Photo Compositing for Beginners in Photoshop CC | Kelly Theresa | Skillshare

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Photo Compositing for Beginners in Photoshop CC

teacher avatar Kelly Theresa, Artist and Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Choosing the Best Photos


    • 4.

      Select and Mask Subject


    • 5.

      Elliptical Marquee Tool


    • 6.

      Putting it all Together


    • 7.

      Adjustment Layers Part 1


    • 8.

      Adjustment Layers Part 2


    • 9.

      Shadows and Light Part 1


    • 10.

      Shadows and Light Part 2


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

In this video you will learn how to quickly and easily combine 3 simple photos into an epic composite photo in Photoshop CC! This class is great for beginners to the photo editing and digital art world with little to no experience in Photoshop. Photos are included in the project resource area for you to use for your project.  

Why learn photo compositing?

It is not only an incredible way to tell stories and create surreal visions that are impossible to photograph in real life but it is also an incredibly valuable skill for every photographer to have in their pocket. If you are not into creating surrealism style photos, this class will still benefit you and increase your editing skills for your photography. Learning to composite opens the door to take your photographs to the next level and create images that you love.

Photoshop Skills Learned in this Class:

  • isolating subjects using 'select and mask' as well as the elliptical marquee tool
  • embedding and transforming photos within your project for great composition
  • adjustment and gradient layering along with blending modes to blend everything together
  • using the brush tool to create shadows, light and special effects 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kelly Theresa

Artist and Photographer


Hi! My name is Kelly and I am a photographer and digital artist here on Skillshare. Thank you so much for checking out my teacher profile! 

I absolutely love photography, photo editing and compositing! I started 25 years ago with film in the darkroom and after raising my family I stepped back into the photography world with digital and the Lightroom. 

I find photo editing and compositing in Photoshop CC really exciting and I can't wait to share it all with you! I am here to show you how to do this from the beginner level and then work your way up step by step learning new skills, tips, and techniques along the way.

