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Compositing Basics

Lesson 19 from: Retouching & Adobe Photoshop Techniques

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

19. Compositing Basics

Lesson Info

Compositing Basics

All right, so I'm going to give you a rundown of what we're going to do today and I'll tell you it's also kind of miscellaneous so not necessarily themed for a lot of the things I'll be teaching, I'm going to start off with some compositing um and want to explain what are composites, what are they all about? And what do you need to know in photo shop to do it? I will tell you I'm not a painter, an artist other than you know, through my photography, and so when I first saw composites, I thought that there's no way that I could possibly do them and if you break it down, it actually could be kind of simple if you approach it like a formula, so we'll talk about compositing I'm going to cover some commonly encountered problems, so when the background needs to be extended, and then also how I photograph and retouch african american scan what's the difference between caucasian and darker skin for retouching, also converting to black and white some tics, tips and tricks so hold much different ...

things like that, and then we'll get into plug ins and then kind of split it up also be showing you okay, here's a cool shoot where I knew what I was going to do in photo shop before I shot it, and so it might not necessarily apply out front but it's about a thought process of how photoshopped can play an important role in the end photograph and on for those of you were watching live on saturday is when I'll have many of the images that I retouch I'll have the full resolution layered pdf sar psd is available for download if you purchase the course so that will be in just a couple of days I want to make sure that all the layers are labeled in organized when you're looking at it makes some kind of sense all right anything else get started okay, perfect I didn't want to start for people that watched yesterday um if you saw our zombie george I've got it we photographed george is a zombie because three hundred fifty of you tweeted or retweeted so we're able to get him out there in makeup on and just real quick for this photo I put it up there because I used a couple techniques that we learned yesterday so for his skin I did frequency separation to smooth out the skin that wasn't boiled and uh and bleeding that the regular skin then I pulled out the reds and yellows in the skin like we did for the porcelain skin effect because that's going to give him very pale deathly skin tones um I added a grunge texture that I just found online added that and then also did a color eyes with less capacity to give it kind of that grungy brown tone as an overlay so if you watched yesterday that's more or less several of the different things we covered but into a zombie george retouch all right, so I'm going to get started by talking about composites and how how I think about composites basically okay? You're putting more than one image together at a time and the composites that are incredibly popular nowadays are the ones where somebody's photographed in studio and then put into a different background and they're plenty of people where this is absolutely their specialty I'm going to show you a composite that no recently I was hired to shoot a band um this band is guitars and bandannas and they heard me this guy's a five time grammy winning songwriter singers awesome guy and so we shot in the studio and he had several different band members and then it's composited together in the end for an album cover for this confused as the poster that they sell so you're taking an image that's in the studio and combining it with entirely separate environment so we're actually going to use a photograph that I took yesterday of mike to do this composite and before I get into anything if you didn't want yesterday about the lighting I am going to make sure I explain what you need so let's grab that picture of mike first and foremost wanna grab that seeing flew between which, too? I want it scrubbed that one alright, so looking at this photograph, there are a million different ways to composite. Composite you don't need to light things all of the same way, but a very, very common compositing technique for lighting is one main light in the front in this case, it's, a beauty dish, lighting his outfit, lighting his face and then to rim lights from the back so you can see there's a rim light on this side of the helmet and his jacket, and then and also another one. Um, from the right hand side and what you're trying to do is the lighting that you do in the studio you'd wanted to ideally mimic what the surrounding environment he's going to be put into looks like, but sometimes you don't know, right? You maybe want to shoot and you're going to composite it later. So when you shoot with this, where you have multiple highlights, it allows you to fake light sources in your scene because you could actually ping in stick a light in the corner, make it look like latest casting onto the subject, and it makes it more believable, it's how you trick your brain, so this is a very, very common lighting setup, super simple. You could shoot on green screen if you wanted to, but honestly it's not really necessary if you have a neutral gray that'll be fine the reason you want to shoot grey is if you shoot white and see that highlight on the side of his face on the side of the helmet feeds on white it's harder to cut it out because that highlight might blend in with the background same thing if you should on black and maybe part of the jacket falls the shadow where it's in black also hard to cut out most people don't have green screen eso it's it's really not necessary? Something like this would be fine, so looking at this photo I've actually actually tweeted a little bit here is where it started out as, uh roughly around there and I was looking and I wanted I know that I'm going to composite on a background that has kind of the hdr feel the reason that we do this the reason that it's so common for composite photography is that since it's hdr, your mind already knows that it's not completely riel so you're more forgiving of, you know, okay, maybe the