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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 12 Aug 2015 (Wednesday) 07:56
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creating composites

 
mike_311
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Aug 12, 2015 07:56 |  #1

i'm about to embark on a photo project that will involve photographing a subject and then placing them on a scene that i take elsewhere. it easier to light the subject in studio and then place them onto a photograph that I take myself.

i plan to match the lighting as best i can so that the composite looks as natural as possible.

my issue is that whenever i have tried to do this in the past, it still looks like a cutout.

what are the best techniques in Photoshop for isolating a selection (i usually use refine edge) as well as the preferred choice of backdrop color or lighting considerations to aid in the selection process.

thanks in advance.


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Kolor-Pikker
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Aug 12, 2015 08:26 |  #2

The cleanest cutout can be achieved with an evenly lit bright green backdrop, that's also sufficiently distant from the subject so as not to spill green light onto it.

Additionally, make sure that the entire subject is in sharp focus, as you can always add DoF as a post-effect, but blurry edges are hard to mask cleanly.

If you really want to be thorough, assuming your subject is an inanimate object, you can photograph it with lighting from multiple angles, and stack them to blend the lighting as you see fit, just in case your studio lighting didn't exactly match the scene.

If you can deal with a more hands-on approach, photograph a matte gray sphere in the scene you'll be putting the subject in, and use that as a visual reference of how light would have affected the subject if it were there. Light and shadow often have different color and temperature from each other, and an artificially placed subject will appear fake if the lighting isn't consistent.


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mike_311
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Aug 12, 2015 08:38 |  #3

wow, those are some great suggestions!

fwiw, my subjects will be human, children to be exact.


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PhotosGuy
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Aug 12, 2015 08:38 |  #4

Are you using Layer Masks? Some links in this might help:
Need to remove a background from something?


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Kolor-Pikker
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Kolor-Pikker. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 12, 2015 09:16 |  #5

mike_311 wrote in post #17666019 (external link)
my subjects will be human, children to be exact.

Sorry to hear that ;)

In that case, try to keep your lighting fairly diffuse, so that you can always dodge/burn the results more to your liking later, rather than having to deal with sharp highlights and shadows that are too baked into the skin to smooth out.

Needless to say, do at least capture the subject lit from a couple of angles so that you don't later end up with a photo where the sun is on the right, but your key was on the left.

If you don't have or want a green screen, you can simply gel your lights green against a white BG, but the saturation may not be quite as high. If your subject comes wearing green, keep that in mind too, in which case switch for a blue backdrop/gels.


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Luckless
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Aug 12, 2015 10:42 |  #6

Photographing your background elements first may be a good idea so you can take careful note of the light angles and how things are actually working in the scene, then use a stand in model to test your lighting setup to ensure it matches, and then photograph the primary subject. This is of course, assuming that you don't have complete control over the lighting of your background scene.


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nathancarter
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Aug 12, 2015 11:17 |  #7

Also pay attention to the perspective of the background and the subjects. Due to perspective differences in the background shot and the subject shot, feet are hard to composite - even a slight difference in perspective or shadowing will make the composite look unnatural or cutout.

Some composite artists will use less than full-length shots, or put fog or other effects around the feet, thus avoiding the "feet" problem altogether.


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dilleyo725
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Aug 12, 2015 11:36 |  #8

You might be interested in checking this photographer's work. He does some amazing composites with his kids. From what I've seen of his BTS, he shoots on grey backdrops. I think the key is the prep work, i.e., planning the shoot, matching lighting w/ planned composite. Also post work...making a good selection of the subject, adding shadows so it doesn't look "cut out", color grading to unify all images used. Youtube Joel Grimes or Phlearn and they all have that in common plus more.

http://www.johnwilhelm​.ch/ (external link)


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kjonnnn
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Aug 20, 2015 16:08 |  #9

There's alot in post you can learn, but first I wouldnt light them in the studio, Id light outside in your location, That lighting would be a much closer match, especially of youre not good in PS.




  
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eventsof1768
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Aug 21, 2015 05:55 |  #10

try to keep lighting the same

keep the angle of the camera the same - if angle of the camera is pointed downwards in the bg its best to do something similar for the subject

learn how to cut people out in photoshop with masks, and use 'refine mask' to refine the selection

make sure you also cut out the shadow too, composites without shadows when a shadow is meant to be visible looks fake. use blending modes to make shadow look natural

use clipping masks with curves/levels/hue saturation/colour balance to match the subject to the bg - look at colour temp, exposure, contrast, saturation


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