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Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Lesson 16 of 31

Warp Techniques to Fit Costume to Rabbit

Karen Alsop

Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

16. Warp Techniques to Fit Costume to Rabbit

Lesson Info

Warp Techniques to Fit Costume to Rabbit

So, we photographed yesterday our rabbit, and our Alice, and our costume, and today we are putting everything together in Photoshop. We will be putting the costume on, warping, puppet warping, changing the color of the costume, I will be showing you how to create a brush as well, from the hair of Alice. And we'll be adding shadows, highlights, and shading, and painting with light, so lots and lots of different tips and tricks today, you don't wanna miss any of this. I am excited to start with our rabbit here now. We've got our white rabbit to a point where she's dressed, but the jacket's not quite fitting and it's not looking exactly how I picture in my mind for this white rabbit. So, the first thing that we're going to address is how to shape the jacket to fit the white rabbit. So I am going to zoom up on this white rabbit here. And you can see that the jacket at the moment is the shape that it was on a mannequin. Now, there's a few ways that you can change the shape of things, there'...

s many ways, actually, in Photoshop. One of those is liquify, another is warping, a new skill in there is puppet warping, so we are going to try all three of those. The first one that I'd like to look at is liquify, because I feel that this part of the jacket on my right hand side, or the rabbit's left hand side, needs to be widened and fit around the rabbit. So, we can now go into liquify. Now, looking at the.. This costume grouping that I've got, it's currently in a group. So I can't open the group in liquify. I want to be able to just change the size of the jacket, and I want it to be one layer. So what I'm going to do here is turn the costume group into a smart object. So to do that I would right click and convert into a smart object, and this gives me the flexibility to play with this layer now as a smart object. I can double click that, and it will actually open all of the layers in a separate window and I can change things there. So, that is another way that we can use smart objects, smart objects are very, very clever and they retain everything, so they are non-destructive. So, back to our scene, I won't save that because I haven't done anything to it. Zooming up a little more, and filter, liquify. So we can see the whole scene here in our window, we want to zoom up on the jacket there. I think I'll use the hand to move this around, I think I have zoomed up too far. There we go. In liquify mode, I don't want to do a lot of work to it, it's really just this side of the jacket that I want to push out, so for that, I'm going to use the forward warp tool, and adjust my size to very carefully, just push it out, and the trick with liquify is not to do a big section all at once, you just little by little push out the area that you want without it looking like it's being warped, so you need to be careful not to overdo things and that's with everything in Photoshop. So I'm pushing this out, giving the rabbit a little more bulk around their tummy area, and while I'm here, I'm going to fix this sleeve as well. So pushing this in, on the side, we actually had the rabbit stuffed, or the arms stuffed with bubble wrap, so (laughing) the bottom half of the arms is probably a little thicker than it would normally be. So pushing this in.. If for example you go too far, or it doesn't work the way that you want, you can erase that section and go back again. So it's important to try and choose the correct size brush to make this work the way that you want it to. So pushing that in, making the bottom half of the sleeve thinner, more realistic. We'll do this on the other side of the sleeve as well, we can do it on this side, but the easiest method is to address the side that doesn't have any other aspects of the jacket blocking it. So in we go. And in the sleeve, now this section here has that fur coming out over their hands, because when we photographed, the hand was Danielle's hand, and the jacket was sitting over the top, so we'll go into that and mask that back later just to fix that area up so it's not obvious. We'll bring the arm in more around the side of the arm here as well, so instead of it looking like it's stuffed with bubble wrap it does actually look like a real arm. So we're reshaping and you can use this tool in any form of photography, particularly it's well used in newborn photography, but in fashion photography, obviously, for obvious reasons, but it's certainly a tool that is very, very useful. Okay. That's getting much closer to what I'm after in terms of the sizing of the arms, I think I'll bring this out more. Okay. In here, and down at the shoulder, just a touch. And probably on this side of the shoulder, bringing that up to balance it out. Alright, I'm ready to hit OK. And now we have, the rabbit has been amended and changed. The next thing that I wanna do is still bring some of this jacket out, and sort of form it around the rabbit's shape, so another tool that we can use to do that is a warp tool, as well as puppet warp. Now, they're two different things. If I go into warp, so edit, transform, warp. This here, smart filters will be turned off because I've liquified, and the smart filter has been applied, which is a non-destructive way of adding the liquify, when I'm editing it with the smart filter attached to that, it will turn it off. I actually want to see this image as it is after I've liquified, because otherwise I'm going to get confused as to what I'm warping. So what I'm going to do here is create a duplicate layer, flatten it, which I very rarely do, but just that layer, just rasterize it, and work with the rasterized layer but keep this smart object as a backup. Just in case I need to go back. So occasionally you do need to do that, because there are certain things that you can't do when something is a smart object, but as long as you keep that as a backup you should be safe, just in case you wanna go back to the original. So, you can see it turned it back to the original there when I pressed OK, so I'll cancel out of that, don't place. And the same way that I have previously shown you to duplicate a layer, is to hold down Alt or Option, click on the layer that you wanna duplicate, and drag it to where you want it. So now I've got two of these, so this particular layer, the copy, I'm going to right click, and rasterize, turn off the one below, and now I've got a copy that I can work with that is liquified and it holds its liquified state. So, edit, transform, warp, and in the warp mode, you've got these squares that you can bend and warp, you can warp corners, so you can change shapes like that. Now, for this particular costume, the warp tool is not giving me enough control. I want more control over certain areas of my costume, so for this particular use, I'm going to go into puppet warp, while gives me a whole lot more control. So I'll cancel out of this, edit, puppet warp. Now this is a very, very cool little tool. It's amazing what you can do with it. I have said previously