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Lesson 17 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden


Lesson 17 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

17. Gradients


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


so that is that picture and we're going to do a couple of things applied to this picture just as the start of the image down here so let's go through a couple of different things that are in the lighting effects download and the reason why I have that sitting in front of me right now is because I referenced this all the time at home and so I'm going to do the same thing here like I said yesterday a million times I don't have a memory which is probably why I said it a million times but I need to look at this I need this because I need a reference whenever I'm editing so I'm going to open up my lighting effects and the first thing that I see here is grady in so let's talk about radiance a little bit now if I want to add a grady into this picture what is the pro and con to doing that there isn't really a con if you know howto work with ingredient but radiance are a little bit confusing sometimes because with integrating you have certain limitations I mean the point of ingredient is that y...

ou want color on one side and then another color or nothing on the other so it's going to fade which is really kind of an awesome thing if you're working with a sky if you're working with adding color maybe the top portion of an image that's how I like to work with it most often so let's go ahead and find our clouds layer here well pop that on and I'm going to create a grady in't here so the first way that I want to do that is to goto layer and then new phil layer so we're going to play with two things within layer knew phil layer one will be grady in't and one will be solid color you can also play with pattern if you want so if I click pattern you'll see that basically you just need teo find a pattern I mean there's no other reason to do that except to find a pattern so instead I'm just going to go to solid color ingredient because those are the other options that you have so solid color you can fill an entire color over your image and then you can play with that color fade it laywer mask it do whatever you need to do that and same with grady um so what go ahead and go into grady in and what we're going to see here is that we can choose a color if we want so let's say yellow because we know we want sort of a warm hugh to this picture mode this is something that we'll talk about in just a moment so we'll keep the mod on normal for right now and then we say ok but now we have this weird ingredient happening right we have these options that we get so I can change the grady and we can see all sorts of really weird things happening here and I don't like playing with ease at all I don't really find a lot of use in them so instead I'm going to cancel that and then we'll just say okay all right so what I have here is a greedy in't that is ignoring my color because it's pulling from my colors pao it here so if it's ignoring my color and pulling from the color palette then I need to go ahead and change that first so I'm clicking on my little color swatches and I'm going to make this slider give me a yellow sort of yellow red I think that would be kind of nice something like that because I am looking here to get this nice yellow hue so if you're looking at this color and you're like oh my gosh that is so bright and you're about to make a big mistake you might be right but I am also going to lower the opacity on that layer so let's just try with a nice bright color first we'll get rid of that grady in't phil layer we'll go back down toward clouds and now we'll do this process again of going toe layer knew phil way er grady in't and say ok so now it's automatically selecting that yellow color that we've just plugged in here we can play with the angle of this so if I want just the sky to have that grady and on that we can do that I can change the angle maybe like this so then there's sort of ah light burst coming from that area which again is what we want to dio reverse you probably don't want to do that because you can already do that with the angle so unless you think I changed my mind I just want to totally flip it you can do that I always align it with the layer and I think that looks pretty good so let's say okay to that now we have something to work with it's not the best thing that we've ever seen to work with but let's go ahead and just make some adjustments so one thing that you can do is lower the opacity on the layer that's something that we can always dio works very very nicely if you double click you can always get back into that dialogue box so if you're thinking oh I don't like the angle of it you can still change that so that's not something that's permanent but I'm gonna cancel that so okay I kind of like it it's all right but maybe I want to make some adjustments so I want teo instead go to my blending modes so now I can start to change my blending mode so when I click a blending mode that is telling the layer that you're clicked on how to interact with the layers below it so I can start to try a lot of different things on this ingredient that we've just put on so lighten you can see that it's creating sort of a hazy look when we choose that darken you can see that that's almost doing the opposite of what we want and that's adding a little bit of science color in there and let's see let's play with some others overlay I love overlay I think that's a really beautiful option because it keeps the contrast in the clouds and in the background so overlays really nice as well so let's just say we're going to stick to overlay for the moment and we have this grady in and you can see how it's brightening everything up well because we have added this as an adjustment layer here we automatically have away or mask attached to that greedy int so that means that we can go ahead with our brush just like we did yesterday make sure that we're on black with our color swatches and I'm going to use my left square bracket to make that a little bit smaller and take the opacity down on the brush so the reason why I just did all of those things is because I'm going to be a racing so I need to be on black the opacity of my brush I don't want to erase the grady and all together I just want to make it a little bit less in certain areas for example on her hair it's getting a little bit right from my taste compared to the background so I might erase it off of her harold just a little bit so let's go ahead and erase that just off the hair there and you can see when I do that I'm accidentally erasing too much and that's why it's so good that we have a layer mask so I can always just take that side's down of my brush take the opacity back up x on the keyboard will switch to black and white back and forth between