lights not completely realistic and the edit isn't perfect when your brain is already processing that the environment isn't riel, then you're much more forgiving, you know it's supposed to be an illustration versus completely photorealistic so I'm going to go ahead and add a little bit of that hdr field to this photograph, and so I'm going to pump up the shadows and other words, bring light back into the jacket. Now I know that later on I could always dark and down areas, but it's really hard to take areas that are too bright, um, overexposed and dark in them down. But if I just do this kind of lighting up so I can see detail in his jacket, I can always make it darker later on, um, I can increase clarity a little bit. We talked about clarity being contrast in the mid tones and honestly, that looks pretty good that's a good starting place, I'm going to open it up, and so far we talked about a couple of different techniques for cutting people out from backgrounds. Um, you can use a pen tool if you wanted to trace you also have your magic wand tool or your quick selection brush. I can select a background around the subject. They're also ways to dio selections, which is much more complicated kind of different photo shop class, but where you would select a channel with the most contrast and you burn and dodge around the edges, and then you load that channel. As a selection a little bit more complicated so today is the first day that besides portraiture I've talked about portraiture is a plug in but today's the first day I'm going to address any plug ins and for me because I am a working professional sometimes plug ins, they make my job easier and time is money and so it is worth it I want you guys all know it is absolutely not required to have any retouching plug ins, any photoshopped plug ins to make beautiful images and a lot of photo shop artists don't use plug in to do it by hand so depends what you're comfortable with this is gonna be the first plug and I introduced to you and I'm gonna show you on one perfect mask and so this program is a program that helps you quickly and simply make masks of subjects was like cut them out from backgrounds. One other thing that I wanted to mention I'm going to show you a sample in a few minutes of another composite uh if anybody absolutely positively hates cutting things out of backgrounds me, I hate it um there's a company and I believe it's in thailand and I upload my photos to them and they cut it out for me for like three to five dollars apiece hair, clothing detail like really intricate it's perfect uh the name of the company is asian clipping paths so asian clipping and p a t h s and basically you upload your files and they have a very large team there at least that's what the website makes it look like um and they returned the files to you with the clipping path within twenty four hours like every time it's turned around so the guitars and bandanna shoot for example I didn't want to have to cut those out so I sent off the files I sent them about thirty files so I didn't know what I wanted they cut it out sent it back from within twenty four hours and they charged me like four dollars a photo so if you'd rather go that route absolutely d'oh but for this plug in, I'm not exactly sure what the retail prices but if you learn how to use it it would pay for itself eventually um instead of having to outsource things it's whatever you're comfortable with someone to go up here to automate and the tool that we want is perfect mask and again that's for on one and this is processor intensive kind of all of these plug ins are so if anything takes a while to think that they just are that's how they work and so what this plug in lets you dio is basically you say what the long owns and what doesn't belong in your selection so I can go ahead and say ok, the gray that I see there I want dropped I don't want grey a great background so I can select grey and say ok that needs to go I can then go ahead and say ok the browns in his jacket and then also around his pants and around his helmet I do want that okay so this is the first hand they've installed it let me just click through this real quick okay perfect so I could say all right I do want to keep certain details in the jacket and then I can trace around the body so this tool for example let's say all right keep and drop brush this one is this is seven I believe which is this one says their newest they just came out with like yesterday um their newest so this is six a couple days ago they came out with seven uh and what you khun d'oh is you can select different areas and it will process for you and basically say okay you selected that area I'm going toe put it on pick dark let's see so what I did is I grabbed the second tool down which is the eraser tool which the tool that they call it is the drop tools so you're dropping pixels thatyou don't want all I did is click and drag on the great background and look at it and it's really close um down here in the bottom left where it says dark I just I told it basically what you want me to show you for showing you that the backgrounds been cut out and so when I hit dark that's why that background goes dark makes sense okay so the next thing that I want to dio is well that that looks pretty awesome that's all I really had to dio I went to zoom in and what you can do is you can check along the edges here and there's a tool where that looks like a garden we've been and I can trace the edge and I'm telling that it's a defined edge and what it will do is you can keep tracing it and it will kind of say okay well did you want more of that background or less and it's basically a refined tool so you can trace that another tool that you might use is the one right here it looks like a chisel and wherever you trace it will chiseled in at that selection so I don't know if you guys have ever done a selection where you just see a tiny white halo all you have to do is you grab that chisel tool making a small brush and wherever I grab it actually chisels in its kind of cutting into that selection you have a couple of different options here seo it says hardness if I want that to be a sharp line then I can make the hardness um I can increase the hardness but a lot of times a really sharp end you notice it it's