I have been watching, listening and reading articles on compositing by Aaron Nace on the web site Phlearn, and for a recent 365 project topic decided to try compositing an image in Photoshop. The topic was construction and I was going to construct an image in Photoshop of our Christmas tree surrounded by floating presents of different size, shape and colour.
I had downloaded the tutorial Beginners Guide to Compositing a while ago, and been watching the included videos. I hadn’t really tried compositing in Photoshop before, but once you have an idea in mind you should follow it through. If the end result is not as good as you would like, you have still gained the experience and the drive to try it again and do better.
To capture the initial images that I was going to use I first had to set up some lighting on the tree. Now my time was limited by a family who wanted to make use of our living room, and didn’t seem to get any fun out of me filling the room with light stands and tripods. For some reason they wanted to watch TV. I finally got some basic lighting set up and was ready to start taking images.
My wife selected some presents that we knew could handle flying, or more correctly being thrown in the air and caught (hopefully), and she lay on the floor and threw these up in front of the tree. We tried to get the presents in different areas around the tree, different heights, but again probably rushed through this process in an effort to keep everyone happy. Why was there a TV in my studio? Taking the time to create really good quality images is important to the final composited image looking great. So I’ll have to take much more time next time I try this.
Working in Photoshop to cut out each present took some time, but once I had that part done I could move each present around on the background layer of the tree to end up with the final result. I’m sure I have more to learn from the Phlearn content so I’ll be going back over the videos as soon as the Christmas rush is over and I can find some time to relax and watch them again. I’d suggest that anyone who wants to learn compositing should buy a copy of Beginners Guide to Compositing from Phlearn
For someone with a full time job, it can be hard to keep pace with a 365 project. For me, finding the time when I get home to create a new image is what I find the most difficult. Even when I make the time and start to focus on it I can feel worn down and uninspired. Those times that I do find that spark though are the ones that keep me motivated. I might not be close to a photo a day at the moment but I’ll still keep on pushing forward.
Here are some articles that you may find useful to help you on your way: