Adding People To Pictures
Now you can touch up your photos, which is an extremely useful skill with this next lesson.
How often have you been with a group of people...family, friends, school classes... and there is that one person who conveniently disappears right before the picture was taken, and reappears right after the image has been taken?
Chances are, pretty often.
In those cases, you would usually try to retake the picture, but now you don’t have to. All you need is the image that is missing one person, and a picture of the person who disappeared.
The first step is to open both the group picture, and a picture of the missing person into Photoshop. For this tutorial, I will be using a class picture, shown below and the student who was absent the day it was taken, also shown below..
Once the images are opened in Photoshop, go onto the one that has the single person in it. You are going to select the lasso tool, shown below, and select around the person, shown under the lasso tool. (Note: When using the lasso, you cannot click around the object and must hold and drag around the object.)
Once you have selected around him, you should see what is referred to as ‘Marching Ants’, which is the dashed line that shows around your selection. After selecting him, copy and paste him into the image of the entire class.
After he is inserted into the entire class image, you need to lower the opacity until you can see both the single person and the entire class behind him.
To set the opacity, go the right toolbar and look for the word opacity next to 100%.
After you have set the opacity to be able to see both the entire class and the single person you need to line him up so that he looks as if he was there originally.
The next thing you need to do is enable a layer mask to remove the remaining background surrounding the person. To enable a layer mask, go to the side panel and select the icon that shows a circle inside of a rectangle, shown below.
Once the layer mask has been enabled, select the paintbrush and ensure that the color is white before you begin to paint because if you don’t, the image that is currently there, may erase itself. With the layer mask enabled, paint around the background of the person. until you are happy with the result.
Once the single person is where you want and the background has been erased enough that he looks as if he belongs in the image, all that is left to do is to touch up both photos so that it looks as if it was one image.
In the image above, the kid in black looks as if he was there the entire time, and if you had not already learned that he was missing, you probably wouldn't be able to tell.
Now that you can add people to images, what happens when there is that one person who walks into the background right as the picture is taken? Well, that will be the next lesson.
Photo Touch Ups
Now you are able to use the tools in Photoshop and know where to find them. Maybe now you want to know how to use Photoshop to improve your pictures? I hope so, because that is the next lesson.
The reason is that even if you can do manipulations in Photoshop, you need to know how to touch up your pictures to make them look better.
Touch ups include;
- Resizing to appropriate size
- Fixing the resolution (DPI)
- Adjusting the brightness and contrast levels
- Burning or dodging the picture if necessary
- And lastly, Cropping the image.
The first thing that you are going to do is open the image in Photoshop. Once you do, your screen should look similar to the one below.
The reason that it is important to resize your pictures when you first enter them into Photoshop because if you don’t the picture could become pixelated later on when you print them. To resize the image, go to the Image tab, and go down until you see Image Size. When you click on it a window should pop up that looks like the one below.
When sizing an image, you often want to use the size 7 1/2 inches by 10 inches for a basic standard. If you know that you need the picture to be a certain size, that would be the size you would want to enter. The width and height depend on the orientation of the image. More often than not, the image will come in at a much larger size than you would think. One example is having a picture go in and be similar or larger than the dimensions shown below.
In this image, the file that was brought into Photoshop was 22.2 inches by 16.67 inches. Most likely, you will not need the picture to be this large and the image may appear to be more pixelated because there are only so many pixels per inch. This leads us into our next touch up.
Changing the resolution of an image can help to fix up the pictures. Resolution is usually measured with dots per image, or DPI. The resolution level will depend on what your intended goal for the picture is. If you were going to be keeping the image on a cellphone the resolution would not need to be as high as if you were having the image printed professionally. The closer a viewer is going to be viewing the image, the larger the DPI should be.
Either printing pictures or having them printed: 300 dpi
Posting pictures to an online sight: 72 dpi
An example is shown below. When you originally bring in the image to Photoshop, the dpi will be 180 DPI or lower.
Once you have the resolution set, your next step would be to adjust the brightness and contrast levels of your image.
Brightness & Contrast
Brightness & contrast is another important step when touching up images because it enhances the image. Below is an example. The first image has no changes to brightness & contrast, while the second has been adjusted.
In the first image you see the shell sitting on cement with a building in the background and a car passing behind it. In the second image the contrast was brought up and not the texture of the shell is more apparent and the ground has more texture and there has been a feeling of depth that has been brought in, by increasing the shadows. that are clearly seen. This is a tool that is simple to find. All you have to do is look for the Image menu, and select Adjustments, before selecting Brightness/Contrast, as seen below. The second image shows the window that will pop up once you click on Brightness/Contrast.
Once the window opens, you can move the slider to set both the brightness and contrast to the levels that you think are the best for your image. There is no set level to make the picture better because each picture is different. In some cases you need to use another tool along with the Brightness & Contrast and this is the burn and dodge tool.