much more visible to the eye so you kind of want to back off on dh maybe make it a little softer I'm going to do something a little bit in between and then it goes chisel amount how much my chiseling over so I could kind of trace it so all of those tools all right? So the next thing that I can do as well on me to zoom out and see where the problem areas were I'm basically this could just be chiseling and then also the refine edge and it should take care of most of the problems let's see how my refined edge works here so it's actually working opposite of how I want um another tool that you can use as well is that selecting colors I'm going to go through that in detail later for when I do the porcelain skin what do you do if you have porcelain skin and then hair that's red that overlaps the skin how do you make a selection of that hair? So I want to show you how to do all those color adjustments a little bit more advanced later so if I'm looking around this honestly for this composite it's going to be enough maybe I would need to drop this right here and I just grabbed my drop brush again and go over it and it stood process to drop it out and you could just trace things added back in what not so it does a good job so that's a basic one will do much more advanced later I am going to hit apply and it's going to create a mask for me all right, so I have my mass there looks nice that's what I said the grey super simple as long as he's not wearing a great shirt it's going to be fine if you want to get in spend a lot of time you can keep chiseling and making selection so I'm going to save that onto my desktop and let me just call it mike because it's mike all right we're going to save that for now the next tool that I'm going to open up is for my background and I need to put together something to composite him onto and so very talked about the lighting that you're looking for here um to room lights one mainline okay when you're looking for your environment ideally you don't want of environment that's flat lit because then it can't fake the light ideal you have some backlight coming through light spilling maybe multiple windows something like that where there are light sources or if it's an urban scene maybe there are lampposts that could fake to be light sources so the example that I'm going to use um, I picked a very honestly a very typical um, hdr scene I don't tell anyone this, but I snuck into a building that had been closed because of a flood uh, and I got some cool it's jeff pictures or got some cool shots and this is roughly what the building looked like. It used to be a country club before it was flooded. I like how you say don't tell anybody this, right? Tell thousands of tons of well, people don't tell anybody that it matters to you. I don't think it has been closed a while um although truth and walking through it and I like looking, I'm like, I think that's it's best this like I need to leave, but I don't do much hdr photography look at my portfolio, there's hardly any and so I knew that I wanted to get some hdr plates so that I could have these available to me. So this is what I wanted to work with if you guys don't have a plug in there's hdr kind of built into photo shops it's not built into elements and it depends on how far you go back into photo shop really it's on ly been good since c s five but like truly good um since he has five, it was okay and cs for its very good and csx so just so you know, if you try it there's a bunch of different plug ins I've tried several since age care is not my thing, I'm not passionate about it, I just want a plug in. It is a good job for me and so I don't have to stress out and spend a ton of time. So the plug in that I use is nick's hdr plug in the fan's good about this is if you guys are familiar with nick it's the same interface. So it's it's just like using in another dobie product. So, you know, basically what the different tools? D'oh. So I am going teo over here, and this is the, uh, the panel for nick software. You can also access under filter nick software and access it they're I'm going to open up and do hdr effects pro and when it says merge multiple images that's if you went ahead and shot the scene like in hd are so to shoot a scene like in hd are you shoot summoned images underexposed, some images over exposed and then some correctly exposed to usually do something like minus three stops minus two minus one zero plus one plus two plus three men that would give you a huge tonal range. And then you can compress them but let's say you have a background they're like wow, that would be really cool for hdr but I didn't shoot in hdr of it that's what this tone mapping single image means it will not work basically at all if you have a jpeg image isn't enough information there but if you do have a raw image sixteen bit raw you can open it up in hd a pro and pull out a lot of that detail so I'm going to take a couple image images emerged them in age sheriff ex pro and again this will take a bit of time it thinks so just warning you off okay, so I'm going to go ahead and go into my composites slicks and backgrounds and let's legs that one I see all right, so I got that one this one is and I'm just going to select for images and I'm going to go ahead and open it, merge it, let it do its thing and so it will think and what's cool is going to give me the dialog boxes. If you guys have used nick software, they have something called control points and when I couldn't do if you may be tried for visa is you add a control point and you can say ok, I have certain changes that I want to apply just to this point in areas around it and so it will let you maybe increase the exposure or increase the contrast or something like that. So this has opened up and nick's nick effects pro, too. This is the hdr, and they have a couple of pre sets that you can do as well, but basically you're looking, you're saying, okay, alignments? Uh, basically making sure everything's lined up uh, right away if you were shooting on a tripod, it should be okay, but it will line up for you ghost reduction if there's somebody moving in this scene or something leaves on trees or water or anything, it cuts that down so that it doesn't look like a blurred chromatic aberrations. If you are shooting something