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Lesson 11 from: Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

11. Compositing

Next Lesson: General Q&A

Lesson Info


So let's go to my subject phillips we're going to knock him out get the gloves now I have a lot of people go why do you say knock out again thing is an old fashioned term but let's say cut out extract whatever you want so here we have phillips we want to go to the um quick selectable so I'ma let go here it should show up quick select tool so that's checked and we're gonna go and now just run along here and we're gonna pick him up now whoa if I got too much I come over here and hit the altar the option and I come back let's you keep going here and then I'm gonna go I am holding on the altar option and I'm gonna come into this arms there now this does not have to be a perfect selection but I'm gonna get us closer so I can so I'm gonna bring it in here and we're gonna come along here pick up his ear pick up along here and since he doesn't really have any hair I mean I mean in terms of extracting but I'm gonna show you how I do here in a minute here so we come to the edge here come along h...

ere and you see a little too far there didn't get enough there dont worry at this point that it has to be perfect so if I come along here that looks pretty good all there's a big bump there let's just leave that I'm gonna show you why that's leave that leave that there's a mistake's along here I'm gonna show you why it's not important to get a perfect selection here. Okay, now at this point I want to go to free fine edge now you see the right top it says refine it if you you can have your your selection here and you go to another tool your selections there but also he lost to refine edge button so you gotta make sure you're on the quicks like brush refine edges right there and you can get to refine edge in another way and photo shop if you don't have it up there but this is so much easier so I just go refine edge and you can review the how you want to work here by just clicking here and saying I want marching ants overlay on black on white that you know, whatever there's the options I happened to use overlay because it kind of gives me in the sense that there's this like felt not filter but um asking happening right? And so when you come to refine edge you automatically pick up the detection brush so what I do here is that come along here and I'm going to run right along the edge of his hair here and again there's not a lot there but we got a little bit right and I'm not gonna touch any of this I'm gonna show you why in a minute this helps you shrink or smooth out your edge I'm gonna do it later because if I do hair here and then do this is shrink the mass I lose my hair and hopefully in photo shop in the future there'll be a way to fix that where I can pick what I want but any rate I don't do any of this I say new layer ask and you say okay so here's my extraction it's not perfect by any means I'm gonna pick it up so I'm gonna get the move tool I'm gonna run it over to where is it at wright here locker room so we drop him in and the first thing I notice is that, um the background has a indy where the the, uh, locker area here that really bothers me so it's no problem because we're in photoshopped folks we're go command a command tea and we're gonna go cheat see that? So now that smooths out that background a little bit for me that's number one so we're gonna say, um d select and I'm not sure we're even close to selling the fake yet so let's go and I'm gonna take and look at my extraction so let's see we have a major problems along here look at these big chunks over here. Well, there's a good thing that happened I have now a mask that came over with my you know, knockout and if I go to my black and white tulle or colors over here and my brush set my brush at one hundred percent oh past the hundred percent flow make a nice small brush here to show you what happens this is like amazing I'm gonna hold down the uh option and I'm gonna make the hardness about seventy five percent say returned now watch what happens here I'm going to now I can clean up that so I go in here and if I make a mistake like that I hit the x button and I could just bring it back you know? So here's what I do and I know you're gonna call me brilliant when you see this I'm gonna hold my shift key down on watch what happens I go he pops hit the x I can make a straight line along here and that doesn't look perfect there's a little bit but I can run straight down my line here so what I tell you before the most important thing is not the cut out but watch this I'm gonna go click let's hold on a second let's make sure I got the right one okay click click click click and I can clean up my edges here now if that's if that's too sharp of an edge just go back here and soften it just a little bit and so I come along here and look there's a little rough along here watch this I can just go along here and clean up my straight lines because it's usually my straight lines that are they looked the worst so I'm gonna go and hit x which gives me the white brush and I'm come along here and I can pick