose black and if I zoom out of my picture, not fills the whole area and the only other thing I need to do is find two in the position of each layer and possibly crop it. Does that make sense overall? How I ended up doing it and it didn't have to paint on masks because I used lightened mode as long as the subject I'm trying to keep his lighter than the backgrounds and all the other images then lightened boat it can end up handling the you know, the heavy lifting part all right, now let's start combining mohr blatant combinations uh here I have a image where I like the color that's in it and in here there are little dark things down near the bottom that are actually birds there looked like there kind of sleeping down there, but it just I wish they would go flying across and they weren't, so sometimes you might cheat, I'm going to take this image and drag it over using the move tool to here and I just want to share with you a few ideas on how you combine images together. I'm not saying we want to create this exact image, it's just we need some sort of image to get the concepts out there. And so first off there was that mode that we used with the eclipse that was called lightened mode. Well, it has an opposite there's one called darkened mode, so don't you think that this bird is darker than the background that's on the layer below? And don't you think that this sky here is brighter then what's back there so if I just sent this menu right here too dark and mod let's see what happens now there's a little bit of a problem there though, and I can see the edge of the picture right here you see that and that's where certain parts of the image where a little bit darker than what's behind it, what happens is photoshopped doesn't look at the images ah hole when it thinks about lighten our darkened mode, it looks at the three components that make up the image red, green and blue separately and it just happens to be that in this particular area might have been the green component was a little bit darker in the sky. Well, all we need to do those go over here and adjust that layer you can use levels, curves whatever you want and I'm just going on levels pull in this slaughter, which forces more areas to white and that should cause them to be brighter than the background so we could do that, but I'm not satisfied. Do you see little fringing around the edge? Well, there is a different bloody mode. Instead of using darkened mode, we could switch to a different one that's called multiply what the act is multiply me we'll multiply means that it's going to act as if this layer is made out of ink and it's going to print it with ink on the image that's underneath or another way of thinking about it is imagine you have a transparency, you know, like the old time slides and you had a slide of this and you have a second slide of this and you sandwich them together that's what it would end up doing so if I choose multiply mo good it's going to combine the two together the only thing is since it ends up printing like ink, if there's any darkness whatsoever to the sky, you're going to see it that's not hard to change though if you simply goto levels this slaughter forces areas toe white and if I bring it right about there, the whole background on that picture should be white and so now I get it to combine together and if we look at the edges there's no weird white stuff, no hint of the old background within it so that's another way we can do it, but those two don't always work because you don't always have something that would look right if you just use multiply mode because sometimes thie having the golden color of the background wouldn't look appropriate in the middle of the leaves where the leaves the the wings where you show shoot show through a little bit so let's look out still a third method we could use again, I'm not assuming you want to create this exact image is just you need to learn some of the techniques that would be appropriate regardless of what kind of images you work on if I noticed that the background on the image is brighter than the subject or darken the subject one of the two then another method for removing the background would be to go to the bottom of my layers panel where I find the letters f x if I click on the letters fx the top most choice is called blending options and this comes up we use this once before remember when we're colorizing on image and I wanted to make it so the color didn't show up is much in the highlights or in the shadows well when we did that when we pulled in these sliders it ended up making its own adjustment would not effect whatever it was to the right of this slaughter or whatever is to the left of this slaughter in general brightness but what happens when you have a layer that doesn't have an adjustment in it instead it's got a picture is when I pull this over it's going to simply hide this layer where it is this brightness range so if I pull this over there's nothing this bright in that layer yet but if I pull it over far enough you'll start seeing the background go away because the background is in this brightness range right there and that's what's being hidden problem is it will have a very crisp edge on it and if you want a more gradual edgeworth has a softness to it which you need to do is take this slider and split it in two halves we did that the other day and the way we accomplished it is I held down the option key ultima windows and you pull it apart so now the area's over here will be completely hidden. The area in between the two halves is where it'll fade out so anything this brightness level will be completely hidden and then it'll show up maura and mohr and maura's it gets across here once it gets to there it will completely show up is normal so I could just look at the image and where I can see these shades on the edge of the wing and might be able to pull this in and see if I can eventually