Creating Image Composites using Photoshop

One of the coolest things about digital photography is not the camera itself, but what you can do with the photo after the fact, called post processing, using different software programs like Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Elements.

A fun thing to do is to combine 2 or more images and merge them together to create a composite image. Common additions include adding a bird or the moon to a dramatic sky. Often landscape elements are added such as an interesting tree or rock outcropping, and sometimes simply swapping out a boring sky for one that's much more exciting can turn a mundane photo to an excellent one.

It's easy to add elements to a picture, but much harder to make them look right when all of the layers are put together. Photoshop's Extract tool is a good place to start. It will help you remove an object from one image so that you can copy it into another. It does a decent job of getting the edges right, but you'll need to fine tune it; however, with each new version, it's getting smarter.

First, duplicate the layer then extract the object out of the duplicate. I convert this new object to grayscale and copy it to a layer mask. A layer mask is a grayscale layer that allows portions of the layer below it to be shown. By converting the extracted layer to grayscale, I have a pretty good representation of the object that needs to be seen. I then paint on white or black to the edges of the layer mask to fix the edge problems in the original extracted layer. Once its perfect, I include that layer and its mask into the composite image and move it to the right position on the image. Sometimes there are a few pixels that seem out of place once the layers have been combined, so I'll fix those individually by zooming in 5x-10x and use the clone stamp tool to edit out the problems.

Extracting objects is an art form all to itself, but definitely worth trying. To do so, you'll need to know how to use the extract tool in Photoshop and how layer masks work, which we'll talk about in further tutorials.



Your Name:
Your Comment:
Please enter the text from the image in the box below:


NOTE: Information on this site is not guaranteed to be accurate. Some content is compiled from 3rd party sources. If you are aware of incorrect or outdated information, feel free to contact us.

Powered by My Market Toolkit.