composites - merges

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by anel, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. anel

    anel TPF Noob!

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    i was wondering what the best way would be to approach this-
    let's say i wanted to photograph a band or whatever and i want to light them all separately and then merging them together in photoshop. now this would all be easy if they weren't together- some even in front of others. just hipothetically, how to the pros attempt to do this? i see a lot of billboards and posters done this way (lot of photos from tv shows and such aswell...) it looks professional and it's really something i've always wanted to do..
    is there an easier way in doing this than going in photoshop and zooming in to 100% or more and then erasing all the bits around the person..
    is there some kind of merge option or something i could use?

    photos that would use this:

    http://www.dmitrylinkov.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/heroes-cast-3.jpg

    http://images.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/20090311/560.lost.promo.lc.031109.jpg
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Combining elements from different photos/images is a pretty basic process, but making it look good isn't always easy.

    You are referring to the process of extracting or masking. Extraction is when you extract a subject from the background it's on, masking is where you use a layer mask to hide parts of a layer. You could use either or both techniques.

    It doesn't always have to be zooming in to 100% (sometimes is 300% ;)), there are several techniques for selecting subjects and/or separating them from their background.

    One way to make this easier, is to use a background that contrasts from your subject. In video (TV, movies) they often use chromakey (green or blue screen). Some people use them for still photography as well, but you can use a black or white background just as easily, as long as your subject contrasts with the background...and that can be help by how you light your subjects and your background.
    The thing to avoid, is something like black hair against a black background. If the hair isn't lit well, it might be impossible to properly cut it away from the background.

    As for the photoshop techniques...they are very common, so I'd suggest doing a Google search for something like 'Extraction + Photoshop + tutorial'
     
  3. anel

    anel TPF Noob!

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    there's no problem with that- i've had years of experience with masking, extracting and all but i've grow tired of it and thought that there must be an easier way than doing this if i plan to make a photoshoot with my camera on a tripod the whole time and photographing each person at a time. if the people don' intersect it's easy, no need for extraction nor masking- i can just layer them all up and gradually make them visible, but if they do intersect it gets really tricky.
     
  4. Mulewings~

    Mulewings~ TPF Noob!

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  5. anel

    anel TPF Noob!

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    yeah.. that's not really what i'm looking for.
     
  6. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    There is always an easier way...hire someone. I did not say cheaper.




    Sometimes we just have to gut it out and do it.;)
     
  7. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    By the way you phrased your initial question about having to erase all the bits around the subjects makes is sound like are not using the easiest masking techniques.

    Just like Big Mike said, and the only two ways I can thing of, extracting and masking are the way to go. There are advanced techniques for masking, like using the gamut of selection tools PS has to offer. There are also some sophisticated plug-ins you can buy that can make a potential 30 min masking job into a 5 min job.

    But sure, if the background is an even blown out white, you could just roughly select the subjects and composite them together. But besides that, I really don't know what you are asking in your last reply.
     
  8. anel

    anel TPF Noob!

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    more and more i'm thinking it's all done in studio and then photoshopped into a background or environment yeah.. but what if i wanted to do it differently?
    if i really don't bother with a white background, can't i shoot on a tripod and light everyone differently, giving me 4-6 shots with each shot having another member and then gradually compositing these images together. i hope i'm not saying this too complicated..

    as i highly doubt those pro images are done like i would do it, i agree they're all probably done in a studio, with a white seamless, and then pasted in a pre-chosen environment..
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It sounds like if you want to shoot without the background and outside of a studio that you are going to be making the task a lot harder for yourself than it need be. Why can't you use a studio setup to get the shots - I mean even just a white bedsheet used correctly (and ironed) could give you the background effect that you need.
     
  10. anel

    anel TPF Noob!

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    i guess you're right overread, i just wanted to be able to go to point A, shoot, go to point B (being my computer) and finish the photo. but with a white background i guess it would prove to be best.. i'll see what comes up..
     
  11. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    I didn't look at your reference images before. Those composites look terrible imo. It would be better if you could get your subjects in the real space. Look at the Vogue or Vanity Fair double cover spreads; they are gorgeous.

    I think the reason they composite like in the samples is that it is incredibly expensive to get those people together on location at the same time. If they shoot them in the studio, they can shoot them individually, it is easier to light 1 person than 12, and they don't have to worry about weather.

    If you want to see some great composites, check out Joel Grimes. www.joelgrimes.com

    I think most of his professional athlete portraits are composites. A simple studio portrait combined with a well done HDR background and then processed into his style.
     
  12. anel

    anel TPF Noob!

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    wow what a great find! thanks for the link - are they all composites btw? is it his most known style or not?
     

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