really, really over exposed, sometimes depending on the lens, you'll actually start to see halo ing around areas of high contrast so you can make it so it reduces that and change it, but honestly think everything looks good, you can just drag your exposure up a little bit to the right if I want to pull a little bit brighter oven exposure, it's it's just really, really basic changes, so we're goingto create the hdr, and this is going to bring it up in a nick dialogue that you'd be familiar with, and what I find really useful are if he sets on the left hand side is going to say like hdr with a lot of detail more subtle more natural it gives you kind of eight or ten different presets you can also make your own so if you shoot a scene and you know what looks good in general you can save it as a preset go back and click so here's the first one that it gives me looks pretty good ifyou're looking I have detail on the highlights back here and also detail in the shadows I'm going to check out and see you know okay so here's what's surreal looks like and I think it's intense maybe a little bit too much but you can click around and see what's appropriate I usually just take a look honestly um and tweak it from there I think I'll probably do um this really intense dramatic one and then back off a little bit all right so what I can do is well is I can open up with my control points all right so here's how the control points work if I click a control point on a screen it has like close to sam selected here it has all these different options that says exposure contrast saturation structure you can open it down black point white point so on and so forth when I dragged those points back and forth it's going teo just effect where this control point is set so the easiest way to show you if I click here, you see this was his control point right under where you see a mask it's showing me where the circle is affecting. Okay, so right now, it's just affecting that wall if I drag this tool next to the point, the control point left or right, it expands and contracts that selection and does a selection just based on what is similar in the area. So what's really nice is let say that this is another way to change that red dress into a different color, maybe there's lots of red in a scene like there's, a ton of red it's, a red dress with the red card and whatever and you wanted change just that dress you can put a control point, make the dress lighter or darker where the foreign photo shop and we're going in to work we've done before into the hue saturation into the channels and change to red we have to go mask everything off, so this allows us to make a selection, so I'm grabbing next to this control point and I can increase it or decrease it. I have my exposure, I could make it later or darker, I'm going to turn off the mask now that I've seen where it's affecting, so you can actually see what it's doing to the image so I'm gonna back off and I'm going to come over here to structure and I can increase structure or decrease sector so when I drag it still have to see how it got even more detailed I could drag it to the right kind of back off of that detail so you could do that if you hold the um option the option all key on your keyboard and grab on to that point it duplicates it and it will duplicate all the exact settings so if you notice that was kind of missing the upper part of the wall here if I click on options are all and drag it and I'm gonna hit that those two masks on now it's giving me pretty much all of my wall so it lets me make selections without having to make selections I don't have to go in and paint things on a mask so that works well all right so I can click around you guys get that idea we'll turn off the masks oh okay good and so that's that's basically it do it with me to see if you have any questions here on doesn't make sense as far as how control points work dragging things and if I think this exposures to light in the corner I could drag it down and if I think that this exposure needs to be increased they could drag it to the left and it's a nice tool so question from know well who's saying I'm having a hard time deciding about the correct exposure and white balance is it just your taste or do you have a method? It is totally taste because this is fake anyway, so I'm gonna actually mess with the color after the fact, but what I will tell you is my personal taste when I look at this picture, all right? So I showed you how to use the control points and I can drag around, lighten things up, darken them down. My personal taste is that is way too much detail uh, that's going to be way too much. And so, while control points are localised changes anything over here where it says tone compression, tonality and color, I could make global changes to the entire picture, so I want to come up to my tone compression and I honestly deacon, drag things around, but one of the things I'm noticing under hdr method is there's too much detail, so I could back off of it, and so I'll probably put something around there that looks good to me. Drama it's another way to do detail? I'm probably gonna leave my photo, I'm really with thayer, okay, I'm just gonna make the decision say it looks good close this close, my luke and it's going to apply that effect we have a question from fashion tv from singapore if you're shooting so pliable more inside I think you talked about this a little bit but if we're shooting for composites and retouching a composite what do the steps you insure to ensure that overlapping elements don't look cut and pasted how do you remove telltale signs? Definitely all right so here are the three ways and one of you kind of one to three to make a composite look believable and I will tell you that I mean compositing is not necessarily the thing that I spent all my time on so I just figured out the key things I have to do the trick people basically, um the first thing to do is fake the light so if you can fake the light so that it matches that's one way to trick people matching light sources so I have highlights coming at him from behind and so it's good because I can't have a light source from behind him so I can kind of fake that that back highlight was from the light behind all right that's one way the next thing is