Photoshop: Compositing


Photoshop for Photographers: The Essentials


Lesson Info

Photoshop: Compositing

we're talking about layers before he went to break and I figured I just show you a couple other layered projects on show you one common thing that a lot of people need to do which is possibly replacing the sky in a picture uh so let's take a look all right here I have a collection of images and I'm going to use let's just say this particular image will hit the space bar remember and bridge if he had the space bar it means view full screen and this one I think the image is ok as far as the angle goes and all that but the sky is pretty boring and so one thing that I do is I commonly uh just capture skies whenever they look interesting and if you member in bridge on the left side of the bridge interface near the bottom you can create a collection in a collection is a virtual folder where if you drag things into it simply remembers where is that file stored and you can put more than one image in their regardless of what folders there in so you can see all the skies that you shot regardless...

if they're stored in fifty different folders in one spot by using collections I do the same thing in light room that's actually where my collections are and so if ever need to replace the sky I'm one click away from seeing all the varieties of skies that have captured that I could use for different possibilities so I have three different choices here for skies that I could use so I look at my image and I just kind of getting a sense for saying what skye might look most appropriate and I could use this this or that to me these feel like new mexico skies so I think I might end up using that other than we got some stuff here on the left edge so I might need to scale it up a little bit or just try to we touched that out that kind of thing so I'd say either that or those air new mexico sky as well but it's pretty dramatic ous forest contrast goes and I don't know if we have quite that much drama in our picture so what I'm gonna do here is just grab the two different images that I would like to use and I'm going to load files into photoshopped layers so tools photo shop load files that's going to stack him for me and it just happened to put the clouds on top but that's not always the case sometimes they'll be in the opposite order depending on the file names and so if that was the case I would just drag the layer that contains the clouds so it's on top and now I'm going to trough the eyeball there and look at what we have and I could do this in different ways I can put the clouds on the top player or the bottom layer it's not going to matter that much it all depends on which of these two layers I'm gonna add my mask too whatever later I had my master's we're going to hide things in whatever one that is should be on top so that we can see something through that hole that is created by the mask and since when I look at this image that's underneath that's really where the shape is but I need to mask out it's the shape of the building I need to say keep this in hide what's in the sky I actually think I'm going to put the building on top whichever one is going to have the mask is usually the one I'll have above I'll turn on the layer that's underneath just so that when we start hiding areas here will have something showing up instead of seeing a checkerboard and I'm going to go down to the bottom of my layers panel in addle air mask now before I actually add that later mask I might want to make a selection because if you have a selection active at the moment you create a layer mask it actually gets converted into the layer mask where it automatically fills in the areas that are not selected with black tea because it thinks you only want to keep what selected so if I'm going to make a selection I might want to that first in this particular case I think I might be able to select that sky using a simple selection tool which is none of the quick selection tool so in my tool panel the quick selection tool is right below the lasso tool and it's actually in a slot where there's two different tool stored there is the magic wand tool some people call the tragic want talks it's so old and low tech or the quick selection tool which is a bit more high tech with quick selection tool all I'm going to do is click on the blue part of the sky in photo shop we'll spread out from wherever I click to try to get whatever it thinks is similar to what's underneath my mouse and as I drag across the sky you'll see it expanding that and what it does it expands it until it runs into what it considers to be a dramatic change in either brightness color or texture inside that's where thinks that the edge of this object is that I'm painting on so since it hasn't gotten the left side of the sky yet I'll move over that way I still have the mouse button held down by the way and I'm just going to make sure when I get right over here that I don't bump into that cross it's on the top of the building because then it would start selecting things of that color so I just make sure I'm up like that it might select things I don't want it to but uh there we go I just let go I use a smaller brush and I see there's a small area between the head of the the statue that's there in the building so I'm trying to get a brush small enough that I could get into the blue sky that's there without bumping into the building or the sculpture and then by default when you click again it will be adding to your selection uh that's the default setting so I just click once they're let go and it's got on okay selection round things that set for the very top of the building it included the crosses and I didn't want it to so what I might do is zoom up on my picture make a little easier to be precise and move up there to the top and with this tool you can also take away from the selection you currently have and there's two different ways of doing that one is in the upper left of my screen they're icons and this is going to determine what happens the next time I click with this tool the default is the middle one which means we just add to my