How to Create an Advanced Product Composite in Photoshop

Creating fantasy composites is always fun: you get to invent your very own worlds and characters. Technically, in a composite sense, you can also get away with more unrealistic elements.

When you are creating a scene that needs to feel and look like it exists in our reality, it can be a little more tricky. We all know the rules of this world, so any rule-breaking will be spotted straight away. When I shot and post-processed this creative product image, I was very aware I had to take my time and have a more organic approach to the editing. Unlike most tutorials you see online, the editing is not a streamlined, bullet-pointed workflow. It is an organic, free-flowing beast that shapes and forms over time. It can be messy and be full of red-herrings, but in the end, all the parts usually come together in a very fulfilling way.

In the video, I walk you through the process beginning to end. You will see how I search through stock images to find the pieces to the puzzle I need. And as in real life, I have to work through various pieces before I find one that fits the puzzle. It can be frustrating, but always going with the piece you chose first just because you do not want to do any more cut-outs will lead to less-than-great images. You need to see and feel all the various elements in the image. You may have a blueprint in your head of how you want the image to look, but you also need to be able to adapt to the situation.

Once the stock is in place, I move on to blending everything, using help layers or check layers, as they are also known to guide me. Blending is what brings all your elements together. On the main animal, the deer, I also paint in fake highlights to make sure it blends in completely with its surroundings. Finally, I show you how to push blending further by adding some sun flare. The image and its sister image below are two of my favorites from the year so far. Let me know if you watch the video and see anything useful or maybe something you did not know before, and I can expand on it for you.

Clinton Lofthouse's picture

Clinton Lofthouse is an Advertising/Entertainment photographer, creative artworker and Photoshop expert from the U.K. Specializing in composite and photomanipulation imagery.
When he is not chained to his desktop PC editing, Clinton likes to put on Synthwave music, wear Aviator sunglasses and pretend to be in an 80s movie.

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really cool

yes, it's cool ... and you are veeery good! And you also helped me to understand the process! thank you!
The action for the check layer looks quite useful! is there a website to download it or a tutorial to make it? Thanx!!

Excellent results and commendable choice of a subject.