get those to look better. So I use this whenever the background on something is quite a bit brighter or darker than the subject. One case with that is when you have something like clouds let's say I have one image and I want even wilder looking clouds in their combined with this one well, I'll open two images I'll use the move tool to you drag the second image onto the first something tells me that this image here is a lot smaller, I'm looking at the little tabs at the top of my screen, and I see the one I'm looking at right now. I'm viewing at fifty percent size half of it it's actual size, the other one says eight point three, which means when I let go, I think these clouds are going to be huge. Yeah, so I could just type command tea, though, to transform in one trick is right now, this particular layer extends way beyond the edge of this document, so I can't see the little handles who usually poland to transform, but if you've already typed command tea so those handles would be visible, you khun type command zero that's controls their own windows that usually means fit in window, and when you're transforming its goingto also mean fit the handles that are on the edge of that picture within your window, so I'll scale that down press return and then zoom up all right? Let's say want to remove the background on clouds? I don't know that it'll look good with this backdrop, it's just I want to show you that this can be used for that, I'll go into blending options and the blue sky is darker than the clouds, so I'll pull in the dark side here. Nothing is near black so nothing starts to disappear yet but if I get this in far enough should start to be able to get the blue sky to go away but then I want softer edges on my clouds I don't want it toe to be really sharp so I hold the option key and I spread the slider so I can get partially transparent areas if I find seen this enough should be able to get a pretty good separation of those clouds it's only at the very bottom of the photo where the sky was brighter more towards white that it didn't quite do it I could cheat in that case I'll choose undo if I go back to blending options ah we can have photoshopped not look at the picture is if it's just brightness levels but we could actually have it look at the various components it's made out of red, green and blue you could look at those if you want teo just go into the channels panel most people don't go to channels but it's useful sometimes head over to channels and just click between these and see which one makes the blue sky look dramatically different in brightness from the clouds so here is the blue that doesn't look all that different here is green in here's red but down there I still don't see the good separation because it's more like a little almost like semi overcast down on the edge so I don't think it's going to help in this case, but if you ever find that it doesn't do a great job of removing the background goto the channels panel click through these and see the one that separates your subject from its background the most in this particular case I would say it is the red and therefore when you go back to the letters f ax in cheese blooding options set this to read and it will be looking at that black and white photo we saw a moment ago that was labeled red that's what it's looking at right now and so I could come in here and say take where there's not very much red in that and make it disappear and then I can split this by holding option and that did help. I was able to get most of it tio go at the bar so sometimes they need to do that too very just very quickly get a nice cloud into a scene, then I can further mask this because it doesn't make sense to have clouds on top of the landscape like that I mean it's be more foggy or something if it was that way so I could further mask it, I could also shift the color around using curves or in the other thing to get the color to match better but the main thing is the same technique we used on this bird for a moment could be used on clouds the other thing that I would do with this bird I'll do on a different image I have a similar one I think yeah another situation same location uh different morning and later on the same morning I'll take that dragon over pop it in here I don't care if I cut off a few of the birds and with this case we can use those blending slaughters get that background to go away soft edge but then what I might want to be concerned with is when I combined things together that the colors look right in this particular case these might not have quite the warmth that is in the rest of the image so there's a couple different ways of changing it but one method is just go down to the adjustment layer icon and there's a ah choice in here that is called photo filter photo filter is going to act as if you put a colored filter in front of the lens of your camera it's supposed to simulate that look and so if I choose just photo filter uh this comes up and it wants me to choose the color I can either choose from a list in these air filters similar what you could put in front of your lens or I could just click on this square to choose the color I would like, and what I'm going to do is see if I can click within the image sometimes that won't let me because of layers that thinks they're there, but otherwise I can come in here and choose what I'd like, whatever I think would be appropriate in there, there is a slider called density, which means how strong is going to push that color into the image. The problem is it's pushing it in the entire photo. All I need to do with my adjustment layer is there's a little box with a down point arrow. We've used that icon before with other adjustments like curves we wanted toa only affect one layer if I click on that, it'll only affect the layer directly below, and so then when I move this, it'll only affect those birds is just I might not want this