Skip to main content

Day 19: Selecting II (Compositing)

Lesson 31 from: 30 Days of Photoshop

Dave Cross

Day 19: Selecting II (Compositing)

Lesson 31 from: 30 Days of Photoshop

Dave Cross

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

31. Day 19: Selecting II (Compositing)


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Overview of Days 1-15


Overview of Days 16-30


Preview of Content, Part 1 - Layers, Comps, Styles, Masks


Preview of Content, Part 2 - Smart Objects and Paths


Day 2


Day 1 Introduction


Day 1 Exploring Photoshop


Day 1 Realistic Expectations


Day 3


Day 2: Best Practices I Part One


Day 2 Best Practices I Part 2


Day 4


Day 3: Lay of the Land


Day 5


Day 4: Best Practices II – Working Non-Destructively


Day 6


Day 5: Layers I


Day 7


Day 6: Layers II


Day 8


Day 7: Layers III - Masks


Bonus Video: "Layers"


Bonus Video: "Vector Masks"


Day 9


Day 8: Getting Images In and Out


Day 10


Day 9: Resolution, File Size, Resizing


Bonus Video: "Free Transform - Warping"


Day 11


Day 10: Cropping (Straightening)


Day 12


Day 11: Adjusting


Day 13


Day 12: Smart Objects & Smart Filters I (Introduction)


Bonus Video: "Copying Smart Filters"


Day 14


Day 13: Smart Objects & Smart Filters II (More Advanced)


Day 15


Day 14: Retouching I (Replacing, Removing, Moving)


Day 16


Day 15: Retouching II (Fixing, Portrait Retouching)


Day 17


Day 16: Quiz & Review


Day 18


Day 17: Shapes, Paths, and Patterns


Day 19


Day 18: Selecting I


Day 20


Day 19: Selecting II (Compositing)


Bonus Video: "Green Screen"


Day 21


Day 20: Type


Day 22


Day 21: Color


Day 23


Day 22: Painting & Brush Options


Day 24


Day 23: Automation I (Built-In, Not So Obvious)


Day 25


Day 24: Automation II (Actions)


Bonus Video: "Actions"


Day 26


Day 25: Presets


Day 27


Day 26: Video


Day 28


Day 27: Finishing Touches


Bonus Video: "Sharpen"


Day 29


Day 28: Tips and Tricks


Day 30


Day 29: Quiz, Review, Projects


Day 31


Day 30: Project, Strategies to Continue to Get Better


Lesson Info

Day 19: Selecting II (Compositing)

well hi day nineteen well your net not day nineteen but this is day nineteen and it's continuing on yesterday's topic of making selections and taking it a step further of how weaken use one of them main reasons that many of us use elections and that's the new compositing where we take someone off of one background put them onto a new background and try to make it look as realistic as possible so we can talk about some of the techniques we use are going to build on we already know from making selections but in the context of the background and one of things that I'm going to suggest to you is that once you see how easy it is or easy it can be to do this compositing if the photographs are shot in the ideal manner that you'll start composing your photographs differently for example I'll show you an example as we go of a shoot that I did where I deliberately position my subject off to one side so that I could have all this other room to do something I wasn't exactly sure what it might be a...

