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Building a Dress in Photoshop

Lesson 31 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Building a Dress in Photoshop

Lesson 31 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

31. Building a Dress in Photoshop


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Why Composite ?


Logic Checklist


What Not To Do When Compositing


Shooting for Composite


Changing Backgrounds and Light


Shoot: Simple Swaps Part 1


Lesson Info

Building a Dress in Photoshop

so this is our main shock that we talked about and I thought she looked wonderfully powerful on this picture so I'm going to bring her into photo shop and we'll go through this a little bit faster because some of them are pretty similar techniques to what we've just done with a little bit more blending involved so we've got our main shot and now we're going to find the others so that was a failure then we have this one great so I'm going to use that and that's going to cover part of the dress and now I'm going to find the rest so we had this one I like that one a lot so pull that one in and I just like to start by pulling in the images that I feel I will need in the final image okay and the other side I think that one was really great that one was crazy but we're going to use it anyways so let's go with these two so what we're going to do is if we have enough time to blend all of them will blend each one of these images and warp them into place and then start to blend them now the reas...

on why I wanted to do this with the white facing how it wass is because this is how it's a little bit more difficult to work with an image like this because the light is so harsh on one side of that frame versus the other we have a lot of shadows to deal with in terms of blending maybe a highlight into a shadow and how to overcome that so let's start with our first initial image here this is our main shot and this is where we want to decide a couple of things like are we going to play with her waistline for example because I had a dress on her that was not really a dress she didn't have as defined of a waste as she would if she were in an actual drugs so this is where I might go in tow liquefy and start to just give her her shape back I don't like to distort people's bodies in terms of like making people skinnier and stuff like that but I do like to give people their shape back because obviously a model would not appreciate taking that from them so I'm going to duplicate my layer just duplicate you and then I'm going tio go ahead and liquefied that now liquefy on my computer is a very intensive program so I always like to section it off with the rectangular marquis tool and say okay this is the area that I'm working in so I'm going to just liquefy that portion that way don't you worry about the whole image loading what I swear my computer crashes every time I try to liquefy something michio really really that's a thing okay so I'm going to use this on the forward warp tool and the forward warp tools going allow us to click and drag pixels around the frame very much like the warp tool except that we're in liquefy now and so what I want to do is I can make the brush size bigger and we know things like that that was too big I can still use my square brackets within liquefy so I could just sort of nudge this in just just a little bit I just want to make sure that she does have the figure that she was meant to have here I can hardly even see it on that side aren't even I don't even know what I'm doing oh yeah that was okay and say okay so we're just giving her a little bit more figure and now I want to start to add the fabric so I'm going to start with the left hand side because that's the easiest for blending because of how light it is on that side so now I'm going teo select this area of the fabric and again I am never I mean I don't think still you've ever seen me select right along the edge of something to cut it out I mean I don't know who has time for that but it's not me so I'm going to do a big selection just like that and copy it going the wrong way and paste it okay so let's see how this matches up remember we talked about the anchor point and where exactly that fabrics going to go and how it's going to blend so if I were to put this down on the bottom you know right along the edge of the bottom of the frame there and move it over I think that would actually be a really good point for it to blend so let's try that and we might need to work that we might need to move it a little bit maybe we cropped the frame up a little bit just to make it sit on the edge whatever we need to dio let's go for it so we'll create a layer mask b for our brush tool take that opacity up size up and now we can do a really quick erasure here okay well that worked out way better than I thought it would all right so we've got that done nearly perfectly there with little to no effort but I still think that it's not exactly where I want it to be I would rather this portion blend with where her hip comes outs then she has a princess figure instead so I'm going to warp that into place so I'm going to click on that image and then transform and warp and now just with this little top point here I'm just gonna stretch that up and blend it a little bit higher maybe two there and we can play with the overall shape a little bit leader but I really like how that looks I think that it blended perfectly and the only reason why it blended perfectly is because I'm using such a big fuzzy brush if I hadn't been that it would not have blended perfectly let's pretend like it didn't I would take my opacity down on that brush and I would just go ahead and now I'm just painting black on my layer mask I would just erase a little bit at a lower opacity so that it all blends perfectly together all right let's do one more piece because now we're going to get into different shadows happening each of the pieces of fabric had a much different flow to them so let's find a way already opened it didn't weigh so let's find in here this one this is our problem child so let's take our piece of fabric and blend it by copying it nope in there and taste it so with our move tool we can move that into place now we have a lot of latitude here it's not like we have to match up the background like I'm following this thing and this has to go here and want a black seamless backdrop not only that it's a piece of solid fabric that we can easily cut out so I'm going to blend it over here now you can see the major problem that's happening we have we have such a gap in between our fabric if we have a gap in our fabric than how will it ever blend well we can rotate this fabric slightly we can work this fabric down if we need teo let's do a little bit of both so I'm going to go to free transform which is command or control t and on the corner edge here I'm just going to wait till his two little rounded arrows pop up and then rotate this to pull that down here I'm just matching it up generally with her waist and say okay and then we'll warp it so transform warp and I want to just move this out