contrast so if this background is really really contrast e and I drag and drop him in and he doesn't have a lot of contrast I've gotta add contrast on to him to make it believable and then the next thing is color so if this background is kind of cool and then he has a lot of warm tones there's warm tones in his skin your brain will also not believe that he was actually there in reality so you have to fix the direction of light which is means also the quality of light light in general harsher soft from the back from the front um then you need to make sure that contrast matches is well and then also the color the other element that is it pure giveaway or an easy giveaway that something didn't fit was the edges when things are really really really crisp so a lot of times when I do make those selections what you khun do is you can make this election and there's something called contract the selections you khun or expand you can expand the outward selection in one pixel and then feather and just make it a little softer or you could do it with your own brush and just kind of blend so that's why I try to find places where it would be like a really harsh area of contrast and try to blend it a little bit maybe make it a little bit darker or lighter so it's not as noticeable so we're going to just do this example right now drag and drop mike in here um if I put the two panels side by side and I hold the shift key I can drag him over okay close mike make this full screen all right, so first of all, he doesn't fit a couple of ways to make composites believable a couple other ways is to have a similar lens and height of your camera as you did in the composite and the person that you're photographing so when I am compositing, I would rule may be used close it needed to be close it doesn't have to be exact for example, the scene here maybe I shot with a twenty four millimeter lens and I shot him with a fifty that's okay, like you can get away with that it's when you're shooting twenty four and he did a portrait at, you know, two hundred that it doesn't work, so keep it relatively close I'm going to shrink him so that he fits into the scene let's just say to stay there for now, ok, so all I did when I had my command t gave me in my transform controls and I could make him bigger, smaller just by grabbing the edges we've covered that a little bit, all right? So when I say way to dio is start going to that checklist of how can I make this composite believable? Alright, the first thing is, uh this is just personal taste I want to make that doorway in the back taller because I know that if the light would be streaming in from the back maybe I want that doorway a little bit higher so that it would make sense that the light is on you know, the back inside of the helmet so that's just something I'm thinking about going to duplicate the background and you guys don't know what this background looks like in reality so I could just drag it it's fine it's totally fine you guys don't really know what it looks like so the first thing I know that I want to fake is I need to fake that light better I need to make it look a little more realistic so I need to make it look as if there's a light source coming from behind him and right now I have a lot of detail it's really distracting and you're seeing those really harsh edges so underneath mike she's right here underneath him I'm going to create a new layer and I want to start faking that light I'm just going to grab a soft brush I'm going to have it at a lower rapacity and make sure it's really soft brush and I'm just going to paint and this is why I take composites far more than anything else are definitely going to get it uh definitely ace an art not a science for sure so whatever you're comfortable so pain around a little bit and right now I'm going to change my blood mode too soft light so if you're looking it's kind of lightening things up, and look how it's giving a little bit more like there was a light source back there is giving me a little but a haze I'm going to move mike over toe left just a little, and I usually do a couple of these a couple of these light layers to fake it, so maybe I know that the light would kind of stream up a little bit, so I kind of have the light streaming out of that doorway and above, but I also know that it would be really bright right behind him, some kind of faking it that way, um, periodically is well, late isn't usually just you don't usually see it, but when you d'oh right now, it's really pure, so you might want to add some noise, break it up at a little bit of texture, so I'm going to duplicate that blair that I just created and add a little bit of noise to that light to gosh, um, noise, monochromatic and it's just going to break it up a little bit, so if you look, I'll do kind of a before and after this one had a little bit more texture, all right, so I want to leave it there for now just roughly feel looking before you know it's giving me a lot more, okay? So lights coming from behind him all I'm doing is painting with a soft brush sometimes I'll paint it with I'll do soft light sometimes I'll do screens and handled it whatever looks best um also if your picture is going to be warm or maybe there's a little bit of a warm highlight, you could paint with a yellow brush and try that way so it's looking better are the next thing that I said I need to fake or that I need to improve is going to be my contrast actually the contrast is pretty decent between the two I think that background needs a little bit more and I think I want a dark and down the entire picture, so if I'm going to grab my curves and I'm going to put on the top layer and were dark and everything down and so now that I darkened everything down in the top lor I could go ahead and paint things on and off so that it looks like they match a little bit better so we've used ah curves adjustment layer I go to my lair mask and I'll grab a black brush a low pass and I'll just paint it off where I think it's a little too heavy, maybe down here a little bit off of his helmets a little bit along the edges and you kind of fixed that the next thing that I noticed is I think that he has too much color since his jacket has almost like a look at the brown and his pants that's a little bit too crisp I know