up his clothing and once again if I don't pick up his clothing perfectly we'll never know because you don't know where that clothing starts and finishes so don't waste time here's a here's a problem you're hit the ex key and hit the shift groups and I got to make sure I just remembered this goto window pre brush and make sure it's on the this brush right here which I think it wass I'm gonna show you this brush here in a minute but let's get out of there we come along here look at the edge not real good along here right someone taken hold a shift key down bone bone bone this looks terrible right here hold the shift key down clean that up and you can free three handed to terrible look at this but I can't just go like this and sometimes I go outside the mask like this hold it the x come back and just come along here now if there's hair on the arm you might have used the the edge detection brush as a way of uh preserving the hair look here's a big chunk that I missed clean that up go along here this looks a little tattered for me so I'm just gonna clean that up a little bit here, okay? And I can free handed here a little bit now there's gonna be another I'm gonna show you a little trick here in a minute and so here's the hair I'll show you how to work on that a minute here's a little bit of the ear whips we're gonna bring that ear out there looks pretty good I think a little bit of edge there so let me show you another little trick we're going to take and click on the mask we're gonna go over here too my lasso and just below the hair I'm gonna swing it around pick it up there and now I'm going to do eh levels in a blur first filter blur gazi blur two percent two radius and then I go levels and watch what happens this is like a miracle come true watch list look att see this line look at all this little artifacts along here see the effects now watch what happens I know this is where you need to do the and all okay, you ready if I go to the right it shrinks it I think you guys have to wait till he actually finishes but can you see it on there? Is it okay? So let's let me see if I can get a little closer here were like three hundred percent look at this edge here ready boom see it come in it shrinks in so it smoothes out my overall little edges and help sell the fake and that what happened is so okay what happened is it didn't do the hair had I done it in the refined edge part I would've shrunk it and their hair would've been trump. So what do you have a girl with watson was thin hair. This is the best way to do it and so were d select that so we've cleaned up the edge a little bit and I mean, look here, let me see under that arm here that looks a little weird, but I think it's still good. So okay. So right now I got a pretty clean and I can always go back to the masses sitting there so I can always at any point go back and clean up little bumps and that I missed if I missed the chunk of something so still haven't sold a fake not even close so let me go from here and show you how I started now sell the fake number one I'm going to build a couple um and because my resolution is been changed on my monitor to see what happens when I do this there goes I wasn't seeing my palate down here I'm going to make a bunch of adjustment layers now I could go toe levels so command l's levels right but if I do command l and then apply say little contrast I'm locked in so late I go oh I went too far good luck if I make a adjustment let layer uh layer like this levels and I adjust the levels over here and I build contrast and later go won't you far guess what not locked in so only destroys pixels once but if you do levels and levels and levels you're just building destruction upon destruction so adjustment layers are amazing tool so I want a one adjustment layer army levels I want hugh saturation I want black and white and I want for a filter those are my four one two three four filters that I applied to every layer that I do so I'm gonna fly fly the same thing to phillips we're gonna go levels what I say hugh saturation black and white photo filter now got a slight problem if I change the photo filter here it changes turn out the black white holen well that's where I had to black and white there is my problem could figure out what that wass okay so I'm missing photo filter I think I let go too soon okay so if I apply something on above it affects all the layers the floor below so there's a little trick I believe or not learn this from russell brown is that I can clip it I can make a clipping path straight to sew that on lee these filters apply to phillips oh so by holding down the old option I go clip clip clip clip now these filters on ly affect him above and so these off effect blow so the first thing I want to do is I want to let's turn that black wife again and my color temperature there looks a little bit too warm for him so I'm gonna first thing to do is I'm gonna de saturate I do this on every image I do it on the top and the bottom I'm gonna go minus around fifteen is twelve thirty some around there on the overall master on the reds I go minus depending on the background ago same thing around ten to fifteen yellows on this