look at that suddenly works even though it doesn't but we're making it okay we'll sail right to that and now I'm creating that later mask with our brush tool opacity back up and I'm going to start to blend okay now this is where we hit the problem like I mentioned where we have the dress first of all there's still a gap that's something I need to address but now we have a shadow going into a highlight this is where dresses don't blend the first piece is always the easiest because it's the most neutral piece of fabric coming in here however we have this problem we're going to fix it in a couple of different ways one is to lower the opacity on this layer and just brush that away just so we can start to see the rest of the dress through okay we've got that done but now we need to make a decision are we going to pull this shadow up or pulled this highlight down now I personally don't prefer to pull shot goes up because then you're looking at a lot of noise if you have to pull it too far making something darker however is pretty easy to dio if you haven't blown your image out and again a really good reason to work with a raw images well that way you're not working with the j peg and having a loss of quality there so I'm going to go in and I'm going tio on layer one not on my laywer too because I don't want to make that darker I'm going to either paint in the darkness on that dress which is an option where you can just use a blank layer paint in the black and then you have that or I'm going teo do my usual method here of selecting where this area might want to be a little bit darker just through there right click refine edge and feather quite a bit I think that looks good one hundred one hundred and thirty pixels there and now I can create my curve now we're gonna do one more thing after this to blend it a little bit more ah yeah look at that shadow popping in there much better so now that's going to blend a lot nicer we're going to do one more thing to blend this which is to use the heel brush tool for blending I loved to use the hill brush tool for something like that especially for a dress so first I think I actually want a war but this piece of fabric up because I don't want to keep stretching the other one if I don't have teo so we'll split the stretching and I will warp this underlying piece of fabric over that way I'm gonna end up cutting this dress off over here so I'm not going to worry about this portion but yeah I think I like that a little bit better so now we've got all these things happening in this area of the dress we have lines and shadows and craziness happening so I want to fix that now I'm not going to composite the whole dress on because I know that I don't have enough time at this moment to do that but this process will be the same for every piece of fabric that I would add on at the end of the once the whole dress is composited that's when I would go ahead and duplicate my layers and merge those layers and I would do that then now I can use the heel brush tool across all of my layers without having to worry about sampling from one layer and using it on another layer and all of that the shortcut for duplicating emerging your layers is command option shift e or control ault shift hee for a pc shortcut and now I'm going to use the heel brush tool so the hell brush tool healing brush tool I never knew that difference huh so the healing breast tool is just on your left hand toolbar I'm going to make that size bigger and I'm gonna take the hardness down and this works the same way as the clone stamp tool in that you will um option or ault click to define your source point when I choose a source point that's saying that these pixels that I choose instead of cloning where you're replacing pixels witham you're choosing those pixels and in blending them into what already exists in the fabric or in the image so I'm going to choose from a very neutral spot I'm not going to choose a point over here where there's highlight and shadow happening right next to one another that wouldn't make a lot of sense so instead I'm going to go from the shadow portion where it's really really blended all to click and now this area here is bothering me we have a really bad shadow happening so I'm just going to start to click and drag to blend and I just start to kind of color over it just paint paint paint and it's okay if it looks bad to start because it will keep blending so there we go went not together and we're just working with all those shadow and highlight variations that don't look so good cover that up a little bit okay so now we're starting to blend that area maybe this little dots too bright and that's how I would continue on and this is how I get rid of of wrinkles in my fabric and my dresses because I definitely don't iron anything ever so I always rely on the heel brush tool to get rid of that and the great thing is that if you use the heel brush too over and over again and you are continuously hell brushing something it's going to give your image quite a painterly look and I started doing that a long time ago to create sort of a smudging brush stroke effect and I really like how that looks just as a stylistic choice okay so I'm going teo end up there on and we'll do a little bit more of this kind of thing in the next editing segment as well um yeah I think that was awesome to be able to see because we had a lot of people who were commenting we had somebody who said I think this photo maker who said that they had just had something I wish I'd seen this tutorial last week I had to reconstruct one side of a blouse that another photographer totally blew out during capture and had no clue how to match the blown outside to the good side of the shirt this is so helpful because again this is stuff that you can use no matter what type of photography you do but this is really really cool to see a couple other people talking about different ideas they've got things that they want to shoot so this was really helpful uh zainab shamim how do you know when to use liquefy and when to use warp that's a good question so warp is my uh drug of choice on and I say that because warp is going teo oh my gosh you guys didn't tell me that I messed that up I blame you all okay so warp is going to allow you to take pixels and not so much warp the individual pixels to the point where that's unrecognizable anymore but it's just moving everything as a whole sort of shifting and I like that a lot better because I don't see as much distortion in it however the liquefied tools going to allow you to get into smaller places and move more particular parts of an image so if I can show really quickly here if I wanted to warp just her her mid section in a little bit like we did with liquefied then this is what happens when I go to edit transform warp I get huge boxes all around so then I have to move everything like this and that's really weird so we're going to say no to that but if I wanted to warp just this area and I went and drew my rectangular marquis around that area toe warp it then this is the problem that we have at it transform warp and yes I can try to stay within my lines here but you can see that when I move that the edge of this box is also moving and so if we have the edge of the box moving then we start to no you we started tow have a problem where the edge is come away so you're actually splitting your image in half if that makes sense okay so you can see this line that just happened where we created a line and we moved the edge of that line by accident so now we have this street blind going through which I have definitely done before and had to fix manually leader by cloning and it's not fun so instead of that I would use liquefy in a smaller area but warp in a larger area great distinction I love that um let's see there were a couple people when you were doing the shadows who noticed that every lane photography lard dahlia basically noticed that there was a red reflection fromthe light or from the dress in the shadow do you have any thoughts on how to recreate that color yes let me go back to that really fast because I actually can't see that at all on my monitor so I'm glad that somebody said that so that is something that I would normally pay a lot of attention to so in terms of recreating that now we already have the shadow this is our main shadow I would say not so much this one but in our main shadow we already have a curved for that so we're in good shape here because now within that curve we confined our red channel and we can add just a little bit of a hint of red to that shadow so you can do that from the mid tones you can pull it from the highlights on lee from the shadows on ly whatever you think fills it in the best but I very often at a little bit of color to my shadows because it's true whatever color is casting the shadow is going to be in that shadow s oh definitely great great question and I would for sure do that if I were editing a shadow and I could see that perfect one more question now we've got maybe five ten minutes do you think you could change the color of the dress and heck yeah ok good that's something that a lot of people we had to vote after what after votes for that I would love to do it darling okay so let's let's just do it on this one because we're back here again so I'm going to do this by duplicating emerging my layers just like we did on the other one and that's because replaced color which is what we're going to use I would have to apply replace color to each individual part of the dress that's on a separate layer rather than doing it all at once because replaced color is not available as an adjustment layer so I'm going to do this for ease I'm just going to command option shift e and duplicate and merge all of my layers so now they're all merged up top and any time I d'oh dress change of color or anything that's changing color I duplicate that layer just in case because sometimes it goes awfully awry and it requires many different times of doing that sometimes you even need to erase from the shadow portions because shadows and highlights pickup color so differently so if you're let's say that this was blue and you're trying to add red to the stress then the shadows might pick up the red in some crazy way or not at all depending on how much you're adding the replace color in so let's go with this with our duplicated layer image adjustment replaced color now the question is where do I select within this dress so I'm going to select the highlight here and that did a really good job of selecting just about the whole entire dress but what if I took the fuzziness down then that's excluding essentially the shadows on the stress so if that's excluding the shadows on the dress then I either need thio adjust my fuzziness to include them or keep the fuzziness down and use the eyedropper tool with a plus sign so if I use the eyedropper tool with a plus sign I can now select the shadows within the dress the problem being if you have red elsewhere in the image you can't do that because then you're selecting all the red in the image and changing it so I'm going to cancel real quick if that's the case then you would just want to quickly section off your subject to make sure that you're not getting let's say there's a red object over here so then you're not getting that in the image on dh then you can work within that selection when you go in to replace color now I'm not worried about that that's not going to be an issue so going in to replace color and I'm going to take that fuzziness down and I'm going to select my red and select the eyedropper tool with a plus sign and select a shadow I can see that we might be changing her lips a little bit actually can you guys kind of see that right there that's her lip so I am going to section her off because I don't want to give her green or blue lips or whatever we're about to dio so I'm just going to section off so that the dress is selected in fact we'll include everything for now and then just do our little minus sign with our lasso tool on we'll just get rid of her face in case your cheeks accidentally end up in there you know what let's just put the heck let's just get rid of her hair because she has red hair too will be safe I need that little bit all right now we'll feather this with refined edge feather slider up not too much I mean just a little little bit of a feather on day okay and now when we go in to replace color we will again select what we need to select okay now you can still see her face because that's really close to the selection that we have here but it's not going to be included so no need to worry about that the only problem is her arm making sure that we don't have her arms selected so I'll just take that down a little bit and I'm totally fine if these shadow's here don't pick up the color as much they're still gray they're not black so we'll pick up some color but there is no shadow that picks up color as well as a highlight will it just doesn't happen in our spectrum of seeing so I'm going to take the hue slider and begin to change that okay so we can go with a number of different colors for this dress like I said it's my favorite dress to change the color too so I don't know let's go with purple that's two purple oh I don't like that color at all never mind let's go with this color that's way nicer okay oh whatever that's good we can now play with the saturation we can take the saturation down we can play with the lightness and so on and so forth so if this dress were red which it wass something that I like to do with reds is to skew it a little bit yellow just make it a little bit more orangey yellow then it looks like a little bit more of a burnt red and that actually makes the saturation pop a little bit and then I'll take the lightness down and that gives it just a little bit more of ah like real blood red supersaturated really rich look to it so you can see that preview so we're just changing how red the dress is there but you could do just about anything with that you can also click that little color swatch and you can choose whatever color you want just by moving around there see just like that that will never happen way get it and uh okay so now she has a green dress

