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As this photo was developing infront of the camera I started to see it as being kind of in the style of Brooke Shaden, so I decided to try and semi-mimic her style in editing and kept looking back and forth at her stream while editing. Some of the points I picked out from her work were the beautiful flowing fabrics, a uniform color (usually blue, red, or yellow) and an added texture.
So here’s the merged image.
I started out by with a curve layer specifically on the grass (I inclueded the layer masks with the image of the curves so you can wee where exactly). One thing I feel I should mention here to keep in mind is the histogram (the grey “mountain peaks” in the background of the curves). It shows where in a range of light to dark the colors lie. So since this area is primarily all dark colors the giant peak is on the left, so really what ever the curve looks like on the right doesn’t matter becasue there’s no data there. However, you see that the values on the right are raised, but that’s just becasue the left values are lowered and since it’s a curve it just does that =)
Next I did a curve specifically for the body/sheet. As you can see since the histogram is more to the right, working on the areas to the right have effect. I wanted the fabric to be more contrasted to bring out the folds so I used “S” curves making the darks (left) darker and the lights (right) lighter.
Here’s the result of the two curves layers
Next I decided to try and add in more detail to the clouds, since Brooke’s are always so amazing. They originally had detail but in merging the photo it all ended up getting blended together. To do this I decided to just create a new layer (as you can see in the drop down menu thing) and then draw in darker and lighter areas by sampling (alt+click with the brush tool) the lighter and darker areas of the photo and drawing so that I’d keep the natural colors of the clouds. I then reduced the opacity of the layer to 30% so it would blend in well.
I then added a curve layer to the clouds to add even more contrast
And here’s the result of the cloud fixing.
Next I decided on a reddish yellow for the theme color so I messed with the red and yellow in a hue saturation layer on the grass and body.
Then I decided to use a couple color balance layers, one for the grass and another for the sky, since they’d easily convert all colors.
And finally I decided to mess with a selective color layer on the whole thing to really hone in the right reds and yellows and also work with the blacks and greys. Remember that any adjustment to the neutrals and blacks has a drastic effect!
And here’s the end result of the general color editing. The next step was to add in the texture.
I got my texture form Les Brumes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesbrumes/sets/?&page=2) but it was only 1000x1000 pixels and my photo was around 8000 so I had to resize my image, otherwise the texture layer would only be big enough to cover a small part of the image. You can see how to change the image size/resolutiong below (image>Image size). I set my resolution to 72 ppi (web resolution) and 15 inches which gave me just over 1000 pixel and just expanded the texture layer a little to make up for the rest.
Remember that resolution is very important when printing. A good printer prints at 360ppi so technically printing this at anything larger than about 3x3in. would require the computer/printer to have to guess at the pixels it needs to fill in the rest. Although I have asked Brooke and she said that she’s had no complaints even printing up to 40x40. My photography professor would probably dissagree, but I’m going to go with the experience of the professional ;)
Here’s the texture I used.
I simply dragged it onto the canvas and stretched it slightly to fit. I then played with opacity and blending modes (right click on the layer and click on blending options)until I came to something that looked decent.
I then added a mask to the layer (the little circle in a rectangle button under the layers pallete) and masked off areas using different opacity brushes until I was satisfied. The only specific area I got was on the edges of the body/sheet so that it would stand out more, otherwise it was just general lightening of the layer in some areas.
And here’s the end result!
If you have an questions/concerns/comments or requests for other tutorials the can be made on my formspring -> http://www.formspring.me/iambradical
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So for this photo I used a little strategy I used for the other photos in the color series for the expansion. I put the camera on the tripod backwards so that the handle would be facing forward so that I could move it around while in front of the camera. I set it to manual focus and got into position close enough that I’d me able to move the camera. I got the main image and then switched it to manual focus. But before switching the focus or moving the camera at all I made sure to make note of things like my body rotation and exactly where I was looking. Trying to not move the rest of my body I moved the camera with my free hand, hit the 2 second timer button on my remote and put my hand back down. Then I just repeated moving the camera and hitting the button without moving. If doing this I would suggest not doing anything with your hand up, mine went numb from staying up so long haha.
This was the main image
Here it is after all the expansion. (I plan on making a tutorial on expansion soon!)
And here’s what I cropped it down to.
As you can see my skin is definately not that great at all, so I did some skin retouching using the technique in this video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNB9Mepi1VI.
Here I am all touched up.
As usual I started the editing with my basic RGB curve.