nd I end up having to kind of fake it at the last minute but ultimately that's kind of the thought processes start picturing photo shop in your mind okay we'll make that the background layer that would make a good background I can leave space over here that kind of thing and what we want to do ultimately is make it look believable unless you're going for a complete fantasy world where you're creating something that doesn't even exist and if we have time I'll show an example of that at the very end but mostly we want it we don't want someone looking go oh I can see you put them on that new background so we want to be able to do it fairly quickly and with accuracy and also in a way it's going to look believable and me when you could do that then as if you're a photographer who's in the business of selling your services this is an excellent way to do it is to be able to say hey come to my studio I will shoot you on a plane gray background but then we could put you in all kinds of different backgrounds that are related to you your interests or your hobbies or whatever it might be so that's kind of what we're aiming do in this next hour so talking about compositing so let's take a look at our first example here here's a guy took a photograph of a number of years ago had happened that it was a really nice day out so we had one of our typical nice guys actually we didn't this is the original photograph and this is the nice guy that I pull over on the side of the highway between tampa and orlando and said that's a nice guy and grabbed it and stuck it in my folder of potential backgrounds so ideally what we want to do is get to this point where someone's gonna look at this now that I've told you it's a composite you're probably looking more closely at the edges of his hair and everything else but when you do it well enough except for situations where you khun sake I know that person was never in las vegas or whatever it might be then it's a little different but that's what we want to aim to do is end up with someone looking realistic on the new background and what I used to do and I suggest that be careful about doing things this way is I used to start off with the photograph the person say okay I'm gonna first things first I'm gonna concentrate on extracting him off of this background and I would do all the work and I would zoom in and make sure all the hair look good and then on one occasion tell the story because I think it's really important infact for me it was one of those major lightbulb moments where it changed everything from a compositing standpoint so it wasn't this photograph but I was working on a photograph and I was a girl with her hair just kind of blowing in the wind and I spent all this time on the original photograph of her zooming in painting and overlay mode on the mass trying to get every little hair looking just perfect and then once I did all that and I had this nice mask I was like that was a lot of effort but it looks really good now and I dragged her onto the new background and when I positioned her I realize it looked best if she was positioned off to one side of the photograph where her hair almost blended in with the background and I realized I spent all that time trying to perfect and make every hair look perfect when I didn't really need to because in that particular background it wasn't necessary so that light bulb moment for me was before you do anything else drag someone onto the new background then every decision you're making is in the context of the new background so you may decide that actually looks pretty good I don't need to worry about that or maybe you move them off to the side enough that they don't even see the part that's causing you grief now if ultimately you need to move someone around and then that does change but the point is a lot of the time I found I was working too hard because I was obsessing frankly over a little bits and pieces of detail that in the long run I've never even see when I finally saw the image so let's take a look at it in the context of this example what I used to do was take my quick selection tool and try and get a pretty good start then go to refine edge and now I would look at it and spend a lot of time maybe on a black background because his hair is white or gray and I would start trying to refine this and make it look grade and hit smart radius and move that and do all this work and then and eventually say all right I want a layer mass would click on the layer mass and I go look at the layer mask option or halt click on it and so can you fix this and you know just that that doesn't look very good and then eventually I would say all right let's just bring in a new background and see how it looks so I've got a photograph that's way bigger than I need we'll put it behind him and as I start teo move it around I think that's kind of a neat background right there I realize all the effort I was worrying about his hair maybe wasn't necessary because you can't believe in seat and that's kind of the point so in every example I'm going to show you from here on forward I'm going to suggest that step one is before we do anything else drag the photograph onto the new background then start working on it and try and seek is that way again everything is in context and you're seeing right away the difference is going to make when you do this kind of work now we may come back and finish this one later on but I want to show you some examples of the kind of approach that I would take so here's what I was referring to I took this photograph of this young guy and I deliberately left all this room on this side thinking that I might either put some text on here make it look like an old poster or maybe even put a second photograph of him and by leaving this extra space I can even though we have tools like the content aware moved tool and in his extend feature if I don't have to extend it been photoshopped why would I so I'm going to say this is my background image it is a raw file so I'm gonna open it and raw and make sure it looks the way I want in terms of contrast in everything else and hit open so by doing that my background is a camera smart objects so that I can continue to edit it then I go back and get my other portrait now in this case I realized later on that when I put this together it would look better if he was facing the other way so in this example this is the on ly one I have us of him facing this direction so in an ideal world I would have taken one the other way but you notice one important thing as I deliberately when I was taking this photo tried to do kind of a profile and took advantage of depth of field with focus so that when I go to make my selection hopefully should be pretty easy because there's a fairly definite edge there so we're gonna open this also and let's just do previous conversion so it looks kind of the same I'm going to make sure this is a little bit bigger just so I have it bigger than I need rather than too small okay and we'll open that now just to review one little thing if I wanted to make sure he fit perfectly inside this first one I could have used the place command but then I risk losing that ability to a camera raw smart object and in this case I'm not sure that I want to fit his whole image and I might want to cut it off somewhere else so I take this and I drag and drop it on to the other image and hit free transform and the first thing to do even though you wouldn't I really do this to a person because it would be weird I'm going to flip him horizontal so he's facing this way that's really the way I should have taken the photograph if I was really planning ahead but I want to show you this example of how I would do it now at this point I decide how being I think I want him I don't want to show the whole thing I want to be a fairly close up but I think I want a little more than that so let's zoom out enough so I can see my handles here and I want to get just maybe a little bit of his tie in there and I might also rotate it so his eyes were kind of looking straight out something like maybe that okay so now I have my two layers both of which are