one I may go even a little more that's the first thing I do second thing I do as I have a black and white over here and I'm going to turn the blending mode too soft light and then I'm going to take the opacity about twenty percent that does a little d saturation but it also gives a little good a contrast but it kind of gives me a little punch a little above punching it filter wise I would say in this scenario because on my monitor it looks really warm I could use a cooling filter now maybe not that much but since I'm color blind here's the beauty of this I only to go cooling more me cooling, warming that's all I do I don't do anything else so I go you don't have background looks to the warm I cool it down it looks little do cool I warm it up that's it folks that's my color balancing to the to the t um so like I said, it looked a little on my monitor it looked a little too warm but we're not locked in because I can change anytime so on above one I noticed that for me on my monitor if I do this um he looks a little bit uh e I would say dark but I'm gonna bring my contrast up just a tad there and let's feather the the look here I'll look in the monitor here I don't know how they're seeing it on the web but um like my monitor right now would be about perfect there, but looking here I'd probably go about right about there okay, so I'm starting to lose detail in his eyes, right? So but here's the beautiful thing about this adjustment layers give you a mask so if I clip on that mask or click on that mask I come over here to my brush and at this point we can leave it one hundred percent and if I have a black let's make this brush soft if I have a black um brush I can paint back what I just did in darkening him down right? So I have that ability and let's go and do the same treatment that we did below in terms of hugh saturation so let's take the houston saturation minus uh on the left minus fifteen on the reds will do aboutthe same on the yellows will do aboutthe same let's just go right about there so that's d saturating my overall feel and again that's what I do with all my work every single image and then we're going to the black and white go to soft light and go on this one uh well, I did it on the wrong one. Let's go back normal click on the black white soft light and now feather it in and I would say probably gonna be careful on this one so let's go with, um let's go in my levels here and I'm gonna bring up a little more detail on him okay so I'm getting pretty close to what I want their photo filter wise I may not want to warm him up I may have just leaving off because I don't want to cool him down so let's do this for now we're just gonna unclip that so I'm looking at my monitor as a color blind person I'm going hey not too bad blending the warmth in the cool whatever in the background so we still haven't sold a fake yet it's not there it's not the joel grimes look that I want but before we do anything so really quick just on the topic of your color blindness walter said yeah that's what I don't like about him he took my last excuse being colorblind away from me because if you can do it then walter could do it well here's the thing uh what I used my being colorblind for everything my wife says you left your shoes in the middle the path well I'm color blind I mean I use it for everything right I'm color blind I can't help it I'm colorblind well it's true but don't use your couple in fact on saturday I'm going to tell you all the greatest single asset I possess as an artist is the fact that I'm color blind and we'll tell you why so I like it so I'm looking at this I want to sell the fake okay I call it the fake so let's do something we're going to start to build this mood so let's will shrink this down a little bit here we're going to start cell that what I call the fake number one is he looks still cut out right? So how did I get that? Well, first of all let's do this I'm gonna create another adjustment layer and it's gonna be a levels I'm gonna go over here to my, um great ation little tool I'm gonna go up here to the circle which is called the let me let go because I never look the radio ingredient and I'm going to go since I have a white mask we'll see what happens here I'm gonna pull it from the middle to the left let go and it creates a seal master creates a radio mask and then all I have to do is go to my levels and I can start to then yet the corners a little bit right? So now what am I doing? I'm sucking you into him that's the first thing let's let it go right there second thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna create a blank uh, layer and I'm going to put something in it so let's go shift command and and I'm just gonna call it let's call it a glow so here's an empty layer did nothing on and off does nothing now watch where the magic happens I'm going to go to my ah white uh color paint brush I want very soft so it's on the softest setting I want about thirty thirty so thirty percent capacity and about thirty percent flo I kind of keep my percentages of flow and I'll pass it together it makes it easier for me to remember so I'm gonna make it big and this is where you're supposed to whom