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Making Composite Look Natural

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2004, 11:26 PM
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Duv Duv is offline
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Making Composite Look Natural

I've been having difficulty making the foxy lady look natural in the surroundings. I extracted her from a picture taken at a Halloween party. Any suggestions how to make this better?

Cheers

Dave
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MandyCokeBear.jpg (90.5 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg Bear.jpg (55.1 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Landscape.jpg (64.3 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg MandyCokeHatExtraction.jpg (85.9 KB, 24 views)
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:39 PM
Noelf Noelf is offline
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I totally agree with the fact you reversed her position, it fits the hills direction much better.

But by doing that, you reversed her shadows. Notice on her neck, the shadow from the hat is going to the left, while the rest of the pictures shadows are going to the right.

She also is a bit sharp against the more blurred background. Maybe give her a slight blur and it would fit in a little more naturally.

- Noel
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:17 AM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Always Check your Light Sources

The biggest giveaway in this type of work is lighting problems, think about it you grew up seeing light and how it casts shadows you pretty much know how stuff is supposed to look. Faking it is the hard part.

In this case the background image has one light source (the sun) and we need to get the three images merged so it looks like all three are under that one light source. (We can fudge a little on the woman because we might have a flash.) Our sun is sitting at about 5:30pm (or about 8:00am depending on the direction the camera is facing), and in this case coming from the left therefore all our light sources are coming from the left.

I had to reverse the bear and not reverse the woman to make this work. I adjusted the coloring on the bear assuming that it would be reflecting some ambient greenish-yellow light from the surrounding branches. Then the woman needed to be daylight ballanced (hard to do from an indoor shot at night) I got something that kind of works, but could use quite a bit more work. Then each layer needed to be adjusted based on depth of field and the appropriate blur added to each layer. I made the bear larger so it looked closer to the woman (and got it out of the shadow of the pine) and moved her to the left to place her on the more level ground to make her stance more natural. Finally a little grain added over the top helps to blend the elements.

This could stand to have been a little better executed as I was working in a hurry, but really your lighting, color balance, and depth of field are most likely to betray the composite (you should also avoid reversing text, better to reverse the background than a text bearing foreground element.)

Hope this helps and I didn't ramble too long,

Michael
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File Type: jpg mountaingirl.jpg (78.8 KB, 61 views)
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:21 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi everybody,

I had a go at Dave's composite as well ....

I agree with Dave about the position of the woman .... but I agree with Michael about the lighting .... that's why, like Michael, I didn't 'flip' the woman but I flipped the bear.

To solve the problem of the 'unnatural' position on a slope, I placed the woman as forward as possible, making her the real subject of the picture. I also increased the size of the bear to make him appear closer to the subject.

As for the rest: tone, contrast, colouring, I started with the woman (the main subject)... removed the jellow cast and brightened her up a bit.

I, then, adapted the landscape to the woman and finally adjusted the bear which, coming out of the shadows and into the sun, I selectively brightened up.

Finally, I added a 'warming' Photo Filter to the composite to balance the last colour 'discrepancies'.
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File Type: jpg F_Landscape1.jpg (99.5 KB, 66 views)
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:05 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Dave, nothing to say really above what Michael and Flora have already said.
I notice my own attempt is very similar to those already posted. I have added a shadow of the woman to help her sit into the background a little.
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File Type: jpg Collage.jpg (96.5 KB, 42 views)
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:07 PM
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Thanks Everyone!

Noel: You're so right! I tend to think about shadows falling on a wall or the ground and often forget the remaining shadow detail after extraction.

Michael: Thanks for you thoughtful response. I was trying for a low f stop depth of field but it really didn't work. Also I didn't even notice the reverse text. Flipping the background makes more sense. I'm discovering light and detail are crucial in compositing.

Flora: Again. You've made everything look natural. I always have a tough time balancing colors.

Gary: One of the things I wanted to introduce was tension and you've done it in spades!

Before I start working on all these ideas, I was wondering about a gradient fill on the body to increase the shadow on her left side especially if the sun was coming from a 5:30 position, kind of like the attached.

Cheers
Dave
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File Type: jpg MandyCokeBear.jpg (93.8 KB, 29 views)
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Old 12-22-2004, 05:18 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Nice job Dave. To add shadow,what I sometimes do is Ctrl+Click on the layer I want to shade, then open a new layer. Paint in shadow on new layer, Blur using Gaussian Blur, then adjust opacity of layer. Then deselect. By doing it inside a selection, there is no overlap when blur is applied. I sometimes need to repeat this, to get different depth of shadow in different areas. Hope this is clear, its easy to do, difficult to explain.
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Old 12-22-2004, 05:33 PM
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Thanks Gary. It makes perfect sense to work on an empty layer. It gives you a lot of flexibility. I'll give your method a try.

Cheers
Dave
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