My classes are easy to follow with simple guidelines so you won't feel overwhelmed and you can learn what you want to quickly. Wouldn't it be i... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Kelly and I'm a photographer and digital artists here on skill share. Today I wanna talk to you about the art of compositing and we're gonna talk about the what, why, how photo compositing. So what is photo compositing hasn't aim is the ability to take multiple photos or elements of photos and combining it together to create one image. This can be dreaming up surreal images that are impossible to take in real life. You've got, you know, alien abductions and dinosaurs roaming behind you, whatever that looks like. Being able to create something really fantastical combined together. But it also is very important skill to have if you're, even if you're not doing the surreal, amazing, crazy images and you want to build your photography. But that's really where this can come into play as well. You may have a beautiful for ground, not such a great background. Your skies doll or something's happening up there. You're not really happy with. You're gonna be able to combine your amazing for ground with a different background to create something that you really love. So try to keep my classes short and sweet and condense so that you get a lot of information and a lot of really great valuable skills and tools. And you can carry on creating your images and editing your photos. Today we're going to have a little bit of fun. We're gonna create a surreal image and I love it to be able to. If you've got a wild imagination and you know, obviously you can't really take these photos in life, but it's in your brain and your vision. And so you wanna get it out. And now you will have the skills and the opportunity to be able to do this. I'm going to take the three photos and we're gonna get it all together. And then you can either choose the same three photos or choose three completely different photos and put it all together and thrown into the project gallery so we can all take a look and let's get started. 2. Class Project: In this class we're going to talk about choosing the right images for your composite because not everything really fits together. So we're going to talk about what that looks like and why you might choose one image over another. Just gonna use three pictures today because for the most part that's what I use. I end up using 23, maybe four pictures for the majority of the composites that I create. Some of them are around nine or ten, but that's something to work out towards just continuing to increase your your amount of photos as you get more and more confident in blending and the adjustments to make it really fit together. I'm going to show you how to use the Select a mask tool. It is fantastic in the Photoshop CC, really easy to be able to select your subject and isolate it to be able to put it into your project. Will also talk about the elliptical tool. I'm if you are selecting round tools and it gives you that perfect Chris, round edge on it. We're also gonna talk about a place senior photos into your project as well as a little bit of composition and those photography basic rules of composition to make it really pleasing to the eye where you want to fit your subjects. And, and we'll talk about shadow and lighting to make sure your subjects actually fit into your background or your foreground. And make it look like it's actually supposed to be there. I'm also going to post the three images that we use in this video for you to also practice your skills and you can follow along so you can have your video on your phone or your computer and online and then follow along with me. I find that that's a really great way to learn, is being able to do it step-by-step, side-by-side. So by the end of this, you're going to be able to composite three pictures together. Make it look amazing, make it look like it all fits together. Have the tools in your pocket to be able to go beyond this and create amazing composites with your feet. So you can pause here and get your three photos ready, whether that's the three from the resource file, the three pictures that I that I'm going to be using here through n, which if you are a beginner, might be the easiest thing to do just because then you can follow along exactly step-by-step. If not, you can choose three pictures of your choosing with a background of subject matter and then something that is a circle just so that you can practice with the elliptical tool and isolating from backgrounds that way. So follow along with me and let's get started. 3. Choosing the Best Photos: So let's talk about choosing the right photos for your composition. So not everything is going to fit together. To take a photo that has been taken at a low angle. And then taking a photo that's been taken at a high angle is just not going to fish it together, right? You need to have everything that prospective flowing the same, its prey samples. So this one here is a high angle. We have got the camera is looking down on this scene. And here we have the camera is looking up at this low angles so you can see the difference between what the pictures are. So if we were choosing this high angle background, we can choose a subject that has been shot at a low angle perspective. So here we have our eye level background, and I'm going to take our girl here who's been shot at a low angle perspective and we add her into this to try and composited together and it just does not work. You can see that your eye is kinda like not really sure, not really sure where to go with this picture. So this is why it's really important to choose pictures that are taken at the same angle. So if we take this photo here, we can see that the camera was again on the ground, taking the same perspective as our girl over here. And if we add our girl into our picture, so we've got low angle here. If we add our girl into our picture, we've got a much, much better image to be able to look at are, I can go from the bottom to the top in both the background and the subject. So it flows really nicely. And you can see the difference between our mixed perspective and keeping our split perspectives all going the same angle. Lighting is just as important as perspective when we are talking about selecting our photos for composites, especially for beginners. There is some more advanced editing you can do with lighting. We can do in another class, but for now, I'm at the beginner level. We're just going to choose photos that originally have the correct lighting from the original capture. So this is our background and we've got, you can see the sun is in the back here on the side coming up over these mountains and this grassy plains. Now, I'm going to, I've got four different subjects here. I'm going to show you what they all look like when we're trying to put them into a background with different light sources. My first one here is the box and the fox looks amazing, composited in this really cool grassy field. It would be awesome except that we've got light source in our background coming from behind and to the side. And on our Fox We've got the light source that is coming into the sand is coming straight on him from the completely different, often opposite side. So this is not going to work for this composite. Next we have this point girl and you know, again, could be greater than this grassy field. However, you can see that there's a strong light source coming from the opposite side that we need. And so that one then also it was not going to work for this composite. So you're really looking