Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Composites: View Therapy

Composite images are made up of two or more photographs merged together. In this series, I use as my main image the photograph below of my mother sitting on the window ledge of a condo in New York City.  I find her posture of rest and reflection against the backdrop of the cityscape to be beautiful; and the large windows bring in so much light and view from the outside.

In the following, I use a second image in combination with the main one to change the backdrop. The tools and techniques I use to create these composites are quite simple. I open the main image in Photoshop. Then, I drag the second image into it; use the free transform tool to align and place it correctly in relation to the main image; apply a mask; use the eraser to reveal the layer of the second image; in "trouble" areas, I use the clone stamp to maintain consistent or appropriate colour, tone, shade, texture, and light values; finally, I apply a Gaussian blur filter to smoothen the transitions between pixels. I re-open the images in Lightroom to make some final minor adjustments to the overall image, and voila!

I believe the impact is most effective with this first composite. Both images work well together. Different elements like tone, density, and colour are similar. I really enjoy looking at this image. It conveys such a sense of peace and serenity. On its own, I think the image could be used as advertisement in a meditation or wellness context.

With the last two images, I find the merging of the background and foreground do not flow as well as the first one. In the image above, the vantage point seems slightly off or strange; below, the urban interior clashes with the southwestern landscape. That being said, I have also come across constructions in real life that had that same slightly awkward feeling or juxtaposition. Because of the window views, I can imagine these images in the context of lifestyle or travel photography.

What I learned from doing my first composites?

Composites take a lot of time and planning to compose well, otherwise, they easily look fake and put-together. However, I've discovered that they are fun, exciting and even therapeutic because of all the creative possibilities it opens up. Now, I'm motivated to learn photoshop not just because I need to but because I want to!

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