Photoshop Compositing - Austin
Ever wondered how those athletes on very edgy & grungy looking portraits, dramatic movie posters and very catchy print advertisements were created? Welcome to the world of compositing and to be precise, Photoshop compositing (well, at least that’s what I used here) where the final photo is made up of different photos (can be 2, 3 or more depending on how complex the composite is), which like in the composite I made for the Austin car above is from the parts taken from three photos, and joined or composed together using a photo editing software such as Photoshop. This technique is not new and has been around for some time already but for me it is and it just made this photo journey much more interesting.
I tried this technique mainly because I was not able to take photos (outdoor that is) for the last few days due to the very heavy rains so I just thought why don’t I ‘recyle’ some of my old photos and see how they will turn out. I had always been interested on how those grungy looking portraits of athletes and those really cool movie posters were created. I goggled ‘photoshop compositing’ and there is one result that really caught me. It’s the Photoshop Compositing Secrets by Matt Klowskowski. Off to the library I go and look for this book. It was out on loan and waited for a few days but it was worth it once I managed to get hold of it. One thing good with this book, aside from the easy to follow instructions, is that the photos that are shown there are available for download and can be used to practice the techniques. I actually managed to try out a few of the photos but due to copyright issues, I could not post them here. But to have an idea how the photos looks like, you can access them here.
Well, I didn’t really plan anything for the photos that I used for my composites here. Making a composite was definitely not on my mind that time. The background photo was actually taken along Jonker Walk in Melaka, Malaysia while the subject, the Austin car was taken at Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia. The sky?…not really sure but I know it was taken along the North-South Highway while on the way back to Singapore. If I’m going to re-take the shots with the intention of using them for composite, I will definitely approach it differently especially on how to light up the subject properly so it will really stand out on the composite shot. For the time being, I just have to make good with what I have.
You can say that most of the work is actually done during the post processing but I feel that it will not be so much if the initial planning were done and with the photos taken having them in composites in mind. For my subject, the background’s perspective is totally out but with Photoshop I managed to make some perspective corrections. As I’m relatively new to Photoshop, it was really a struggle. The perspective was not really corrected but I’m quite happy with my try that’s why I decided to use it here. The original sky of the background was actually quite dull so I replaced it with some old sunrise photo that I took before. But you can’t just replace the sky. You need to have a common color theme to make sure that everything blends well and with very little or no noticeable gaps of the different components on the overall color scheme. And this applies as well once you put in the main subject. I literally played around with the post-processing using layers and masks and the application of some filters and special brushes in Photoshop.
The final composite is definitely not what I will get at the actual place (the sun doesn’t even set on that spot!) but I feel that’s the beauty of this technique…to present the photos in a totally different light.
Photoshop Compositing - Ducati Diavel
The photo above was actually the very first composite I’ve ever done but what you see here now is after a few versions I created. This should be much straight forward as it consists of only two photos but the truth is, this is more difficult than the Austin car composite mainly because of the subject’s (Ducati Diavel) selection. Had the bike been placed in a studio (this is where the proper set-up comes in) with a plain background (white preferably), the selection of the bike would have been much easier. I actually made a very rough selection for the bike it’s just that I manage to hide some of it with the use of some lighting effects.
Not so Final Note
I will definitely be creating more composites in the future and with practice, I’ll try to be really good at it. It takes a lot of time as one composite actually took me a few hours to complete .The fun part will be when the time comes that when somebody look at my photo and ask…is it a composite or not?