cameras smart objects so eventually when I create the mask here to do the composite of the two images I can still edit the settings to make sure they match up because one of things were again aiming for is believability and even though obviously this couldn't be one photograph because there's two of him in the same photo I still want a believable in terms of the atonality and the brightness and everything else okay so take my quick selection tool why am I starting the quick selection tool was we talked about yesterday's session on selection's anytime you see definite edges I always try the quick selection tool first because it's pretty darn good and even times where it's not great it's still a really good start so I want to get fairly close to the edges of his hair here I went a little too far there so I option or alter to take away that little area there if I'm forced to make a decision I'd rather get a little too little hair or edge than too much when I used your financial I find it generally works better if I'm not straying too far into the areas that are kind of fly away like his hair here I'm gonna do a quick q for quick mass to make sure I didn't miss any glaring area rescue again to get out of it I think I want to let's go a little closer here good thing I did because I can see a mr well part of his nose on that highlight part there and this part here and down him so just this is a good reminder that although it's fine to do some of your preliminary work in that kind of zoomed out view before you go too far you want to get closer in to make sure you're not making any decisions that will come back to haunt you because you missed too much I'm not going to worry about eyebrows and eyelashes here because we'll get that later on I can also see I've missed a few hairs here and there but that's the job of refined edge I just wanna make sure I didn't cut anything off a little more of his tie here okay now I'll go back to fit in window view too so we can see what we're doing all right now refine edge and refine edge as we talked about previously has all these options like marching ants overlay on black on white but the one that I'm going to use all the time especially because I made a whole point of dragging him onto this background is I want to see him in the context of the new background so on layers means see through to whatever layer you already had so right now I'm automatically scene how he looks and it's already pretty good but I want to again zoom in a bit and maybe a smaller brush left bracket and just make sure I don't miss little details like eyebrows and eyelashes and now in here I'm just going to a quick little go around the edge because I want to make sure that I didn't cut anything off that's gonna help sell the idea here around the edge and I'll show you in a second what once I get to think that looks pretty close there but I want to make sure that I'm not really making any missing any areas so one of the things I learned very quickly and refined edges these shortcuts l for view it on layers k for black and white so that means I compressed the letter k to see what it looked like in this mask view and I can see overall looks pretty good there's a couple of things where I might need to do a little overlay painting that I press l to go back to layers and fit in window and overall I'm quite happy with the way that looks I would tell it to turn it into a layer mask now once I looked more closely at it maybe I do want to win just the colors of his face just a little bit so I double click on my camera smart object to say let's cool the temperature just a bit maybe lower the contrast just a hair something like that I don't need quite so much clarity on his face click okay and updates and it re does the mask so at this point it's looking pretty good I lost a little bit over here on the massless you see what's happening there one thing that you can do if you're at this point it's hard to see what's going on remember shift click on the mask will hide it and show it so that is just kind of the way his eyebrow goes I missed a few eyelashes but I'm not as concerned about that let's option click on it or all clicked and see there is a little bit of information there so if I do my paintbrush I haven't set still in overlay at fifteen percent capacity and I just paint trying to get just a little bit more of that information in there and again I would normally do that this way still seeing the photograph but clicking on the mask that way as your painting and overly mode you're not just painting on the mask I found when I looked on lee at the mask and painted an overly mode sometimes I went too far painted too much and wasn't very happy with the results this way I'm seeing it in the context of this layer and on the background now there's one little thing that I don't know about you but it's been bugging me since I started I want to add a new layer take my spot healing brush let's get to my spot healing brush there we go make sure it's set to sample all layers and just get rid of that little thing there there is kind of bugging me a little bit so at this point I'm quote unquote finished I wish I could still tweak a little bit but you can see it didn't take all that long mostly because well for a couple of reasons first of all of course I have the room to place him so I wasn't worried about trying to fake it and figure out how should I extend the background the colors we're similar and this photograph that I took even though I did take it from the wrong angle and I had to flip him which is not something I would strongly recommend but that depth of field is creating the edge that makes my life easier yeah one of things that it's worth kind of talking about just for a second is that if you are the person with the camera or you have some control over how photos were taken you can make your select thing and compositing life so much easier based on how the photo was taken you khun position someone in front of a background pull them off the background so they're not casting a big hunk and shadow on there everything about the way of photograph is taken will make a big difference if you're walking around with your camera and see something I think that might make a cool background that don't just take one photo of it take a photo from different levels so move up and down or slightly on different angles because that way later on if you're trying to use it as a compositing background you've got a few options for things that kind of match the angles better of your subject so compositing side of put together in photo shop is the most important part but honestly you can make your life so much easier if you start with ammunitions going to help you so create take photos with the more of a background or change the angle or pull someone away from a background so it's easier to make a selection this might seem weird to say this but when I'm looking through my viewfinder I'm often thinking like photoshopped and thinking well if I was the refined edge tool I don't really think that that exact way but the point is I'm looking at something going waited let's move you over this way and I'll step a little further back and zoom in and create some depth of field so then when I go to extract this person it will be easier if I'm shooting in the studio than I set up a great background or a white background and make sure the lighting isn't casting any shadow unless I want a shadow and all of those factors just make my life a whole lot simpler when it comes time to putting these things together okay so let's move on from this fellow and look at an example of how I might work if I was going to try and do something on a different background so let's take this one this is my background and I want to use this subject so organic and ope in it as a camera smart object and at this point all I'm really looking at and let me pozen's say this to you directly at the camera initially when I'm adjusting my image I'm looking maura's from a perspective of will this be easy to select then I am worrying about will it match with the background in terms of color and exposure and everything else and