at where's the angle and direction of light? And where's the angle and direction in light of your subject that you're putting into your photo. So you can see we cannot have two different directions of light source, so this one is not going to work either. Next, we have our girl with her cup of coffee. Now this one is perfect. She's looking directly at the light source. You can see the light sources on the edge of her in the same direction that it should be. It's coming, it's hitting the, the edges of her hair and her two. So this is actually really great subject to be putting in this background. Could have something like this. Where you have a subject that doesn't really have a strong light source either way. This is something that we're gonna talk about later in our class about shadow and lighting and how we can create that lighting and shadow on a subject that doesn't really have a strong light source or shadow source on them to begin with. But that's going to be into our shadow in lighting video. So stay tuned for that. So the reason I chose this photograph in particular for our project is for a few reasons. One is where she is looking at her, she's looking up towards the sky, which is where our moon is going to be. So this is going to be great in directing your eye towards that giant glowing Moon. And also she doesn't have a super-strong lady, but she does have a little bit here exactly where we want it to be. She's got some some shadowing down here behind her. But she's also got a really nice glow in front of her or the direction of the lightning. So when we place our moon is just going to have that light on her face, on her dress, on her arms, right where we want it to be. We're going to add some extra shadow in around where we need to once we've placed her into our photo, right? She's got a really great lightning sense and that's exactly why I chose this picture. So if you haven't chosen your three photos yet, taking the perspective and lighting into consideration, you can choose your three photos now or choose the three from the resource file, which I have, are in perspective and enlightening. So we're going to get started in our next video in the beginning of our project, which is selecting an isolating our subjects. So let's get started. 4. Select and Mask Subject: I'm going to show you how to use the Select and mask tool. It is fantastic in that if Photoshop CC really easy to be able to select your subject and isolated to be able to put it into your project. So we've opened up Photoshop. We better first picture here, which is the subject of our girl. And we are going to do use the selective mass tool to isolate her from this background here. So what we're gonna do over here is you're going to come to this tool here, which is our quick Selection Tool. It might be a little bit different if you're using a different version of the Photoshop, this is Photoshop CC. And so whatever your icon looks like or wherever it might be, the Quick Selection Tool. And then this is really awesome. It does so much of the work for you, which is so fantastic. Up here is the sub select subjects. So we're going to click on that. Okay, so now she is collected. It's so easy, it's amazing. And a lot of the times that's all you're gonna need to do. But we're gonna take a little bit of a closer look because she does have some different edges. And so we just wanna make sure that she's nice and cleaned up before isolated. So what we're going to click on Next is the select m mass. This is going to bring us to a different screen with our background here. So your color might be a little bit different. You can change your color here and any point in time. Because sometimes you're gonna need to change that color depending on the color of your subject. If she was wearing a blue dress, I'm not going to have a blue mask because it's gonna be more challenging to see. So you just want to pick a color that's going to help isolate and see your, your edges in your subject really clearly. So what I'm gonna do, the rain to hit Control and plus at the same time and it's just going to bring me in a little bit closer to make sure my edges are here. So this is done a really great job. As you can see, she's really clearly defined and masked even with some of the hairs here. If that's not the hairs or are not selected, I'm going to show you here how are we going to fix that? See how in her fingers here you can see there's some little white spots and around her break the laces of her bracelets. So we're going to do is we're going to hit the Refine Edge brush tool. And what that's going to do is it's going to need to click on there and a plus sign here. And you can see now those white edges are, are white spots are gone. It just brings in a little bit of refined edge in spots where it some missed. That would work on her hair as well. So we're just gonna go around and make sure that we've got all the edges that we need to for that. And now you'll see that we've got some masking here where that we don't want to have. So if that was along the edge, I would still be using the refined edge tool. But because it's kinda, it's in the middle, we need to use our Brush Tools here. And what that's gonna do is brokering that. Just fill in those spaces so that that's not mast. May think, oh, on her dress right here as well. So now if this was just like this right here, and we can take our refined edge and we'd just click on it and it's fine to help bring that edge in. And then it doesn't really work. If you're anywhere not near the edge, you'll have to use your brush tool instead of your refined to edge Tool. And I'm just going here and see if there's some chain here. Yeah. To slight, slight edging here. Now if you have a slight glow or there's something that's kind of going on with your edges. You can use these tools across here. You can feather it out a little bit. That's just going to bring out your, your mass for little bit. And Let's see, let's see if I can getting close enough here. It just feathers that out a little bit. So for this one, we wouldn't want to do too much feathering one at pretty clear. Trying to think of an example of when you would feather that out, right? And then you can also, if there is an edge that you just really didn't like, you can also bring in your attic, shift your edge in a little bit. And that mask is actually going to come in slightly here and take away whatever that little edge gene is that you don't want there. Okay? So she's looking pretty good. Now what we're gonna do is we're gonna click OK. And now we have two options here. I'm going to show you one option. It's not the one that I typically use is one that I learned how to do, but it's not one that I use very often in a let y. So here what we would do is you can hit Select Inverse. And so I'm not going to do a lot of the control keys shortcuts for this video just because when I was a beginner and learning this, I felt like learning the Control key shortcuts and trying to get the understanding and skills about the tools was a bit much, a little bit overwhelming, trying to remember at all. So I'm just going to show you through the basics here on the screen so that you can get used to that. And then rho being able to learn more of the control peace. There are few that I use, just because I use them all the time. And I will go through any of those along this with you as we go along. So what I've done is I've clicked off the lock on the layer, which takes it from the background and makes it into a layer. You're going to need to do this in order if you're going to do this style of isoleucine. So what that's done