I want to darken down that um I know that the kind of maroon ish brown jacket doesn't fit since everything else looks more less monochromatic so I'm going to create a new adjustment layer and plot a little bit of vibrance so I just backed off the vibrant and I like how it's feeling it has that really cold steel look but now since it's on the top lor I pulled out vibrant out of everything you need to bring it back just a little bit so I'm going teo paint black on the background to bring back some of that original color and if you notice the background now that color is kind of matching his helmet with a little bit of warmth there good, I'm like I said I would probably do a lair where I darkened down his pants so I'm just going to paint over it a little bit and turn that too soft light from the same techniques that we're using yesterday but notice, you know, a lot less attention is going to his pants so looks better for me, all right? And then the last thing that I was talking about as a problem area or a giveaway was color and so you know, this looks pretty good actually matches but a tip too fake color matching continuously is to put a top level colorize so if I grab my half moon cookie and go to hugh saturation if I do a colorized on the image and maybe I do something that's kind of yellowish kind of yellow golden and then I back off so right now it's one hundred percent five back off too maybe thirty or forty percent if I do my before after it tends to unify the photo because it's saying well, the color in the background is just like the color on the subject so it must have been shot at the same time in the same place and there's other things if you zoom in and there are areas that look a little bit too crisp and this actually looks pretty good maybe there's a little bit too crisp over there you you have a mask it's still attached to mike is still attached to your subject you still have a mask that you can paint things on and off so maybe it's a little too crisp around the jacket work right there I see that the mask you know it I missed it so I need to make a selection of that and then I'll come over here and paint back on the mask to bring back this background so we do a quick before and after and I'm holding again my all key or option king clicking on the bottom layer so I brought in the background and I made it bigger taller and then I put mike in and if you're looking at this point the color's off in the direction of light is off so I painted in some white behind him and I just kind of faked where I think light would be flying and sometimes if it looked a little too pure I added in some noise and aiken back off my capacity if anything looks too strong add color I'm docking down his pants a little bit I pulled out vibrance in mike's I thought he looked a little bit too colorful for the scene I darkened down the entire scene to make it a little bit more dramatic and then I added a colorized layer from hugh saturation to make all the colors feel unified so your employment and it looks realistic enough that's the key I don't think that you look at this and go you know oh yeah that's a real photo for sure no absolutely not I mean you know that it's fake but it's believable enough as an illustration and your screen I'm not sure what everyone's saying it looks a little brighter my screen I was going for just a little parker a little more dramatic and a couple of the things I know I tweak for example this is ugly and distracting to me so I'd probably clone that out we're content where filled that out blend things in I might make it a little bit brighter around his head so that's kind of a basics of how to do composite in the most traditional sense you have to light it the way that the scene is going to be so you can fake the light and then you buildup faking the light faking the contrast, faking the color blending the edges so any questions out in internet land or here we dio how about in the audience turn what if you had two subjects that you were putting in there and you needed to blend them well is that do you just keep using the layer masks and just masking in and out and just blending? Yeah so for two subjects one of the things that's easier ais yet you're usually just blending but it's also easier to if they're wearing a darker or lighter color that they're similar if you have somebody in like bright teal and then you have somebody in white and you're trying to blend it and make it look realistic so little bit more difficult but they're all wearing darker tones and the overlap that edge isn't its heart as long as you were able to cut them out of the background and so when I did my guitars and bandannas shoot a lot of times I had them wearing darker jackets or I would just darken down part of the bottom that composite I had richard style isn't do that actual composite and he's awesome and is a super cool guy and so you know he's gonna have his own techniques some of the people I would recommend if you're interested in more composites and you guys here creative life do you have any compositing classes yet? We don't have a full we don't have a full compositing course we do have some workshops that have had that included do you remember an answer tap your hand I was just going to say it some of the people that I looked for for how to do this is richard sir vincent is one and the jeweled grimes and those air to the people that this is their specialty and they have a ton of tips and tricks but what I want everyone to know what there is I am not a composite specialist by any means but I knew how to light it knew roughly what is looking for in the background it's really not that complicated it's just knowing how to trick somebody's eye I got one from qianjin z do you shoot the person first and then just grab a background that works or already have a background in mind before you shoot the person it is significantly easier to know your background and then shoot the person, zapping said. I'd sell them to it that way apparently like to make it more difficult on myself. Another thing is shooting from kind of knees up is much easier than trying to fake the feet because once you have the feet and there you have to fake the shadow, you have to fake the angle you have to fake how their feet are meeting with the surface on