BASIC WORKFLOW FOR COMPOSITE PHOTOGRAPHY
Before we start, Guoxin says it’s crucial to take note of some points. Identify and decide on the source and direction of the light. Then for easy editing, choose photos with similar lighting and angle (based on the angle of the background) so the end result is more realistic.
PART I : Masking your objects
Open the image of Mario in Photoshop.
1 First, Guoxin selects and mask out the Mario using the “Quick Selection Tool” (shortcut key “W”).
2 Normally, Photoshop does a pretty neat job in selecting the subject, but this depends on the quality of the image, and on how much contrast there is between the subject and the background. Thus, Guoxin recommends zooming in to the edges to manually rene the selection.
3 Once satised, click on the “Add Layer Mask” to create the mask based on your selection.
4 Mario is nicely masked out.
5 Repeat the steps to mask out the lady, and then save it. The result is shown here.
Save your masked objects as a Photoshop le (PSD).
PART II: Preparing the background
6 Here, Guoxin tweaks the color of the background with a “Color Balance” adjustment layer to color grade it a little, giving the image a more cinematic feel.
7 Next, he also tweaks it to look brighter with an “Exposure” adjustment layer.
PART III: Importing the masked objects
After adjusting the background image, Guoxin imports both the edited Mario and Lady images in by clicking and dragging them into it.
8 Then, he resizes the objects to achieve the results as shown in Fig. 8. The order of the layers should be as follows. Lady > Mario > Background.
Note: The imported images will be converted to “Smart Objects” by default, but this format is a good way to preserve the image quality especially when you scale it.
9 For easy management, group the Mario and the Lady layers.
Step 4 – Editing Mario
10 As you can see, Mario’s right leg appears to overlap the cars. To x that, Guoxin rst hides the entire Mario layer to reveal the background. Then, he picks the background layer and uses the Quick Selection tool again to select the cars. By clicking Select > Inverse, selecting the Mario layer, and clicking on Create Vector Mask, Guoxin creates a mask on Mario to hide the portion of his leg that coveres the cars.
11 His next move is to select the Mario layer and create a new Color Balance adjustment layer. For this specific project, the settings in the Midtones are Cyan/Red -35, Magenta/Green 0, and Yellow/Blue +21.
12 Make sure the “Clip to layer” option is enabled so that it only affects the Mario layer.
13 Next, Guoxin selects the newly added Color Balance layer and then adds a Hue/Saturation layer to desaturate the colors by setting the Saturation to -30. Again, be sure the “Clip to layer” option is enabled so that it only affects the Mario layer.
By now the Mario should look it blends well with the background.
14 Guoxin then creates a new blank layer on top of the Color Balance and Hue/Saturation layers for image “Burning”. Make sure to clip this layer to the Hue/Saturation layer as you only want the effects on the Mario. Then switch to Brush mode (shortcut key “B”), and pick a “Soft Round” brush (Size 125px, Opacity 22, Hardness 0) and choose black to brush the some areas to give it some shadow for realistic lighting.
15 For this image, Guoxin paints the legs and shoes.
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