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Photoshop compositing secrets pdf

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Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Studio Sports Portrait | Psdtuts+ Secrets. Photoshop Compositing Secrets demonstrates some excellent. Editorial Reviews. caite.info Review. caite.info Exclusive: Bonus Content from Matt eBook features: Highlight, take notes, and search in the book; In this . Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites Compositing is one of the hottest trends in Photoshop.


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Photoshop compositing has really blown up over the last few years. You see composites yours, as well. Enjoy! xii > PHOTOSHOP COMPOSITING SECRETS. Photoshop Compositing Secrets Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Pho - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book. Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements for Teens.

Here, we have a background and we have a person who was shot in a studio. Drag the white knob under the S Saturation slider halfway to the left and then drag both knobs under the H Hue slider toward the middle, under the blue area, so the gradient becomes blue the color of the tunnel. Okay, thats it for the up-front stuff. Then, with your Foreground color set to black, get the Brush tool B , and paint over the mask to hide the blur from everything except the right edge of the motorcyclist, so it looks like the panning camera left some motion blur even though we know the camera wasnt pan- ning. The cool thing about the technique youre about to see is that well use the existing shadows, so we dont have to create new ones.

ISBN As a child, you were there to spoil me. And as an adult, Im proud to say Im able to share my children with you, so they can see just how blessed Ive been to have you in my life.

The strength, wisdom, and unconditional love you two have given me is something Ill always treasure. I love you guys! It takes the support, hard work, and help from an entire team.

One of my favorite parts of writing a book is that I get to thank them publicly, in front of the thousands and thousands of people who read it. So, here goes: To my wife, Diana: No matter what the day brings, you always have a smile on your face when I come home. I could never thank you enough for juggling our lives, for being such a great mom to our kids, and for being the best wife a guy could hope for.

To my oldest son, Ryan: I love watching you grow up. Thanks for being my trusty photo assis- tant on several shoots for this book. I love that were able to share in one of my passions and, whether or not it becomes one of your passions too, Ill always treasure those moments. To my youngest son, Justin: I have no doubt that youll be the class clown one day. No matter what I have on my mind, you always find a way to make me smile.

And, its just what I need to remind me whats most important throughout the day. To my mom and dad: Thank you for giving me such a great start in life and always encouraging me to go for what I want. To Ed, Kerry, Kristine, and Scott my brothers and sisters: Thank you for supporting me and always giving me someone to look up to.

Thanks to Scott Kelby for not only becoming a great mentor to me, but for also becoming such a great friend. As I wrote this book, the advice and help you gave me was huge and I cant thank you enough. Thanks man! Thanks to the folks that made this book look so awesome: Everyone should have a Corey Barker in their creative arsenal. Corey is the guy I turn to when I need to take things to the next level. Whenever I finished a composite for this book, Id show it to Corey and hed always have that one little tweak or sometimes several tweaks that helped take it up a notch.

Plain and simple, Corey rocks and this book is much better because of his input. Your help in setting up photo shoots, lighting, and direction for several of the shoots in this book helped me in a big way. To my two favorite editors in the world, Cindy Snyder and Kim Doty: Thanks for making me look so good and keeping me on track.

Your militaristic, yet insightful, comments throughout the day help me way more than you know. Thanks for con- tinuing to push me to be better each day. I owe a special thanks to someone who has become a good friend of mine during the produc- tion of this book, Joel Grimes.

Joel is one of the best compositors out there, and he was kind enough to share his techniques, thoughts, ideas, and overall creative approach with me. Thanks to all my friends at Peachpit Press: Its because you guys are so good at what you do that Im able to continue doing what I love to do. Thanks to all of my friends at Adobe for making a killer piece of software that I truly love to work with every day. It sounds silly to thank someone for creating a dialog or feature, but Ive gotta tell ya, without that feature in Photoshop, I dont think I wouldve even attempted to write this book.

Selections have long been the bane of many digital artists existence. Selections that were once nearly impossible now happen in just a few minutes. No third-party plug-ins, no nuthin. Thanks guys! To you, the readers: Without you, wellthere would be no book. Thanks for your constant support in emails, phone calls, and introductions when Im out on the road teaching. You guys make it all worth it, and I feel honored that youve chosen me to help you learn more about Photoshop and photography.

Thank you. Author of several best-selling books on Photoshop, as well as the Lightroom Killer Tips blog, Matt teaches Photoshop and digital photography techniques to tens of thousands of people around the world each year. He has built a massive library of videos that appear in DVDs and online training courses, and has written articles for Photoshop User magazine.

You see composites every- where from magazine ads and covers, to movie posters, to athletic portraits, to, well, just about any kind of portrait.