there and I can just color that radiant back in wherever I think it needs to be so if I zoom out I can see here now what I've done with that radiant we've added a lot of color to this image we've also added it maurin a certain part than another so let me explain why I would want to use this or not want to use this depending on your workflow now let's say that you're thinking well okay you just did a grady in and that was kind of a lot of work for a really simple effect okay I get that but we could do something where we have a little bit more control over how much light and color we're adding so I'm going to take away that radiant just for right now and now I'm going to go toe layer knew phil layer solid color now we already have our color swatch down here so we're just going to go with that has the same color and we have mode so if you already know what mo do you want to use then you can go ahead and choose that now you don't have to wait till later but I like to use normal because then I can change it if I want to but then I can see what it really looks like when it's at full capacity and everything is stuck on top of that image so I'll say okay so what do we have we have a yellow square that's it we have a yellow square because what we have just done is created a layer on normal with just fill of a color so I'll say okay oh bite that then we can lower the opacity on that wire and this is just it's a really nice way of having more control with a layer mask so instead of it doing the grady and for you and determining how much to a race or how much to fade in this case weaken just click on our layer mask and now we have a lot more control over how much this is affecting our image so that was a big brush I'm going to take that brush a little bit smaller and I'm going to go into my capacity to lower the opacity on my brush so that I am not erasing everything I want a nice smooth transition here on black and now I could just erase it where I don't want it so we've essentially done the same effect we have just gotten rid of the outside edges a little bit and we can keep going with that if we want if I want I can make that brush smaller and now in terms of what we've done to our subject and how that how that sort of solid color is now affecting its going to look pretty similar to the grady in so that's the grady in which we have on overlay so it's not quite the same blending load versus this solid color it is doing the same thing but solid color allows you to bring back more of the color if you've erased too much or if you don't like how the grady in is shifting there so we can again play with our blending modes we can go down to overlay again and that's going to have an effect on our image just in the same way that that radiant did now if I wanted to make it match exactly I could just take the opacity up a little bit more and then we've got essentially the same thing happening I'm just ta going between the two and they look almost identical just based on where I didn't erase her where he did a race here you know like I know that in the different blending modes like certain colors do certain things and that's kind of matthew to me and I can't isn't that straight do you know that like inherently or do you just try stuff I try everything me too I mean on a regular basis I will try to think what is lightened mean and what is dark and mean and I'll just say oh forget it all just try them and see what they dio because I can't I have a hard time keeping stuff like that straight and with color especially it works differently than some other things so for example I never use overlay as a blending mode almost never but with color I do because of the way it makes it stick you know it maintains the contrast and I'm kind of looking for that um but yeah I just try everything I think I've kind of got lightning darkened down now but that's about it so yeah I just try everything I'm going to go to normal now on this color film layer and the reason why I would want to do that if that's sort of the look I'm going for is because it does add a haziness over the whole image which changes the light so if we were to blend this with let's see let's go back down to overlay then that is maintaining the contrast if it's maintaining the contrast we have to think about what that means for the light so if there's contrast then that means that the white is not becoming more hazy or anything like that but I want to add a little bit of a flair coming in from that side to make the white look like it's filling the space so that's why I would want to switch overlay to normal and so when I switch over later normal yes it becomes hazier and yes we have this sort of I don't know I guess sort of matt look to it now there's not a lot of contrast and we can fix that in certain places but I really like how that's looking so this is something that I do from time to time mr create now an adjustment layer we'll just go to curves to keep consistency here and now we can sort of play with what that looks like by pinning it to the layer right below so now I can play with that overlay layer and you can start to make mohr adjustments to it if you want I could make it redder if I want just by adding that curve and pinning it to the layer below so that's something that I'm really interested in doing something that makes me or allows me to have more control over you know that specific layer that I just stuck on there so I don't like phil layers and radiance especially so much because it can be a little bit hard to change the color but if you can pin your curve or however you like to make adjustments to that layer than it becomes a separate step and I work like that I have lots of layers when I work because I work in very small pieces so for me I don't like to then go back in and say okay well I'm going to change this color now and I'm going to do this which you can absolutely absolutely d'oh it's easy to do that but once I've made an adjustment I like for that adjustment to stay there and I like to make more changes on top of that and that's just I guess a weird brain thing but that's just how I work

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 :)


Brooke has a wonderful way of not only making it all look so easy, but actually be easy. In a plain and down to earth manner, she can make both beginner and advanced pro comfortable with the material covered in this class. From a simple starting point to a polished post-production finished work of art, she takes us on a relaxed and joyous journey. I am a former professional commercial photographer returning to the art after a 30 year absence. When I left, there was no such thing as digital photography. Now, to be able to embrace such concepts and techniques as taught by Brooke, without any difficulty to me, says that this course provides great value and time well spent. Well done Brooke! Well done Creative Live!

Student Work