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How to Shoot and Composite Levitating Objects

with Bret Malley

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  •   01 Class Introduction


Class duration: 2h 35m

See all 15 lessons
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  • 88% recommended

    9 student reviews

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About The Class

Make images that are so realistic even your subject is fooled!

Create magic using Adobe® Photoshop® by compositing people, pets, and objects to appear as if they are defying gravity. In this class, Bret Malley will walk through techniques on capturing an image of the object you want to use and how to piece it together in Photoshop® so it appears realistic. He'll go through the entire process from start to finish so that you can create compositing magic using photography, Adobe Photoshop, and your own imagination.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

Topics Covered

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

  2. 02

    Your Mind is the Camera

  3. 03

    Set the Scene

  4. 04

    Get Smart with Your Gear

  5. 05

    Posing Tips and Challenges

  6. 06

    Shoot Considerations

  7. 07

    Shoot Setup

  8. 08

    Shoot: Working With Animals

  9. 09

    Shoot: Creating the Look of Motion

  10. 10

    Shoot: Levitating Objects

  11. 11

    Starting the Composite: Organizing Your Images

  12. 12

    Working With Your Sketch to Assemble the Scene

  13. 13

    Selections and Masking

  14. 14

    Selections and Masking Continued: Painting Techniques

  15. 15

    Shadow Overlays


Meet Your Expert

Bret Malley

Bret Malley is a professional photographer, Photoshop expert, author, and educator specializing in imaginative, surreal, epic, and often magic-enhanced image creation. He is the author of Adobe Master Class: Advanced Compositing in Photoshop, works commercially across the US and is published and translated worldwide. With an MFA in ... read more

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  • jpg Bret Malley - final image from How to Shoot and Composite Levitating Objects

88% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Eric Burke

    Eric Burke

    June 2018

    I feel this course did not meet expectations. Before getting into that, I'll say there were several useful techniques so I did learn new tricks, which I am happy about. Using different splatter brushes to chip away at edges for more realistic hair is a great idea! It was also good to see Bret's usage of the select and mask dialog, though he said it can't create a mask, that's an option buried under the "output to" dropdown. I also enjoyed seeing his extensive use of layers and grouping to keep a composite organized, as well as learning how to convert to smart objects before applying transformations. I feel there were three major sections to this class. Section 1: many of the first lectures were "introduction" and were filled with disorganized talking that didn't accomplish much. It felt slow paced even though those were the shortest lectures. Constructive feedback: study the advice of Kathy Sierra, search "Better Beginnings: how to start a presentation, book, article..." to learn how to get into the meat of the material immediately. Section 2: The photo shoot. This was a bit of an improvement, though he seemed unfamiliar with the software and equipment and it didn't feel polished or smooth. Section 3: Hands-on editing. This is Bret's forte, and this is where the class becomes useful. He's very good at Photoshop and this redeems the course. Unfortunately he seemed to be out of time and very rushed at the end, so we didn't see any specifics on color grading to make the composite more cohesive. In summary: - Spend far less time on introductions - Move through the photoshoot efficiently - Keep the material on masking and moving around subjects - Add hands-on Photoshop work to tie everything together with lighting and coloring. Brooke Shaden is VERY GOOD at this, which is what sets her courses apart.

  • Molly B

    Molly B

    August 2018

    I agree a bit with Eric Burke's review (which was a thumbs down), however, I feel like this is neither a thumbs up or thumbs down recommendation, more like a 3 to 3.5 star rating. :) That said, I agree that there was so much talking and not doing in the initial portion of the class sections. I feel like when there is a class offered for Compositing, much of the science people want to know is in the editing tips and tricks AND some of the shooting tips and tricks. Photography of the subjects is important to understand, but examples of live shooting should be kept fairly minimal. Aaron Nace still nails the science behind planning and shooting for composites and also rocks in the editing (in my opinion). Brooke Shaden is also a good example on the editing details. I feel like Bret had something different to bring to the table from the class preview with puppet warp and some of the cutting / masking tips... I agree that all the editing portions of this were super rushed and just touched on a lot of last comments of "oh isn't this neat" and no in-depth instruction on how that feature is used. I just felt like he really ran out of time. At the end he talked about re-shooting the dog, perhaps he could have gone in to puppet warp to change the lower legs and tail a bit as an effort to make it look more like his sketch? Bret seems likable, but does continuously talk about side stories and extra noise that seems could be more focused on the topic at hand. :) I still picked up some tips, but this would be more ideal bought on a sale rather than full price. :) I have a lot of photoshop knowledge and own some other composite classes on CL, so I don't feel too lacking, but this would not be for a very beginner of compositing. I wouldn't mind seeing Bret back with a more refined class structure focusing on the magic of puppet warp and other tricks to get the most out of compositing.

  • ShawnSJ


    March 2018

    Had a good time with this course! Bret is a great instructor, you can really tell he enjoys his work and has a lot of fun engaging the audience. I've done some compositing in the past but with a much older version of PS. This course really helped me take advantage of the new features in PS CC and also helped streamline my workflow. It's a course that both experienced and beginner compositors alike can learn from. A big thanks to Bret Malley and CreativeLive for making this course!

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