It really is everywhere. Clients and customers are very aware of Photoshop now and know what can be done, so theyre requesting more from photographers and designers. As time goes on and the creative boundaries of photography and Photoshop continually push the envelope, even our own judgment and tastes have risen to new heights, because we know and see all of the possibilities.

The good news is that, today, its easier than ever to get into compositing. For starters, the photography and lighting side of compositing has become much simpler to work with.

Once you have the camera, lens, and memory card, experimenting is basically free. You can take as many photos as you need in an attempt to get the right one to work for your composite.

Not only is the photography part easier, but the Photoshop part of the equation has changed big time. See, one of the key areas of compositing starts with a good selection. If you dont make a good selection, your composite is never going to look real. But with the new Refine Edge technology in CS5, selections that were nearly impossible or really time consuming can happen in about 35 minutes.

To me, thats a game changer in both the quality we get from our composites, and the time we have to invest in them. The hardest part of the entire compositing process is, honestly, the creative side.

No amount of technology will change that, though. But, to me, its my favorite part and I hope it becomes yours as you read through this book. Let me first say that I love photography and I love capturing a beautiful photo right out of the camera. Whether its a landscape or a portrait, theres some- thing wonderful about making a great photo that looks awesome as soon as you open it on your computer.

Hit Send, and youre done.

Thats a good feeling. However, I love Photoshop, too. I really do enjoy the creative process of making art on my computer. Compositing lets me combine my two passions and put them together to create photos that simply wouldnt be possible or would be really difficult, at best without both photography and Photoshop combined.

As you read through the book, youll see Ive covered the gamut when it comes to compositing. Compositing is many things to many different people, so I really tailored the projects so that every- one, no matter what type of photography and imaging youre into, would get something from the book.

And youll see the setup info, the background, the selection process, and the final compositing techniques that made it all happen. Compositing has truly become a passion of mine over the years.

I hope, as you read through this book, that it becomes yours, as well. Heres the link: So, feel free to jump in at one that looks appealing to you. I do refer back to other tutorials in certain projects, but you should be able to follow along wherever you jump in. After that, just about anything is fair game. Also, I would work through at least four or five chapters before tackling the Advanced Commercial Composite in Chapter That one assumes you know a lot of the selection, lighting, and shading tips and tricks weve used throughout the book, as well as how to do these things without a lot of explanation.

Theres lighting, shad- ows, selections, backgrounds, and special effects that all play a key role. Almost every project in the book includes a tutorial on: Each part is important.

In fact, sometimes the background is just as important as the portrait, because our goal is to place people somewhere that theyre not. If the background or environment didnt play a big role, then wed never go through this trouble.

Compositing secrets pdf photoshop

So, I wrote each compositing project in a way that lets you jump in where you want. For example, if youre a photographer that does all of your own post-produc- tion Photoshop work, then maybe youll want to read a whole chapter from the lighting setup, to the selection process, all the way through to the composite.

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But, lets say youre a designer or retoucher, and someone else usually hands you the photos to work on. No sweat. You may not care too much about the lighting setup part of the chapter. So, you can just jump into the selections and compositing tutorials. Or, maybe youre mostly interested in compositing.

Skip the setup, skip the selections, and jump straight into the compositing tutorial. Now, if youre really impatient and you just want to dive in and do the composite maybe the background isnt of interest to you for a certain project , no sweat, you can skip the background tutorial. When you get to the compositing tutorial, Ive included a PSD file of the finished back- ground for you to start with. Lets say you dont want to spend the time selecting the person from their background, like I do in each chapter.

Again, no sweat. Ive got a PSD with the selection already done for you. So, you can literally jump to the composite tutorial in each chapter and start with the portrait and background photos already done. Or, if youre the kind that likes to do it all themselves, then you have all the originals, as well. Either way, its your book and Ive done everything I could think of to make it as useful and easy to follow along with as possible.

Okay, thats it for the up-front stuff. Now, its time to dig in. Have fun! I get asked this one all the time. Unfortunately, its not a definite answer one way or the other. Give me someone interesting to photograph, and Ill find a fitting background for them. Most of the time, I dont even know what that background is before I photograph the person.

[PDF Download] Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing

Ill photograph the person in a way that I know will work for the background. Some times, Ill even try a quick composite in Photo- shop while theyre still in the studio. In most cases, youre probably right as a photographer, that is. However, when it comes to compos- iting, you can use stock in a much different way. Chances are youre going to want a certain element in the photo that you simply dont have.

Thats when stock photogra- phy becomes a supporting design element, an element to help add to the overall impact of your photo. Lets say you want a helicopter in your photo.