selection if I chose the one on the left that would mean get rid of the selection I have and start fresh with a brand new one I don't want that or I could click this one which would mean take away from the selection I have make it smaller now for me personally I never clicked between these because I can use my keyboard to do the equipment to this there's a keyboard shortcut that I'm very used to because it works with all selection tools and that is who you want to ever add to a selection you can hold shift with any selection tool and whatever you're doing to make a selection it's not going to get rid of the selection that was already present in your picture it will simply make it larger and if you held down the option qi which is all time windows it would take away so if I hold down the option kie watched those icons I'll press option alecko option c how it's just temporarily switching so it all depends if you'll remember the keyboard shortcut or not if you don't remember it click on the icon if you do remember it just hold on option an option is to come in tow alton windows all right now let's use that I'm just going to get me miles here I'll hold down the option key to say I want to take away from my selection I mean it click on the white ish area near the top of the building and when I paint across it I'm simply going to make sure I do not get any over spray out of the sky otherwise it will think I want to remove the color of the sky so click here on I'll start dragging across wherever it selected too much now try to let go the mouse button quite frequently because it might mess up that some point and if I do it all is one paint stroke and it messes up somewhere if I choose undo it's going toe undo that entire thing if I do it a small little sections and ever messes up I choose on doing it's only that one little section that I gotta read try so pulling down the key again option key just don't touch the sky when you do it also at the top of my screen is a checkbox jack boxes called auto enhance if you have that check box turned on you will get a more precise and resolved but you might find when you release the mouse button it doesn't instantly update if it's a complex image you might even see a little watch curse or show up for a millisecond as it tries to refine that edge if you have ah image words wrote overly complex and you need to click in a lot of different places you might actually want tohave auto enhanced turned off just to make it instantly respond to your movements and when you're completely done with your selection just turn it on and click on an area that's already selected and what it's going to do is just force it to reanalyze thie entire selection and it made but to get the absolute morse precise you can leave it on the whole time I saw I'll come over here little spot missed and get a really tiny brush because I want to get on this cross without hitting the sky I'm holding down the key that takes away which is option and if it's not perfect I can fix it when and where after it's been converted into a mask or I can fix it by switching to more of emmanuel selection tool like the lasso tool but I think that's going to be good enough to start with and then we can refine it I think we got one more cross up here if I don't add it right now though I'll forget that there was a cross there uh and I will forget to modify my mask and somebody will notice when the picture's done we'll say wait a minute that's not the way that looks so anyway we'll refine that once it's in a mask so I have my initial selection which is approximately what I need now I'm working on the layer that contains that picture I'm gonna add a layer mask in whenever you add a layer mouth the only problem is if you have a selection active it'll automatically fill in the layer mass it kind of converts the layer the selection into that mask but the way it does it is it assumes you want to keep the area that selected and hide everything that's not in this particular case I actually want to hide what selected because that's where I want my replacement sky to go and so I have to one of two things I could choose from to fix that the first is I could go to the select menu and choose in verse that would be give me the opposite of what I currently have selected before I add my mask the second is I could use a trick when you add a mask usually it keeps the areas that are selected but if you hold on the option key it does the opposite that's all time windows so right now I have the option key held down when I click on this and that's going to mean hide the area that selected so it all depends if you're going to remember that or not if you don't a lot of people remember that there's a command called inverse under the select menu because they use it for a lot of other things and so it's up to you which one of those things he'd like to use so now we have our sky in there in the main problem with our skies on the left side we have some telephone lines and so we have to decide what we like to retouch those out we would like to maybe scale up the sky so that that could go off the edge of the screen that type of thing I'm going to work in the layer that's underneath because that's where the sky is and if I'm going to resize something there is something that we could do to make it more ideal remember that earlier today when we had a stack of images from africa and I ended up scaling and rotating scaling and rotating that each one and it made a stack the problem with that is if later on like right now I decided to reopen that picture and it decided I made some of those pictures too small I want to scale them up a little bit have to work well it's not going to remember the original full size image of each one of those instead it's going to take whatever we currently have in the document and scale it up any time you scale something up you usually make it look a little bit softer because it's adding information to the image that wasn't originally there anytime that happens against softer well any time I'm going to scale an image that's in a layer and there's any chance any possibility whatsoever that I might