I'll show you some examples throughout this lesson about something more extreme versions but that's my thought processes I'm looking at for example in this case her hair versus the background and right now as I just things like exposure that's really what I'm looking at is trying to make a better job for here and make sure that the edges of this look good later on I'll worry about things like adjusting the settings I wouldn't normally push up clarity that high on a picture of a young lady but I'm thinking that might help when it comes time to make a selection of her hair so I hit open object and then again the first thing I do is drag her into that other photograph now I can actually close this one because now she's in this photograph I hit free transform command of control zero and I want to scale her down if I'm not sure how big I should make her doesn't really matter cause I can always scale her back up again but initially I might lower the opacity and think maybe around that size perhaps we'll put her over here enter put the opacity back up again now whenever I see a photograph like this where I've got someone with some hair going on but she also has you can see the rest of her body that was just not a hair or head and some hair and use the same kind of approach I did with that photograph of my son mike when he had big curly hair is do it in pieces so hard to do that I'm going to make two copies of this smart object and let's first work on this one and work on the easy what should be the easy part to get which is her body and her arm because those have very definite edges so I'm just using the quick selection tool and I'm trying to get a decent selection I want to take away this portion here on this portion here and I don't worry about the fact that I've got her hair so I'm gonna do that separately press q for quick mask and make sure I didn't miss anything glaring that looks pretty good I might just sneak into her hair her head just a little bit here just to make sure I've got some overlap okay so then refined edge now it's important to note I don't know if I said this out loud but I hit the top layer because I want to make sure when I go to refine edge all I'm seeing is the part that I'm working on so this is what you have to get your head around bad choice of words get your mind around is when you're doing this you have to imagine don't worry about the fact that I can't see her head or hare I'm doing that later right now I'm focusing just on her body now part of the reason I'm doing this is because one of the complaints I hear from people about refine edge is good as it is is if you have someone with a lot of hair and you took take that smart radius move the slider really high then while it makes the hair look better it does bad things to like someone's shoulders or something like that so this way I don't have to worry about that because I'm only worrying about the hard edges of this as long as this looks pretty good I'm pretty happy I might shit the edge by just a little hair and I'm gonna tell it make a layer mask and now what that's gonna allow me to do is know that I've now got the important parts I want from a standpoint of her body so now let's hide that for a second go back to the top one and now take the air exact opposite approach which is to say let's worry about her hair so I'm gonna try to get fairly close to the edge of her hair in this little piece down here but I'm not worried about getting all of it I'm remember I've got some of this so I just need to create make sure there's enough overlap and in this case I go back to refine edge now here because I'm not worried about preserving hard edges I can take this smart radius and push it pretty far up and see if it doesn't just start making the hair look pretty good now it's it's got some of it I need to still do some work in here so let's just go in and paint around some of these edges and try and get some of the hair that I know there's hair here I know there's hair down there and maybe a little bit over here somewhere this is where by the way some times it's easy to use that overlay mode because now instead of me just guessing and saying I think there's hair here I can actually see better here but then I very quickly go back to that on layers of you now right here it doesn't look like I've got everything I need but let's go to that black and white and you could see I really have there's hair there I'm not worried all about this because that's where her arm already is I miss looking at the outer edges and might be a little much let's pull it back a little bit still want to get the hair but I don't need to have all that gray and they're somewhere around there looks pretty decent I think okay again I choose make it a layer mask so not got the mask of her hair and let's take a look at that mask and see where we've got this look at all those little tiny hairs that have got that's pretty amazing that it was able to do that but I can also see some areas like that medium gray isn't good I don't want that not sure what that is there so I optional click on it again and now I start painting with my paintbrush I'm remember it's always defaulting I'm still in overlay mode in opacity of fifty percent so I changed my form heart of black and do a little bit of painting around some of these edges here that but overall I mean it's already looking pretty good except for that little glitchy thing there I think in that case I just need to change it to normal and just painted away here that's what our exposure backup why's it not getting that I just want to make that go away go okay I'm going a little too far a little brush this is okay because ultimately realised that's where her hand is going I don't have to worry about that quite a cz much I just need to worry about these other areas here so let's put this back to overlay mode see how I could just get those little tiny bits of hair that just make it look realistic and once again I'm not saying this out loud but I'm taking advantage of my tablet by varying the pressure to try and get these hairs where I want them I think I'd lower the opacity by pressing fifty percent is I think I introduced a bit too much noise eunice and her hair let's go back to black and take that out of it but already I'm reason we happy with that considering I've just barely started it's already looking pretty realistic and the reason that it is because I said let's separate this into two pieces will do the part that should be easy to get because there's definite edges and then we'll do the other parts separately here's where I think it's particularly cool remember right at the get go I said I'm opening this in camera on I'm looking at it not from exposure standpoint or color tone ing or whatever so it looks proper in the photograph I'm just looking to make the job easier of my selection tools in photo shop so now I look at it I say she's doesn't really match the background she is a little too vibrant maybe a little too warm compared to the background so I need to tweak it while I have two copies of the same smart object so I brought one in and I duplicated so I could do one for the body and one for her hair but it's the same smart object twice so now I double click on either one of them it goes back to camera let's put it back the way this photo was shot and now I say let's adjust the color temperature a little cooler and maybe just add a little bit of contrast in there but I want it pull the highlights back a little bit maybe the whites and click okay and it's gonna update and now right away to me that's starting to look more realistic because the color tones everything match a little bit more with the background I think I'd still go one little bit less with the exposure may be just a bit but that's what I love about this is I can do that I don't have to talk to about this numerous times but I always come back to it I never want to feel like I'm saying oh well I guess that'll have to do because I don't want it to do I wanted to look good I wanted to be want to be happy with the end result so this one little project summarizes for me the way that I do a composite of