Most people dont have the access to shoot a heli- copter, so what do you do? Just go to a site like iStockphoto www. You probably wont find one iso lated on a white back- ground, but, hopefully, after reading this book and the selection secrets in Chapter 1, you wont care, be- cause youll know you can pull just about any image you want from its background.

If youre compositing, the background is almost as important as anything else. And if you dont have to go to a stock photo website to get one, that makes it all that much better. I know you always hear, Keep your camera with you at all times. But, before I started com- positing, I never did. If I wasnt someplace spectacular, or in good light, I just didnt bother.

But, since Ive started creating more compos- ites, I find that no matter where I am, it has potential. I literally take photos of everything, from clouds, to baseball fields, to streetlights, cars, doors, boats, old warehouses, alleyways, you name it.

Anything you think you may one day use and even if you think youll never use it becomes fair game for a photo.

Why not, right? That click doesnt cost anything, so shoot it. Once you start shooting back- grounds, make sure you organize them. Ive created a Backgrounds folder, and in that folder are catego- rized subfolders. You dont have to have an official cataloging system it doesnt have to be that sophis- ticated.

As your collection grows, though, you may want to consider a program like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom which I use for most of my photography , with all of its keywords and collections, but as youre starting out, keep it simple. Everything you do in compositing is based around one key part of Photoshopselections. Without a good, clean selection, your com- posites will never look professional.

And as youll see throughout this book, the selection technology in Photoshop CS5 absolutely rocks! Seriously, it has literally shaved hours off of compositing work and it has even made compositing at- tainable to people that simply didnt have the patience or time to try it before.

Its leaps and bounds ahead of where it ever was before Photo- shop CS5. So, the first secret is to make sure you have Photoshop CS5, if you want to make life easier. It all but eliminates the need for the old selection tricks using Channels, Calculations, and the Pen tool. Now, if youre wondering if there are third-party plug-ins out there that make selections easier for you, there are.

But, they cost more money. Photoshop CS5 has all you need and Chapter 1 will teach you all about it. You can learn all of the selection tricks and Photo- shop effects you want, but if the lighting on your subject vs. If you know the background up front, then you can plan ahead with your lighting. If not, using a setup similar to mine above gives you a lot of options later in Photoshop. Most of the time, I use three lights: With two to three lights, you drastically increase your odds of getting a good selection from the back- ground, as well as a head start to making the person fit into just about any other background.

As for the back drop, gener- ally the lighter the better make sure you check out Chapter 1 for more on the best color backdrop to use. The Main Light: The main light source here is what fills in the face and front of the subject. The modifier you put on this light pretty much controls the mood of the light on your subject.

I typically use one of two modifiers: The first is a beauty dish as seen here with diffusion material over it. It gives a slightly more contrasty look to your subject, because it produces harsher shadows on the face.

The other is a small-to-medium-sized Rotalux Deep Octa soft box as seen in the second setup photo on the next page , which I tend to use more when photograph- ing families and kids. It tends to give a softer, flatter look vs. This is the key to this lighting setup.

The edge lights produce a fairly hard light right along the edge of the person. Ive seen people go from using no lighting modifier at all on these just the bare bulb to using large soft- boxes. For me, the size of the modifier is important here, but not critical. The most critical part is that there is some sort of edge light on the person.

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Dont over think this partjust make sure theres a light. Personally, I like to use a long strip bank softbox to get good coverage, from the subjects face all the way down the side of their body. But, a small-to-medium- sized softbox, if you dont have a strip light, can work really well, too. Youll also notice that I use grids on these edge lights to help control the light and focus it where I want.

Remember, we just want a hard edge light along the side of them. We dont necessarily want that light to wrap around them and mix with the light coming from the front.

Compositing pdf photoshop secrets

With a grid, we can direct the light exactly where we want and get more controlled results. As you flip through the book, youll notice that well cover several natural-light composites.

Natural- light portraits can work for lots of com- posites, but youre limited by that light. If you photograph someone in broad day- light at noon, youre probably not going to be able to place them in a dark alley, and make it look real. Youll be able to place them on another background that was shot at noon, but thats about it. Jessica, here, was originally photographed on a gray background. After select- ing her and her hair , and placing her on a white background, the edges of her hair look horrible, right?

If I plan on putting her on a bright background, then this is definitely a problem and something Ill need to fix I show you how, by the way, in Chapter 1. But, if I plan on putting her on a darker back- ground, take a look. I didnt change one thing about the selec- tiononly the color background that I placed her on. The point here is: If youve got a full-body composite, and you place a persons feet on the ground, one of the telltale signs that its fake is typically going to be around the feet.

Its really hard to get shadows and lighting to look perfect when the person wasnt really standing there.