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Logic Checklist
Must Have Shots
Favorite Photoshop Tools
Lighting Effects
Practice Files - Cutting out Hair from Background
Practice Files - Building a Dress
Practice Files - Swapping Hand
Practice Files - Levitation
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Logan Fox

I'm so thrilled to have come across this course and to have been introduced to Brooke Shaden. As a bit of background I do photography as a hobby, and always had an appetite to composite my work. It's only after watching this course that I can finally put a name to a craft that I love, that being 'fine art photography'. Through my own personal journey I've read various books, followed online tutorials both paid and free. When I came across this course I did hesitate. I wondered 'is it going to teach me anything new'... 'would the standard of the course be up to scratch'. Well, I can honestly say with hand on heart that this is by far is one of the best courses I've come across to date. As a solo photographer myself I've found it difficult at times to be both photographer and subject at the same time. From the outset what became clear was that Brooke is just like me in this respect which made the course so 'relevant' to what I do. Brooke shows throughout the course what can be achieved with a little planning and some creative approaches to situations that can be difficult to pull off when on your own. She is such a joy to watch and listen to, I loved her sense of humor and great how the audience were involved in some of the shoots. All I can say is, if you're in to photography and interested in compositing your work, you should give this a go, you wont regret it!


I'd like to show my gratitude and gratefulness to Ms Shaden and other wonderful people at CreativeLIVE for sharing your vast knowledge without making a fuss. Not everybody has a super computer and a top-notch camera, not everyone has a studio to work in and not everyone needs to know everything as perfectly as some instructors and professionals do. I, for one, have gained so much insight and have been intrigued by Ms Shaden's present and past lessons, she makes the most difficult and surreal subjects unfold so easily and effortlessly. Ms Shaden has made me believe no matter where I be and no matter what i have, as long as i have a good story to tell, and the right vision, I should be able to handle it with a working camera and any version of Photoshop. Unlike many other instructors who kill us every 5 minutes to buy their flashes or gear and support this or that company and agency, Ms Shaden has spent the whole time teaching and teaching and teaching and I am sorry I cannot be there to thank you in person, but you, Ms Shaden, are awesome and nobody can unawesome you :)


I have been a huge fan of Brooke's work since the beginning of the flickr days. I'm so excited to see her in her element on CL. So many years ago i was so very interested in learning and creating and CL makes this possible now. A lot of my work has been inspired by Brooke's dark yet beautiful work style and i am super inspired to create some using her advice. I cannot wait to delve deeper into this world i have been waiting so long to indulge in it and now i will even more so than i have the last 3 years. Thank you Brooke and CL ! =) Sarina Gito Photography (

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