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Photo Compositing Collage, montage, masking, selections, combining, etc.

Compositing

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  #1  
Old 01-11-2008, 11:41 PM
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KittyBuddha KittyBuddha is offline
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Compositing

I'm shooting the cover of a magazine on January 23rd (2008). The editor wants it shot like the final shot from America's Next Top Model. The girls are shot individually & the photos are composited to form the final photo. When a girl is eliminated her image disappears until there is only one girl left - the winner - at the end of the show. I've got the lighting down but I need help with the technique for shooting the women & compositing them into a final photo. I'm photographing 12 women for the final, composited, shot.

Here's an expamle:

http://static.flickr.com/106/314023394_23aba85986.jpg

Any advice would be really appreciated.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:45 PM
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Stephen A Stephen A is offline
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Re: Compositing

I haven't done much of this myself, so take the suggestion with a grain of salt... but - I would definitely light them from above, with a soft light on their faces for detail.

I'll be interested to see what others suggest.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:36 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Compositing

it might be easier to shoot them individually under the same lighting, and then composite them for the group shot...
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:49 AM
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KittyBuddha KittyBuddha is offline
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Re: Compositing

That's what I'm going to do. I need help with how to pose them & how to composite them.

Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:43 AM
Peer K Peer K is offline
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Re: Compositing

It's not that hard if you're shooting them on a solid color background. You say you have the lighting down which is good - but just a reminder : Keep the light pretty much that way but more importantly keep your focallength, aperture and camera standpoint the same. Depending on your light setup you can do small variations if you have some models standing and others sitting - or you can make your light almost shadowless (which is quite boring imo). That way you won't have to worry about the shadow the models would cast on eachother - which can be tricky.

One other word of advice is to do a sketch of the way you want the final picture to look. If they're not just going to be standing next to eachother this can be a big help.

That said it's really only a question of starting with base layer with the background and maybe one model and then placing the others on top of this layer and masking them in.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:36 AM
bills bills is offline
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Re: Compositing

I've done a bunch of stuff like this. Some tips:

Same lighting for each model.
Same camera position for each model/or at least reasonably close.
The most difficult part is the hair. Decide if the end result will be on a white bkgnd or dark bkgnd. Note the example is on a white bkgnd. This is the simplest. Shoot on a bkgnd similar to what you intend to use for the resulting group shot.
Shoot tons of shots of each model.
Then it is up to you to stretch your creativiity to assemble them into a group.
I use fluid mask very succesfully for hair. The main portion of the bodies can be lifted nicely with the pen tool or by several other means.
If you shoot them with nice ground shadows, you can even preserve those natural shadows for a very nice look.

Bill

www.billsimonephotography.com
(lost of composite work)
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:11 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Compositing

i've tried fluid mask and wasn't very impressed so far, i'm willing to give it another shot but the drawback to learning a masking application is it may not be updated past a certain version which is what happened to Knockout...
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:55 PM
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KittyBuddha KittyBuddha is offline
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Re: Compositing

Thank you so much everyone! This is really helpful. I'll be working with a Photoshop artist who will hopefully know how to do this as well. I wouldn't have even thought about the same focal length, aperture, etc. Bill: I went to your link & your work is absolutely AMAZING! It quite literally moved me to tears! Everything is a work of art. I hope someday to have a 1/10 of the talent you have.
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:44 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Compositing

Make sure you place the cutest ones in the centre of the composition standing up.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:12 PM
makespictures makespictures is offline
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Re: Compositing

Hi Kitty

I would if possible shoot a shot with everyone in their positions (to use a reference and/or backup). Then you will have a better idea of the background behind each person - you want to make sure that your lighting looks realistic (and you will know where shadows would be falling, who would be blocking what light etc). The hair will be the hard part - try and make it as simple for yourself in post. Best of luck.
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