From Soup to Nuts- Superman Part 4

Alright, now on to the part that I think everyone has been waiting for…wait for it….wait for it….THE JOYS OF PHOTOSHOP!!! (echo reverberates throughout the land.) Anyways, the best way to approach something like this is to come up with some sort of gameplan as to how you’re going to do it! my gameplan was to outline all the necessary components using the pen tool, punch them out from the backgrounds, and then composite them onto the background plate which was also shot separately. The pen tool is essential for something like this because it allows you to be super precise and it allows you to go back to it later on if you need to change the shape. The key to make a seemless selection with it is to utilize both the feather and smooth selection commands under the select menu. For this particular project, i generally used a feather of 1 pixel and a smooth of 2 pixels, this gave me a nice feathered edge to all of the components which made them look more natural. Once this was accomplished, there was general perspective changes that needed to be done in order to blend everything with each other. It was anything drastic as I followed the perspectives of each object pretty closely when I photographed them, but it was something that needed to be done to augment the feel of the photo. I like to use the perspective function for this (edit, transform, perspective) just because its simple to use. From here it was just a matter of getting everything where I needed it. One of the problems I was running into was that the components didn’t look anchored in anyway to the background. To solve this I needed to do a shadow layer which would make things look like they had weight. There’s a couple ways of doing this, you could do a dodge/burn layer and just burn in some shadows where necessary, you could do a curves adjustment layer with a mask to punch out any unnecessary areas. They way I did it was just to make an empty layer and paint in the shadows with a low opacity brush set to black. This really did the trick and made the components look like they weren’t floating in the picture. Now, to get that animated look in my images is a little tougher. There are a million ways of doing this as well, of which I don’t have the space to go over here. The way that I do it mostly is with several high pass filter layers, set at varying radiuses, followed by an unsharp mask layer with a high radius count, and finally a 50% gray layer set to the overlay blending mode. With this layer I paint in highlights and shadows with a low opacity black/white brush. The trick to all of this lies soley with the original lighting setup. If you don’t follow the natural behavior of the lighting, your shadows won’t make sense and your highlights will look strange. That’s really all there is to it, it’s been a great project (even my wife, the “Lois Lane” in the picture, had a good time helping me with this one.) and I’m looking forward to the next one!
See you next week!