layer and now if I hit backspace, it erases everything behind her and now she becomes this isolated, transparent subject. I don't typically do this only because I really like to be able to go back and make any changes that I need to make. And when you've done this and you've put her into your project, you're not going to be able to go back. So if there was anything that you missed along the edging or mask in here that's now transparent, you're not gonna be able to go back and fix that. So I'm going to go back here into my history. So we're back to where we've just selected are our subjects. So I'm going to unclick that lock here again and create a layer. And now I'm going to come down here and I'm going to click on the icon. That's the Add Layer mass, which is the rectangle with the circle. What that does is it isolates are again in the exact same way as we just did. However, now we've got this layer box where we can actually make adjustments if we needed to. You'll see here that on the mask, everything that's black is gone and everything is white is visible. So if I take my brush tool and my black, making sure that selected, I can go in here and I can make those changes I needed. I can erase her legs if I needed to. I'm putting her in something or make it look like she's in something. And then I can also add so if I wanted to add that here, her legs or whatever it is, any part of the background to take away the mass, then I'm going to be able to do that. So now you can see this subject is now ready for our project and now we're going to move on to the next one. 5. Elliptical Marquee Tool: So this is going to be just a quick little video. We're going to use our Elliptical Marquee tool in order to select our moon and isolated in a perfect circle. So what we're gonna do is we're going to come over here to our You'll see a little icon that's a dotted circle here and it's the Elliptical Marquee. You'll see there's a rectangle marquee, single row, single column, and then the elliptical, which is our circle. Typically. And then in a cropping situation with a circle, you would be able to start from the center and pull out towards your outer edge to create that circle. But for the Elliptical Marquee, you actually need to kind of judge where the top and the side would meet in the top corner here. And then you're going to hold down your, your gonna put your cursor there and you're going to hold it in your mouse button. And you're just gonna pull out to the edge. And now you don't have to worry too much if it's off-center a little bit. You kind of more wanted just judge your size. I can see on the one side where I'm off-center a little bit. I'm glad I kind of try and make up for that on the other side, just because I know I can pull this over a little bit. So my goal though is where you can see your, the W and the age. I want to make sure that those are, those numbers are exactly the same. Is, and that's what's gonna tell me that my circle is exactly where I need it to be. So let us do that. So now before you're doing anything, we're not going to hit any other icons. Right here. We're going to now user arrow keys. If it's not quite Center. For any user error keys on our keyboard in order to find the edge of our women. So you can do this. And if, you know, if you're a circle's too small or too big, you can just do it again. You can hit control zed, which will undo your last action. Or you can come up here into your history and then be able to delete it that way. And then just do your, your circle again until you get it so that perfect fit. It does take a few tries. Sometimes at the beginning of using this tool to kind of figure out and how it really works. And then once you have kind of got the gist of how this tool works, then it's a little bit easier going forward. So once you have your moon perfectly selected, what we're gonna do is I'm Clifford background. We want to make it into a layer. And now, and this is like the select m when we were talking about the select and mask. Because I know that I'm not going to be making any cropping adjustments to the moon once it's isolated. This is the time where I am going to use the Select Inverse. And then I'm gonna hit my backspace key. And this is just going to isolate my moon without having to have a mass. And then you can hit the Control D, which will do the de-select everything. Now I can see I've got a little bit of edging here where it was probably just slightly to bake. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just going to use my elliptical mark marquee tool again. And I'm just gonna do the exact same thing, just making my circle just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit smaller. So again, I'm not moving error, touching any other icons. I'm just going to use my keyword. And I'm coming up here to make sure that my mood is fully selected. And I went to the exact same thing, select inverse. And then I'm gonna get my backspace. And then when I hit control Z select, I can see that my moon is now perfectly isolated and selected without that little edge that I had there. And now it's ready to be placed into our project. 6. Putting it all Together: Okay, so we're ready to put our subjects into our background. We've got a couple of things we need to think about when we are placing her subjects into our background. And the first thing we need to think about is our composition. Composition is, is your photograph and the rules that apply to it in order to create something that's really pleasing to the eye, I'm going to show you a couple of examples here. So basically it's where your subject or your eye is drawn to in your picture. So most often you're not going to see a subject that's right in the very center of your picture. It works sometimes. And I'm going to show you an example of when it actually works. But for the most part, you need to think about your picture basically being divided into nine rectangles. So here's a composite I did with my son recently. He was climbing up a wall and I was able to put him into the walls of the canyon to make it a little bit more interesting. So what you can see here as he is the subject and he is in place of the rule of thirds, so he's not placed in center. I'm going to show you here under view are going to do. I'll show you this rule of thirds again. So as you can, and he's placed in the top third of the picture. Just makes it a little bit more interesting. Your eye is drawn up a little bit and you'll see the cloud and m are both in that, in that top third. Now for this one, see here we're going to put the guy down here again. Now as you can see, she is in the centre. However, we've got the city, which is also part of this means subject, which is now running along that horizontal line of third, as well as the mermaid tail is also in this cross section of a third. So we've got a several subjects, several places where you want your eye to be drawn in this one. So you can actually see that it's kind of going up and across like this. And we've got await a flow of where your eye is actually going into this picture. You can see that, you know, she's had her mermaid tail and she's walking across water towards the city. So you're, this is that storytelling kind of portion of where is your eye being drawn and where is it taking you. Here is an example of one that works with having the centre subject in the center. So he is basically directly exactly in the center. If he was off to the side, you probably wouldn't feel as dramatic as it does when he is center-stage because he is center stage. So you want to have that feeling in your picture that he is