We have tricks that we can do and we will in the book , and one great way to hide what was done is to take peoples attention away from it. Since were drawn to looking at the brighter parts of a photo, darkening the feet helps keep people from focusing on them and the fact that something may not be quite right.

Trust me, from this moment on, take a look at every ad or movie poster you see where you think something may be compos- ited and look at the feet. Nine times out of 10, youll see its darker at the bottom.

If at all possible, create the image so that you dont have the feet included. Youd be surprised at how much feeling, movement, and mood you can create in an image, even if you dont see the persons entire body. Again, keep an eye out for movie posters and magazine ads, and youll see that most of the im- ages that seem like they must be a composite dont even have the peoples feet in them.

As youll see, its not really hard to select a person from one background and place them on another. What is more difficult is getting both the person and the background to share the same overall mood and color temperature. Color really does tie everything together, and it gives everything in the photo a common link.

As we work through the book, well use a number of different tricks for this, like adjust- ment layers and blend modes, as well as a plug-in.

And I hate it when I read something that talks about all these third-party plug-ins you need in order to complete a tutorial. As if Photoshop isnt expensive enough already, along with all the photography gear you need to take the photos.

So, heres what Ive done: Youll find that the free way has two is- sues, though: If youre into compositing, plug-ins will make your life easier, plain and simple. These are the plug-ins I use: But for compositing, its got so many filters that help finish your work.

I swear by the Tonal Contrast filter, which I use to finish off just about every one of my compos- ites and backgrounds. The Bi-Color filter adds some really nice color to your pho- tos. Bleach By pass is a great effect for portraits. The list goes on. I think these effects should be included in Photo shop, but theyre not. Sure, you can go through a bunch of steps to create them in Photoshop, or you can just use the plug-in. Plus, if I really want to add some mood and make a bright image look like it was taken at night, their Dark Night preset used in Chapter 10 is one of my favorites.

Lens flares and light streaks come in really handy to bring your composites to that next level of professionalismthings like enhancing the headlights on a car or light on a building, or adding a light source based on the way light is hitting your subject. You can do all of these things with layers, layer styles, and filters in Photoshop and I did them in Photoshop in the book , but none of them give you the pro- fessional quality light effects that Knoll Light Factory does.

That said, this one is probably the last one on my must-have list. But it wasnt. I immediately found that the new features in the Refine Edge dialog were my favorite, because just about everything we do in Photoshop involves a selection at some point. Today, I still stand by my favorite feature from over a year ago.

Refine Edge, com- bined with the Quick Selection tool, is absolutely the best selection tool Ive found in Photoshop, and most of the selections that well do in this book use this. Go ahead and open a photo with a person youd like to extract from the background.

In this example, Im using a photo of a person who is fairly well-defined all around, but there is a little more detail in his hair. Dont worry, though, I just want to get through some of the basics in this tutorial. Well get to the flyaway hair stuff later in the chapter. Ive demonstrated them in my classes since Photoshop CS5 came out and when people see the results, you can actually hear the oohs and aahs in the crowd. One of my favorite parts about them is that theyre really easy to use.

The Quick Selection tool is basically a brush, so if you can use a brush, you can use it. And, Refine Edge has only a few settings that we really need to worry about. Trust me, youll have them mastered in no time and be well on your way to killer selections.

Grab the Quick Selection tool from the Toolbox or just press W and start painting over the subject in the photo. The Quick Selection tool works just like a brush. So, if youre selecting larger areas, then using a larger brush is faster.

You can press the Right Bracket ] key to quickly make the brush larger and paint in those areas. The main idea behind the Quick Selection tool is that its quick. At this point, just use a large brush and try to get as much of the sub- ject selected as possible, even if you miss some smaller areas or over-select some other parts.

And you dont have to make the entire selection in one brush stroke. If you look at the left side of the Options Bar, youll see three little icons: This means every time you click- and-paint with the brush, it adds to the selection. I noticed a small area near the right edge of his shirt that wasnt selected. Remember, the tool is auto- matically in Add mode, so it simply adds what I just painted on to the overall selection.

The Quick Selection tool got a little overzealous in the bottom-left part of the photo notice how I blamed the tool and not the user and se- lected part of the background. No problem. Remember how I said the Quick Selection tool is always in Add mode? Well, you can tempo- rarily put it into Subtract mode by pressing-and-holding the Option PC: Alt key.

Youll see the minus sign symbol in the middle of your brush, which means that anything you paint will be removed from the current selection. Now, just paint over any areas that shouldnt be selected. Its a good idea to try and get most of the subject selected here. Even if you have to zoom in and spend a couple of minutes with a smaller brush, youll be happy you did. Here, it also selected too much under his arm on the left, so Ill put the tool in Subtract mode again and paint to remove this from the selection.