When using the burn/dodge tool, it often follows the brightness & contrast tool because changing the brightness & contrast will often expose lighting issues that may have been unnoticed before. A good example is the image used above. When the brightness & contrast was raised, the little bit of color in the sky started to vanish. To correct this issue, simply select the burn or dodge tool from the toolbar. In this case, the burn tool is needed. If you do not see one or the other, click and hold on the one visible until a side menu pops up and then select the tool you want to use. The side menu is shown below.
With some pictures, burning or dodging may not be necessary and can be skipped. When this happens, all that is left is to see if the image needs to be cropped.
The last step to touching up an image is to see if there is any cropping that needs to be done. The image that is above is good, but can look better. To crop an image, look on your toolbar for the icon shown below, that resembles two intersecting right angles.
Once you click on this, the screen should change over to what is shown below.
Photoshop will help you with cropping by darkening the area that it will be erasing, so that you know exactly what will be left once the image has been cropped. As you can see above, the original image was a little too close to the center and to close to creating a bullseye image, which is when the object of focus is centered in the middle of the picture. Cropping also removed the majority of the car, which was drawing away from the shell with the bokeh building in the background. (Bokeh is when the background of an image is blurred out instead of in focus.) Once you confirm the crop, the image is done and all that is left is to save the image. When you save the image a window will pop up, similar to the one below
More often than not, you will want to save the image at the highest quality, which is 12. Once you hit OK, you are done and have successfully touched up a photograph.
Now that you can do basic touch ups, it is time to begin the manipulations. The next lesson will be on how to add people to images, mainly those people who are not around when the group photo is taken.
Photoshop CS5 Tools & Features
By now, you know how to compose a good photo. So what?
Maybe now that you can compose pictures better, you would like start to learning how to manipulate the images that you have taken. Before you are able to create well done manipulations, you need to know how to use the tools that you will be using to create the manipulations. Below is the toolbar from Photoshop CS5 with all of the extensions that are included. The tools that are circled are the tools that will be most commonly used and they include:
- Lasso Tool
- Pen Tool
- Clone Tool
- Spot Healing Tool
- Burn Tool
- Dodge Tool
- Magic Eraser Tool
Other tools that will be occasionally used are:
- Hue & Saturation
- Free Transform
- Clipping Mask
Lasso Tool: What is it?
The lasso tool is one of the selection tools available with CS5. When using the lasso tool you begin by selecting the tool and then you select one point around the object you wish to select and continue selecting around the image until you reach the point where you originally started. Depending on the reason you are selecting the image, you may need to refine the edges to remove the small border now around the object. Edge refining will be covered in later on, when needed. You can find it on the toolbar by looking for an image of a lasso, like the one seen below.
Pen Tool: What is it?
The pen tool is another one of the selection tools available with CS5. In some ways this tool is easier to use than the lasso, but your choice of tool depends on what your own preference is.. When using the pen tool you begin by selecting the tool and then much like the lasso tool, you select a point around the object that you would like to start with. and continue to select points around the object until you reach the point that you originally started at. One way that this tool is a bit easier is that it shows each point that you click on. You can find it on the toolbar by looking an image of an old fashioned pen tip, like the one seen below.
Clone Tool: What is it?
The clone tool is very similar to another tool in photoshop, the spot healing tool. The difference is that with the clone tool, you are actually covering an area of an image with another image. This is used more often with markings on clothing or paper, objects within the background that distract from the object and even distracting areas of the scenery. You can find it on the toolbar by looking for an image of a stamp, like the one seen below.
Spot Healing Tool: What is it?
The spot healing brush is very similar to the tool seen above, the clone tool. The major difference is that instead of covering an area of an image with another piece of the image, Photoshop is determining which part of the picture would be best to pull from, but it is also important to remember that this tool is meant to be used on small spots and not a large area of the image. Most often this is used with the touch-up of portrait (removing blemishes). You can find it on the toolbar by looking for an image of a bandaid with an arc of dot above it, like the one seen below.
Burn Tool: What is it?
The burn tool is used when you want to change the lighting in a particular area to add darkness, instead of the entire image. When using the burn tool you begin by selecting the tool, the size of the brush you wish to use (the amount of area that will be covered with one click, and the amount of exposure that the brush has (how dark. you want the amount of area covered with one click). Often it is common to confuse this tool with it’s opposite, the dodge tool. One way to remember the difference is that if you burn something it generally will leave a darkened mark on the object. You can find it on the toolbar by looking an image of a grayish-white hand forming an ‘O’, like the one seen below.
Dodge Tool: What is it?
The dodge tool is used when you want to change the lighting in a particular area to increase the light, instead of the entire image. When using the dodge tool you begin by selecting the tool, the size of the brush you wish to use (the amount of area that will be covered with one click, and the amount of exposure that the brush has (how light. you want the amount of area covered with one click). Often it is common to confuse this tool with it’s opposite, the burn tool. You can find it on the toolbar by looking an image of a ball head pin, or what some might say resembles a lollipop, like the one seen below.
Magic Eraser Tool: What is it?
The magic eraser tool is a tool that can either save you time, or be a time consumer. This tool will erase only pixels that are very similar in color. Most often this is usful if you are trying to remove a background from an object that is a different color than the object. If the tool erases parts of the object then you may need to erase the sections that you do not want included by using the regular eraser first and separating the object from what you are trying to erase. If the magic eraser is still deleting parts of the image that are not supposed to be deleted then you will need to use the regular eraser for the entire thing. You can find it on the toolbar by looking for an image of an eraser with a star shaped burst above it, like the one seen below.
Hue & Saturation:
The hue and saturation tool is often used when you want to change the color of an object, the amount of color vs. black & white within the object, and the lightness or darkness of the object. To access the Hue/Saturation menu, you go to the image menu and go down until you see Adjustments, and then when the Adjustments menu opens, select Hue/Saturation. Another way to select the hue/saturation menu is the hit Ctrl U on a pc, or Cmnd U on a mac. The menu should look like the one below. The box that pops up is also shown below.
Transform is used in many ways to distort pictures. The most common form of transform is called free transform and is what is used when you want to re-size or rotate a picture. When free transform is selected, there will be a solid border around each edge (or in a square or rectangle, if the image is not a square or rectangular shape) and there will be small squares at each corner and often in the middle of the edge. The boxes on the corners are how you change the sizes and if you do not hold down the shift key, you will cause the picture to become unproportional. With transform you can also distort and warp your pictures. Distorting your picture is when you stretch the image in all directions or in any direction. Perspective is when you change the perspective of an object. Lastly is warp. Warping an object is when you manipulate the actual shape of the object to include bending the object over itself.
Lastly is the layer mask tool.that is important to know how to use. Layer masks are used to hide portions of the an image in a layer. It makes things a lot easier to go back and change mistakes later, than having to redo the entire piece. The first step is to create the layer mask, by locating and hitting the layer mask button located on the bottom of the toolbar that is commonly on the right hand side of the window, shown below in a blue rectangle. When looking at the toolbar, you have to find the button on the bottom of the toolbar that shows a circle inside of a rectangle, highlighted by a blue circle below.
The layer mask is one of the more complex tools, because, odds are that you will not do every step correctly on your first try.
When you first click the button to apply a layer mask, it will seem as if nothing has changed on your picture, but if you look at your layers menu, you will notice that there is now a white box next to the image that you added a layer mask to. If you no longer see the image that the layer mask was added to, that means that the layer was created with black instead of white. Why does it matter? The reason that it matters is that in Photoshop, the layer mask only recognizes three colors: white, black, and gray. When the layer mask is white, the image will be 100% visible, when the layer mask is black the image will be 100% transparent or invisible, and when the layer mask is a shade of gray it means that the image is not 100% visible or 100% transparent. With gray, the closer to white that you are, the more visible the image will be, compared to when the gray is closer to black and more transparent. To enable the layer mask, you would select the paintbrush tool, shown below.
Beginnings Of Photo Composition
What is photographic composition?
The pleasing selection & arrangement of subjects within the picture area
Why does it matter?
The reason that it matters is that photo composition is the difference between a photo that hangs in a gallery for years, and a photo that sits in a frame on the wall in a house.
When creating a good picture, there are six guidelines to better photographic composition
2) Rule of Thirds
Simplicity: What is it and why does it matter?
Simplicity is when you give the main focus of your picture the most attention visually. The reason that it matters is that a picture that is lacking in simplicity is often a picture where multiple objects are capturing your attention all at once and you are not sure which object you are supposed to be focusing on. An example is the picture below. Unless you know what the photographer wanted you to focus on, you are not sure if the focus is the bridge, the telephone, or either of the cacti.
One way that this can be improved is to select a way in which there is one main focus and there is nothing behind the image that is pulling away from the intended main focus. Busier backgrounds tend to draw the focus away from the center of focus.
Another way this can be improved is to compose the picture so that the other elements of the shot compliment your center of interest. For example, if you are doing a shot of an antique building, try to only include things within the picture that work with the focus. Having something such as a parking lot or cars would draw from the feeling of antiquity. One example is below. Including the cars and the parking lot takes away from this picture because the cars have a newer feel while the mission has an older feel and the two styles do not mix very well.
Something else that is a decision that will need to be made is which orientation of the camera will provide the better shot: vertical or horizontal. In some pictures it is better to incorporate more of the background so that the viewer is able to get more of the story without an explanation. In other pictures it is better to incorporate less background and focus solely on the focus of the picture, much like the composition of a portrait where it is more important to capture the people than to capture the background.