the center of attention. So really it depends on what your picture is about and what you want. What you want the viewer to see in your picture. So whether or not you're creating. A story here like this one where you can see that timeline of letting go and walking across and she's heading to the city. Or you have something like this where you've got your main subject and they are the center of the picture and that's what you want happening in your picture. Now, when we come back to our picture here, which is our background. Thank you. Weren't going to place our pictures here. I'm going to show you something. So if I were to place them in the center, again, we're looking at this and she's kind of ground Oh, not really the center of things. But even if I move, and this is why we're going to come into the second part is what we need to look at when we're looking at our backgrounds. So I'm just using the free transform tool to my subjects over here. And you can either go into edit and free transform or you can click on control. And that will help move your subject over. So even if I were to move them over here and into that rule of thirds, I'm still not super happy with the compensation. And here's bias in the night we might guide so you can see. So It's still, she's still not the center of attention. We've got a lot of the stars in the mountains in the background. So I'm not really loving how the background and the subjects fit together. I want her to really be the center of attention, like I said with this one, where I want just my subject. And so what we need to look at now is changing our background. Her background, because my girl and the moon here are in a portrait style mode. I want to have my background in the portrait mode as well. I think having the landscape is what's really kind of throwing off the drama that we want to have in this picture should just kinda look small in this big, you know, start plane of some other planet. So what we're gonna do is create a new file. I have created a new Photoshop file, which is four thousand, six thousand in portrait mode. And I'm going to show you two ways of being able to take our background picture and place it into a brand new project file that you can take your background. If you have your background open as a file in Photoshop already, you can click on your Move Tool and you hold down shift on your control. And then you put your cursor on your picture. And then hold down your button on your mouse. And we're going to drag it up to your new file, come down with your mouse, and then let go. What you can do now again is your free transform. So Control T. So now you can move it around and see what you like the best. Maybe like to have a flat gain. Maybe you like to have a little bit of the mountain in their whichever, whenever you think, I want the girl and the moon to be the main subjects. So I want to keep the background pretty minimum. So I'm going to leave it right about there. Now. I, that's one way to add it into your project. The second one is if you come over to File, Place Embedded. And that will also do the exact same thing. So then again, you can hit shift in drag with your mouse button and create the size that you need. Okay, so now it's time to place our girl and are moving into the background. So we're gonna do the exact same thing that we did with the first version of placing our background into our picture, which is selecting the move to all holding down Shift, putting your cursor on your subject, holding down your button and dragging, dragging her into your project. And then you can control T again for a free chance form. Move her down so you can adjust your size. You can figure out where you want to, please, sir. I want to have very kinda sitting are standing on one of the stones. So I'm gonna play. So right about there. May come a little bit thinner. So now we're going to go and get our moon. And again, same thing if it the Move Tool, hold down, shift, grab your moon weeks here, mouse, drag up and drink in. And now we're going to make sure that our moon is nice and big. So I'm putting it right where her hands are touching there. Now this is where you can have fun playing around with the size of your Moon's, size of your main subject, whatever you like to see. Ok, so the grids are on here now and you can see basically where our eye wants to be drawn is where her hands are touching the moon, holding up for mood. So right here we've got a great placement with being on that first line and being in the rule of thirds. Ok, so we have completed putting our subject and our moon into our background. And our next video is going to talk about shadow when lighting and special effects and adjustment layers, gradients, blending modes so that we can really make this picture look like it really all fits together. 7. Adjustment Layers Part 1: Okay, so now it's time for us to talk about gradient layers and adjustment layers. These are really important tools to know how to use in photo editing, especially with compositing. I'll show you here what the difference between our photo here that we've now placed altogether and once we've added the gradients and adjustments, the difference so you can see how everything is just so connected here. And right now, we've got a lot of displacement in color and lighting and shadow. So we need to bring us all together. So the adjustment layers and gradient later layers are super important. They really pull everything together and make it look like it is one photo that you've captured, whether it's a crazy phenomenon that you have dreamed up in your head and put it all together is going to look like you actually took the picture. Okay, so let's first talk about where we find these adjustment layers and gradient layers in order to be able to use them. So you can find layer up here on your top menu bar and you'll see new adjustment layer. And when you reach over to the arrow there, you'll see all the different options that you have for adjustment layers. The next thought here is on your menu on the side, you'll see an icon that's spread a half circle. And when you click on that, you'll see all the adjustment icons. And when you scroll over them with your mouse, you'll be able to see which icon represents each Adjustment layer. And the other spot that you can find your adjustment layers is down here below all, where all your layers are. You'll see the same icon. And when you click on that, you're going to see all the same options for your layers, including your gradients, everything that we're gonna be looking at today in this lesson. Okay, let's start with our background. So I can see here, the top portion of our girl is, it's quite faded out compared to the background, like she's getting lost in here, the background is a little bit too bright. I want to have her as the center of attention, not backgrounds. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna come over to the Background layer. I'm going to select the background layer. I'm going to come down here to where my adjustments are and I am going to select gradient. So now what you can see, it's here. Your first option is your color to transparency. And I can see that this is not the color that I want. I want to have it in black. So what I need to do is come over here and select the black, and then come back to your background, select the gradient layer again. And now you're going to see that it's black to transparent and this is what I want except I don't want it on the bottom. I wanna keep the rocks the same colors they were. I'm really trying to select the top portion of this background picture and making that darker. So what I'm going to do is click on reverse. And now you can see that it's made this background darker. So if I click off of the gradient here, you'll see the change in the background. So this is perfect. You can still see some of the stars, but really she stands out a lot more than Moon stands out, allow more. So that's what we've done for our background. Now. We're going to select our girl. Again, I'm selecting the layer, the adjustments we want to make to the girl though we don't want it to affect the background. And what happens when you add a layer two in here is that everything that's below it is affected by that adjustment unless we clip it to just about layers. And that's what we're gonna do right now. So we want to change the levels of contrast and depth of colour here for our girl because she's really bright, kinda faded out. So I've selected the girl layer and coming down to where adjustment layers are again, and I'm going to select the curves layer. So right now this curves layer is going to, as it is, is going to affect everything that is below it. And that's again, not what we want. So what we're going to do, It's we're selecting our, our curse layer. And we're going to select Alt on our keyboard. And then we're going to scroll down daily with our mouse until we see this icon with the square and the arrow that's pointing down, and we're going to click on that. And what you see now is this arrow is showing you it is now directly clipped to the layer that's right below it. That means that whatever we do for this curves layer is only going to affect the layer that it's clipped to below. And so now when I click on this line here that you can see in the middle on whichever way I'm going to be bending this, it's going to affect this girl. So you can see, if we go up here, really faded out. Overexposed highlights are out of control and we bring it way down. Well then we're getting some real weird saturation and shadows. So we want to have a little bit of a balance here. So we want to have a little bit more contrast and what she's got. So just play around with it. See what you like here. We're just going to be bending it down just a little bit. I just want to have she was quite faded out as you can see here, and not a lot of contrast. So I just wanted to add a little bit more contrast. So that's good for now. You can always come back and play with it once you start doing other adjustments. Most often you'll be coming back to make adjustments to these initial you link layers. So in the next layer that we're going to do, again, we're wanting it just attached to our girl layer. So we're gonna click on her layer adjustment. This time we're going to add levels. So again, you can see that now the levels as is, it's going to affect everything below it. So we're going to do the same thing that we did where we hit Alt on our keyboard. Keep holding down Alt and scroll down until you see that icon again, the square. And now it's clipped just to the flare. So again, we're dealing with shadows, enlighten our histogram here. And so if you start moving things around, you can see our highlights are added control. If you go this way, shadow is overbearing and in the middle here this is for control, some of our mid tones, and this is really where I want to be. Her highlights and shadows are pretty decent, so I just want to adjust in the middle a little bit, just bringing a little bit more color to her that way. And then because our background has a lot of cool tones and she still has quite some warm tones in it. I want to change my color balance a little bit. I want to add a little bit more of a cool tone to her so that it looks again like she fits in this background. So we're gonna go back to our layers are Adjustment Layer icon and you're going to find color balances. So here we go again, we're going to alt finder little icon there and click on it to make sure that we're not adjusting the Background layer, we're only adjusting our bilayer marker. So here now you can see we've got cyan and read magenta and green, yellow and blue. This is where you can really see, say if I'm adding blue or adding more yellow. So you can see here. Okay, so I want to add a little bit more of the cyan. So again, I wanted the cool tones, but I also have a lot of purple magenta color happening in the background. So do you want to add a little bit more than the Gentiles as well? Now we are going to make some more adjustments to our girl with our shadow and lighting. And then we'll probably come back and do a little bit more Adjustment Layer. Tweaking. In the next video. However, I want to get the adjustment layers onto the moon here so that we can carry on with the shadow and lighting. 8. Adjustment Layers Part 2: So for our moon, we're gonna do the same thing. We're selecting our moon. And we want to make sure that any adjustment layers that we're doing right now are only affecting them in. So we're gonna go to our gradient, or sorry, our adjustment icon. And right now we're going to find color balance because I want to have the same type of color tones we just did with our girl. So again, we're going to do alt, make sure that we clip that. And again, I'm going to add a little bit of the cyan and the magenta. Because I just kinda want that undertone of purple. That's really going through the whole scene, right? We've got some of that underlying purple hints in the rocks and then our background so we wanna make sure that everything is flowing the same. Next, going to go back to our adjustment layer are here. And they are going to click climbing gradient. So this is not what we want, right? We can see the gradient is now affecting the whole page. So what we're gonna do is we're going to click OK anyway. And we're going to click on ALS and we're going to clip it to the moon. So this is not the gradient style that we want. And we don't want to have it where it's dark to transparent like we did with the background. And we're going to do now is we're going to click on, double-click onto the gradient box that you see. This brings up the same Gradient Fill layer box that we saw before. And this time what we're going to do is we are going to select where it says gradient. There's a dropdown menu arrow. And you'll be able to see all these little folders that have different gradients in them, pretending to their colors, blues, purples, Pink's. Okay, so what we wanna do is we're gonna go to the iridescent folder. This is, and we're going to click on the gradient. That is a mint purine to peach type of color. Ok, so now this looks really odd. I know it doesn't look like the Moon anymore, but trust me, we're going to make this look awesome. So what we're gonna do now is we're going to click OK. And then what we're gonna do is we're pain to come over to where we have the opacity. So right now it's a 100%, which means it's covering that full moon at a solid color. We want to change that doubt. We're going to go down about halfway, but 50%. So now you can at least see the, the texture and details of the moon coming through. But again, that's not exactly what we want. So we can see that the gradient is better because we can see the details of the moon. However, it's not exactly blended in very nicely. So what we're gonna do is we're going to blend, use a blending modes to change this f. So if you come over here to where we suddenly get pet opacity, and you can see that it says normal and we're going to click on the down arrow. This is really cool because. Now you can see there's all these different ways to blend this gradient, but I'm going to use the screen mode. Okay? So