that I learned something new about this tool. I have been trying to use this tool, and every time that I would edit with it, and add points, and then apply those points, and apply the changes, and then go back out of it I would have jaggedy edges around the areas that I've adjusted and I'll show you what I mean by that. If I just adjust this hand, it's amazing what you can do with puppet warp, so fun. Apply, now if I zoom up on there, you can see it's not smooth, it's caused issues with the edges of the image. So, I delved into the Google, (laughing) I delved into Google to find out, how can I address this, and I actually found out that you can in fact enlarge the area around the puppet warp, to expand the area so it's not going to cause that jagged edges. So I'll show you how I do that, I'll need to obviously go backwards, I don't want that change there, so edit, puppet warp, this is the default, this is what comes up when you open it, but, if you change the expansion, can you see now the mesh is actually coming outside of the rabbit? So you can expand it out, as much as you feel you need to, and you can also change the pin depth as well, so, but, at the moment, this is enough for me, the main thing that I want to change is probably still around the jacket here, and just have a play with the arm and see if I want it to go in a different direction. So to use puppet warp here, you need to first of all lock down some areas that you don't want to move. And then you pin the areas that you want as the joints. So you would pin in an elbow, anywhere that moves, you can pin, and then you can actually rotate on those axes, so, we'll pin the arm, the wrist, the joints, the shoulder, we can't do much with this hand on the pocket watch side, because it's actually joined to the body, but if it was out from the body we could certainly move that around. Then I'm going to lock down these sections, so I'm going to pin here, pin here, pin here, pin here, those points will sort of lock it down, so the area for example, if I just wanted to move on this point, I can drag from here to here, I can go all the way up like that. So, it's quite interesting what you can do, you can imagine if you take photos of animals and you need to move, like a giraffe head down, or anything like that, it's quite an amazing tool. So if I want to bring the arm up, bring this section up, I really have a lot of flexibility with how I can change the shape of things, so that point there I can bring out, I can bring this section up higher. So I'm looking at the image and just reshaping it however I want, to fit the rabbit's shape. So I'm bringing this section in, I'll bring this shoulder in a touch. Again, I've got the backup version of this smart object below, so If I do make any mistakes at this point, because I'm working with a rasterized layer, I've always got that backup there so it's important to keep that. I'm going to apply the puppet warp, the shape is starting to fit a whole lot better on the rabbit if I zoom out. Okay, we can see that the rabbit's fitting a whole lot better, we could even do the puppet warp with this body, or her body if we needed to, if we wanted to change the shape here, so I can go over to the rabbit feet and you can actually puppet warp with a mask on but I'll show you what happens when you do that. It un-links the mask. So if you're wanting to puppet warp and you've actually, you're working with a smart object that is masked, what will happen is this, if I demonstrate to you. The mask is not linked with the rabbit anymore so when I move the area outside of the masked area, you will need to re-mask that area. Now, the other thing that happens too, is, no that's alright, it actually takes that previous mask away. Can you see, I can't bring back any black there, so if you're working with puppet warp and you're wanting to use it, I recommend duplicating the layer, making it, applying the mask, so that you're not, as soon as you apply puppet warp, it will be re-masked, I don't know how to explain it better, it will be, it will delete the previous mask that you had, and it will create a new mask and you won't have any of the extra information there. If I show you the mask now, you can see you've lost all the black area that we had around the rabbit, if I go backwards in time, and now we look at the mask, I can bring back that black before, so you can see it's actually deleting a masked area. I hope that makes sense, does anyone have any questions about that? I have a question from Photomaker, and that's just kind of a clarification. So, it's a little bit long, so, Karen, once you rasterize a layer, like you mentioned, to retain the rabbit's shape, does that work like a stamp layer, for example, you can no longer work with the smart object layers unless you step back to them and remove the rasterize and higher layers. Okay, I'll demonstrate. If you rasterize the layer, yes, you can no longer work with those other images in the group, because it's basically a flattened layer, but that's why I keep the original smart object. So if I wanted to, or if I needed to, I would have to step back in time, I'd need to turn this one off, go back to this one and work with it. So when you get to the point of doing this, you really want to have everything exactly as you want it, without needing to go back and re-mask, so you want your masking to be done well, you want your, everything to be joined together so that you shouldn't have to go back, but, if you need to, it's there. That's the problem with rasterizing is that you do lose all of that editable information, but at this point that's the best way forward when you're doing all of the warping and the liquifying and things like that so always have that backup. I hope that answers the question. Great, thank you, and just another clarification from Nicole Wild and Jen Ames: How did you apply the pins on the puppet warp and turn it on and off to work, same thing, how would you protect certain areas? Okay, I'll demonstrate that as well, hi Nicole, Nicole actually just recently did my workshop, so, you go into puppet warp, and to apply the pins you actually just click on the areas you want to be pinned, so you just tap in the various areas. If you want to take a pin away, you can right click and delete the pin, you can actually right click and remove all pins, so it's just in tapping and adding them. There was a second part to that question, I think. So, it was, again, how do you apply the pins and turn them on and off to work, and how would you protect certain areas, I think that's the same question? I think so, yeah, so to protect areas from moving, or to lock them down, again is to place the pins in the areas that you don't want to move, so the pins acts like a pivot. So if you think of it as a pivot, so if I was to remove all pins, and I just put one pin there, and then I'm moving the whole area so it's not locked down, if I put another pin there and I try and pivot this, it's actually moving it on that axis, so if I want to lock it down, I put another pin there. It's still moving the body, a touch, so to lock it down I place some more pins where I want it to stay. So you think of the pins as locking it down as well as where the areas will move.

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!