Tag Archives: composite

A Simple Method for Creating Composite Photos

[tweetmeme]Composite photos are made up of two or more different images. There are several different types or styles of composites, but I’ll be focusing on just one in this tutorial.

The type of composite we’ll look at is made up of multiple images with exactly the same framing, exposure, and lighting. Using this method, you can add or subtract objects from a scene. Obviously, this isn’t something you want to do in photojournalism, but it does have applications in other sectors of photography.

Here are seven basic steps for creating simple composite photos.

1. CAMERA SETUP

First off, you need to use a tripod so each frame doesn’t move. To make your post-processing easier, you’ll want to shoot in manual mode if you can. This will give you the ability to produce multiple images with the same exposure (assuming your lighting situation is constant).

2. CAPTURE MULTIPLE EXPOSURES

Once you have the camera ready to go, take as many images as you think you’ll need. Then take a bunch more. You can always throw out the extras, but you can’t go back and get one or two more after you’ve taken the camera off the tripod. I shot 29 different poses for my example composite.

3. OPEN IMAGES

If you shoot raw format, just be sure to process the images with the same settings. After raw processing, open them all in Photoshop, The Gimp, or any other software that allows you to use layers and layer masks.

4. CREATE LAYERS

Choose one photo to be the base image for the composite. Place all other images in layers above that base image. We’ll be grabbing bits and pieces from these layers to create the composite.

5. MASK LAYERS

On each layer above the base image, add a layer mask and hide all or fill with black. The black layer mask will block out the pixels from that layer, so you should only see the base image at this point.

6. PAINT THE COMPOSITE

Now you can go back to each layer mask and paint white over the areas that you want to show. This could be the addition of objects present in that layer, or the subtraction of objects present in the base layer. If you need to see what’s in your working layer, press “shift” and click on the layer mask. This will temporarily disable the mask and show just the image. Press “shift” and click the layer mask again to enable it again.

7. FINISH POST PROCESSING

After you get the composite image looking good, you can either save it out as a new image or continue working with it in Photoshop. Any adjustment layers that are applied above the composite layers will act on the composite as a whole.

And here’s the finished product.

I See Three of Me

That’s about it… there’s not a whole lot to it. If you get the initial shots identical in composition, exposure, and lighting, the rest is pretty easy. Here are some other examples of composite photos.

Mirrored self-misidentification
Creative Commons License photo credit: eqqman

paradox v2.0 (1 of 2)
Creative Commons License photo credit: pochacco20

Composite
Creative Commons License photo credit: j-william

Kestrel Composite
Creative Commons License photo credit: markkilner

04/50 - everyday is a mindless routine.
Creative Commons License photo credit: eleven days into april.

bmx stunt
Creative Commons License photo credit: katiew

Too many babies
Creative Commons License photo credit: PhotoBlackburn

Anthony Equals Three?
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ben Chau

366 • 65 • Shadow monster
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pragmagraphr

Fifteen Fabulous Fantasy Fotos from Flickr

[tweetmeme]Fantasy, fiction, surreal, conceptual, composite, Photoshop… call them what you will. I call them artistic and creative.

Photography in itself is artistic and creative, but using a photo (or photos) for a derivative work is no less appealing to me. I’m actually envious of people who can combine images or add to photos and create something completely new — I can’t do it… and I probably never will.

Jerry Uelsmann has been a favorite of mine for a long time because of his ability to combine images and produce fantastic works of art (and he does it old school — none of that digital stuff). If you’ve never seen his work, go look NOW.

Here are a few others kicking around Flickr, trying their hand at this type of thing. Great stuff in my opinion, and all very different styles and techniques.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Rayani Melo

Easy Going
Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

United Colors
Creative Commons License photo credit: kaneda99

TicTac
Creative Commons License photo credit: movimente

147 of 365 - just dandy
Creative Commons License photo credit: paul+photos=moody

November 15th 2008 - The Rope May Not Be Tight, But At Least It's Wide
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stephen Poff

Beach guardian
Creative Commons License photo credit: neeZhom

食べたい、食べたい...
Creative Commons License photo credit: pulpmojo

She's So Small, She's Cute!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Poe Tatum

Lunar Fantasy
Creative Commons License photo credit: Bill Gracey

elec'trick' Paint
Creative Commons License photo credit: ViaMoi

chim chim cheree...
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mara ~earth light~

Free your crows
Creative Commons License photo credit: Desirée Delgado

model actress fashion x ray hand photojournalism war photography and just plain strange dark evil unusual negative sandwich composite controversial dark sexy and completely new!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Zoriah


Creative Commons License photo credit: !borghetti

[tweetmeme]… oh wait, that last one isn’t a fantasy — you thought it was though, didn’t ya? I’d freak out if I caught something like that by chance.

So what do you guys think? Are you into this kind of stuff too, or are you a “purist”? Anybody have some examples of their own or links to other images like this that you find compelling? Let’s see them in the comments!

Link Roundup 09-06-2008

  • September Challenge
    PhotoChallenge.org
    It’s still not to late to join in the September Challenge. Each week will be a different type of portrait to shoot.
  • 5 Useful Upgrades In Photoshop Lightroom 2.0
    digital Photography School
    If you haven’t upgraded to Lightroom 2.0 yet, here are five good reasons to do so. This latest release has a lot to offer, and it has a lot of photographers talking about it.
  • debate 2008: digital vs. film quality
    Pro Photo Life
    Our pal Jim Talkington got himself into a whole lot of extra work when he compared a film and digital photo of the same scene. All the film gurus came out of the woodwork and Jim plans to redo his experiment with their suggestions. I’m looking forward to this…
  • Breaking the Rules of Photography
    Beyond Megapixels
    It’s good to know the “rules” of photography. But sometimes it’s best to break those rules.
  • The Mysterious Model Release Demystified
    Hyperphocal
    Want to learn more about model releases? This articles covers everything from why to when you need on and what a good model release should include.
  • Composing an Action Sequence Shot
    DIYPhotography.net
    A good little tutorial for composite processing action sequence shots.
  • Are the Masses Unhappy With Adobe?
    PhotoWalkPro
    Jeff comes across a neat website where Adobe users complain about the products. In this post, he recaps the top 10 complaints for Photoshop and Lightroom.