I brough the red curve down to cool the colors a bit
I brough down the green curve slightly to give a bit of contrast, since there’ so much strong green adding some of the opposite (magenta) has a nice effect. As you can see I did bring it up just a bit in the middle to bring out the green in the trees. With this photo I was basically able to treat the lighter area of the curve (the right side) as mainly being just my face since it was the whitest part, the middle as being mainly the trees, and the darker end (left) as being mainly the my clothes and parts of the background.
The blue curve I brought up in the darker areas to cool things down a bit making them a bit more green, and up in the high areas to brign out the color in my face and hair.
here’s what we have after the curves.
After my basic curve layer I usually like to use a hue/saturation layer. I like going through each color and first bringing up the saturation all the way for a moment so that I can see exactly where each color is so I know how to work each. I pretty much ended up doing the same thing to all the colors as what I showed in the yellow above, blue and magenta were darkened a bit more though.
Here it is after the Hue/saturation layer
I then decided my face was too yellow so I did another hue/saturation that applied just to my face and desaturated the yellow.
In the same layer I decided to deal with the issue of that bit of blue from my shirt showing. I would have done it in a separate layer but since there wasn’t any blue or cyan in my face i figured I’d just use the same layer. I usually stay away from messing with the hue but it worked nicely for making my shirt green so it’d blend in.
Here it is with my face lightened and shirt corrected.
I then decided to see what would happen with a vibrance layer. I really like playing with vibrance layer, I never have any idea how they’re going to work but it usually has a very nice effect. I really liked what it did to my face but wasn’t entirely sold on what it did to the back ground so I partially masked it out and liked the result.
And here is the final result! Hope it helps!
If you have any questions or want to request a tutorial you can do so on my <a href=”http://www.formspring.me/iambradical” rel=”nofollow”>Formspring</a> =)
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I got a request for a tutorial for “Be More Heroic” so here it is! I think my editing for this photo more than any other really shows my tendancy to just throw adjustment layers on and play with them untill I’m happy…
I started by compositing 3 shots of myself, the first was the general pose with the remote in my right hand, then I switched hands so I had a shot of that hand w/o the remote, and then I fliped the cape back so it looked more like it was blowing in the wind. Then I expanded the frame, croped and ended up with this.
The first thing I did was to add a general curve layer to the whole thing to give a bit more contrast and such
Then I did another curve layer, masking out myself, the cape and the rock
Next was another curve layer that was just on my clothing so I could brighten it and bring out the purples. Here’s that curve layer and what it looked like at this point
Next of course I had to work on my hands and face and brighten the up.
Then I added yet another curve layer to for just the cape. I wanted to bring out some texture in it since it was so pure red. So I used some “S” color curves since I knew they wouldn’t be able to affect the color of the bright red too much
Next was ANOTHER curve layer (If you’re wondering I had started out seeing if I could edit something with only curve…) mainly so I could bring the bottom of it up a wee-bit.
Next I decided I wanted to have the red of the cape stand out more, so I desaturarted it. To do this I first made a hue/saturation layer and put everything except red at -100 saturation. Then I made another hue/saturation and completely desaturated the reds, and then masked out the cape, this way I could get rid of the reds in my shirt. I wasn’t entirely fond of cape being the only thing in color so I reduced the opacity of each of the Hue/saturation layers to about 50%, ending up with this
Next I decided to use a vibrance layer to play with saturation a bit more. I love using vibrance layers and playing with putting the saturation and vibrance sliders in opposing positions, it always ends up bringing out certain colors in a way I don’t think I’d be able to do otherwise. After I got it set how I wanted it I slightly masked out the cape (black brush at about 20% going over it untill I masked it just enough) to bring back some of it’s color.
In order to draw more attention to the face I used to brightness/contrast layers masked with gradients. This is a technique I find useful to subltly draw attention to important areas.
Lately I’ve been playing around with solid color fill layers and blending modes so I decided to use one to make the sky a bit more interesting. Here’s how I ended up setting it, masking out the cape so it could maintain it’s magnificent red.
And here’s what the color fill did!
I then decided to fiddle with a color balance layer for the heck of it
And then one final curve layer to top it all off…
And here’s the final result!
Any questions or requests for other tutorials can be made on my formspring!
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Ok, so I don’t know how much of a “tutorial” this will be so much as a conglameration of tips and tricks. I decided I’d divide this into 3 “types” of light I generally use: No light, back light, and harsh light.
