Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World


Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World


Lesson Info

Crop Out & Add Costume to Rabbit

So I think we're ready to go onto adding the costume. So we've got a pretty decent rabbit here. I haven't done any shadows or shading yet. That comes later. I want to complete my rabbit first. So looking here, at my rabbit I need to go back into Lightroom. Back into my selections, and start with firstly the image with the pocket watch. Now what I'm going to do here is just place the costume in place, and blend the two arms together. So the first thing I want to do here is as you saw earlier, there's, if I bring that back and I reset that, there's a lot of dark's in the jacket and I want to bring back some of the detail in the jacket. So first of all I'll crop that. And I'll bring those shadows up, probably to 100%. So it brings the detail back into the jacket there. And I can bring the highlights down a touch as well. Relatively happy with that. I don't need to do any more changes before I jump into Photoshop. I'm actually going to change the color later on of the jacket in Photoshop. ...

But at this point I've got the detail that I need so I'm going to jump into Photoshop, edit in, open a smart object in Photoshop. Okay. Now, here there's a number of ways we can extract. As you saw before there's not a lot of contrast between the jacket and the black background. So, we're not going to get a nice clean cut out doing it this way. But, I can refine the mask later on anyway using the brushes. So I'll cut down here. I do want the fur here. So I'm using this as my first method of cutting out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But because I didn't shoot on the green screen I can't use the color range tool like I do with the green. Okay, so that's not too bad. I will go into refine edge again. And I do need to inverse that layer selection first. So, select, inverse. If you've got a keyboard shift control and I. Don't have a keyboard right now but, this is, go into refine edge. I don't want to view this on black, because it was shot on black so I'm not really seeing a very clear picture of how it will look on a different scene. So I'd change the view mode. I can change that to white, and that gives me a much better idea of what I'm cutting out and what I'm not. Okay. So looking at this here, there's some errors that need fixing. If I, I don't need the edge in as far as it was for the other scene. I'll zoom up on there. Looking at the edges here not too bad. If I turn smart radius up on this one, if I turn it all the way up you can see how it effects the image. So it starts to cut into the image a lot but, it's a matter of testing it and saying okay is it working? Is it destroying my image? How far should I take it? So I'll take it up to two. A lot of this will need some masking in Photoshop. So I'll go with that. I'm out putting it as a layer mask, so that as soon as I hit okay, it's masked for me. Okay. So I can already see just couple of areas here that need some fixing. So before I go into the other scene I'll change my brush. Make it 80%. Again, making it 80% when I'm doing this kind of masking is similar to turning the feathering onto north .5. It gives a very very soft edge to it but, it's relatively hard so it's not looking like it's a cut out, it's helping to blend without being so crisp that it looks too stark against the rest of the scene. So 80% when you're running around the edge of something with the brush is a good one to be on. Alright. I'll do the rest of my refining of this in the scene itself. Because there'll be areas that I don't need anyway. So there's no point going in and doing the detail there. So dragging that in. Now can you see what happened there? Where I dropped it, because of the layer that I was selected in it actually clipped to that layer. So I do need to drag that above, and make sure it's not clipped. So release clipping mask. There we go. So, holding down shift, resizing. Okay. So what I'm looking at here is sort of the waist. Stretching that out. I can probably put the rabbits head up a bit higher, and get away with it because it's fantasy. It's not meant to be reality of how tall the rabbit actually is when the rabbits held up. But I'm wanting to fit the waist to about the waist level of the rabbit there. I'll double click at that point. And the head, I'm going to move above the jacket. That way we can see where it fits. And 'cause I've already masked around the head it's already starting to take shape. I can kind of move it to where I want. Okay. Zooming up on my rabbit here. So the first thing I want to do with this costume, which I will name. (writing) and I will name this one because we're starting to get quite a few layers here. So, rabbit head. (writing) Okay, so the costume here, firstly blending this bottom bit. So you can see I shot with some white fur, and this was so that I could help me blend it in really easily. If I'd had something else on the bottom it would be, yeah it'd take longer to blend. So, when you're considering your photography and your shooting elements, try and make it as easy as possible for later on when you're editing. So back to that fur brush. In fact before I go to that I will go to the previous brush I was using, and just mask out around here. And then I'll do the blending. So I want to keep the scarf. So I zoom in nice and close. Make my brush small. And just work my way around the scarf area. I actually find this part of it quite therapeutic, 'cause I'm, I enjoy just sitting there and just masking out areas, and I know that as I said before you can use the pin tool for things like this and you can kind of work around that way, but I don't find the pin tool therapeutic. I'm not sure if other people do. But, yeah it's kind of nice. It's like coloring in. See all these adult coloring books these days with people getting into that and finding it really relaxing. I think this is really quite relaxing. So I do, as you would when you're coloring in, I go nice and close, and then I make my brush bigger and just sort of fill in those bits around the edge that don't take quite as long. If I make a mistake or I've gone too far just press X, and go back again. So I usually have my thumb on my shortcut for X and switch back and forth between the two quite often. And, up here, up here I want to see the fur of the rabbit. So I'm going to cut in nice and close. One thing I find in corners like this, is I often go up like that. Straight across the area I need to cut back press X, and go back that way 'cause otherwise you have to make your brush a lot smaller to get into that corner, 'cause if you go up and then you press X, and go back across, so let's do that again. 'Cause otherwise yeah, making the brush tiny tiny is very hard but just going up with the brush like that, going over that area, press X, and back down. You'll have a lot of little corners you'll need to get around and find quick ways to do that. So down around here. Okay, so moving up the rabbit here. So, the edge isn't too bad on the jacket, but there are areas like around the top of the jacket here which need some refining. And can anyone see that line (laughs)? So it's very faint again. I will zoom back out, and I think I may have forgotten to do it on the rabbit head as well. So let's make sure we get rid of that horrible line. Showing up there too. Press the overlay. Okay, so shift to make a straight line. Just all the way around the edge. And I'll do the same thing on the rabbit head. I think I have got rid of it but just in case, we'll expand out that mask. Okay. This edge of the scarf is looking a little dark compared to the rabbit hair. So, I'm probably going to just fade it off. So using a low flow brush and just blend it a touch more. Turn down my flow, make my brush soft, and just dab over the scarf area. (clicking) So it blends more with the rabbits fur. We will need some shadow under the rabbit costume to also add to the realism of it. So we've got kind of a funny shaped kind of rabbit there with broad shoulders that we need to bring in. There's an area behind the rabbits head that we do need to mask out. So we'll go down to that area there, and just mask back. Turn my flow back up. I'll go through the difference between flow and opacity here because one of the big differences between the two is how they look when you use the pressure sensitivity particularly. So if I create a new layer on top, and I paint with a low opacity, and I'll use a harder brush. So I'm painting, and as I go over it overlaps. So it builds up but it overlaps, so it creates this sort of pattern effect which is not really what you want. Whereas if you turn the flow down, it's more of a gentle build up. Still some overlapping but it's more of a blended kind of look. So for the most part I recommend using flow to turn your brush up and down, in terms of how strong it is rather than opacity because it'll, you'll start to see the pattern and the overlap if you're using opacity and turning up and down. So I'll turn that off. Okay. So back down to my rabbit. Rabbit feet. So I just want to take away some of this shoulder area here, that's behind the costume. Give the rabbit more of a neck. Perhaps even go in and, put some fur on the edges there with my brush. Put 'em back. And zooming out. Turning the costume back on. Okay. So now looking at the costume, the rabbits shape is yeah slightly different to the way the costume's sitting. I haven't touched the arm yet. So, we'll add the other arm in first and then that needs to be reshaped. So we'll just bring that other arm in. I do want to apply the same settings in Lightroom to my other image because if I don't, I'm going to find that the shading and the shadows and everything is different and it won't merge. So, I can copy the settings on here. Whoops, go back to here. We'll do it this way. So I can copy. There's a short cut again with the keyboard but, I can copy everything here it doesn't matter because I want to apply mainly the shadows and the highlight changes to my other image, my other arm. So I'll press copy, go back over here, this is the hand. Press paste. And then I've got the same coloring and shading on the arm. So that's really important. I'm going to leave, when I crop it I'm going to leave the whole jacket in because then I can make sure that I've lined it up perfectly. If I was to crop right over here and then try and join it up, I don't have as much to blend with. So it's better to start with more, and then you can mask back. So edit in, open a smart object in Photoshop. Okay? So here, I am going to simply drag this straight into the scene. Drop it on. And, I'll resize it but then I'll turn down the opacity so I can see through and make sure that it lines up properly with the other one. Zooming back up. So I'll turn this down so it's see through. Turning it down on there. Wanting to line up the shoulders, as close as I can get. It's not gonna be perfect 'cause I shot it probably at a slightly different angle. I wasn't on a tripod when I photographed it. But as long as it's close 'cause we're blending it into the arm. That's about right. Turn it back up. And I'm going to apply a layer mask here over the whole lot if it and then invert that layer mask. And just paint back where the arm was because instead of masking out the whole thing, I'm just masking back in the area that I want. And I just find it's quicker. I know the arm's around about here, so I can just refine that once I've painted that back in. So I want a little more of the jacket there so that I can blend it in. I'll turn that off for a moment. I'm going to make the other arm away, so that