in all when this happens ready this creates a atmosphere between him in the background which helps sell the fake and you see this a lot in my work so here I am I'm giving you a little bit of punch here I'm gonna overdo it I'm gonna overdo it because I can pull it back later and also I'm gonna have a little grain to it and when I had a little green to a dark okay so let's go up to grant a noise or filter noise and on this one I'll probably add um let's go twelve noise okay it gives a little bit of bite to the background and then now I get it I get to look at it let's put it on a darker a darker background and I'm going to pull the opacity back so it's too much tell it starts to look real and that's my intuition is telling me that so that's the first thing I do and again that looks overexposed their the background still looks too light so let's take and I want to take my levels well, we had knocked it off by accident as part of it and then let's take a levels down here and let's go a little darker raisa let's pull little dark lips a little darker so now he's starting out here at least he's really popping off the background now my glow looks a little too much so I go back to my glow feather that down so now it said about fifty percent and it still maybe too much but I'm not done yet so I'm gonna keep looking so let's do this we're getting pretty close to selling the fake I think it's starting to happen but I noticed that I've got some lights coming up from here and I got edge lights on him so let's take the selva fake another step shift command and gives you blank layer we're gonna call this a party or did it let's just call this come on, there is streaks. Okay. All right. So we're gonna go to my brushes white thirty thirty but I'm gonna change my brush itself the properties of the brush so I goto uh brush presets sorry, it was already open brush presets and I'm going to go to the tapered one see how it point someone end points on the other we do this double click it make sure it's activated now I'm gonna put a little plug in here for welcome you really can't do this without a walk um tablet now when I bought my first welcome tablet I couldn't wait to get home I set it up you who I was like I felt like I was drunk on a ship that's like the double you know double whammy right? I had a hard time trying to figure out what to do I did it for about twenty minutes put in a drawer for three years then I read somewhere where you could only do this with a walking time like I have welcome tablet I pull it out and I sat down and I learned how to use it now how long does it take someone to learn to ride a bike? Three days take little kid three days you know yeah that's how long it takes you to learn tio use a welcome tablet but you got to get over the hump and once you get over the hump you'll never go back so I'm gonna do something that only you can only do in a walking tablet and like I said, it speeds things up a lot so that's my plug for welcome I'm just telling you right now it's worth every penny to go and get the right tools and if you're going to touch eight hours a day or four hours a day or whatever it is save you a lot of time so here's what I'm gonna do with this welcome tablet and brush I'm gonna taper this brush from the top to the side but make it look like there's light streaking from outside of the frame so I'm on my white my brush I'm on about thirty thirty I'm going to go and have the shift key here uh ready I'm gonna click so I'm gonna go click and then bone so let's let's let's let's do command z and we're start over us to make a little smaller click bone okay so make a little smaller I'm gonna start in famous same spot boom up still not quite a small aside like so let's go again so one very my light here that was a little too sharp I had my pressure sent set up here so that it flips it it be now hard I click it okay so what I'm doing is I'm tapering korea's tapering automatically to get fatter as you go down right so I do all my stadiums all those streaks that you see me do is this little technique I'm not done yet so let me show you I'm going to add a mask to that so down the very bottom is thie I guess you would say second icon to the left you click that and now I have a mask and I'm going to fill that mask with black so it's just command I inverts it so now I have my little selection is gone but I'm going to the great aunt tool go to the first ah little icon up there and it says it is a linear radiant and I'm going to depending on what my foreground background is let's just go this way we're gonna pull it up in the direction we had it and boom it now tapers that selection go from brighter too les is helping sell the fake now if I you to command tea sri transform I could move that around I can shrink it, stretch it, do this to it whatever I want to do to it once I have it so we're not done we're not done selling a fake yet folks, I'm gonna bring it over here to this light source and I might add a little blur tua depending on uh depending on you know how it looks but let's say that there's not enough blur there none of glow there just deal command j doubles it and I can take a feather that one back see