change my mind later and readjusted then I might want to do the following before I scale rotate it's called convert to smart object and what that does is it says let's preserve the current state of that layer so that anything we do to it will always be calculated from the current state of that layer and if the current state of that layer is a full size layer that means any time I scale it and rotate it even if I open it six months later and re scale it it's always calculating the scaling and rotation from this original right here at this size so that if I scale it down to be tiny and later on come back and make it larger as long as I'm not making it larger than the original it'll look great and it's only when I go larger than the original that it will actually have to add artificially add information which will soften it up now just so you know I never actually choose this menu command just cause it takes me too long to find it's halfway down the menu on a side menu and all this there's another menu command of a slightly different name that does exactly the same thing but it's much faster to get to and that's the one I use which is to go to the filter menu and right here is a choice called convert for smart filters because there's also an advantage to converting your image into a smart object before you apply filter the advantage is that the filter will be attached to your layer as a setting that you could undo were changed the settings too just like that drop shadow that we added earlier but it on lee could be attached that way if you first turn the layer into what's known as a smart object so this command right here does exactly the same thing is the other one I mentioned they just put it in this menu to kind of suggest that you convert things in tow smart objects before your own filters it's kind of weird to have the same command under a different name and a different menu but that's what it does the very first time you use it it will try to give you an idea of why you did it I just choose don't show again and when you turn something into a smart object your layers panel you can tell you did itcause there'll be a special icon in the corner and that means that this layer contains whatever the image looked like at the moment it was turned into a smart object anything you're doing to its scaling rotating or anything like that even applying filters is always being calculated from whatever was in there at the moment you've converted it to a smart object so had I done that on those images from africa before I scaled in rotated them then I could come back at any time in the future and scale him again to make them any size larger or smaller in the quality would be higher the only time the quality would suffer is if I ever scale it to be larger than the original then there just isn't enough in the original to go that big so it would soften it a little bit as it makes it larger so anyway that's something that I would frequently due any time I'm about to scale and rotate pictures it would just be something where I could have more versatility later on it's a personal choice though if it's something that makes your brain kinda go would then don't do it until you're comfortable with everything else that you need to use so now I'm going to simply scale up the layer that contains the sky too get it large enough where these telephone lines don't show up a sky usually contains things that are relatively soft they don't usually have overly intricate and fine detail it's not like sand or something where you have really intricate fine detail stuff like sand or wood grain is where when you scale it up you'd notice that it's getting softer with skies the clouds are already soft so when you scale it up you could get away with it quite a bit so I got that later active I'm gonna type command t remember that means transform and then I'm going to grab the corner and I'm just going to pull remember though you have to hold shift otherwise you khun squish it one direction so I have shift held out there you go press returner entered sam done and that I could reposition this with the move tool because we have some space in there I could just click and drag and say what part of the sky do I think I would like now I don't want to pull it up so high I see the bridge that's in there but let's keep that below there keep the mountain that was there so anywhere between there and there I'm gonna get it right about there now this is when I might notice that the man mask isn't perfect so what I can do is zoom up to where the transition is and just see if there's any issues in general I mainly concerned with the issues up here and look around yeah it looks like some of those edges are actually pretty bad up here I see the old sky color on the edge here it looks kind of raggedy and also over here it looks kind of ragged so what I would do to refine that is come up to the layer that's above and I need to work on the mask but when you switch between layers it doesn't mean that photo shop is going to think about what you think you want to work on which is the mask so you notice what's happening here do you see the little brackets it means the mask is not active this is need to click over there all right you remember with the mask black hides things white shows things and we're working on the layer that contains the church so we're going to show our hide parts of the church I'm gonna grab my paintbrush tool at the moment and pain with white which is showing things and I'll zoom up close I'm going to get a relatively hard edge brush that small and I'm paying with white so if I just paint here's what happens see how I bring back I'm just making it so the layer I'm currently working on which had a lighter sky in it would come back choose undo what I'm going to do is I'm gonna cheat a little bit I'm gonna click right about here I'm going to hold this shift key and I'm gonna click right about here shift key makes a straight line between where've you clicked last and where you clicking now so if I want to go to the top edge of this cross I can click come down here hold shift click you see I got a straight line