A final thing that will help with simplicity composition is to avoid ‘bullseye’ photos. A bullseye photo is where the focus of the picture is dead center of the picture and tends to cause the subject to be less interesting due to looking as if the subject were simply placed there.
Rule of Thirds: What is it and why does it matter?
Rule of Thirds is a shooting technique that helps to reduce bullseye photos. The reason that it matters is that it relieves the picture of the static of an object that is simply centered in the middle of the shot and it gives the subject more life..
Firstly, as you prepare to take your picture, you should imagine that there is a tic-tac-toe board overlaying your picture. The four intersections created by the tic-tac-toe board are better options for the position of the center of interest. It’s position all depends on you and how it is that you would like the focus to be presented to viewers.
When the focus is of a moving subject, there is one important thing to remember. Always leave space in front of them, giving the illusion that they are moving into the picture and not out of the side closest to them.
When shooting a landscape shot you want to avoid splitting the picture exactly into two sections by having the horizon line in the center of the shot. The shot looks more appealing visually if there is an imbalance of sky and ground compared to an even amount of both.
An example is shown below. The top left picture is how many people take pictures with an overlay of the Rule of Thirds and the picture directly below it is how the image looks without the overlay. The top right picture is an example of using Rule of Thirds to better compose the picture and the bottom right is how it looks without an overlay.
Lines: What is it and why does it matter?
Lines in a picture make the picture more dynamic
Having diagonal as leading lines can strongly improve composition because they give the eye a path to follow towards the main focus of the pictures.
Having repetitive lines in the background help to bring more attention to the center of interest because they cause the center of interest to break the pattern and draw the eye.
Having what is known as the S curve in a picture is sometimes better than using straight lines because the relaxed curves are easier to look at compared to having tense lines.
Another technique is composing the picture to include imaginary geometric shapes. By adding geometric shapes a strong visual unity is added to the image.
Balance: What is it and why does it matter?
Balance is composing a picture so that the arrangement of light and dark areas, shapes and colors do not draw away from each other and compliment each other so that the photo is not lopsided.
One thing to keep in mind with balance is that having symmetrical balance in a picture not always the best way to compose the shoot because the picture is more often able to be separated into two different vertical pictures even though it might have been taken horizontally. When this happens the viewer’s attention tends to be split.
Instead of using symmetrically balanced photos, you could try using non symmetrically balanced photos. In most cases this type of balance is more pleasing to the eye because it does not break up the picture as much.
Framing: What is it and why does it matter?
When framing is used in reference to photo composition it is not referring to an actual frame or border on the outer edge of the picture. Framing composition is having objects within the foreground that give a frame, in a sense, of the center of focus. The reason that this technique matters is that a feeling of depth is provided, compared to there being no indications of the distance the center of focus is away. In the picture below, the bridge is given a feeling of depth from the grass and tree to the left and having the swirls of the rapids below it. Instead of just seeing the bridge, you get a sense for how far the bridge is from the photographer.
Using a frame depends on the focus of the picture, and if there is a way to compose the picture so that the frame adds to the picture instead of taking away from it.
When setting pictures that use framing, be sure to avoid mergers.
Mergers: What is it and why does it matter?
Mergers are one thing in pictures that people tend to overlook. A photo merger is when there is something behind the center of focus that distracting and possibly can spoil an image. One example of this is doing portraits out in the woods. Many people will take pictures and fail to see that there is a tree coming out of the top of the head of their subject. The picture below shows the same person, photographed in two different spots that are only feet from each other. In the first picture the photographer did not notice that the subject of the picture looks as if he is sprouting a tree out of the top of his head, while the second image has a more pleasing background and does not make the subject look as if he is sprouting a tree from his head.
Another type of photo merger is a border merger. This is when people within the picture are partially cut out of the picture, missing part of an arm or a leg or even their head. More often than not this type of merger is caused by a poor alignment from the photographer’s eye. The best way to fix this type of merger is to either zoom out or take a step or two back so that there is a small amount of space around every person intended to be in the picture.
One other type of merger is a near merger. These often are slightly less noticeable, but steal attention from the center of focus just as easily. This type of merger occurs when an object or objects are a bit too close to the main subject. This type of merger can be corrected by using a lower angle and only including one object within the picture, making sure that there is enough space between the object and the center of focus. One example is the first portrait below. The beach ball and the tip of the umbrella are too close form the girl’s face and draw attention away from her. In the second portrait there is only the girl and the frisbee in her hand and the frisbee is farther away from her face and is not as distracting.
Now that you know how to better compose your photos, next time I will cover the basic tools that you will be using most often in Adobe Photoshop CS5 to create unique and interesting effects on your pictures.