It doesnt have to be perfect, but youll want to have a good selec- tion around the subject before you move on. Okay, now that we have a pretty good selection around the subject, lets move on to the really good stuffRefine Edge.

At first glance, your selection may look really good, but its definitely not great yet.

photoshop compositing secrets pdf

When ever you have a selection tool and a selection active in Photoshop, youll see the Refine Edge button circled here become available in the Options Bar. Go ahead and click on it to open the Refine Edge dialog. At the top of the dialog, theres a View setting. This lets you see how your selection looks on vari- ous backgrounds. I usually choose On Black or On White from the pop-up menu here.

Most of the time, I pick the one that most resembles the brightness of the background Im going to place the subject into. That way, I can get a good preview of how theyre going to fit. In this example, white will give us a really good preview of the edge were working with since his clothes are darker than a pure white , so Im going to choose On White.

If you usually choose black, then try switching to white once in a while. This way, youll get a worst- case preview of what your selection looks like and any problem areas you may have to watch out for later. Youll see that our selection is look- ing kinda jagged at this point. Well, the star of this dialog is the Edge Detection section new in CS5 , and its going to help out a lot. Its job is to automatically figure out what areas you want to keep around the edges of your selection and what areas you want to get rid of.

So, the first thing I do is increase the Radius setting. This gives Photo shop some information about how far out from the existing edges of the selection you want to look for things that may need to be selected. If you dont have wispy hair or any stray details that are really far out of the original selection like in this example , then you can get by with a low setting of around pixels or so.

STEP Try turning on the Show Radius check box at the top of the dialog. This gives you a preview of the Radius setting, so you can fine- tune just how far you need to drag the Radius slider. If you still dont see the edges of what you eventu- ally want selected, then you need to keep increasing the Radius set- ting until you do. If not, Photoshop wont look that far outside your original selection for any more details to select. Right now, I have the Radius set to 15 pixels.

This means that Photo- shop will look within 15 pixels on either side of the selection for de- tails. But, youll see theres a Smart Radius checkbox above the Radius slider. Turning this checkbox on tells Photoshop to be a little smarter about what it chooses to select. If it sees a hard edge, itll automati- cally bring the radius in closer, so it doesnt accidentally select some- thing it shouldnt. If it detects details near the edge like hair , then itll hold the radius farther out, near the original Radius setting you chose.

The rest of the dialog isnt actually new to CS5its been around for a while. The Smooth setting will smooth off any jagged edges, and most of the time, like now, I leave it set to 0 because I want all of the edges, like the hair on his arms and head. If the edges start to look too jagged, Ill increase it to 5, maybe 10 at the most.

The Feather setting makes the edges blurry or soft. Typically, you dont want an ex- tremely crisp edge no matter what the subject is. So, feathering has always been a selection trick we used to make things look more re- alistic, but it doesnt have much of a place anymore.

The Radius and Smart Radius settings work much better. But, I usually set Feather to a really small setting, like 0. Contrast firms up any soft edges. Its typically not something well use for extracting people, though, because the Radius setting gives us such a good result.

The Shift Edge setting tells Photoshop to shift the entire selection inward or out- ward depending on which way you move the slider. Again, weve done our work already, so you generally dont need to move the selection edge at this point. Decontaminate Colors is only used when you have your subject on a colored back- ground. Well talk more about what color to photograph people on later in this chapter, so for now just leave it turned off.

When youre done with your selec- tion and ready to move on, head down to the Output To pop-up menu at the bottom of the dialog. Instead of just outputting the re- sults of this dialog to a selection, we can put it on a new layer with a layer mask, so we can always go back and change it if we need to.

In fact, well adjust the selection in the next tutorial. For now, though, just choose Layer Mask from the pop-up menu and then click OK. I say Sweet! Youve successfully selected a person from a background.

Now when you look in your Layers panel, youll see the original layer has a layer mask on it. Some times your selection will look perfect. If it does, then great, but some- times it still needs a little more work. If thats the case, then check out the next tutorial. I know it seems like it took a lot of steps to do this, if you look back through the tutorial. But, really, it was just because I was explaining things as we went along.

Most of the time, after I make a selection with the Quick Selection tool, I gen- erally use the same settings in Refine Edge over and over. Trust me, youll develop a knack for it and, after the first few times you do it, youll see it only takes a few minutes. Sometimes we get lucky and our selection looks awesome when its done. But other times, it needs a little adjusting.

Since we created a mask along with our selection, its really easy to adjust. Thats the cool thing about layer masks for compositing they let us go back and adjust the selection as much as we want with the Brush tool, so we can get really detailed if we need to.

