Compositing

This is one of the most fun things a graphic designer/photographer can do. You put together bits and pieces to create something new.

I’m not all that great at it yet. I’ve seen composites that blow me away! But the more you do it, the better you get. They’re so much fun, everyone should do them if they have Photoshop or a similar program.

Luminar, one of my favorite photo processing programs, can’t do what PS can. It’s not meant to, and that’s fine. The 4.3 version at least had layers, but the new AI version doesn’t. I was vastly disappointed, and so were many other users. Layers are what you need when you’re trying to achieve a certain look, and compositing? Other than adding a giraffe or air balloon, Luminar should not be used for combining various elements in a picture. I mostly worked in Photoshop today, though credit where credit is due: Luminar added the light leaks via a template.

Let’s start with the original picture. I went out for a bike ride early this morning and spotted this in a neighbor’s yard. What can I say? He’s a little weird. After I got home again, I stopped for my camera and walked down the street to take a couple of pictures. What’s his message? Dunno. Maybe “if you don’t wear a mask, you might die?” Works for me.

I started with the usual edit. It looked fine.

Vibrant color, considering the early hour. I liked it, but a chimp holding a skull aloft suggests certain things, so I went with it. First thing I did was change the mood by adding light leaks and doing a lot of other little things to it, like adding film grain, using the matte and high key sliders, etc.

I liked that, too, but I thought I could do more. This was the crop, so I returned to the larger photo, which I sized to use as an FB header, and downloaded some hi-res fog brushes. But first I had to cover that tire in the upper left-hand corner. See it on the original? To do that I had to take another picture in the backyard. I cut out some of those bushes, slapped them on the original pic, and blended them in so they wouldn’t be noticed. Tire gone!

They worked really well (you’ll see that in the final photo), then I added the fog, but I thought I could do more. 🙂 I added glowing eyes to the skull, then went online to find a cigar, because shouldn’t he be smoking one?

I stuck it in the skull’s mouth, then thought, Needs smoke. Turns out I already had smoke brushes, so I added some. Now we’re cooking!

But wait, he needed a hat! So I googled men’s hats. I had to get the angle just right–that’s important when you’re doing composites. Details matter!

Why wouldn’t he wear a crocheted hat? He had to be cold without his hair.

I threw all this stuff at the photo, added the appropriate shadows under hat and cigar, and voila! A masterpiece.

And you thought it would be easy. *snort* It took me a couple hours to do this, but I didn’t notice, because I was having so much fun. Compare the final version (sized for an FB header) to the original to see how it changed.

See you next time.

About Fenraven

Fenraven lives in central Florida, which reminds him of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
This entry was posted in photography, RL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Compositing

  1. jeffbaker307 says:

    Two words: Album Cover! (“What’s an album cover?” say the kids today!)

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