it's not distracting me from this one. Okay so, that's that one. And there's a couple of ways you can do this when you're joining things together. If you've got a seam, you can sometimes mask very closely to the seam and then join it that way, if you haven't got a seam or a fold, then you'd want to blend it much more softly with the soft brush. I have a seam and an edge here around the jacket, so if I actually use that, as my join it won't be obvious at all that it's a different shot. So if i go back over here, there we go. You can see that if I put this in approximately the same position, and then I do my masking, so I'm going to cut back again with the 80% hardness. Going in nice and close. Zooming up as the area gets a little trickier. Up like this. Some areas take longer than others but that's okay. As I come around this edge, I can use shift. So any areas that are straight, you can just click, hit shift, click again, and follow around. And that speeds up your process too. I want to get rid of some of this glove area 'cause it looks like it's sticking out. So I just mask that out. So I'm running down here. Again some straight edges so shift all the way along. Doesn't even matter that I'm slightly going off the edge because no one knows where that edge was. Just me and everyone that's watching. (laughs) Mask this area. Karen I have a fun question while you're doing this Awesome. from PhotoMaker who says, which do you think is the most important to this process, skill, patience, or luck? (Karen laughs) Not luck (laughs). Not luck. Everything is well planned. I don't see myself as a very patient person but I think when it comes to this I must be. You are. (Karen laughs) But yeah I'd say patience and skill. But I would say the biggest thing is loving what you do. So loving doing it and it's not hard work. Loving doing it, being passionate about it. You'll just want to learn and continue to grow in it. Okay. Yeah I tried newborn photography for a bit. For a year, in my journey of finding something that would fit better with family life. And I found I didn't have that type of patience (laughs). I spent a fortune on all the props, and I had a great setup but it just wasn't me. Okay so we're wanting to blend back here around the arm. Leaving that bit there. So you can see you can't really tell, especially with this material where that join is. So it works quite well to blend it together. Okay. Now this little bit of the hand here, because it was not part of the arm, I think I want to actually take it off and move it so that it feels like it's actually joined on more. So what I can do here, is oh I can do it a few ways. I think I will duplicate this layer. So again it's that same little trick that I taught you before. If you choose the layer that you want to duplicate, you hold down alt or option, and then you drag to wherever you want it, it will create a duplicate layer. And I'll hide that one. I will mask out the hand on this one. Nope. That's not working hang on a tick. Now I've confused myself. Okay. Turn them both off. I must've got the wrong layer I think. Zooming back. Oh no I just made three of them. There you go. I only need two. So I'll delete one of those. I've got two here. So turning that one off. Just taking that hand away in this one up to about this point here. Creating a bit of a sleeve. And then this one, taking the arm away. That gives me the two layers, so I've got a hand layer and I've got a arm layer. And then I can move them independently. So I could've copied it. Could've done it a number of ways. So I can move this around now. If turn this on I'm noticing a couple of little dots that I missed in the mask. So turning on the overlay means I can just tidy that up. Peter's well. And it also means that I can turn the hand around to a different direction. Pointing it down a little more I think. Something like that. Feels a bit better. Okay. Cool. So we've got the jacket. I will check my masks now because I do think there's probably a few spots on this one too that need tidying. But turning on the overlay I can see where I've missed it. Okay. Looking good. So with the costume, it's made up now of three layers. So if I group all of these by selecting them, and putting them into a group, and calling it costume, I can turn them on and off and I can do anything I want to with that particular layer. I can add all sorts of adjustment layers. Different things to it and have full control over that particular group instead of needing to merge it all together. So, I think I want to do the rest of it in the next segment (laughs). Because I have, yeah I have a lot more to do here with changing color of the jacket and things like that.

Class Description

Karen Alsop is known for creating beautiful fantasy worlds through her unique compositing techniques in Lightroom™ and Photoshop™. Whether you're a wedding, portrait, landscape or commercial photographer, this class will show you how to create beautiful and distinctive images you can offer your clients to expand your business.  

Join us for this class, and you’ll learn how to: 

  • Shoot with your composite in mind: lighting, posing and angles.
  • Choose background and subject images that will work best in the composite.
  • Learn Lightroom® and Photoshop® techniques to create a fantastical atmosphere.

Karen’s emphasis on creativity and imagination in her process has helped her to make a product that competitors have a hard time recreating. Karen’s beautiful, intricate work is not simply the result of vast technical skill, but rather is the careful integration of a number of elements. She puts subjects at ease and inspires them with artful direction; incorporates them into fantasy landscapes using Lightroom® and  Photoshop®; and then effectively prices and markets the final product.  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.1.2