Creating a Fantasy Landscape

By now you should be ready to tackle a major project. We're going to create a fantasy landscape similar to the one in Figure 5.2, only better. We'll use a stack of photos, each with various defects, and combine them into one over-the-top composite.

You'll be using various skills that already have been exercised in previous projects, so I won't provide detailed step-by-step instructions for everything. Instead, I'll explain in general terms what needs to be done, focusing on any new or difficult tasks.

We'll start with the photo shown in Figure 5.32, and end up with one that looks like Figure 5.41 (it's okay to peek ahead). The major center of interest was supposed to be the medieval castle perched at the top of the darker green mountain in the middle of the photo. Unfortunately, the castle is too far away to show up well, and the cluttered foreground includes an automobile tire retailer, some electrical poles, and a group of non-medieval homes and other structures. The plain blue sky is a little bland, too. We can fix all of that.

Figure 5.32. The mountains look nice, but we can add some new elements to the image.

Figure 5.32. The mountains look nice, but we can add some new elements to the image.

In this exercise, you'll learn all the different things that must "match" for a composite image to look realistic.

These include:

• Lighting. In general, all the illumination must appear to come from the same general area. In the finished composite, the "sun" is high in the sky, just above the upper-right corner of the picture, so most of the shadows are cast towards us. I took some liberties with the mountain picture, in which the illumination is coming from the upper-left corner, instead, because the mountains looked better lit that way, and we tend not to notice lighting discrepancies for objects located that far in the distance.

• Color. The colors should match in hue and degree of saturation. I took a cue from the overall blue cast of the mountains and made sure everything else in the picture had a slight blue or blue-green cast to it, rather than an overpowering warm look.

• Brightness/Contrast. Objects should be plausibly close in contrast. Objects in the distance can be lower in contrast because they are masked by haze, but your foreground objects should all display the same contrast you'd expect from objects lit by the same illumination.

• Texture/Sharpness. It's difficult to make a good composite if one or more objects is decidedly sharper or has a different texture than the other objects in the image. For this project, most of the items dropped into the picture were close enough in sharpness to make a good match. The mountains, because they were off in the distance, didn't need to be as sharp as the components in the foreground. When you're

This document iscreatedwithtrialversion ofCHM2PDF Pilot Z16.100.^ Gaussian Blur or Add Noise filters to blend items carefully. Adjust contrast after blurring, if necessary, to keep your objects matched. Although you can sharpen a soft component to match the rest of an image, Photoshop's Sharpen filters add contrast that's difficult to compensate for.

• Scale. Unless you're creating a complete fantasy image, you'll want composited components to be realistically scaled in relation to their surrounding objects. Remember that things closer to us appear larger, so as you move an object farther back in your composition, you'll need to reduce its size.

• Relationships. Objects in a composited picture must relate in ways that we'd expect in real life. An object placed between a light source and another object should cast a shadow on the second object. Objects located next to water or a shiny surface should have a reflection. Two objects of known size should be proportionate not only to the rest of the image, but to each other. If there are two moving objects in an image and one of them has motion blur, the other one should, too.

• Transitions. The transition between one object and another should be smooth, or, at least, as we expect from an image of that sort.

• Viewing Angle. If your angle is high above most of the objects in the composite, you shouldn't include an object shot from down low. Viewers may not notice the discrepancy at first, but the picture won't "look" right.

Keep these things in mind as you work in the next project. You can break a few of the rules I just outlined, but not too many. Start by loading the Mountain photo from the website.

0 0

Post a comment