a person on a background dragged a person over open it if it's let me start again rewind room here's how I do that whole process is eye opening in camera off first and again adjust the settings on lee with the goal of making the adjustment or excuse me the selection easier then I dragged on new background then I analyze it and say ok is there issue's challenging parts with hair or something blowing in the wind or whatever it might be usually it's hair if so then all at least consider separating two two halfs like I did hear sometimes you don't need to but least you can see it's fairly easy to do that and by doing it then you can take better advantage of refined edge by pushing that smart radius further for hair and not at all for hard edges ultimately I end up with these two smart objects if I need to move her to a different part of the photograph I just need to remember that I have two of them and either select them both or I suppose at this point I could once again convert this to a smart object so that way I khun position or wherever I want and at worst I'd have to just update the mass because I don't have far enough in this case but overall I can say that's where I wanted to go and if I still need to edit it of course I have the original raw information so we're going to repeat that operation a couple of times here to show you a variety of variations on the same theme especially a more dramatic example of how to take advantage of that camera raw ability so let's take a look at uh this example so I'm just going to open this is my background it's a camera smart objects for now I was going to say it looks good we'll worry about that later on and here's my main image I want to use I'm going to show you this is the way the photograph was taken I deliberately was trying to get a very dramatic kind of lighting here that I'll put on a dark background but I just shot this is actually a white wall but based on the lighting set up it make everything quite dark but if I look at it from a perspective of how will my selection to will do the quick selection tool up here will go not quite sure because his hair is kind of moving into the background you can't really tell the difference so I'm going to adjust the exposure even though now I'm doing horrible things to his face I'm not worried about that right now all I'm worried about is his hair I probably went a little too far but so long as I can see some separations I might decide to adjust the black slider and again maybe even clarity will help a little bit to see what I'm doing then I choose open object once again gonna seem like a broken record here but this is the way we do it I'm going to say all right before we don't make any decisions let's drag him on to the new background so now I just have the one document with my soccer player on this new background and I decide roughly where I want him to go I think I happy that might scale him down just a little bit and put him right about maybe there and of course I can always change this as I go but now same exact procedure so it's move him up just a bit so don't cut off his hand so scaled down saris keep changed my mind that's what all right so now quick selection tool and I start to drag around and it's going to find most of the edges for me do it really a quick run kind of see how we're doing overall it's pretty good mr is here so I need to get that now first glance it looks pretty close hoops I want to get that too this is why use quick mass because mean oops I missed that middle part completely and I also missed something over here once I've got my first passed on need to take this part away option or ault now let's go to one hundred percent look a little more closely with a bit more here I'm not gonna worry about his laces on get those later on but I want to get fairly close to the edge of his hair but I'm not worried about getting it absolutely perfect yet because that's what refined edges for and I looked down hair hand looks pretty good now if this was a actual project I would get in make sure like all the little details like there's a bit of greg and see down there but for our purposes today I'm not gonna worry about that but that is you'd have to explore that yourself decided that something you want to do okay now refine edge I'm gonna go l for on layers and start to see how he looks and this is where you have to use your vivid imagination don't be distracted by the fact you going wow he's really bright and the backgrounds really dark we will fix that eventually at this point I'm just trying to get a start so all the other edges I'm happy with the only thing I want to possibly adjust is make sure I get a little more of his hair and at first it might not look all that good but at least I know there's something there using that gray painting option so for now I'm just going to say okay that's enough all these other edges look good let's make a layer mask click okay before I make any other decisions including before I paint on the mask remember I deliberately have him in this very dramatic look so I've double click to go back to camera I might just make the shadow just a little black hair lighter but again I'm still trying to make this this kind of contrast e gritty looking photograph so just pull up the exposure just a bit let's pull down the whites and the highlights because I can and I might even lower the vibrance just a little bit we're not sure yet but click okay and now updates and now I can start to look and say all right I like the look of that think I'm going to take the background and lower the exposure just a little bit you may have noticed that this background photo I deliberately tried to create a bit of the feel of depth of field I always find that if you can photographically shoot something with depth of field ultimate is gonna look more realistic than trying to fake it in for a shock so bit of negative clarity makes it a little softer let's darken the shadows click okay that's looking a lot more like I had in mind now I'll look at it a closer in and see what still needs to be done his hair does not look very good so I need toe explore that and see why it is because in this case when I painted with that refine radius tool didn't really help me a whole lot so I go back to my paintbrush tool to my quickly checked it's still on overlay mode with the opacity of fifty percent but my foreground color is black and I needed to be white in this case so I'm gonna swap those and just start to paint a bit and see if that starts to look a little bit better if you find no matter how much you painted overly mode it's just not working for you you may have to switch to regular mode and is very carefully paintings I'm seeing little holes in his head there that just doesn't seem to be picking up in overlay mode so I would put this back to normal and see if I can't just do that myself now I have lips I said sorry that's why those things the whole photo shop is not voice activated thing I said normal but I realized I actually by mistake picked dissolve which is never a good thing okay so normal what I meant to say in there we go so now I can get a small little brush and just kind of try and fill in those little piece I'm still painting a fifty percent opacity so it's gradual but that's going to work a little better for me this now there's one other little thing that I deliberately at the beginning didn't worry about which was his laces here so this is where I would just go to my regular old lasso tool and try and get these laces I don't have to do them all in one shot but I'll try in this case just for the sake of argument then I can go back to my mask and realize I need to fill those areas with white so we're getting those little laces and aiken stole I need do a little bit more tweaking of this get it to look the way that I want that's a little better remember don't be fooled too much by zooming into greater than one hundred percent because you start worrying about every little decision and here I might start to play a little bit and say what if I want to add some another looks like there's another light source coming from over here so I might play