Monday, January 9, 2012

Panos, Composites and Bears, Oh My ... In Photoshop CS5

I've done posts on panoramas and I've done posts on compositing and I've done posts on flipping back and forth from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 to Adobe Photoshop CS5, so I figured I'd do one combining all three.  I thought the park scene had possibilities when I was flipping through LR3 this morning and decided to do the pano.  CS5 makes it so easy and it's so forgiving that you can practically put the camera on a very short interval timer sequence, click the shutter and throw the camera in the air and still be able to come up with a pretty good pano.  The days of needing to be on a tripod (doing daylight panos), with a lens null point mount, in manual exposure, with manual focus are over.  Photoshop CS5 stitches, aligns, blends and spits out a 99.99% correct panorama, 100% of the time.  About the only thing the photographer needs to do is overlap one frame to the next.  Come to think of it, in the toss it up in the air scenario, you could probably do the same setup multiple times and get enough shots so CS5 would be able to sort them all out and build one coherent image.  I'll put that on my "todo" list and report back.  To find out more about today's image, hit the "Read More".

The first thing you probably noticed as being dropped in is that big, old dog in the lower left hand corner.  That one's a given.  You get no "points" for that one.  A little Quick Selection Tool (W) action combined with some Smart Radius in the Refine Edge dialog box and I was 90% there.  As far as output from the dialog box goes I typically pick Output To New Layer With A Layer Mask.  I did have the dog stacked on the pano before going to Refine Edge.  By clicking through the F key cycle I was able to put the dog on the background pano, giving me a much better idea how good the selection had to be.  After I had the new Layer and the Layer Mask I turned on the Mask (ALT and click on the Mask) to be able to fine tune it a little.  With the Brush Tool (B) set to a Brush Blend Mode of Overlay and the Brush Opacity down around 35% I was able to go back and forth between cleaning the blacks and white by hitting the X key.  Because the Brush Blend Mode was in Overlay, anything darker than 50% would darken to black using a black Brush and anything lighter than 50% would lighten to white using a white Brush.  With the Opacity turned down, getting to either black or white took several passes.  Works great.
I basically did the same thing with the man on the bench reading, the enclosed three wheel bike and (over to the right side) the cannoneers about to fire on one of the town's buildings.  With all three the same steps were taken as the dog with the addition of one step.  The image would be easily seen as doctored if everyone was in front of the trees.  In each case I used the Quick Selection Tool on the panorama Layer and picked out the tree or post that should have been in front of the people's position.  In each case it was a simple task of putting a Layer Mask on the Layer with the person (or people) in it and, on the Mask, filling the Selection with black,
Try it.  Make up your own party.