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Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Lesson 28 of 31

Finalize Image Workflow in Lightroom™

Karen Alsop

Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

28. Finalize Image Workflow in Lightroom™

Lesson Info

Finalize Image Workflow in Lightroom™

The reason that we need a copy. This is obviously a very big file. It's struggling to process it's that big. It needs to be saved as a flattened version so I can open it in Lightroom. This I will select all, I'm simply wanting to copy a merged version of this and create a new copy of it. I want to save this with the layers. I don't want to lose all of my hard work so make sure that you save all of your layers and save this as the working file. But Copy Merged, and then File, New, and straight away since you copied your image it is going to bring out the right pixels To basically paste it straight in so you don't need to change any of the information it is whatevers on the clipboard. So okay, Edit, Paste or Control + V. Alright, now you've got your image there, you don't really need the background there but you can play with now just a few little less things. I tend to do this on the flattened version because I don't need all of my layers to apply these last few changes, And it's going ...

to work faster anyway, so yeah. Quick question for you: A couple of folks at home and I'm just not sure, apologies. If Alice's shadow is gone-- Oh it has and they peeked it, Well done. The people at home are noticed the detail. So thank you for pointing that out. We must've turned it of at some stage let's go back down to Alice. Thank you very much. We definitely need her shadows. Okay. where did they go. They're there. There's Alice. Let's move them out of the group. There we are, and the rabbit shadows I think are still there and the rabbit, very observant thank you very much everyone. We'll move them out of the group and down below. Okay. I think we are good now. (laughing) Thank you! See that's why posting your images and getting some feedback is so essential and I always show my husband the image before I post it too because he always picks up on something, you've been working on it for ages, you've been looking so closely at it, and you missed the obvious so thank you very much. It's just the click of a button, on, off. It is, it is. So you could easily, yeah. So good learning moment. (laughing) Alright so I Copy Merged again, and let that copy and we will bring that into the flattened version so that we can apply those last few changes. Sometimes it takes a little while to copy it because it is kind of taking in all of the information from the scene. I do do some final adjustment in Lightroom, so the color of this I will still tweak a little bit more in Lightroom, but you don't want to take it too far in Lightroom. Essentially you want to do as much as you can in Photoshop, get it as close as you want and if there is any further tweaking, it is mainly to get it prepared for print or web, but if you go too far in Lightroom on a flattened version of your file you start destroying the information in it. So Edit, Paste. Okay so there we go. Shadows, no shadows, we got the shadows back. I'll delete that one there. So the next one is to go in to Channels. And this is just to lift the highlights and just to play with the curves here. Choose the red channel, make a selection, turn everything back on, go back to layers, and here we are creating a curves adjustment layer. So I usually turn, make a little bit of an S curve. This won't need to much because I have already applied one of these to the background. So I'm looking at Alice, and at the rabbit, just playing with it, and then I can change the opacity down as well, so if I feel its too much. This helps to give it a pop, and yeah it just really helps with printing as well. You don't want to overdo it you want to make sure you retain all of the detail in your highlights, so if you push it up too far you lose all that detail and it become white-white. So you do want all the detail in your highlights and all the detail in your shadows. So now my next step would be to save this as a flattened version. So Wonderland Flat by putting Flat in the title, and it could be a PSD, it can be a Photoshop file. By putting flat in the title, I know that's my flat version. So it's good to differentiate your working version with your flattened version. And back up, and put them on back-up drives, So I would then go back into Lightroom. She'll load up, and Ill show you now how I'll actually load this into Lightroom. So I would go into my folder or in Mac to the Finder and to where I've got it saved and this one is CO Wonderland Flat and I'll just drag it over here. That will bring out my import box, and all I want to do is add this, I'm not duplicating it, or anything like that, I'm just adding it to Lightroom. And jump into Develop Mode. Okay, so here we have Alice. Essentially I'm pretty happy with it overall, but I'm often, pull out the shadows just a touch anyway and the highlights down, and play with sometimes my adjustments down here. So there are a few different little adjustments that I make that helps it bring it all together for that. Occasionally I will add some color to the shadows and highlights in Lightroom. So one thing you can do if you wanted to warm up your scene a bit, you could add some color to the shadows, some warmth to the shadows. I don't really want to do it on this scene, I'm quite happy with the color, But that is one thing that you can do in Lightroom. Split-toning works very well in Lightroom. But down here, right down the bottom is grain. Now, by applying some grain to the scene, You will bring it together even further. This is particularly helpful if you actually took different photos on ISO's. If you had a noise image you could apply some noise reduction, and then add some grain. So let's zoom up. So don't over-do it. So down to grain. If I turn that off, you can see that it's all very smooth, but if I turn up the grain again it may be hard to see on screen but bringing in some grain and then printing with some extra grain over everything will help bring it together. So no further than 20 is normally the way that I go and sometimes I play with the size, make the size smaller or larger, it depends on my image, but I'm wanting to add grain to bring that all together. Zooming back. This image is now ready to go to web, or go to print.

Class Description

Karen Alsop is known for creating beautiful fantasy worlds through her unique compositing techniques in Adobe® Lightroom® and Adobe® Photoshop®. Whether you're a wedding, portrait, landscape or commercial photographer, this class will show you how to create beautiful and distinctive images you can offer your clients to expand your business.  

Join us for this class, and you’ll learn how to: 

  • Shoot with your composite in mind: lighting, posing and angles.
  • Choose background and subject images that will work best in the composite.
  • Learn Adobe Lightroom and AdobePhotoshop techniques to create a fantastical atmosphere.

Karen’s emphasis on creativity and imagination in her process has helped her to make a product that competitors have a hard time recreating. Karen’s beautiful, intricate work is not simply the result of vast technical skill, but rather is the careful integration of a number of elements. She puts subjects at ease and inspires them with artful direction; incorporates them into fantasy landscapes using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and then effectively prices and markets the final product.  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


Judy Mitschelen

I've found many great instructors at CreativeLive and Karen ranks right up there at the top! With her relaxed, thoughtful manner of presenting, I was immediately hooked. Her organization, clear explanations and demonstration, and on target response to questions are superb. This course covers an amazing range of skills and tricks of the trade. Whether you're interested in getting better shots to work with, better workflow at the computer, or better output at the end, Karen covers it all.


Karen is very talented and a great teacher and I enjoyed every minute of the course. But what I found to be the best part was seeing what an amazing person she is. The video of compositing the disabled children to make their dreams come true had me in tears. It has inspired me to use my talents to help others and not learn photo manipulation for self enjoyment. God bless you Karen.

Endigo Rae

This was such an amazing class! Karen is so talented, inspiring, and such an amazing teacher. Very forthcoming and open about all of her techniques. I'm so looking forward to jumping into compositing, I feel like this is definitely something my soul desires to explore and Karen has made it so easy and accesible through her beautiful course! Thanks so much Karen and CreativeLive!