Point me in the right direction please - compositing in PS

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by zulu42, May 21, 2019.

  1. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    2,159
    Location:
    NV
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yesterday I had my camera on a tripod next to a bird bath. I captured a number of different birds in different shots. I'd like to make a composite image using 5 or even 10 shots and place all the different birds into my favorite exposure of the bird bath.

    I opened two shots in PS as layers and was able to use a layer mask and the paint brush to add a bird from the second layer onto the first layer. It worked but I don't know how to find the edges of the bird without revealing too much of the background. It seemed like it would be a tedious process for all the layers I want. Also a big file size with several raw files as layers..

    Can I use an easier selection tool in conjunction with the layer mask?

    Should I do it another way, like using a selection tool on the birds and copy/paste?

    I know this is pretty basic and there are videos available.. but if I can get pointed in the best/ most efficient direction I could probably find my way.

    I'm using the subscription version of PS on a windows machine.

    Thanks in advance!


     
  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    10,128
    Likes Received:
    4,484
    Location:
    Alabama
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Ask and you shall receive. LOL There are multiple ways to start the selection process, but I'm going to give you the way I'd use. You don't need a mask but the steps start out the same, 1st load the bird/birds you want to add as a new layer. I like to temporarily add a brightness/contrast layer and push the contrast to the max to make it easier to select at first. Now using either the "Quick Selection" or the "Lasso" tool select your bird. Don't worry about getting it perfect just get close. You can delete the contrast adjustment layer now. Now on the menu bar at the top, click on "select and mask". This will tell you the rest of the story How to Use Select and Mask in Photoshop - PHLEARN when you're done, select output to new layer. It will place just your selection on a new layer. From there, you can crtl click on that layer open the transform tool and move the bird around, resize it, warp it, what ever you want.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  3. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    2,159
    Location:
    NV
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you smoke. I have fumbled around enough to make a composite of two images in the past, but with so many files, I thought I'd better learn a good workflow.
    Hopefully I won't even have to transform or move the birds at all.
    I'll give that method a try tonight. Much appreciated.
     
  4. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    10,128
    Likes Received:
    4,484
    Location:
    Alabama
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    @zulu42 chances are you'll require some transforming of the selection in order to make it look right. Having the selections on individual layers will let you make adjustments to each bird as needed. If you get stuck send me a message I'll be happy to help.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2015
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    229
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If it was on a tripod and the lighting, background, and framing didn’t change, your selections won’t need to be very precise. Just make a rough selection slightly larger than each bird, selection>modify>feather by a few pixels to soften the selection edges, and you should be good to go in most cases.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    10,128
    Likes Received:
    4,484
    Location:
    Alabama
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    @adamhiram brought up a good point, which I think was covered in the video link, using feather to soften an edge of the selection. The secret to a good composite is to eliminate any incongruities between your selections. The human brain will zoom in on anything that looks out of place, like a sharp edge where it shouldn't be, or a soft edge where it should be sharp. Thats the reason I prefer the Select & Mask. It gives you the option of adding either a negative or a positive feather to the edge.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    2,159
    Location:
    NV
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I was able to composite some birds from different layers using Select+Mask. it was a little more difficult as the birds are small within the frame and not particularly sharp. What worked for me was a rough selection with the lasso tool, refine edge tool, then shift and feather. The framing was consistent, but the lighting wasn't because the base layer was shot with a couple filters.
    Here's the shot I was playing with:
    Weekly challenge 5-18 - 5-24 Slow shutter

    @smoke665 your advice got me started in the right direction I really appreciate it!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2016
    Messages:
    10,128
    Likes Received:
    4,484
    Location:
    Alabama
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    Glad to help. You've had a taste of what i was saying earlier about it being difficult to match them up. Bear in mind though each of those individual selections can edited to match your base layer. You can either clip adjustment layers to a selection, or group layers, so you can independently adjust them.
     

Share This Page