No Light- I think there’s a tendance for people to thing that since photography is basically capturing light they need direct light. But the problem with direct light is that it causes harsh shadows which are really not your friend. So the best solution is to find a nice area where the sun won’t get you! I’m fortunate enough that many of my locations are surrounded by mountains so that by 3 o’clock they are completely in shadow and I don’t have to worry about how the light falls or shadows or anything.
But since there’s only a limited number of things you can do in shadows, there are other ways to work without direct sun light.
Clouds can basically be your best friends. They block out just enough sunlight to avoid any harsh shadows, but you still have plenty of light to take photos, and they look pretty cool too! I’ve found this especially helpful lately for taking photos on top of mountains.
And if you’re not lucky enough to have mountains or clouds around, there’re these amazing times of day called “golden hour”, sunset/sunrise and “magic hour”, right before the sun comes up (I’ve never been able to get up that early…) and right after it goes down. Golden hour give a very nice golden light without any agressive shadows and magic hour works pretty much the same as shade does. The tricky part about these though is that light can change pretty quickly, but they give you a pretty awesome colored sky!
Back light- Back lighting is basically any time that your subject is directly between the camera and a light source. I absolutely love working with back lighting, which I think has some relation to my love for thule… The problem with backlighting is that you still have harsh direct light, but since the subject is completely in shadow becasue the light’s behind them, you don’t have to worry about weird shadows on on them. This basically ends up making you have to chose between two extremes. You can expose your photo so that your subject is completely visible but this will mean that your background will most likely be completely over exposed/clipped (more on that later)
Or you can expose your photo so that the background looks decent, but you’re going to end up with your subject as mostly a silhouette. I especially like to use the thule for these becasue the light shining through it helps make a nice outline and it reflects some of the light onto the body.
One thing I’ve leared with this photos is that light actually moves much faster than you think. With the above photo I could scroll through all the photos and see the shadows moving. After quite a few of these I realized that it’s a very good idea to do expansion photos before taking photos of the subject. They usually take a lot less time to get than trying to get the subject just right (in a self portrait at least), and personally usually the time I stop working on perfecting the subject is when the light has changed too much.
Harsh Light- Ok, now that I’ve bashed it, I do have to say that harsh light can be an alright thing. Harsh light is ok if it’s being used purposefully for a desired effect. Personally I realy like it for concepts dealing with light as a subject, such as this old one where i wanted to create a contrast between light and shadow, something that would have been impossible in the other lighting conditions I’ve mentioned. The main problems with this though are that you’re angles have to be determined by the light (for this one I actually started shooting from off to the right and ended up having to move in order to get the shadows and light right where i wanted them) and you’re going to have a horible time with cliping.
Cliping- Ok so this is something I learned about relatively recently. Basically clipping is when areas of the photo are either so over exposed that the sensor is overloaded and the data that is recorded for that area is just a giant splotch of white (such as the body in the photo above) or when the photo is so under exposed that the sensor records no data resulting in a splotch of pure black (such as the sheet/tail thing). Most cameras can show you which areas are being cliped in the histogram mode in playback. On my camera the blacks will flash whte and the whites will flash black, but things will be different on different cameras. The problem that usually arises with back lighting and harsh light is that cliping is inevitable, no matter how you expose it either the black or the whites or both are going to be cliped. In this case it is usually better to under expose than to over expose. Black shadows are expected and can usually be salvaged, but a pure white chest with no detail just looks strange. One solution to this, though I have yet to try it, is to expose separately for the subject and for the background and then combine the two later. Also, though I have yet to try it as well, this is where HDR can be helpful. Oh and reflector can be used to try and remove harsh shadows, though I’ve never used them either.
Really for me at least the secret to natural lighting is to avoid direct light at all costs unless it is being used with a purpose. Usually you can tell if something’s under or over exposed from the lcd but I highly recomend checking for cliping if your camera lets you. But really the best way to learn is through going out and experimenting!
Hope this was at least somewhat useful!
Feel free to ask any questions you may have here —> http://www.formspring.me/follow/stream
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So this is how I generally go about combining 2 or more photos of the same subject to come up with a composite of the two (not “expansion” but I intend to make a tutorial on that soon).
As far as taking the actual photos it is best to have the camera on a tripod and make sure the model doesn’t move except where needed, or if it is a self portrait and you’ll be going back and forth to the camera that you have a point of reference for where to be for all the photos (mark your spot with a leaf, or rock, or what ever you can find) and that you remember your pose (if you’re on the ground remembering things like where sticks are poking you etc. is helpful, if you’re standing remember feet positions etc.) The point is to try and make sure everything is the same in all the photos except for the element that needs to be added.