the ground so they becomes a lot more complicated very, very easy to kind of do mid thigh and waste up and fake it into the scene than actually trying to make it look like they're sitting on stairs or leaning against the wall if they're interacting with the same, you've made it much, much harder on yourself. That's it that's on point as cause mob had just said I had difficulty that I have with composites is making the subject look like they're standing on the ground what's the trick to that so so one of the tricks what that guy said don't do well don't do it if I need the answer but one of the tricks that I don't have any sample here but if you go ahead and take a look at, look up one of those ways ifyou're looking how to do selections make selections using burning and dodging in channels because when you make that selection you have the ability to actually make a selection of the shadow and when you turn the shadow to multiply it will actually interact with the environment so that's a good way to fake it but if your artistic even a little bit you can kind of draw roughly what you think the shadow would be and turn it into multiply and multiply mode and it will al like a shadow so it's more all about the shadows and then the angle the angle of how you photographed that subject's needs to be similar to the angle that you photograph the environment if you really want it to be believable what I do when I've had to do that in the past which I said I don't like to dio of being honest is I know that when my tripod um the bottom legs air all the way out and then everything else is compressed I tried to shoot it that height whenever I shoot my any composites I don't know where they're going from shooting hdrs anywhere on location I'll shoot at the height that I know I can keep consistent my tripod so then when I come over into the studio and I'm photographing somebody, I already know the height that I was and I could check the metadata for what lens camera combination I used so if I don't shoot them for one another great aging far asked how do you deal with reflection such a soft boxes and in the sunglasses or authorized catch lights and so forth? All right, so for an example like this super easy I could just paint it out it's kind of it's solid I could paint it black uh most the time for ah highlights that's it's going to be difficult? It usually would I try to do is find another area of the photo with similar texture cut and paste it and blend it because if you're just going to try to clone that's a little more challenging, you can't truly get rid of reflection you can darken reflection down and increase the contrast to kind of pull back from that reflection but typically if it's an eye can you copy a part of the eye or or another part of the frame? There's not really an easy fix for that and for this guy I was originally thinking like to do something creepy I might actually take that entire eye and change it colors and maybe add a highlight or something so it looks like it's glowing but um I thought mike looked very awesome and sleep here so I'd leave it looking nice and classy I love it he in case people missed him in say he was um he was for halloween and he was he was dancing gangnam style for us all was awesome with this costume was often so we do have a number of questions that air keep coming in about this do you want us to keep you wanted you're sure okay so question is if you I absolutely have to blend an image this is from uh caledonia if you absolutely have to blend an image in a background with different light directions is that away too create this and patricia had asked what about faking light coming from the front instead of the back yes so let me give you an example of let's say here I wanted to fake the light on his face what I would usually do is say okay so let's take a polygon alas a tool would create a new layer and I'm gonna create a layer above him this time it's not behind him it's in front of him so it's no ok where that light be so create new layer and then I would draw maybe I'm thinking the light is coming from a small window or light above him here and so I would draw roughly where I think catch up computer one computer wasn't catching up alright someone to draw roughly where I think maybe this late source would come from maybe I think it would be from above no it's a light casting down from above like that so if I go ahead and I feather this let's select modify feather and feathered a lot I want to be soft I can paint white in there I cannot change it too soft light or I don't know I tried different blend modes let's try soft light and I could maybe change the color a little bit maybe I'd make it this one a little bit yellow so if I did another one of these let's load this election um hello that same selection create another one and do a little bit yellow the time and I'm going to paint yellow in the selection this time make it really really really soft and subtle and then when I condo's is I can kind of paint yellow on the front of him so now it looked like that yellow light was spilling on the front so I could grab another soft light layer and I've gone more extreme that I would actually go I'll back off a little bit in a second I would paint a little bit of yellow uh kind of on the front of him change the blend mode I don't know try like maybe color so it picks up just a little bit of that yellow back off of that light just a little and she's kind of blending so that it looks realistic let's try this one to come back something so let me just do those kind of afford after so get kind of fake some light sources it can even see that on that screen you can barely see it on that screen. We pump it up a little bit for you guys. I can see better online, do this so let's, see those two before and after, and so I could fake light that way. So I basically say, alright, so looking at his jacket, you, khun, tell, okay, that light is from the left hand side and slightly above because it's casting shadows down so I'd fake a light source from that direction. And then, if you add noise, it becomes more believable. Some people call it atmosphere because it would be kind of a texture in there, especially if you're in a dirty, dusty place. Maybe the yellow would look good if you added a bit of noise.