We finished the last tutorial with our subject selected on his original layer with a layer mask, so all we see is a transparent background. If you havent done the last tutorial yet, feel free to download the file and open it here to start from where I left off. Before we go any further in adjust- ing the selection, lets add a new background behind the subject, so we can see how things are look- ing. Command-click PC: Ctrl-click on the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a new blank layer below the existing layer.

Now, get the Zoom tool Z , zoom in, and start looking around the edges of the photo. If youre lucky, everything looks awesome and theres no more work to be done. Most of the time, though, you wont be that lucky. In my example here, I noticed that some of his shirt is missing at the top of his shoulder on the right. To adjust the selection, well use the layer mask that Refine Edge added to our layer. The way that the layer mask works is that wher- ever there is white on the layer mask, the image on the layer is visible.

So, if you look at the layer mask, youll see that the white figure is the exact shape of our subject what was selected in the last tutorial.

Basically, wherever the layer mask is white, that part of the photo is selected. In fact, just to prove my point, press-and-hold the Command PC: Ctrl key and click on the layer mask. Photoshop will put a selection around whatever is white on that layer mask on your image.

In my case, I need to add to the selection. Remember, the selected areas are white on the layer mask, so Im going to paint with white on the mask. First, make sure the layer mask is still active youll see a black highlight border around it , then press D to set your Fore ground color to white. Select the Brush tool B from the Toolbox and use the Left and Right Bracket keys on your keyboard to set the brush size to around 20 pixels.

Zoom in on the shoulder or other area that was cut off and start painting until you see the rest of it appear. If you happen to paint too much and accidentally bring back some of the background, then press the X key to swap your Foreground and Background colors. Now youll be painting with black, which is the same as taking away from the selected area. Paint back over the photo and youll see those areas you dont want to show like that small area of the gray background in Step Five disappear. Ready for a really cool trick?

Zoom in and look at the left side of the photo where hes holding his hand up near his face. See how theres a dirty fringe-like edge that follows the contour of his glove? This hap- pens sometimes if your original background was too dark like mine was here. Sure, you could paint on the mask in black very carefully to remove it, but theres an easier way.

With the layer mask still active and the Brush tool still selected, up in the Options Bar, set the blend Mode to Overlay. Then, choose a brush size that is about the size of the fringe you see, set your Fore- ground color to black because black will hide whatever we paint on , and start painting on that fringe.

Dont worry if your brush starts to spill over onto the subject. Normally, if we werent using the Overlay blend mode for the brush, wed start hiding part of his hand if we painted in black. But because of Overlay mode, Photoshop hides the fringe, but still keeps everything else the brush touches. Now, if you kept brushing over and over on the same area, youd eventually ruin the edge. But one quick swipe with the brush will remove the fringe and keep the rest of what you se- lected intact.

Best of all, you didnt have to be very precise about it. Give it a try around the rest of him, if you see any other areas where the background shows through. One last tip for pulling off a good selection: Zoom in on the left edge of his shirt, just above his shorts. Notice that really dark edge or fringe? Its thin, but its definitely there.

It doesnt happen all the time, but I always zoom in to check for it. To fix this, we have to put our selection up on its own layer, be- cause it wont work on a layer with a layer mask. So, Command-click on the layer mask to load our se- lection around the subject. Click once on the layer thumbnail itself to target it, and then press Command-J PC: Ctrl-J to dupli cate the selected area onto its own layer.

Next, click on the little Eye icon to the left of the original layer to hide it, along with the layer mask this hides it, but keeps it just in case you need to go back to it later. Now youll see the subject selected from his background on a separate layer, but without a layer mask. Most of the time, youll immediately see the fringe disap- pear. Like I said before, it doesnt happen for all photos, but if you do see a small fringe around the edges, the Defringe feature works great.

Some- times youll think Eh, not that great and other times youll think Holy crap!!! Thats awesome! Go ahead and open a photo that has some wispy hair in it. While the subject here has got some clean, defined edges around her clothing, she defi- nitely has some flyaway hair.

How do you select a person from one back- ground and move them to another background with all of their hair intact? Well, youre in luck. If you followed along with the previous tutorials, youve already learned how to get yourself most of the way there. Theres just one small tool we need to help out with the hair. Use the Quick Selection tool W to put an overall selection around her.

Just like we did earlier, spend a minute or two to get the selection as close as possible around all of the well-defined edges. But dont worry about the hairjust get the overall selection close, like you see here. Dont even try to select the hair edges at this point. For starters, press the F key to cycle through the View settings until you get to black since the black background shows off the hair selection really well.