as if I painted nice and straight do the same thing here across the top shift click try to touch some of that up now sometimes it's inconvenient for me to get a microscopic brush to get into an area like this so what else sometimes do is I'll switch to paint with black because that takes away and I'll just take away more than I need hold shift like that maybe I'll come out to here clean it up a little bit because I could see little specks of the sky I don't if you guys can see that or not because they're so tiny but there's some specs out there but I'm just doing this where I might take away just a little bit too much down where the building is because I can easily just switch backto white and bring it back so I'm going to clean up this edge though penny with black look here hold shift look out there so we painted a straight line all right now I might do the same over here on the sedge and switch back to white whites going to bring things back and so wherever there's too much of the church disappearing like this little corner spot and I might have to experiment to see how much should come back but I'm holding shift click shift and I'm guessing here I'll think that would be based on what's on the left I think I got it pretty good this looks kind of raggedy let's bring back a little bit shift click I could do some of the same stuff over here but shift clicking is great when you have straight uh areas and then I khun switch between black and white usually I switch between black and white with this little arrow here that swaps them well there's a keyboard shortcut letter x means exchange does the exact same thing so if I want to very quickly switch between taking away and adding I just hit the letter axe it's so exciting you guys absolutely silent not something I like to do but sometimes certain things are not easy these zita select and you'll also find if you happen to work with jpeg files that you're going to get a lot of artifact ing when you try to make selections because when it does the compression on a j peg file it adds what I call popcorn which you might think is a good thing but popcorn it was like kind of these random pixels around the edges of things it makes it so selection tools have a much greater difficulty created clean edge eso it's sometimes an issue I'm not going to spend the time to get this to look perfect because I know you guys would be bored by then you're probably already bored but you get the idea how I could come in here and clean this up a bit using painting with black or white and if there's any straight lines um click anyone spot holding shit click and another to get a nice straight line s o you get a nice clean edge on some of these or I could have simply spent more time when I was using the quick selection tool and there are other features you could try to utilize there's one called refine edge which might help you to clean things up but for now I'm going to call that good enough just now had spent a little bit more time there so if I disable the mask I don't if you remember how to disable a mask or not but you hold shift and click on it I can see what it looks like before and after so I'm just holding on shift at the moment I'm gonna click within the mask in my layers panel that puts a big red x on it to disable it here's our old sky here's our new and it's just a matter of making sure you get the edge toe look better now remember we have a three day class here but I have a second three day class which is coming up in april and during that classes when we're going to learn how to be better at masking things in selecting things right now we've only covered some basic tools for that so I have to limit myself to those basic tools right now unless we're going to dive deep into him and actually learn them so just hear aware of that in that other class we'll get a lot more about and then we're going to save you if you want our layers where they're going to say this tiff or photoshopped file for mount it's personal preference between the two will use default settings eso if I need to open that again in the future I can then just see no with the class you're going to get a little practice file if you purchase the class and what this practice file hiss is something where if you would like to create an image like this one were the same person is in many different locations you can have the individual pieces to create that and the key is to mask them so you can try to get them together so it's a matter of max masking practice and it's just nice to have something to work with where you can uh attempt to construct that but it's just a matter of working on one image like this one adam asked so all you're keeping is the part you want to keep then adam asked to the next layer and only keep what you want how to mask the next layer on lee keep what you want and then you might end up with a hole somewhere like up here where you appear on the wall where you never picked what you wanted to look like a checkerboard so you will put just a master image of the very very bottom which is to fill in the empty parts and so that's something as a little bonus he can have when you uh purchase a glass now I use this on occasion for doing things like wildlife um and here's an example uh with this shot when I was actually out shooting it I wasn't able to get this picture but I got something really close here's the individual shots here the younger bear cub is sitting down and I think he looks too much like just a mass sitting there he's looking at everybody's still I don't like him when he's sitting down it looks too small and kind of disappearing the big guy he does enough things where he looks interesting looking over doing it things but when the little guy gets up the big guy was like man you just turned into this ball of a mass and so in order to get it where I have the best of both worlds of course I use layers so with that I would simply choose to images that I would like to use in just looking at the end result here in bridge I can tell you that looks like I use this bear for the big one and I used this one for the little one because he's there all I did