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Author Topic: How I Do a Photo Montage  (Read 6664 times)
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PhilL
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« on: August 13, 2013, 05:14:24 PM »

I started with a tutorial ?How I Photograph Knives?

http://knifetalkonline.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=lj4ad19dch52i4h79rikdt97e5&topic=83.0

Then ?How I do Image Editing?

http://knifetalkonline.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=lj4ad19dch52i4h79rikdt97e5&topic=91.0

I think it?s time for me to do a tutorial on ?How I Do a Photo Montage?

I want to take some of the mystery about putting two (or more) knives in the same image. Putting two or more knives in a photo is easy, it?s just a matter of knowing what buttons to push in your Image Editing program (Photoshop, Elements or GIMP).

Let?s say you wanted to show both sides of a knife in one image. If you start by photographing them with the intent to put them together, then shoot one side on an angle leaving space for where the other side is going to go in the final image. Take the second shot of the other side. Take the best photos you can to start. If you have a tripod use it, this will help to make sure the angles match.

Open up both images in your image editing program and compare them, they need to match in contrast and color. Make your corrections, but don?t crop.



Duplicate the Background Layer by pressing Control + J, in case you need to rotate the background knife.

Move one photo into the other, Click and Drag or Select, Copy & Paste. Look at your Layers palette the top layer is the one that?s visible.





To position the knives so they?re side by side in the final image, Lower the Opacity on the knife photo and Move one or both knives to their final positions.



To Transform Press Control + T. Now you have both knives in the same image, but the top knife is ghostly because we lowered the Opacity. We want to reveal the bottom knife when the Opacity is 100% on the top image. There?s a couple of ways to do this.

With the top Layer selected and the opacity lowered, go to your Tools and choose the Erase tool and just erase the section of the top photo so that the lower knife is shown. Increase the Opacity of the top layer to 100%. There you have it, both sides of the knife in the same image. That?s pretty easy, but there is one drawback, you?ve erased the pixels from the top photo, it would be hard to go back and make changes later. There is a Non-destructive way to accomplish the same image.

Again with the top Layer selected and the opacity lowered, go to your Layers palette and with the top layer selected and highlighted, Click on the Layer Mask icon. Another box will open next to the image window in the layer. Make sure the Layer Mask is selected and highlighted.







Go to your Tools and choose the Paint Brush tool and just Paint in Black the section of the top photo so that the lower knife is shown. Anything you paint Black will be revealed. If you make a mistake, switch the color to White and paint over whatever you want to correct.



Increase the Opacity of the top layer back to 100%.





The Layer Mask acts just the same as the Eraser, except that it is Non-Destructive and can be changed at any time as many times as you want with nothing being removed for the photo. There?s other advantages to this Layer Mask approach.

If you want to see some excellent photography and this montage technique used masterfully go take a look at my friend Jim Cooper?s website. Go get inspired.

http://www.sharpbycoop.com/jalbum/index.html    

« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 03:39:59 PM by PhilL » Logged

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Daniel Rohde (D-Vision)
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 08:16:50 PM »

here's an example of two different lighting-NOT what you want! I through this together without doing anything but putting them together. these where pictures I had from a wile ago
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PhilL
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 10:12:18 PM »

Daniel, this thread is about learning a technique for doing a montage.
I think you've learned that.

I also think you realize that your lighting could be better and you need to learn how to do Color Correction with GIMP. Start with the best photographs you can before you start doing montages or other manipulations. Montages will make the viewer look, but if your photos aren't good do you really want them looking?

I still want to see the best photos you can take of one of your knives and both sides.
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PhilL
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 12:35:33 AM »

You are welcome Clay.
I've never done a YouTube video, I'm not even sure how to do it off my computer screen.
Any way there's tons of 'How to' image editing videos on YouTube I use them to hone my skills in Photoshop.

The real reason for my tutorials is so that I get to see better photos of new knives. Nobody enjoys looking at lousy boring pics of knives, do they?
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Dennis Mashburn
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 03:05:43 PM »

I just wanted to say this is an excellent post and I have really enjoyed it.

I am still working on the photo part, but hope to catch up to this sometime not to far away.
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PhilL
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 03:24:57 PM »

Dennis, we missed you last night in chat.
You're thinking is correct, it all starts with the photo part.
Maybe this will help you with that.

On chat last night one of the topics of conversation was this tutorial. Daniel has just started using GIMP and Joe C. is waiting on his copy of Elements and his Wacom tablet. I?m expecting to see great images from both of them. But, please keep in mind it all starts with the photo and the old computer term ?G.I.G.O? Garbage In Garbage Out.

I posted links above to my Knife Photography and Image Editing tutorials that I wrote for KTO forum. I found an old tutorial I wrote for Bladeforums way back when. It?s a good  read with lots of talented people giving input, too bad a lot of the images are no longer there. But, there?s plenty to look at and a lot to learn, (or re-learn in my case).
I encourage anyone that is looking to improve their knife images to check out that old thread. If you?re a knife maker I don?t know anything that will increase your chances of selling more knives than good pictures.

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/306402-No-Frills-Lighting?highlight=Frills+Lighting

Post #9 ?No Frills Lighting? thread

You will need an Image editing program to correct, crop and size your pics. Adobe Photoshop Elements came with my scanner as well as my camera. It?s probably all that most people will ever need.

My advice, learn the Basics and K.I.S.S.

Last edited by PhilL; 03-18-2005 at 02:00 PM.

It turns out that the first image editing program I started with was ?Elements?. It got the job done for me way back when and it?s probably what I?ll be going back to.