Its probably a good idea to memorize your favorites like B for black, W for white, and K for black and white. Now, drag the Radius slider to around 10, and you should im- mediately see a big improvement. Seriously folks, if youve ever doubted how powerful this Edge Detection stuff is, then take a look at what its doing here.

Zoom in on the subjects head, press the P key to see the original, and then press P again to see the current selection. All weve done so far is move one slider and were already starting to pick up more hair! Okay, we still have some work to do.

Notice how you can defi nitely see the gray peeking through around the edges of her hair, especially near her shoulders. This is where we call in the ringer. The big dog. The head honcho okay, Ill stop. The big kahuna here sorry, last one is the Refine Radius tool. Its the little brush icon circled here just below the Zoom and Hand tools near the top left of the dialog.

Just like other brushes in Photo- shop, it has a size setting that can be controlled with the Left and Right Bracket keys. Go ahead and resize the brush, so itll cover the entire radius of any flyaway hair. Then simply start painting around the edges of the hair. As you paint, youll reveal part of the original background, so you can see just how far out you have to paint to get all of the hair selected. When you release your mouse button, sit back in awe as Photoshop se- lects the hair, but leaves out the background sometimes it takes Photoshop a few seconds to catch up, so be patient when using this tool.

I know I sound like a total Refine Edge fan boy, but you have to admit, this tool rocks! Now, continue to brush around the edges of the hair to bring all of the wispy hair edges back. You can paint in one long brush stroke around the entire head, or use smaller strokes in more concentrated areas.

Honestly, Ive tried both and I havent noticed better or worse results from either way. Every once in a while, youll use the Refine Radius tool and paint over an area that you didnt want to paint over. You may notice it immediately, but sometimes its hard to spot. Here, you can immediately see that were missing part of her jacket on the right where her shoulder meets her hair. So, press-and-hold the Option PC: Alt key and paint over that area to bring it back.

The selection is looking good now. Now, we have our sub- ject selected from the background, with a layer mask. Open a background image to place the subject on. In this case, Im using something that has a lot of bright natural light in it, since our subject has light on both sides of her hair and I think a bright back ground fits her best.

Once the background is open, switch back to the photo of the subject, select the Move tool from the Toolbox just press V , and then drag the photo of the subject onto the new background and position her on the right. If your subject is larger than the new background, press Command-T Ctrl-T to bring up Free Transform, press-and-hold the Shift key, and then click-and- drag a corner handle inward to resize press Command-0 [Zero; PC: Ctrl-0] if you cant see the corner handles.

Press Return PC: Enter to lock in your trans- formation. If you had to resize your subject to fit in the new background, you may see an outline of your layer mask. Just use a black brush to paint this away on the layer mask. Things are looking pretty good. Weve selected our subject and we have lots of hair detail selected along with her.

But if you zoom in and really look closely at the edges, youll see we have a prob- lem: In the next tutorial, well look at how to fix this. If you re- call, in the Refine Edge dialog, we were previewing the selection on a black background, so we didnt see the original background coming through at all.

That just goes to show that the background plays a big role in compositing. If we were keeping her on a dark background, wed be fine and I wouldnt bother with the edges. But, since thats not the case, lets take a look at several ways to refine the hair edges even more using the composite we created in the last tutorial. The first method is one of my favorites and has become my go-to technique for refining hair edges.

When the Layer Style dialog opens, click on the color swatch near the top of the dialog to open the Color Picker. With the Eyedropper, click on an area in the hair that is clos- est to the overall hair color around it dont click on any dark roots or shadows and then click OK to close the Color Picker.

This sets the color of the glow. Depending on how far the gray background encroaches on the hair, adjust the Size setting to make sure you take all of it away. Then, if needed, adjust the Opacity setting at the top to make the fix brighter or darker, depending on how bright the background is. When youre done, click OK. This works great, but it does leave us with one tiny problem. The Inner Glow effect is applied to the entire photo, so even the edges of her jacket get the glow.

Now, in this photo, I actually kinda like it. I think it works, since shes got so much natural light coming from behind her to begin with. But if it doesnt work for your particular photo, then we can always remove it from the parts we dont want it to affect. This puts the effect onto its own layer, so its no longer a layer style. Click on this new layer to make it active, then click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Select the Brush tool B and set your Foreground color to black.

Then, just paint away the inner glow from any areas you dont want it to affect. Again, this technique is my favor- ite and its the one I turn to the most when selecting hair.

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I just wanted to let you know this works for dark hair, too. You just have to change a few settings. Heres another photo with crazy hair. In fact, Im not sure it gets any crazier than this.

I used the same exact steps as before to select her and her hair from the background. The subject is se- lected on her original layer with a layer mask and then I added a white layer below.

