Photoshop Techniques: Composing and Image Optimization

Photoshop Techniques: Composing and Image Optimization

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During this weeks seminar we learnt how to use many interesting new tools on photoshop, as well as some previously learnt tools.

  • We started by downloading the ‘Long-Road-Ahead.jpg’ and the ‘Balmain-full-fashion-runway-model.jpg’ images from Moodle.
  • Opening Photoshop, we opened the first file ‘Long-Road-Ahead.jpg’.
  • We were instructed to change the image resolution, to do this we did the following process ‘Image > Image size’ and then set the resolution to 300 ppi.
  • The original image had road progressing past the white painted lines either side of the road, so we used the crop tool to crop the photograph to finnish where the white painted lines ended.
  • After this, we made a background layer and named it ‘Long Road Ahead’.
  • The next step was opening the tool box ‘colour range’ and chosing the selection droplet, we selected the bluest parts of the sky, where the clouds weren’t showing. We were able to visibly see on the preview screen a white balanced line appearing on the parts we were selecting, I used this as a tool to indicate when I could stop selecting the sky as I could see enough was taken.
  • Now we are going to we’ll use the Colour Balance adjustment tool. By clicking this tool from the adjustments panel, automatically it creates a new adjustment layer with a layer mask from our sky selection.
  • Then, from the pop out properties panel we selected ‘shadows’ from the drop down menu. We were told to adjust the sliders to our taste, but making sure to make the sky a richer blue. I decided to be less drastic and go for a more natural desert look. It took sometime before I made my mind up about which adjustment I preferred, but eventually after sampling the range of options, I decided on which I preferred best. 
  • I repeated this process again with the colour of the landscape, and the road. But this time I kept in mind that keeping the tones warmer in the foreground and cooler tones in the background would create a better outcome that I was trying to achieve.
  • Now we were instructed to open the ‘Balmain-full-fashion-runway-model.jpg’ by once again using the File > Open, option. This then opened onto a new tab.
  • The next step was simply selecting the ‘move’ tool, then dragging the photograph into the ‘Long-Road-Ahead.jpg’ tab. This would then put the new photo we opened into the one we were just working on.
  • We then named new layer ‘Model’ and move it to the top of the layers palette.
  • Then next stage was to carefully select the body of the model by using the ‘Quick Select’ tool. I learnt that by using the brackets [ & ] would make the brush size smaller or larger, this was a great tip as it was usefully and imperative to help make sure only the desired parts of the model were selected.
  • Next we clicked the ‘refine edge’ option to open the refine edge dialogue box. Doing this then allowed me to smooth, feather and add contrast to the selection I was working on. Before saving, it’s vital that we saved the output onto a layer mask. The selection has now been created as a layer mask on the ‘Model’ layer.
  • Next click on the thumbnail for the layer mask, and the select the paintbrush tool.
  • Making sure your paintbrush is selected onto back will now allow us to erase any unwanted outlines that weren’t removed from the image. Like wise, if your paintbrush is on white, this will bring back parts of the image, which is useful if you make a mistake, or want to bring back more of the image.
  • To add a shadow, you’ll need to right click on the layer mask thumbnail and choose the ‘add mask to selection’ option. Doing this will now select the are of the mask outlining the character.
  • The next stage is to go onto Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid colour and name it shadow by clicking ok.
  • Now, making sure black is selected from the colour picker, click on the layer in the layers palette and drag it underneath the model layer.
  • Making sure the shadow layer is selected, click edit > transform > distort and manually drag the shadow down so it’s now in front of the model placed onto the road.
  • What we did next was reduce the opacity from 100% to 30%
  • By going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur will slightly blur the shadow, giving off a more realistic effect.
  • To add some ‘flare’ to the photograph, we added a lens flare. We did this by making sure we were on the layer ‘‘Long-Road-Ahead’ and then went onto Filter > Render > Lens Flare. You will see a little cross (+) with the filter control options, move this and place it behind the model. I found this bit quite problematic at first and it took me a few attempts to test it as I wasn’t pleased with the final image of where I’d placed the flare, it look too far to one side in my opinion. The last part of this process was increasing brightness to 130%, this makes the flare more subtle and suitable for our image.
  • Lastly, we saved the image as a JPEG, as this is the most convenient format for posting onto our blogs. However, if you wanted to work on the file in future, you can also save the image as a .PSD file.