I'm doing the screen mode here and we're at about 50%, approximately here of our opacity. So now you can see the Moon is now a little bit more luminescent and it's kind of shining a little bit more limited glow. But I'm going to show you how to really increase the special effects of that and really make it glow. But let's start with the layer adjustment layers. Okay, the next thing that we're gonna do is go back to our adjustment layers. And we are going to be selecting our curves. This is the same type of layer adjustment we did with our Perl. I just want to bring in a little bit more of the details of the moon. This is gonna be a really minor adjustment, but let's add our layer to our moon. And I just want to bring this time chess lately, we just want to add in a little bit more of those details. And the less than that we're going to do for the adjustment in gradient levels for now until we focus on some shadow in lighting, we can come back to this. But the last thing that we're going to do is we're going to add a gradient layer. This time we are not flipping it to the moon. We want this to be an overall gradient in there. The reason that I always use a gradient layer over the entire picture at the top is to really blend everything together. We're doing a lot of adjustment layers and this is fantastic, and these are things that are really important and needs to happen. However, what really pulls everything together to ensure that everything is the same tone, same colors, especially a gradual color shift the way the gradient fills that in. So if you were to fill it in and all blue, everything's gonna have that boot challenge. If you're going to use a warm gradient, everything is going to have that warm tone. So this is really important to really make everything fully connected. So what we're gonna do, I wanna stay with those cool tones, the dark kind of space tone. So I'm going to select that dropdown layer again for our gradient. And I'm going to go to the blues folder. And we're going to select the gradient that is an navy blue to kinda bluish gray color. Ok, so again, this looks really funny, is covered our entire picture. So we're gonna go to our opacity again. We're going to bring this down to both 30%. Because what we want is just a hint of color that's flowing through the picture. We don't want it to be taking over the picture. So we're going to go to our blending modes here again, because it's just kind of left a filmy layer over the whole thing. It's taken out a lover contrasts. So what we wanna do is go to our blending Modes. And we're gonna go through. And you can go through and pick something that really stands out to you. So multiply is actually pretty good. But I'm going to go down further. So I'm going down to soft light. So you can see there's a bit of the light change in the background. It kind of looks like it's flowing back there. So we're gonna head into the next video. We're gonna work on shadow and lighting. But really, it's going to pull this together and make the girls look like she fits in there because right now she's kinda just floating on the rocks and we really want to make it look like her and the moon are connected and really fit into the background. 9. Shadows and Light Part 1: I'm positing really isn't art. I do have artistic background, so I use my brush, a lot of brush tool I use and pretty much every photo that I take, whether I'm creating a composite photo or I'm just working on one of my nature photos. The brush tool is absolutely essential for you to learn how to use in all of your, your photo editing. And so we're going to talk about using the brush tool today to create the glow effect, to create shadows and lighting, which are really important when you're using composites, because you really want to make sure that the lighting and the shadows are right on point to make your subject was real and looks like it's fitting in there the way it's supposed to be. So like I said, the brush tool is one of my favorite tools for sure. Now you can make adjustments to your brushes. By coming into. You can either use the top layer up here or you can use your side icons on your menu. And you'll be able to see your variety of different brushes for everything that we're going to do today. The shadowing lady, we rent a soft brush. Now what you can do here is we're going to do first add our layer. So the first thing that we're going to do is add some lighting to the rocks for the glow of the moon. So what we're going to go down here. So we've got our background, we've got a gradient field. We want to add another layer here. So what we're going to do is click on the plus sign. That's down here in the bottom of your layers. But that does is it adds a new layer on top of whatever layer you just had selected. So this is going to be our Moonlight. On rocks. Again, you'll want to label at least your main layers in order to be able to quickly find them when you're making them, wanting to make adjustments. Okay, so I've got my brush tool here. You can see again, like I said in the tip and the other video was that if you use your square brackets on your keyboard, that's a quick and easy way to be able to make your brush bigger or smaller. You can also make your brush bigger and smaller where you selected the type of fresh you're going to use. So what I'm gonna do over here is obviously I'm not going to use black in order to create some, some lights and highlight. So I'm going to use this little double arrow thing here to switch my white from the background colors. So now my foreground color. Now what I'm going to do is do control clasts. I, when I come in here a little bit and get a little bit of a closer look at the rocks and where the edginess. So you can see here that there is some highlights are very faint for our background and we want to just increase that a little bit. And we make our brush a little bit smaller, just because they don't wanna go over too much of the edge into those shadows. And here, up here is where you can change the opacity inflow. So your flow is how much, basically how much feathering you got, how dense your brushes going to be. Because if you have, let's see here. If we increase it up to a 100%, our flow is going to be pretty strong. And if we increase it or decrease it down to 13% or so, you'll see that it's a much more gradual flow that we have happening here. And this is what we want for shadow and lighting. We want it to be settled. We don't want to be having it really bright and exposed. So I've got my opacity about 19%. Because again, if we had ended at a 100%, it's going to be really bright and that's not what we want. So we want a low flow boat, 19, 20%. You can even go a little bit lower flow of 13. And we're just going to come in here along our edges. I am just holding down my mouse button and say go along those edges. And because this layer is behind the girl, that's me, you can go right over top of her and it's not going to affect her because this layer is below her. So they won't defector. So I'm just going across the rocks wanting to add in that light. Ever glowing moon. So if you've done this and you think that it's a little bit too intense that your highlights are not quite as subtle as you want them to be. You can either go back and change your opacity flow or you can come over here to your capacity on that layer selected. And you can change the opacity right here. So when I read it down low, you can't see it at all. And as I increase, it is gradually becoming lighter. So if I felt that this was too bright of a 100%, I can lower the opacity and it will decrease that intensity. So the