Almost there…..Finishing off the Mags composite

Richard Charpentier Arizona, HDR, Photographing Arizona, Photography, Photomatix, Photoshop, RLC Design Leave a Comment

Yesterday I was a little frustrated with myself.  I’d done a bad job of clipping Mags out of her original background.  Basically, when you’re clipping someone out you should come into them by a pixel or two.  I hadn’t done that (being too speedy) and there was a 2 pixel halo around most of her image.  When on a white background you don’t notice it, but drop it on to a darker background and suddenly it looks like your subject has a glow.

Today I’m happy enough with the color version of the composite, so I’m going to share it.  But I thought you’d like to see all that went into it…..

First off we have the unedited, non-HDR’d shot of the Hackberry General store.  Okay, there’s that.

I then HDR’d the 3 exposures I took of the store.  I think I still could have done this composite without HDR.  But hey, we all know how much I love HDR.  The next step was to put the HDR into Photoshop.  I wanted to make the scene heavier which was pretty easy.  Opened the HDR as a RAW, and from there launched into Photoshop with the image opening as Smart Object.  Quickly duplicated the smart object with another one, desaturated the image, pumped up clarity, and then overlayed the desaturated layer on the color layer.  Whew!


With the scene set I moved on to the Mags image.  I used MaskPro (from OnOne) to clip her out.  It does a great job, but like I said, I went way too fast and left a slight white halo around Mags.  No matter, I dropped the clipped version of her into the scene and proceeded.  Honestly, I should have fixed the clipping beforehand.  It would have taken me less time.

Unfortunately, Mags was facing the wrong direction for the lighting in this scene.  The light is clearly coming from camera right at the gas station, and when shooting last weekend I was doing my main light from camera left.  No worries.  I just transformed the Mags clipping by flipping her horizontally.

The toughest part was getting the halo around Mags to go away.  I did this by hand.  Clone stamp tool and some patience.  🙂  Next time I’ll clip better!

Dropping Mags in I did a little more work on the color, then I took a look through OnOne’s Photo Tools, found a great filter by Brian Matiash and ran it.  The final result…..?

Remember, I’m still learning this stuff.  This is not the most super perfect composite ever made.  I know I can do better and with time I will.  Finishing touches on this were a few highlights on Mags using the Dodge tool.  You know, a little light reflecting off her hair and shirt.  Just for good measure…..  😉

Well, there ya have it!

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