with that we'll get to that mohr in kind of the finishing touch ng side but another example of how we're taking advantage in this case of a very dramatic difference between the original way the photograph was taken and how we might adjust it to make our selecting life easier in photo shop so let's put this psd file in here so I can come back to this later now one of the more challenging things to do is if you want to see a full body in there up until now I've just had kind of a waste up I think is frankly it's a lot easier but let's see what we want tohave it looks like someone's in the photograph so I'm gonna take this photograph this example of photo I just took in an alleyway and I kind of liked it and I wanted to make sure that it gave me some options so I basically shot it in a couple of different ways to try a different angles to give myself something to work with like that as much I'm just trying to see if I could have justice all you think I'm gonna manually strain it just a hair and hit open object once again I don't know yet about the brightness or darkness of it I have to figure that out once I do the next step so here's a studio shot taken with a beauty dish let's see what the default looked like it was fairly dark but again same exact idea before I pulled her over I'm gonna look and say and my word it all about the contrast between her and the background maybe just a little bit I think overall turn into a pretty good job that's why shooting on grey is always a good thing I also we look at this original I decided I had a light source coming because I deliberately wanted to create a bit of a cash shadow that I could try to either use or replicate in my final version because that's one things that help cells someone standing in a photo where so I open that photograph drag her over and now we have to figure out how tall she should be now in this case I'm totally guessing because I have no frame of reference so if you're going to shoot a background there's something to be said for making sure there's a garbage can in there initially or something even you stand there yourself I don't know whatever you want to do so you have some frame of reference to say that looks about the right height we could always adjust it later on but let's kind of want to get to that point now in this particular photograph I'm not sure I have this feeling that I might be able to get it all get her all excuse me in one shot instead of doing her hair and body separately because there's only a little bits of hair here so I think I might be ok there let's just try it and see take away that little part had a bit more here so once again I'm using the quick selection to do as much as I can a little bit there and I'm going to not include this part of her between her shoo in the ground for now I'm gonna keep that separate okay looks all right so far so refined edge it's already set on layers it already looks pretty decent I'm not gonna move any slider here just trying to use that edge detection tool and see if I can just add a little bit more of the hair and here just again sell it to make it a little more believable that looks pretty good to me less pressed k for that black and white you overall I like it a little bit of gray and here and here that I want to fix but again I can adjust that I also noticed that the edge of this here still was missing a little bit but overall looks pretty good back to el for layers all right I think we're good there and remember I'm not let me reiterate I'm not expecting this to be perfect I'm expecting it to be pretty darn close because I wantto not be missing here is completely but as long as when I go to that black and white for you I see something there that's kind of what I'm looking for is just make sure there's something there and I go to layer mask like okay now once again before I make too many decisions I want to put her back the way I shot this with the intention of her being in this dark alleyway I think I will lighten up the black just a little bit surgeon see a bit more detail in her hands they're just like that and maybe a little bit of vibrance okay now her face looks a lot better there's not these glaring highlight so it's already looking pretty good and then I decide where doe I actually want her to stand and even this point if I now look at and say maybe she does need to be taller I can still free transform it up remember this is a smart object and she was originally the file was bigger when I brought it and I scaled it down to fit now one thing I haven't done so far they'd like to show you at this point is so I've made my selection I didn't refine edge and said make a layer mask and then I adjusted the camera raw once I've done that if now I decide I want to look a little more at the edge to see if we can maybe make it look a little better here then if I click on the mask and goto properties mask ej and I did touch on this briefly in another lesson when I want to talk about it mork is very important I think gives me almost like a second shot at the same thing because now I can go on and say I would like to see let's just take a really small brush and just paint along this as where I feel like I'm seeing just a little bit of a glowy fringe thing that might be something just in the background but overall I think that already looks a little bit better so what this is doing is giving me a second shot at doing the same thing so I can go in and say I still like the hair they're a little better I could still do like smart radius if I want to try to see if I could adjust a little further maybe just a little bit in this case see that looks better so what this is doing its means I already have a mask there I'm just trying to tweak it so I want the results just to be output to layer mask almost means well doesn't affect me keep it on the same layer mask if I I made a new layer or new larra pass that would change but I'm just trying to say just update this layer mask click okay now that I've done that I can continue the work I've still got my mask selected and if I look at it once again I remind myself up in her hair a little bit in this little area here so let's get a little closer I'm soon in a little more than I would but I want to see what's happening now use this next step with caution in the sense remember to switch it back again but I found over the years any time I'm working on a mask if I'd find myself staring too long like in this case of a white silhouette with a black background even though ultimately I want this I might just press commander control I tow look at it the other way around does not go you don't even notice that there's an edge there happening that's not very good and it continues and that's not very good so switching to this view just inverting the mask temporarily and then putting it back again is just a viewing option that can help now that I see that I could know that but I completely missed that the first time so now I press b for brush and I'm gonna share with you now a short cut for those of you that love keyboard short that's like I do this is to me one of them one of the day I learned this I was like hallelujah brother this saved me so much time because I found when I was working on a mask I was often switching between black and white and then switching between normal and orderly monsters actually to shortcuts the first one is and I kind of mentioned in passing but I want to make sure you see it if you press are x it swaps between foreground and background color which in this case is black and white so let's look at my image you can see what white as my color I press x so this way can keep painting up here but on the fly just switch back and forth so that's the first one that's very important the second one is I want to be able to switch between normal an overlay mode on the fly without having a constant go up to that menu and choose it and there is a keyboard shortcut for that it takes a little bit of getting used to because it's a little unusual it's option shift oh is overlay option shift end is normal on the pc that would be all shift so it doesn't involve commander control it's option are