Creating a layer composite?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Steve S, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    I want to create a non-animated sequence of shots, all stacked together to show an RC monster truck jumping over a ramp. How do I do that in PS?
     
  2. Hi Steve

    Without knowing your level of confidence and/or experience with PS it's difficult to know where to start and where to pitch the tutorial.

    However, here's a basic overview: if it's enough, fine; if not, get back with any specific problems...

    The project starts when you shoot the sequence of shots. Try to include something that will be a constant in each shot. Focus, lock focus and exposure, recompose and wait for the moment to start your burst.

    OK, assuming that's done and the shots are transferred to your hard drive...

    Open the first two in PS. Make sure you're working on the second shot. Crop a right-hand portion of the second shot along the length side only. Ctrl-A to select it all, Ctrl-C to copy it to the clipboard. Close the second shot as you won't need it again.

    Working on the first shot, press Ctrl-V to paste the cropped second shot on top of the first shot. It will automatically create a new layer. Reduce the opacity so that you can see which is shot 1 and which is shot 2.

    Use the move tool to position the new layer so that it overlays exactly where you want it to. This is where the constant item becomes invaluable.

    Make sure the top layer is highlighted and create a layer mask. (It's the circle inside a square icon on the layer palette.) Hit Shift-D to ensure that you have the fore and background set to black and white. A black brush will reveal the lower layer and a white one will hide it. Use a combination to hide / reveal parts of the top and second layer. Change the opacity so you can see exactly where you are.

    Repeat this sequence adding shots 3, 4, 5 etc.

    Here are a couple of examples of what I think you're trying to achieve...

    40870481.

    View attachment 6436

    In each case the ball was a constant and was used to position each overlying shot.

    I've never tried to write a tutorial before, so don't hesitate to query anything I might have taken for granted or omitted.
     
  3. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Well, I did it, but a different way (Pic)

    Thanks Cliff, but yesterday, a guy on DPR Retouching told me I could just layer one pic over the other, starting with the 1st, then erasing away the top most layer where the truck's position was underneath. This worked very well, since I used a tripod w/shutter release. Once I got the Ctrl A/Ctrl C, then Ctrl V on the 1st image down to a science, it actually went pretty fast.
    Nothing too cool or spectacular here, in fact shot in jpg to save time, but more of an experiment than anything else. Will have to get the truck fixed, since it's now busted :( and wait for better weather to try it again.
    Edit: Shot with D2H/17-55 @8fps.
    original.
     
  4. I'm pleased you got it sorted, Steve.

    You might find that a problem with your method is that once it's done - it's done. There's no going back at a later date to tweak.

    Layer masks are non-destructive and can be amended at a point in the future.

    This may or may not be important to you, but it is a deciding factor for many people.
     
  5. Re: Well, I did it, but a different way (Pic)

    Clive's approach just used layer masking instead of an eraser. I covered that in my tutorial a few days ago, Steve.
    The results can be identical, but masking offers some advantages. And, if you have a series where you didn't use a
    tripod, his tips on alignment are critical. I used his approach to create my favorite montage, which was taken hand-held.

    33268225.
     
  6. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    I did sit down to learn Layer Masking, Frank

    Somewhere along the line, I flattened the image, and that screwed me all up. It was one a different image, btw. Really need to knuckle down and get a grasp of this powerful PS tool.
     
  7. Hi Clive,

    I use PS a good bit and I would have done this the same way you explained. I'm sure the guy on DPR was showing Steve an easier way of doing it but if I were Steve I would do it with layers like you described and save the file as a PSD so he can go back to it and change as he likes.

    If Steve reads this post, I think Clive gave you good advice here.
     
  8. Alright, you guys have intrigued me. This is the first time doing this so be easy on me. As I processing this I realized the water made this very difficult. As you can definitely see in the second and third layers from the top. Oh well, baseball is coming up, and I am going to have fun with this type of process!! Thanks Clive, Steve, and UncleFrank!!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. No need, Bryan, you did a fine job.

    My only suggestion is nothing to do with PS or layering technique but I would be tempted to crop the picture to portrait format and lose the redundant chutes at each side.
     
  10. I agree Clive. Should I also take a picture of just the water slide by itself before shooting the action (my son) coming down the slide? :D :D
     
  11. Bryan,

    I can see what you mean by the second and third layers. If it were me, I would have moved the third layer (boy in tube) a little more to the center and down a little and the second layer (boy in tube) down just a tad, this would be perfect. As it is, you did a wonderful job trying :) and just think, if no one knew anything about PS, they would think nothing of it.
     
  12. Good job Bryan, that is not something I have tried yet.
     
  13. Thanks Catz!! :) :) :)
     
  14. Thanks Gordon!!

    It's not too bad once you get the hang of it. Next time I do this it will be LANDBASE!! :) :) :)
     
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