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Compositing Additional Elements

Lesson 39 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

39. Compositing Additional Elements

Next Lesson: Gradient Maps


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Compositing Additional Elements

So we'll go back to our plates, and since we started them already, we'll go back to our smoke plates and decide which ones you wanna add. Yeah. So I quite like... There's something nice happening up here. It's very similar to the pose we have anyway. Yeah, we can add any of them, actually. This is quite nice. That one. Yeah? Yeah. Okay, so, and maybe that as well. Okay, so these two? Yes. Okay, I'll double-click those. I'll export variants, and I'll just open with Photoshop. Okay, so, there you go. So really quickly, you open them up. Let's have a look. Okay. I might have made work a little bit double for myself, but we're gonna just see. So I'm gonna select that, and I'm gonna command C. If it doesn't work, it's okay. At least we tried. Yeah, but that's the point of it, right? So you can see if it works for you or not. Yeah. I'd kinda like to see what it looks like there. So my brush is at 9% flow again, and we just kind of lightly stick it here. Yeah, that looks g...

reat. Okay, and there might be more smoke to come in that case, so what I will do is grab that layer, command T, make that a bit bigger. Okay, and then make sure that I am getting rid of it on the side. Okay. Alright. I'm gonna grab some smoke from the other scene as well. Oh, was it this one? Maybe one of these? Okay. Okay, command C, and bring that in. Oh, I think Photoshop wants your attention. There we go. And let's see. Not sure about this one, but we'll see. And having a big fluffy brush as well is helping as well. I'm gonna drop the opacity of that actually to so you can still see some of the stuff underneath it. Mhm. That looks beautiful. Okay. Make it 100 here. And we'll drop it again here. Actually, this might be an idea. If you give me a, let's go back and select a photo that's full of smoke and we'll just strow it on top. And then we can go from there. I'm just wondering, Pratik, if you can also talk about what type of the specific shortcuts you might use in this image or in these scenarios? I know that you talk a lot, or actions. I know you talk a lot about how much time this can take. So as you go through. As we discovered, in a situation like this, it's easier to use a tripod. Because what you could do is you shoot the frame, you roll the smoke in, shoot an empty plate in the exact same location, and when you decide the model you like, you decide the smoke you like, you can overlay them easily. So this is also a pro and con of shooting handheld. 'Cause when you shoot handheld, you don't have that exact reference of where things should be placed and all of that. So it's just things to consider. We didn't shoot empty plates this time. For that reason it showed you where we failed. Not that we did fail yet, because we're improvising. And I think that's okay. Yes. It is okay. Yeah. If anything it would make you better at Photoshop. We're gonna try one thing. We're gonna export this frame. Yes, one of these. As a variant. And then what I'll do is we'll overlay that and see what we can play with. Perfect. You can also use smoke brushes and custom brushes to hand-paint smoke emulation. So any gaps we have here, we're gonna hand-paint it as well. So we can see what gaps we can fill, and what we can recover and add and build. Just put it here. Edit with Photoshop. Oh, I am so excited to see this photo come together. I'm really excited about it. I'm gonna grab some of the smoke from here because I love the textural shapes in it. Okay, grab some of that. Okay, command C, and let's bring it in. Ooh la la. Let's take that away and put that in its place. Perfect. Actually, I think it's really good that you do see how I do it very casually. Of course it is. Yeah. Okay. If anything, hopefully this should make it more accessible to you. Okay, alright, I'm gonna have some of that smoke come across her, so gonna drop my opacity then to and start brushing some of this away. And brushing some of it. So I'm gonna brush it some of it thicker in some places and not in others. It looks like it's really light in that scene. And my opacity for my brush is changing as we go, but my flow is still low. See what I did there? Great. Bring some of this across. Fantastic. And I wanna bring some of it across her body as well because it would be as if the smoke is going across her body. Alright, and we're gonna flip this over. Command J, so we duplicated that layer. I did. And I'll flip it by command T. That's right. And bring it over to the other side. Yeah. Very quickly. Well, look who recovered herself quickly. (giggling) Alright. [Male Narrator] There we go. Alright, so, I actually really liked how this corner was looking down here. I thought that looked really pretty. So I'm gonna sort of retain that. We don't need to see her face. I mean. She was such an easy model to work with. Yeah. Okay. Alright. So very quickly. There we go. Can you see it come together a little bit now? Mhm. Yeah? And I'm just gonna bring some of it back here, but overall, we are kinda there. Yup. You're on the wrong layer there. Okay. It's okay. I know what I'm doing. Something like that. I'm gonna bring some of this back. Alright. Okay. Brilliant. So what do you think so far? Let's see the before and after of this smoke. And that, there we go, these three right here. In fact, if we wanted to... I'm gonna group that and change the opacity to maybe 50%, 80%; I would just see if it works. So maybe, yeah, maybe 80%. Something like that. Okay, so here we go. Smoke 1. Smoke 2. Alright, so once I'm done with my composite. Let's see before after of everything. Let's see before and after. Okay. So this is before, and there's the after. Wow. And it's done very quickly, as you can imagine, so, yeah. That's incredible. And yeah, you would spend time in the composite part if you're doing something quite complex.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work