that and I can take that one do a command tea control flip horizontal I could bring it over here so let's get this thing out of the way here brush uh, come on so I can bring that one over here and I don't want these equal, but the point is is I khun duplicate what I've already done? Does that make sense? So let's just say we'll leave that one command if that's right? Yeah, so we only let's see, how did you have a streak from one side right now? No, I'm not done yet shift command and I'm also going to put a blast of flare over here because we don't live in a perfect world and so it's better to sell a fake by doing mistakes we call mistakes so let's, go back to my I'm on my white brush thirty thirty I'm gonna blow it up a little bit here and watch what happens bam bam! I'm just gonna put a little bit of flair over here and now it looks like there's really a lightbulb up there now so I've overdone it it's okay, I'm gonna go noise add noise and I didn't add noise to my other one so let's add noise to these so now he's go ad noise here command f now zad noise and now I can feather this one to kind of give me the right look see that so now I'm selling the fake so now what I do is I would go down small take a look at it on the monitor and when I could go small lot of things pop out like number one my streaks look too strong can you see that? So I go okay? I want to take my streets back a little bit okay? And I say, well, maybe what I do is I need to add a little blur to it so let's go up to hear noise blur and alice braise it back up a little bit and I'm gonna add a little blur to it to soften those streaks just a little because they looked a little bit like I made him in photo shop does that make sense so soft? I'm just a little bit I want to be so subtle that just looks like there there but I don't really I don't consciously know there there was a man that makes sense um and so now let's get to fixing him a little bit we're going to more risk in retouching toe maar row beauty skin retouching, but I got some problems with him I don't see his eyes very well so let's take and make a uh, blank layer shift command and but we're gonna fill that layer with gray so the first thing I do is I go to mode overlay click on fill with gray and so now I have a grey a gray blank layer that has a hole punched right to it so I don't see what's there but I'm gonna add some things to it so I'm gonna do some dodging and burning so let's go over here tio my uh dodge and we're gonna go I used to keep it a three percent so let's blow this up now watch what happens mere we talked john about the little marks right along here we're gonna fix that we're going to solve this little problem we have here make sure my brushes on a soft setting and now I'm going to three percent exposure begin to fix that little section washed us like magic and we're going to come along here and I'm going to smooth the transition between um his lights and these little areas right here. Okay and so this is dodge in bern now if I want to dodge instead of having to go over to dodge switch all I had to do is click the ault option button and it's a burn so I could burn dodge burn you know, burn dodge and we go along here and I can use this on the eyes but let's do this let's go over here and make a another adjustment layer uh which is levels and I'm going to um what's this is kind of a cool little trick I'm gonna go over here and I'm gonna brush that's gonna be black and I'm gonna go in here one hundred percent make sure it's on your softest settings and I'm going here and I'm going to go right like this and pick up his eyes now do you see anything happening? No, um but now holen lis inverted I think I did that right let's, try this again. I I think I screwed it up. We're in here black um normal levels okay, so I'm applying a black brush can't we see it so let's go back to brush levels there we go. No let's do it this way let's back up! Where's my history let's go to history let's go back and I think we were right here was the last one to see dodge, I think there was a last one so let's start over. We want levels. Ah, I didn't clip it. See? We clip it so it's on ly on him so now if I do a lightning so let's say I go here to hear right? So there I see the eyes I got asshole face now I do command are you command I so I flipped the mask goto white brush now watch now it brings out the eyes so that if you you can play with it, you can go back your percentages here so let's go down like you know and then I could maybe come in here and do a little bit it still has that effect on it pick up little other areas maybe not here maybe bring up here a little bit so it's still affecting you know, wherever I want to put that so now it's on a black mask so I'm working in and again this is overexposed compared to here I wish you guys could see this but um so that that's that uh we've brought his eyes out a little bit um we're not gonna go into skin retouching right now uh and he would probably have a few things I want to do but um there's there's a lot of things I could do in here in terms of smoothing out things but I want those I really want all the grit to be there I don't want to take