all shift and then over overlay and for normal and by the way all the blood modes have keyboard shortcuts like that but this is the one I'd use the most so now as I'm working I think all right over here I want to paint one hundred percent black or I should say normal percent black and then once I wantto worry about overlay I press option shifter holt shift ofer overlay do my painting and overlay mode then I pressed x to switch to white to get this area in here around that edge also come along here to make this look a little better hopefully thing here now I decide out here I need black soul just switched to black and at this point overlay mo doesn't seem to be helping some press option shift are all shift in for normal mode switch to white and just make sure I get these little dots right here so as we're using a photo shop to do things and we're spending half of our life in the mask mode those shortcuts I wish there was some way to quantify how much time it had saving and it's it's really quite remarkable to me because these were things that I was constant going up here changing going down they're clicking so the first few times has have said before learning shortcuts slowed me down a little bit but once I got used to it now even think about it and up until now I've try to not use those shortcuts so you can see what I'm doing but now if you hear me just say I'll switch to overlay and just go and change is really fast that's because I'm pressing a keyboard short couldn't do it because it is faster just easier okay so let's go back to a more normal kind of percent view overall I'm starting to like the way this is looking but the one thing that I'm not happy with his it looks kind of artificial because there's no shadow whatsoever so let's hide the mass for a second and get closer we see we actually have a shadow there that looks pretty realistic because it is a real shadow so I'm just gonna make a very rough selection of that shadow I'm not going to use that I'm just gonna use really use it more as a reference so make a new layer and I'm going to initially just fill it with black which is gonna look completely unrealistic if I put the mask back on make sure that shadow was below and see does not look terribly realistic before I do anything else I'm going to convert this to a smart object so I have the option to try different things for example I'm gonna lower the opacity and change the blend moto multiply so what respects some of the background and clearly it needs to be a little softer than that now don't assume nash generally or I should start that again don't assume that you have to always really really blur the shadow because well seeing another example sometimes shadows aren't as blurry as we think they are so I'm going to go to my filter menu and choose gauzy and blur just blur a little bit and already that's looking a little better I might just lower the passing but yet but that's not a bad start the on ly thing about this that I would also do and I talked about this before that many times shadows are look darker here and fade out mohr there so let's put the opacity up a little bit and I'm going to add a layer mask so take a look here what's going on I have the blur with its own mask and then the layer or smart object layer with its own mask so this is how I could go in and take for example my great into ll put it black too transparent and say I want the top of the shadow here to kind of fade out a little bit more something like that if you have are using a background photo that has some shadows in it then clearly we want to use that as a reference since this didn't I think I want to lower this will pass a just a bit more so it's just a really subtle little shadow to show me that there's a shadow there if I wanted to help sell this a little bit then perhaps what I might want to do is indicate that there's some light source because it looks like there's light hitting the side of her face and casting a shadow but nothing else seems to have any shadow because there isn't anything that would cast a shadow in this photograph but I could try doing is make a light source so I'm just gonna take a big oval here on a layer by itself and let's fill it with just a very off white yellow wish kind of color a shortcut there and once again any time I wanna experiment with um things like filters are going to make a smart object so I have all that ability to change my lines we'll do a heavy duty gogean blur and I mean ah lot this and then stayed the opacity way out maybe try a blend mode like overlay so all we're doing is implying almost that there is maur light over in this side of the image we can reposition it if we want to make a little more subtle and you may end up being a really low opacity and a very small blood mode but this is that little extra selling feature that tries to help against cell the effect toe what we want to have happen so look at this example if I was going to use this as my background this was taken a time a day where there were very harsh shadows this is out of a place in los in knew the las vegas called nelson and the one time we could get there was during the day middle the days are really harsh shadows well that's going to give me a clue that a shadow should be going this way so if I was going to put someone on this background I would look and say not always a shot I'll go this way when we look at it it's not really soft edge it's actually relatively hard edges and in this case the shadow almost looks bluish for some reason just because of the nature of it so I would use that as a reference so eventually if I put someone in this background I would use these as a frame of reference they this is going to help me make a shadow which is going to look more realistic here's unexamined all of kind of the finishing touch you may have to do so in this case I took this person off of a green screen background and when I look really closely I can see I guess I can't really move her down because their heads cut off that there's a bit of a greenish tint to it and I want to get rid of that and I also want to sell the fact that she's really on this background by the way this is an example of love taking backgrounds like this all I did as I was walking around new orleans with my wife and I had her stand right here and I took a photograph of her to create depth of field using the lens that I had zooming in and then I stuck it on manual focus so wouldn't refocus on has had her step out of the way so that we have got a background which really emulates depth the fields when I put a person in the foreground it's already looking pretty realistic except for the fact that there's green everywhere so here's a couple of finishing touches we can do to try and make this look a little more realistic all I wanna do is add a new layer on top and I want to try too alter the colors where I'm seeing a little bit of green and I could attempt perhaps to go in and adjust the mass but I think in this case it's just the nature of the photograph if she was standing a little too close to the green background now as I show you this let me quickly add this is one of these techniques that should have some kind of wait for it symbol because they get about a third of the way through you'll be like really that's your solution it will look better at the end so I add a new layer and take my pink brush I make sure it's a normal hundred percent and bigger than I need something like that and I'm gonna hold down the option or all key and sample here's the color that I want without any greenish tint to it and I just paint a little bit right over here and then I come up here and sample and paint a little bit right over there and I keep doing that everywhere I look at her hair and say it really should be this kind of color so let's paint that not I'm gonna do it fairly quickly time is running out but I want to show you the basic ideas I'm just constantly sampling a color and putting them they're trying to get rid of any noticeable green that I see and I'm totally not worrying about the fact that I'm going outside the edges a lot of the time because that's ok that's part of the