Class Materials

bonus material

Keyboard Shortcuts
Retouching Checklist
Beauty and Retouching
Creative Techniques

Ratings and Reviews


Fantastic Photoshop course. I knew Lindsay was great at Photography, Lighting, Posing and Public Speaking, but I am really blown away by her mad (great) skills at Photoshop. Lindsay really is a fantastic teacher. She turns what might be a more or less dry topic into a fun and entertaining topic. Thank you Lindsay and thank you CreativeLIve. You have a real superstar with Lindsay Adler.

a Creativelive Student

This is a great workshop for photographers wanting to learn and hone in on their retouching skills. As a photoshop user and photographer of 10 yrs I have been able to take away some further techniques to help better my skills and more or less tailor them. I would suggest you have some adv beginner knowledge of photoshop because I don't think some of the techniques you will be able to keep up with unless you buy it. There are two things that I wish she did better in her teaching and that is to teach new users to label all their layers and what they are as you are working. As you can see Lindsay ends up with 20 layers and unless your the one doing the editing you will have know idea what is what when you have to go back to it. So its best to teach this in the beginning so people get into the habit of organization early. Also I wish she used a Wacom. It really does cut your editing time in half and you have more solid movements in precisely selecting areas of a photo. From a photographer to other photographers. Use a wacom. You can start with a basic baboo for $89 and when the apple wireless mouse cost $69. Time is money, and a wacom truely save time! I used to use a mouse and my trackpad and once I switched I was like OMG what was I thinking before! So I wish she just emphasized that point more. Overall I think it was $99 well spent.

Christian G.

Not only is Lindsay very knowledgeable and a very good teacher but I REALLY TRULY appreciate her no-BS, straight-forward style.. No time wasted on long tangents talking about herself (or what have you), on cute remarks or on off-the-mark humor. She has showed us many great techniques, has presented to us various creative/different ideas AND she has also really been able to explain "how she thinks of a solution", how there is a bit of trial and error, "even" at her level.. All in a all, a truly excellent course and worth every penny!! Thank you Lindsay and thank you to the CreativeLive team for a great course!!

Student Work