exact color. I might want something a little bit more towards kind of orange ish instead of quite so much of that, then I could bring up density to control how strong it is and it'll be subtle change, but it could be the difference between it looking really bad in looking like it somewhat belongs. So usually I'd be zoomed up a little bit closer when I'm moving those sliders to remove the background and such to make sure that the edge looks acceptable in this case I'm doing it quick just to try to show you the concept but those are some of the ideas that I will occasionally need to use and I could have used it on that other image we just had open with a single bird as well all right before I get on to more complex composites are there any questions about what we've done thus far? Yeah, we got one here and then I'll go to the studio and photo wanderer says with blending sliders when and why would use the underlying layer slider instead of or with this layer uh let's see, I don't have a straightforward like planned out example here but I can give you a general idea of what they do okay let's say I used this this will probably look kind of ridiculous but uh say use thes two images and put one on top of the other that shit's going to be too big because one is full size dimension one is low reds that I scaled down but we can fix that and transform I don't have to use the whole thing but I'll get some of it in there all right so I just have two layers here on top are clouds underneath? Is this and what I'm going to do here get the background in the clouds to disappear by going to the letters fx and choosing blinding options just as I did before and I will bring in this to get the dark parts to go away and then I will split it in half to try to get it to fade out in a nice soft edges something like that now check this out um and in this case I'd probably want to shift the color of this because you have still hints of blue on the edge like leia same just throwing this together but you see those little sticks and things let's say I want them to break through the clouds then what I could dio is the part called this layer is gonna literally hide parts of this layer the part called underlying image is going to instead reveal parts of the underlying image meaning since we're working on the layer that contains the clouds it's going to let the bright or dark parts of what's underneath break through the clouds so watch I'll pull in the left side and eventually the tree that's their starts to break through pull it further in the birds they're sitting there should break through pull it further and the hills or whatever it is in the background should break through so I could do that in order to get a softer transition I'd have to hold option and split it so what frequently I use that for is to if there's any texture on the layer that's underneath and I wanted to break through whatever I have on top sometimes that khun be useful it really depends on the brightness of what's underneath though if the thing that you want tohave breakthrough is the brightest or darkest thing then it could be useful to do that if it's not then instead you create a mask and you paint in the mask as an alternative method for hiding things. But does that make sense as far as what it does is uh so the part that says this layer means whatever layer was currently active when you went into this dialog box and it ends of hiding things in that layer then the underlying layer means let's let ares on the layer underneath show up and I can either do the highlights from the right side or the shadows on the left. But in this particular case you'd have to shift the color of the layers so the blues become oranges because you have a little fringing on the edge where you can see the transition and you could do that with hugh and saturation with human saturation you just change the menu to the choice of blue if you want to see it I just in order to get the edge so it looked appropriate you would have to open that image and after you've combined it together, do a human saturation. You can change the menu inhuman saturation to the choice of blues, and then the huse slider will change the basic color of everything that's blue so I could bring this over here and make it so. The things that used to be blue are a color that would be would blend in mohr with the sky that I'd put this on top of. And if I can't get it by going one direction, move this the opposite direction and you confined other colors and then if it's too colorful, bring down saturation. But if I did something like that, it would usually make it much easier to get the edges to look right in the earlier three day class that we had. I gave more detail on how to use human saturation, and you'd learn how to precisely control the range of colors it's working on. And therefore, when I just chose blues, he got most of this guy. But there's still a part of this guy that changes much and there's a little adjustments you could make to find tune that.

Class Description

Ready to take your Adobe® Photoshop® skills to the next level? Join Photoshop expert Ben Willmore for a three-day introduction to the techniques that separate the novices from the pros.

Ben will take the guesswork out of using the more advanced tools, techniques, and menus of Adobe® Photoshop®. You’ll learn about which Adobe® Photoshop® tools are essential, and which you can ignore altogether. You’ll also learn about about compositing, texturing, and retouching skills, like removing shine from foreheads in portraits and seamlessly joining images together. Ben will also cover hidden and hard-to-find features and shortcuts that will help you produce higher-quality work in a fraction of the time.

By the end of this course, you’ll have professional-level Adobe® Photoshop® skills that will set your work apart from the competition.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2