idea so this is what I mean by the whole wait for thing right now you're thinking really that's what you want teo and you know what I'm kind of mixing up the color's a little bit so now I have this weird layer that looks like this just a bunch of blurry kind of paint on there so I do a couple of things because she's extracted onto a layer aiken clip it so that at least now the color only stays within her hair and her body so that's a little better and I can't take the blend mode of this layer and change it to color you see when I do that look at the difference look around here where you can see all this green and look at her hair looking greenish and now it looks way better now I might have to tweak the colors in here a little bit more but now I can continue to paint so I can pick up a color and say let's paint a bit more in here let's take more of this gold ish color in there you can see it's basically fixing and correcting areas where before I was worried that there was so much green that you're going to look at and say wow clearly she was on the green background I would continue doing the same thing all the way around if you still felt like there was a little bit of green like I'm still feeling that I might go to this laywer add a hue saturation adjustment layer and go to the the greens and this lower the saturation a little bit just to make sure if there is any little bit of green at least I'll help remove some of it so that's the first thing is getting rid of any kind of color fringe that's actually a very useful technique that can help make things look a little more realistic but the other thing I like to do is whenever I see someone with hair and overall I mean I'm quite happy with that the selection tools done a good job I think have making it look realistic but I really want to sell it and make sure it looks really good so one of the ways I do that is fool your eye instead of spending forever trying to refine edge or do the mask edge and get every little hair and painted overly mode at a certain point sometimes you can't do anymore and when time is of the essence this is interesting additional technique that helps fool people's eyes into thinking you've got a really natural looking blend in here so once again we make a new layer and here's what I'm gonna do is set up my paint brush I wanted to be ah hard edge brush and it wants to be very small like one or two pixels depending on the resolution of your photograph it might be mohr and at first I'm just gonna touch my color too black to show you there's my little brush strokes so far now I want to make sure I have some control over this so we're going to go to our brush options and one of the options in here is shaped dynamics now because I have a pen it's assuming I want to use the pressure sensitivity to change that which is ok but I like doing this command called fade now it's set to this command called size jitter which means overtime make the size smaller and out the bottom here there's a little preview where it's fading out and as I paint you see it fades out really quickly now the challenging thing about this command called fayed is it's asking me to put in some value and says twenty five and the question is twenty five what twenty five percent no pixels note it actually is something called sir steps set the steps for size fade awesome how the heck do you know well this is what I would suggest you do that's why I added a new layer and I've got this dialog box open if I put eighty now down here is showing me a preview but I still don't really know until I come to the image and go ok maybe that's a little high and I think I want to do two things I think I want to change the width of my brush to two pixels and I want to change the shape dynamic to maybe about sixty ish and try that that's a little better once I've got that then I'm ready to start painting on this to try and make it look more realistic I'm on a new layer I've got my pink bar set up with this fade and I hold down optional all to temporarily get the eyedropper and now I start adding some extra hairs in here and there and what I'm doing is tryingto follow what's already there so I'm just going around and adding hair here and there sometimes I start right inside the image sometimes almost on the outside that one was the wrong color so the trick to this is to constantly be sampling new color over here on this side I want to follow this same kind of angle maybe this part down here that kind of curves out like this I picked the wrong color again better and usually with a few little cliques here and there this is one of things that can really help sell the effect because honestly it people have even a suspicion that it's a composite image one of the first thing I look at his hair because that's going to help determine is this realistic or not because if you have lots of hair so basically I'm creating the whole siri's of little hairs on its own layer that at one hundred percent view you can definitely see at a zoomed out of you you may not see them as much but it can sell the effect so my suggestion is if you've gone through all these steps and you're trying to get every little tiny hair toe look great at a certain point you have to balance between how long is going to take you to do a whole bunch of overlay painting and zooming in versace creating this kind of hair brush and brushing in a few little hairs where neither for me this is one of the finishing touches that makes a huge difference for me is it makes like a whole lot simpler too to do this because I've already created a brush I can create a preset for that brush and I frankly would probably make two or three different fayed amount so I'm varying the length of the hair and then constantly sampling a color to add in some more hair so hair lighting color tone those are things gonna help sell a believable composite as well as shadows and light source and all that kind of thing so if you're shooting backgrounds shoot them with compositing mind tried different levels and angles try creating depth of field and when you're taking subjects also alter your angle of them a little bit so you can give yourself some options as well now for this uh time around for this lesson to give you a little project to try composite going to give you these two images that you've been download so you can try your hand at compositing someone onto a background and see how you do try and use all the meth we talked about in summary dragged the person over first adjust camera do your selection refined edge make it a mask just the mask you know what to do by now you see me do it several times in this session tomorrow we're going to talk about the wonderful world of type so we shall see again have a good rest of the day

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

30 Days of Photoshop - Bonus PDF Supplements
Homework Files
Q&A Check In with Dave Cross

Ratings and Reviews

Melinda Wong

Very good teaching. I really liked how clear Dave was with everything, the order he taught the material, and I thought the stories were very helpful. I REALLY wanted to understand photoshop and extremely thankful for his wisdom and knowledge. Thank you so much! This is what was holding me back from getting my photography started! :) It just seemed so intimidating and now I have a greater understanding.

a Creativelive Student

I'm a beginner and have found that the information Dave gives is great, although a little to fast at times. I'd like to buy the course but am curious. If I purchase can I watch it and pause it and rewind it? That would be extremely important to me. Thanks for a great service CreativeLive...

a Creativelive Student

Lots of information! Initially I thought I'd just watch the free version as I already have several Creativelive videos on Photoshop but I really like how the classes are broken into subjects and shorter, 1 hour sessions-it will make reviewing much easier! I love Dave's teaching style-he covers everything very well. (Plus the fact that he's Canadian, eh?) :D Thanks for offering such a great course! I'd would love to see Dave do a similar one on Illustrator.

Student Work