Composite | C&C!

MichaelHenson

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Another in my foray into composite photography. Just trying to get a better feel for the process and how to overcome hurdles...Anyway, I'd love to get some thoughts? This is just two images put together in a similar fashion to my earlier composite post, this is just in color so it's a bit more involved (for me, at least).

Thoughts? Feedback, tips? Thanks in advance!

R&L in Paris by Michael Henson, on Flickr


EDIT: Here's the updated version as of this evening...Thoughts?
R&LinParis4 copy by Michael Henson, on Flickr
 
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MichaelHenson

MichaelHenson

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I've done a bit of blurring and added some noise to try to help out a bit. Are you talking about more blur? Or perhaps selecting both layers and adding a blur to "compress them" or something? Again, I'm a newb at this and haven't done much of it so all the terminology is new, etc.

The lighting, perspective, etc. were all things that I was very aware of and tried to make sure those things made sense before going any further...
 

480sparky

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What software are you using? Perhaps someone with knowledge of what you're using may be able to help more.
 

Buckster

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Work on masking techniques, especially how to deal with masking hair. The edge of your couple is very sharp, as though cut out of paper with scissors and pasted onto the background. It has light and dark edges in inappropriate places with regards to their respective backgrounds, and the whole edge all the way around needs to feather a bit to blend slightly into the background overall to make it more believable.

Remember that the background and surrounding color and light have to influence the couple you've placed into the scene in order to trick the minds of the viewers into buying it without triggering an impulse to figure out why it doesn't look quite natural.
 

AceCo55

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Maybe have a look at the "refine edge" facility (I'm using PS CS6)
Select the couple > Select (menu) > "Refine Edge" to get the people to blend in a little better.
This will soften the sharp edge that Buckster was referring to.

Some settings to start with:
Radius: 0.4 - 1.0
Feather: 1.0 - 3.0
Smooth: 3 - 6
Contrast: 3 - 5
Shift Edge: you probably won't need to change this if your original selection is good
Note that these are NOT hard and fast - just somewhere to start

The setting I used on my last composite were:
Radius: 3.1
Feather: 1.0
Smooth: 6
Contrast: 8
Shift Edge: +1
 
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MichaelHenson

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I've been playing around with the Refine Mask on my layer mask and either the results are incredibly subtle, or it's not doing anything...Hard to say which. I'll try to post an updated version over lunch today to get some more feedback. Might be getting closer?
 

The_Traveler

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I'm getting a disconnect between the look of the couple and the perspective distortion of the Tower.
the tower looks like it's leaning back and tilted.
And the lighting is discordant to me.

tower.jpg
 

W.Y.Photo

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You want a small "halo" of partially transparent neutral or color-matching pixels inbetween the couple and the background in most cases when pasting them on. This can be easily achieved if you shot with a gray background but you can dodge and burn or reapply/erase the translucent pixels to match the background if necessary.

These extra pixels will give the illusion of a slight blending of colors and shades that naturally happens when a sensor records the light coming from a subject. You can see it by zooming in on any natural photo. Imitate this effect and you eliminate the cardboard cutout-feeling that is oh so common in composited images.

Edit: I recommend using the pixels from the original image of the couple rather than attempting to brush new ones in
 

SoulfulRecover

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the edges of the couple could use some feathering but I do like it
 
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MichaelHenson

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Yeah, I'm going to have to do some feathering or something along the edges to soften them up. I've tried the "Refine Mask" feature and haven't noticed it getting any better...I'll keep working on it.
 

urahara

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You want a small "halo" of partially transparent neutral or color-matching pixels inbetween the couple and the background in most cases when pasting them on. This can be easily achieved if you shot with a gray background but you can dodge and burn or reapply/erase the translucent pixels to match the background if necessary.

These extra pixels will give the illusion of a slight blending of colors and shades that naturally happens when a sensor records the light coming from a subject. You can see it by zooming in on any natural photo. Imitate this effect and you eliminate the cardboard cutout-feeling that is oh so common in composited images.

Edit: I recommend using the pixels from the original image of the couple rather than attempting to brush new ones in

If I get your proposal correctly, you mean a new layer between the couple and the background, few pixels width of the original photo with lower transperancy? How do you make such a selection to create this new "halo" layer? I always just played with the refine edge on these cases.. and maybe add some blur to the mask edges at times to make a more believable transition.

What you suggest seems very interesting... if care to elaborate or provide some link for this technique I would be greatful
 

W.Y.Photo

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You want a small "halo" of partially transparent neutral or color-matching pixels inbetween the couple and the background in most cases when pasting them on. This can be easily achieved if you shot with a gray background but you can dodge and burn or reapply/erase the translucent pixels to match the background if necessary.

These extra pixels will give the illusion of a slight blending of colors and shades that naturally happens when a sensor records the light coming from a subject. You can see it by zooming in on any natural photo. Imitate this effect and you eliminate the cardboard cutout-feeling that is oh so common in composited images.

Edit: I recommend using the pixels from the original image of the couple rather than attempting to brush new ones in

If I get your proposal correctly, you mean a new layer between the couple and the background, few pixels width of the original photo with lower transperancy? How do you make such a selection to create this new "halo" layer? I always just played with the refine edge on these cases.. and maybe add some blur to the mask edges at times to make a more believable transition.

What you suggest seems very interesting... if care to elaborate or provide some link for this technique I would be greatful

No no. Sorry I explained that in a much more complicated manner than was necessary.. I simply mean you want the selection to be feathered outward from the subject being comped in rather than cut out pixel by pixel. I used a precise explanation because I feel that helps give insight into the actual process. plus if he has the image as a layer and is simply masking the rest out he can zoom in and make those adjustments quickly with a brush.

I wanted to explain specifically that the area that is feathered should be the background around the subject and not the subject themselves or else their outline would be blurred.
 
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MichaelHenson

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You want a small "halo" of partially transparent neutral or color-matching pixels inbetween the couple and the background in most cases when pasting them on. This can be easily achieved if you shot with a gray background but you can dodge and burn or reapply/erase the translucent pixels to match the background if necessary.

These extra pixels will give the illusion of a slight blending of colors and shades that naturally happens when a sensor records the light coming from a subject. You can see it by zooming in on any natural photo. Imitate this effect and you eliminate the cardboard cutout-feeling that is oh so common in composited images.

Edit: I recommend using the pixels from the original image of the couple rather than attempting to brush new ones in

If I get your proposal correctly, you mean a new layer between the couple and the background, few pixels width of the original photo with lower transperancy? How do you make such a selection to create this new "halo" layer? I always just played with the refine edge on these cases.. and maybe add some blur to the mask edges at times to make a more believable transition.

What you suggest seems very interesting... if care to elaborate or provide some link for this technique I would be greatful

No no. Sorry I explained that in a much more complicated manner than was necessary.. I simply mean you want the selection to be feathered outward from the subject being comped in rather than cut out pixel by pixel. I used a precise explanation because I feel that helps give insight into the actual process. plus if he has the image as a layer and is simply masking the rest out he can zoom in and make those adjustments quickly with a brush.

I wanted to explain specifically that the area that is feathered should be the background around the subject and not the subject themselves or else their outline would be blurred.

So, to recap, I'd select just outside them to get just a bit of the background of the original and then brush that out with a semi-transparent brush with a layer mask, right?
 

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