next thing that we're going to do is add shadow to her legs because she's really bright here. And if the moon is glowing down, we want her highlighted on the top gradually getting to the darkness of these and shadows of these stones. So we're going to go to our girl layer. And we are going to hit the plus sign again to add an, add a Layer. And what you can see here, if you've, if you create a layer between your base layer and layers that have already been clipped to it. It will automatically click to that layer. If not, then you can just use your alt button and clip to it. So we're going to use our brush tool. We're gonna keep the brush, everything the same, the opacity, the same, the flow the same. But we're going to come over here and click on our arrows so that our black is now our foreground color. I'm going to increase. I brush size though. And what happens when you've got a layer that's not clip. So make sure you're layer is clipped here, not, not selecting the girl that selecting the layer that's above it. When you add anything into this layer, it is only going to affect the layer that's clip two. So when I add in shadows on our girl here, it's not going to add shadows onto the stones or anything else. It's only going to add them on to her. So I think we might increase our levels here and a little bit just so we can get some good shadowing there. There we go. So I'm increasing the opacity to about 42 and I'm just clicking on it. And I'm going through her legs here and her feet because again, I want this to be tucked in the shadow of her dress, is creating that barrier of light for her legs so that you can't really see what's going on below that. So right away you can see just how quickly she's now fit into this background. I'm going to zoom out by pushing control and the minus button, just basically your opposite of your zoom in button with the plus sign. And now you can see just how quickly she fit in there. And I'm thinking really go down here back to my rocks that highlight on the rocks width than the shadow buttons. So, so with the black still and just add some more shadow here because she's creating more of a shadow van around her where she's not blocking the light. 10. Shadows and Light Part 2: So the last thing that we're gonna do here now is we're going to change up our moon a little bit here with some really cool special effects to make it look like it's really glowing because right now it's just kind of sitting there. We've got all this beautiful highlights happening. And the moon doesn't really look like it's glowing and casting this light. So we are going to go over and select our moon. We're going to hit the plus sign so that it creates a layer that's above our moon. Again, if it doesn't automatically flip, if you've selected it in, shows up, up here, bring it down and you can just clip it with your alt button on your keyboard. So with this layer selected, we're going to come back here and we're going to go back to our white. So again, we're clicking the arrow to make sure the white is on our foreground. We're going to lower the opacity just a little bit here. And we're gonna keep her brush the same. Again when you have this layer select or clipped onto, It's not going to above the moon. It's not going to affect anything that is around it. So now when we click on our Lou and I want to go around the edges, I wanna make this numerator and want to keep a lot of the detail in the center. But I wanna make this edging around the moon brighter. So just using that low-flow and I'm just going back and forth around the moon. And the more that you continue to do it, it just layers that brush. So it's just like your painting. And as you can see, it's not affecting the sky behind it, it's just affecting them. So that's looking pretty good. But now I want to really want to make it stand out. So I'm with that layer selected, I'm going into the blending modes, which is where we had the, where we were looking at the gradients are gonna go all the way down to the bottom and select luminosity. So as you can see, when we take, when I click off the layer, so you can just see what it looked like before. Just how much dimension then we wouldn't has now and hello, we're not finished yet. But we're getting, we're getting pretty close. So now the next thing that we're going to do is come down here to just a little of the moon. And we're going to click the plus sign. And we're adding another layer. This layer is now below the moon. And we don't need to clip into anything because we are going to stick around the moon, but we don't need it to map be masked off in, in the areas. So again, we're gonna keep our brush the same with the low-flow brush. And I've just decreased the, the opacity just a little bit. But again, we can play with the opacity afterwards as well. And what I'm going to do is I want to go around the outside of the moon and create a glow around the outside. Just because we want it to look like it's really glowing, glowing in the night sky here. So you can see it's slowly making a change here. But don't worry too much about if it's not looking like it's blending as well. You just want to make sure it's nice and around all or, and even around the outside of them in here. So now what we can do is change the opacity a little bit because again, that's kind of standing out a bit too much right here. So I'm just gonna decrease it to boat 70%. And then we're gonna go back into her blending Modes. And you're gonna be able to scroll down and see what happens with that glow. For each of the blending Modes. I'm going to go back down to Luminosity again. That's the same one that we use for the inside of the moon. And I think I'm going to decrease the opacity just a little bit more. I just want a really faint glow behind. So you can see here the difference. Now if you find like me here or if I'm just looking at the outside of this and I can see that it's pretty distinct and I want to have that fade a little bit more. So with that layer selected, I'm gonna come over to my Erase tool. And I'm going to go to the flow. And then I'm going to decrease quite a bit. Only about 15%. Maybe, actually maybe an email about lower 10%. Because of what I wanted to do is I want to get rid of fats line that seems to be more distinct and blended a little bit more. So I'm going to keep my brush, my brushes. So the same for the eraser to all that. And I'm just going to change my size a little bit. And I'm just going to take my mouse button and click my mouse button and I'm just going to go around that edge a little bit. But this is going erase some of that. Brush. This. So that is it for all of the brushwork that we're going to do with the highlights, the shadow, the glow of the moon. And I actually think that we don't really need to do any adjustments here to the layers that we did in the adjustment in gradient. If you feel like you need to make some adjustments, Go for it. But for, for this lesson, we are all finished. 11. Final Thoughts: Well, I hope you really enjoyed this class and that you have created a photo that you love and can't wait to see what you've come up with, please put it in the project gallery where they've used the same photos or you've picked three different photos. I just can't wait to see what you come up with. I hope you'll follow along with all of the different classes that will be coming up. I have so much more that I want to share with you are going to continue learning about compositing, photo editing, different photography skills along the way. So I hope that you will follow along and we're going to learn a whole lot of things together. S