My advice back then is the exact same advice I gave to Daniel last night, and Dennis today.
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PhilL
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 03:38:30 PM »

If any of you are still having a problem with your knife photos, I'm here to help. What I want you to do is go to the Photography thread.

http://knifetalkonline.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=lj4ad19dch52i4h79rikdt97e5&topic=83.0

Post your latest photos of your knives and a photo of your lighting setup, so I can see what you're doing. If you have no latest photos and no lighting setup, than I already know what your problem is. There is only one way to get better at anything, just do it.
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 07:30:13 PM »

As long as somebody found the first tutorial useful I may as well put up Part II.

In the first exercise we put two knives together with a Layer Mask where there was no overlap between the top layer and the bottom layer. My buddy Coop www.sharpbycoop.com has done thousands of knife images and montages and almost never overlaps. So again your creative options are almost endless.  But what if you want two images to overlap.

Using the same technique of the Layer Mask, just paint in black the parts you want to reveal only with more detailed painting. Don?t be afraid to Zoom in on the area you?re working on and use a smaller or harder brush to get a really clean edge. Switch be between Black and White to make any corrections. Take your time, switch the opacity back to 100% to check your work. Remember this is non-destructive, you can make changes or corrections as many times or whenever you want. Don?t be afraid to Save your work, Close it and come back tomorrow if you like.

The finer painting work is where you will really wish you had a graphics tablet, but if you zoom in and work slow you can do it with a mouse.

Overlapping Two Images Step by Step

I borrowed a couple of pics from Joe Calton www.caltoncutlery.com (the photos on the left). First thing I did was paint out the bullets and date stamp. I?ll use the two pics on the right.



I?m going to overlap the tip of the knife over the sheath. I?m going to put a copy of the knife on the layer above the sheath and apply a Layer Mask.

Step 1 is to bring the sheath photo into the knife image. I?m going to Click & Drag, or Select All (the sheath) Copy & Paste into the knife picture will do the same thing. In the Layers palette the sheath is above the knife.



Step 2 I need to copy the knife layer and bring a copy on top of the sheath layer. By clicking on the knife layer and pressing Control + J it will make a copy of that layer



When I go to the Layers palette and drag the knife copy layer and bring it to the top now it?s visible in the work area.



Step 3 Lower the Opacity of the top layer



While I?m on the top layer I want to turn the knife on more of a diagonal. Control + T to transform then Enter.



Step 4 Next I want the sheath to be going straight up and down and not on a diagonal. Click on the sheath layer and hit Control + T to transform. After I turn it over,  it?s too big for the image I need to resize. I grab the bottom corner and hold the SHIFT key and make it smaller.



Step 5 Now it?s time to add a Layer Mask to the top knife layer and expose the sheath layer beneath it. Click on the top knife layer and click on the Add Layer Mask button



Step 6 With the Paint Brush tool selected and a good sized soft round brush, with Black as the color start painting. When you?ve exposed the sheath return the Opacity to 100%.





There?s one problem, the tip of the knife is gone. But, it?s not really. We just need to paint on the mask in White to undo the mask where the tip of the knife is. Remember this is a Non-destructive technique.

Step 7 Don?t be afraid to Zoom In.



Change the color to White use a smaller and harder brush, take your time and paint over the tip of the knife. You may have to go back and forth between White and Black, but take your time and you?ll get the job done.



Step 8 Judge how well you did by viewing the image at 100% by clicking on the Zoom tool twice.



Step 9 Click on the CROP tool, set the Width to 10 and the Height to 8 this will crop your images in perfect proportions for a standard sized print. CLICK & DRAG a corner to Crop.



Of  course you don?t have to stop there, you can keep adding elements, layers and mask, selections and gradients, logos and type, until you?ve told your story or you get tired of playing.



But, once again if you never overlapped two images that would be fine, you would still have unlimited number of design options.

On the other hand you don?t have to limit yourself to just two images and you can combine the techniques of some overlapped and some not. But, what if you wanted one knife to be above several other images. That?s where learning to do a Selection becomes important. I?m working on a video for that tutorial.
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PhilL
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 08:05:11 PM »

Just to clarify...

I write my tutorials so that if you were opening an image editing program (Photoshop, Elements, GIMP)for the first time you could follow along and learn a technique. I?m not trying to teach you everything. I?ve been doing it 15 years and I don?t know everything. I do know how to do what I want to do, or I know where to look when I don?t. I do as many YouTube tutorials as I can, and so should you.

I?m using Photoshop CS, it?s an outdated version (probably 6 or 7 versions). If you?re using a different version of Photoshop or Elements or GIMP your tools and buttons and placement aren?t going to be exactly the same as mine. But, with a little work on your part you will be able to find the way to do it in your program, they?re all very similar.

When I?m done with a tutorial I realise there?s stuff I assume you would know, but you might not. When somebody replies or emails me with a question I will always try to clear it up. Maybe just do a Quick Tip to make your life easier.

One of the things I know I never covered was ?My Workspace? in Photoshop. I try to keep it simple, usually I only have my Tools and Layers palettes open. I open History and Actions palettes only when I need them.

I never work with my ?Desktop? as my workspace, it?s too busy and doesn?t allow me to do certain Transformations.

Here?s my Quick Tip on the ?F? key.



and a video.

http://youtu.be/PVhGKnsSRlc
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 12:46:01 PM by PhilL » Logged

You can have anything You want in Life, as long as you?re willing to pay the Price.
So, figure out what price there is to pay, and Pay It.


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