Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Adding Interest With Multiple Images Using Photshop Blend Modes

Where's a couple things "worked" in today's image that add to the interest.  The original shot was taken in a vendor's tent at a (reasonably) local renaissance fair.  In the US we seem to be fascinated with 16th century England and all that was (idyllically) going on during those days of yore.  It is interesting to see 21st century interpretations of what was a pretty miserable time to live.  The character in today's image is a leather smith at one of the fairs.  The sun was bright, basically insuring super contrasty  shots if attempted anywhere on the grounds.  In the shade (any shade) was the place for shooting.

A little "taming" of the tones in the image was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.  Adding just a hint to "complete" the image was done in Adobe Photoshop CS6.  Neither application was a requirement to get similar results, but it was in my personal workflow.  The sun was blasting through the side wall of the tent and had to be reduced.  The other effect was that he was smoking a pipe, but the blazing sun made getting the smoke impossible.

Bring the bright wall down to a manageable tone was an LR4 job.  The new Auto Masking that goes along with the Adjustment Brush is simply great.  With the proper amount of size and feather dialed in it's possible to get very accurate lines between one object and the adjacent form.  The entire back wall was toned down after being selected with the Adjustment Brush.  Another Pin was placed on the wood slats and they were brought down more.  One more Pin for the knife and the background was much less distracting.  The eye is attracted to the lightest portion of an image.  Therefore it's important make sure the subject is the area a person's should be drawn to. 

The PS CS6 part of the finishing of this image was adding the smoke to the pipe.  I recommend everyone shot some smoke trails made by incense.  I have an entire folder of incense smoke.  The shots are all of white smoke on a black background.  I looked around through my "Smoke Folder) and found a trail that seemed to fit the subject matter.  The image was moved around until the smoke appeared to be coming from the pipe.  A simple Blend Mode change to Screen drops out the black background.  You might see the edge of the smoke image.  If that happens, throw a Layer Mask on the smoke Layer.  Take a very soft Brush (B), using black as a foreground color, and sweep around any sharp edges that show.  Bang, You're done.

"Normal" color adjustments were made to reflect the warm light due to the fabric of the tent.