Since its white, everything looks great. But look at what happens when I place her on a dark background. Youll see remnants of the brighter background around the edges of her hair. Just a quick aside: In all honesty, Id never place her on a black background to begin with. I just dont think it looks right. Shes so brightly lit that she fits in perfectly with a bright background. To me, she looks fake and pasted in on the black background, regard- less of whats happening with the edges of her hair.

That said, lets try out the Inner Glow trick just to show you it works here, too. Add the Inner Glow layer style just like before. But, this time, first change the Blend Mode from Screen to Multiply at the top of the dialog , then click on the color swatch to open the Color Picker. Use the Eyedropper to sample a color from her hair and adjust the Size and Opacity settings. So, for brightly colored hair, use the Screen blend mode the default and for dark hair, use Multiply.

Another method for removing that fringe is to use the Matting options found under the Layer menu. You cant use them on a layer with a layer mask, though, so youll want to make sure youve got your se- lection as good as possible before you do this.

So, lets go back to our blonde subject and Command-click PC: Ctrl-click on the layer mask to load it as a selection. Then, click on the layer thumbnail not the mask to target it and press Command-J PC: Ctrl-J to copy the selected area onto its own layer. Click on the Eye icon to the left of the origi- nal layer with the layer mask to hide them, so only the top copy layer is showing. This removes those gray edges and sometimes its amazing how well it does.

It does, though, have two bad side effects, which both affect this photo: I know it sounds funny to say theyre fried or crisp, but it just tends to make the edges jagged and overly contrasty in certain places. I usually use the Dodge and Burn trick as a follow-up to one of the previous techniques.

Its really simple for fixing just a few small stray hairs and not the entire head. In our example, our subject has blonde hair. So, when the hair is light, select the Dodge tool from the Toolbox or press O. Now, just paint on the layer along the edges of the hair that are too dark. The same thing applies to darker hair with white fringes around it.

The only difference is that youll use the Burn tool instead. Its nested beneath the Dodge tool in the Toolbox or just press Shift-O until you have it. Use the same settings, though. Lets start with my favorite choice, gray. Actually, light gray.

Heres a photo of a woman on a white seam- less backdrop that has no light aiming at it. Because theres no light pointing at the back- ground, it falls to a light gray.

For me, and the selection tools I work with, light gray seems to work best. Once in a while, if the subject happens to be wearing gray, it can miss a few edges, but its always a quick, easy fix.

For hair and detailed edges the hardest part about selecting , gray seems to do the best job. Lets put this one to rest and take a look at all of them white, gray, black, and green.

Youll find that, as long as theres a good amount of contrast between your subject and the background, just about anything will work.

In fact, later in the book, youll see we dont have real studio backdrops behind some of the people were working with. But, if youre in a controlled environment like a studio , when it comes to shooting specifically for compositing and extraction, theres one color that just makes the most sense. Heres a photo of the same woman taken on the same white seamless backdrop, but here it has been lit. In the studio, to keep the back- ground white, you need to point a light at it.

If you take a photo of it with no light aimed toward it, the background turns a light or dark shade of gray, de pending on what other lights are pointed toward it, and how far away the entire setup is from it. White actually works re- ally well for extracting.

In fact, Ive found its one of the best colors for Re fine Edge to work with. Here are the problems, though: If youre placing them onto a brightly colored background, its not a huge problem.

But, if youre putting them on a darker background, it wont look right. Its hard to describe, but when you see it, theres just something that looks off, because theres so much bright light around them. These lights make the edges of the subjects clothing and skin almost white.

Photoshop Compositing Secrets Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Pho

Not all-white mind you, but close enough to confuse Refine Edge and make se- lecting the hair and body a pain. Heres another photo of the same subject and the same light- ing setup we saw with the gray backdrop, but this time were using a black backdrop. With no light pointing directly at the background our main light will cast some light on it , the black stays mostly black.

The problem with black is that dark clothes which are pretty common dont give Photoshop enough contrast to select with. EPUB The open industry format known for its reflowable content and usability on supported mobile devices. This eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discreetly watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.

Compositing is one of the hottest trends in Photoshop and photography today for portrait photographers, designers of all walks of life, and even retouchers. In Photoshop Compositing Secrets , Matt Kloskowski takes you through the entire process behind creating convincing, well-executed, and captivating composites.

No matter if you're a professional, an aspiring professional, or a hobbyist, Photoshop Compositing Secrets will sharpen your skills and open up a whole new avenue of photographic expression in an easy-to-understand way that will have you creating your own composites in no time. Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Extracting Hair. Senior Portrait. Download Chapter 4: Get unlimited day access to over 30, books about UX design, leadership, project management, teams, agile development, analytics, core programming, and so much more.

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