DT&G Magazine, Photoshop Tips & Tricks, and the Design Bookshelf are proud to feature this article from Sharon Steuer from her new book "Creative Thinking in Photoshop"
Continued from: Creative Thinking in Photoshop  |  Page 2  |  Page 3

Compositing an Imaginary Place with Photoshop

Sharon Steuer

Image Transitions
To form transitions from one image to another, you'll need to create Layer Masks for each of your layers. With a layer selected in the Layers palette, click the Layer Mask icon. White will reveal a layer, black will mask it, and grays will blend your layer with the layers below. You can use the Gradient tool to create smooth transitions, make selections, and Delete to fill with the Background color ( Option[Alt]+Delete fills with the Foreground color) or use any of your painting tools. Remember, you can be loose and rough throughout most of this process.
(See Figure 2 Layer Masks smooth the transitions from one snapshot to the next).
      After your first version is flushed out, you'll probably want to make some substitutions from your collection of snapshots. At this stage I swapped in a different picture of my mom and used a Layer Mask to integrate it into the composition.
(See Figure 3: Along the way you can replace any elements with alternate snapshots.)
      Depending on how you'll be using the final image, at some point you might need to consolidate your composition. Make certain that your image is saved before you try to radically modify it. Use the Layers palette to hide and show various layers, and if you want to move multiple layers simultaneously, click in the Links column to link layers that you want to move together.
(See Figure 4: Moving layers and elements around so that the composition was closer to the right size.)
Sharon's blockbuster book

To learn more creative ways to use Photoshop, check out Creative Thinking in Photoshop: A New Approach to Digital Art (New Riders Publishing, ISBN 0735711224) by Sharon Steuer.

Then I checked the actual proportion that I needed for the screen and decided the best way to make the adjustments at this point was to increase the vertical canvas size. Choosing Image > Canvas Size, I located the thumbnail representation of the image in the center top and added the correct amount of space below the image
(See Figure 5: using Canvas Size to set the actual proportions for the image and making more adjustments to the composition.)
      With the canvas sized to the correct proportion, I moved things around a bit more to better fill the space.
Changing Color
To change the color cast or value of your image, choose an Adjustment Layer from the Layers palette and make any changes you want. I chose a Levels Adjustment layer to make the colors warmer and a bit lighter. If you want to include something in your image that you don't have in your collection of snapshots, try to fake it first to see if you really need it. To simplify my image, I wanted to eliminate some of furniture and try a rug in the foreground instead. Because I didn't have a snapshot of a rug handy I just used patching techniques to assemble a fake rug out of different elements. (See Figure 6)
Next: Transforming snapshots into a more painterly look.

Story copyright 2002, 2003, Sharon Steuer
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