it out because it doesn't look like an athlete so let's back down take a look at my image here okay it's looking pretty good I still think that backgrounds a little too bright he doesn't quite pop enough so I still have my adjustment layers look at this there's still sitting there see they're all there and if I go you know what I want to look too far on the coolness let's bring back the photo filter to the warm so I flip it back to the warm and I say okay you know that good or bad I don't think so right now looks way too warm but let's go back to the cooling filter and I might go to hugh saturation and say you know what that yellow in the background is just way too much for me so I'm gonna pull the yellow out a little bit more right there I'm color blind but I know that there's some funky things going on right so that's how I do that and then um you know I may do a little more dodgy and bernie but I got that up here and his four has got a little bit of a hot spot right there so let's just go here were quick I've already got the layer built I'm gonna go to uh my dodge burn but I'm just gonna hold down the option and burning here a little bit like this maybe right along here dodged out a little bit dodgy just a little bit smooth out some things I don't want to go too far um but all my layers there but the highlights look a little bit too much I can dodge that down or burn that down so at this point there it is there's the they're stiff that's the techniques I use and I do that almost every photograph now I've got a few of the things I do um you know, depending on problem solving things what I do we talked about selling to fake that cut out if you look at my cut out it ain't perfect but you're never gonna know it now I'm doing an ad campaign is gonna be a billboard I may spend a little more time on what you're cut out should not be more than say fifteen, twenty minutes not three hours people call they e mail me my cut outs of taking three hours you're overdoing it so what soul that fake more than anything was that glow behind it and a little atmospheric things that sells the fake more than anything so um when you have someone standing and you gotta create shadows that is the hardest thing to dio now I've been working on it and some of my images you'll see their shadows along on that one that's hard to do but again with practice and get better at it and that I just make a blank layer with a black brush or dark brush and I slowly build up the shadows and if I get too much I could take a eraser brush and like I say there's a foot for a hand let's have a hand like that and um you see their shadows coming from here but let's just say that the light was coming across here I'll create my little you know shadows in here then I take my racer brush and I go start from here and I go I just erased the edges off so it looks like they're sharp light cutting from the fingers and wherever I need to go and like that sells the fake so I've learned he's most these text tricks I've learned not for a book but by having to force myself to learn he's exactly how I solve this problem and so I get better and better as it as I go but um that is really the sort of the nuts and bolts of my um my technique and it has to do with the fact that a de saturate okay, now that I set out and go do I want to do with the saturated look no, I'm color blind therefore I can't really color balance so I'm gonna pull back all the saturation because that makes it a little safer for me right that's how I end up with a de saturate look not because that was necessarily my goal from the beginning so now you see a lot of people doing de saturated look they think that's the that should be the end result which if nothing's wrong with that for them but I'm just saying I did it because to play it safe on my retouching side so member I said my color blindness is the greatest single asset possessive as an artist so I end up doing something that's a little different because I'm colorblind does that make sense

Ratings and Reviews


Fantastic!! He is so down to earth and humble. His work is unique an exceptional and he shares his techniques, experience, tricks, and best of all his life stories that took him to where he is now. One of the best instructors in CL. I love how he checks the ego at the door and just shares his art and techniques with us. I definitely recommend this course and I was lucky enough to get it at a great discounted price but it is worth its regular price imho.


He's my new favorite instructor, there are many CL instructors I really like but the second I watched and heard him I bought the course, love his style, love his knowledge and the way he conveys it. His way of Frequency separation is fantastic and pretty precise and takes care of a lot of flaws. Learned lots! Thanks Joel! Thank heavens I am not color blind ;)


Joel makes it easy to follow when it comes to editing and shooting. He is a wonderful teacher and very easy to learn from. I enjoyed the photoshop techniques he taught as well as his approach to lighting. My favorite part is his advice on business it's very motivating and inspirational. I thoroughly enjoyed this course!

Student Work