Learn How to Composite in Photoshop With This Excellent Short Lesson

Using Adobe Photoshop to composite images can seem like a dark art at first, and while there are a vast array of techniques to learn, this excellent video makes a great introduction, teaching you how to completely transform this photograph.

In this short tutorial, Photoshop guru Cristi Kerekes blasts through a load of techniques for transforming a slightly drab, gray photo of a lady with a parasol and transforming her into a fantasy world of rain and deep blues. As a means of getting started in compositing images and turning a photograph into something else entirely, this video is a fantastic place to start.

One technique which is critical to Kerekes’ process is the ability to create an adjustment layer and have it apply only to a single layer immediately below, rather than applying to the entire stack of layers underneath. This allows you to fine-tune specific layers, giving you a greater degree of control, and often avoiding hugely complex masking processes.

Something else that you’ll appreciate as you get started is the habit of labeling layers and putting them into groups. Keeping yourself organized as you edit will speed up your workflow in the long-term, and makes life much easier if you take a break from an image and come back to it later.

No doubt there are a load more tweaks that you could add to this image to refine it even further, but as a quick and dirty introduction to compositing, it’s quite effective. What would you add or do differently? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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I wish these guys would remind people to use royalty free stock or take their own stock pics so people don't get the idea that all you have to do is cut someone out and slap a google image behind them and adjust colors. I see this way too often.

Good shout.

Not bad, but I feel that having the night sky background was pointless as it's not even recognizable as a night sky. Would have been easier just to add a blue gradient to what was already there.