was tools photoshopped load files into photoshopped layers and there's one thing I might have needed to do in addition to what we talked about it that's why I want to open these up if your shooting hand held then the exact position of the elements in the background and such I might not be in exactly the same position and both shots so if you start to hide the contents of one shot it might not line up with what's underneath it so far when we have tried to line things up we did it manually do you remember when we had that image of like the log with the the gyms family on its way manually lined it up by lowering the opacity and moving around and just visually looking for it then a new alternative iss here do you see how the background of shifted when I hide the top layer and reveal what's under it but what I will often do is select all the layers that are about to combine if they were shot in the same location and just my camera might have moved a little bit I'll go to the edit menu and come down here there's a trust called otto align layers and auto a line layers usually can just set it to auto I don't have to deal with the settings that aaron here in click okay it will look for things that look similar in the two layers and if it thinks they look similar enough it will be a line them up for you so now if I hide the top layer watch the background elements and you see how they're relatively consistent it's only the wind that was moving a tree and that kind of stuff and I could have tried that on that image we did earlier but I wanted to let you know but other things because it doesn't always work and if it doesn't work then you need to do it manually so in this particular case I would take a layer that's on top which is what you're seeing right now adam asked to it and then I would hide wherever I want to see what's underneath reveal what's underneath so I grabbed my brush I'm gonna paint with black and let's see what we can do here soft brush paint with black black's gonna hide this layer and simply reveal what's under it and if you want to see what's under it I'll turn off the eyeball wherever I paint with black that's going to show up so I'm just gonna click here and start painting it's kind of hard to tell exactly where two pinks I'm not saying that but it's not too hard to get estimate where there we go the other thing I need to do is we have some transparent areas on the edge because when it lined things up he didn't end up with them exactly and register and we have that extra sol grabbed my crop tool and I'll simply pull this in so that we don't have he the transparent airs in fact I'll probably pull it in so it looks like I had a longer lens on a more expensive lens which I did not purchase and I think I was using a one hundred four hundred possibly here which is the longest lens that I keep without renting um and I just decided I want to delete the cropped pixels or not you know what I ever consider adding space well if they want to use it for the government magazine or something I might need to add that space where they'd put texts and stuff so I rarely have that turned on because he never know what I'm gonna need to use it for and now we have my image I would simply turn this on and off and look at things gonna weird he's doing aerobics or something um I'm just looking at the edge around where the little guy is to see is there anything weird going on with the background is there any repeated shapes or other things where I might need a further refined that mask but I don't think there is right now if I hide what's underneath if we're just made the whole like that in the top layer and that's the only part where you can see the bottom layer so I know we're composing right now but if you didn't convert it to a smart object first I didn't saw you exit it and came back in those pixels would be lost no it's because I use a mask the mask is temporarily hiding things not truly throwing them away and in this particular case the doing the alignment it might not been ableto handle that with smart objects because you're kind of locked in with what's in the smart object but the main thing when it comes to smart objects is that if I'm going to scale a rotate uh especially for going to dramatically not just a little bit and I might change my mind later then I would use it in this particular case I'm not going to change my mind as faras aligning those two layers so it wasn't critical on and I'm not sure that the otto align layers will work on smart objects and have to test it I haven't I don't typically use it without a line but it's a good mindset to be in like wait a minute should you do that with the cropping with the cropping when I cropped the picture I didn't turn on delete cropped pixels so what that means is that any time I could go up to the image menu choose reveal all in that stuff that I cropped out we'll suddenly be visible again yeah so in this particular case it's just where it's not a big concern is all but it's good to think about it for many other things if we're going to manually scale and rotate things be nice to have a smart object first and now just so you know not every picture of mine is a composite that you see in my website you're like wait a minute is this mean well you're fixing the ring it's rare for me to put together a composite like that but on occasion I just never mailed it in the shot and I just need to but when you look at the images of my website there are very few of them that are composites

Class Description

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Award-winning photographer Ben Willmore has taught hundreds of thousands of photographers worldwide how to harness the power of Photoshop, and he’s ready to share his unique insights and style with you. You’ll learn about optimizing images, sharpening, retouching, black and white conversion, directing the viewer's eye, and much more. Ben will take the guesswork out of Photoshop by covering which menus and tools are essential -- and which you’re better off ignoring.

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Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2