For this tutorial I’ll be using one of my “Icarus” photos. Because I use a sheet for the “wings” I have to take separate shots for each arm. Because I was on a stump body placement was easy, I just had to remember foot placement and try and be consistent with my arms.
So here’s the photo I started with of the right wing
Then I opened the photo of the left wing and drug it in. Since the camera didn’t move between shots I don’t have to try and line up the environment. If I had moved the camera for some reason after draging I would put the second layer into transform mode (Ctrl+T), reduce the opacity of the layer (in the layers pallete) to about %50, and try to line the two up.
With the layers in place over eachother I added a layer mask to the second layer (layer 1) so that I could remove and add parts of the second photo.
Then using a black brush (In a layer mask black “masks” the photo, thus erasing it and white is areas that are “un-masked” so the layer it’s attached to shows through, shades of grey are inbetween so they will be partially masked) I masked away the area of the second layer that was covering the right wing in the photo below. The red areas in the photo are areas that are masked (when a layer mask is selected, if you press the “" key it will show masking in shades of red.)
Next, to get the wing shap I masked and un-masked areas. On the right I un-masked (white) the second layer so that it would show through effectively covering up the wing in the photo below and on the left I masked (black) the layer so it would disappear, showing the layer below. For these I used a medium hardness brush just to rough it out (to control this open up the brush settings box by right clicking with a brush) Note: the balck and white in the photo below were just painted on to demonstrate. Unless you have the layer mask selected you will just simply be painting on top of your photo.
Here’s what it looked like afterwards. (please ignore the sliver of an image on the top of the next photos. I think it’s because I used MS paint for the screen shots…)
Next I feathered the brush (%0 hardness) and went with the edge of the brush along the areas where I didn’t want any hard edges (the bottoms of the wings) remebering to use white on the right and black on the left. The I took the opacity of the brush down to %20 and started fading the wings.
I kept working at this making multiple passes to remove more and more in various areas until I was satisfied. (I also ended up adding in images of each of my feet w/o my sandals on, I didn’t want them in the photo but the top of the stump was too sharp to be completely barefoot so I alternated feet to relieve pressure. For these I first selected each of the feet with the rectangular marquee tool and then right clicked and chose “layer via copy” and then drug in those layers so I wouldn’t have to deal with a whole photo just for the feet. I then repeated the same process of masking out certain parts so I just had what I needed.)
In the end here’s what ended up being masked, so the red parts are where the second layer (layer 1) is covered up letting the first photo to show through.
This was a pretty simple one to show the general process. If I were working with 3 or more different images each one above the ”background” image would get a layer mask and I would basically be going back and forth between the diferent layers blocking or revealing certain parts of each. In that case it’s important to remember that if say Layer 3 were un-masked in the top right corner, what ever you did to Layer 2 in that area wouldn’t show up because it can’t bee seen through Layer 3. So it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s blocking what and what needs to be seen through.
Questions? - http://www.formspring.me/iambradical
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Ok, so I was asked for a tutorial for “Blow the sound of Home” so here it is! It’s not exactly the same, but I was able to remember all the adjustment layers I used and more or less what I did.
I figured I’d start after the merging process because that’s a whole other tutorial in it’s self.
Ok, so first thing I did was add a general curve layer. The vast majority of my photos start with a similar curve, I like what it does.
Next I added another curve layer and a selective color layer, and masked out my body, tail, and the shell so they were only affecting the background. That way I could bring out all the colors without making myself all funky looking.
Here’s what that did.
Next I did another curve and selective color layer on just my torso.
Torso and background edited.
Same process done on the tail. When I was taking the photo I didn’t have a blue sheet but I knew that I could use selective colors to add color to the white sheet.
Torso, Background, and tail edited.
I wanted the sky to be blue so I added a solid color fill layer of blue, set to darken and lowered the opacity, and then masked out everything but the sky.
Next I edited the shell with another curve-selective color combo. I also added a Brightness/contrast layer but after masking away everything but the shell I used a lower opacity brush and added back the area around the shell and repeated with lower and lower opacity brushess moving further and further out. So basically I created a little gradient around the shell so that the light from the brightness/contrast layer seemed to radiate out from the shell.
Before/after of the shell.
Finally I added a brightness/contrast layer to the whole thing to lighten it up
And here’s the finished product! It’s basically just using adjustment layers selectively to bring out different colors in different areas. Hope this helps! =)