In this assignment students will create clones in photoshop by combining specific parts of multiple images. The end result will be an impossible situation that appears to have been created from a single capture.
Students will need to turn in two examples. The first is a test to try the technique. The second should be more thoughtful, show interaction between the subjects, and fix any of the technical problems that might have been present in the first one. Remember to tell a story.
The purpose of this assignment is to learn how to use the brush tool and layer masks.
A brief How-To:
- Set up your camera on a sturdy tripod and point it toward the scene. (If your lens has image stabilization, turn it off when using a tripod)
- Make sure to “lock down” all of the settings that might accidently change when the position of the subject changes. (ISO, White Balance, Aperture, and Shutter Speed)
- Most importantly you need to turn off auto-focus, and manually focus the lens.
- Try to maximize the amount of subjects that will be in focus (increase the depth of field) by closing down your aperture, zooming out, and pre-focusing mid-way into the scene (between the front and back subjects).
- Set the self-timer on the camera to 10 seconds if the subject is a self portrait, or 2 seconds if the subject is not you. The self timer helps minimize the camera-shake caused by pressing the shutter button.
- Take a photo, then have the subject move, take another, and repeat. For this assignment you must have at least 5 cloned subjects.
- Clean up and put everything back where you found it. (Tripods with quick release plates should have the plate returned and locked in to the top of the tripod)
- Import the photos into Lightroom. (If editing an image, apply the exact same edits to each image in the set)
- Select all the photos you want to make into your multiplicity image by clicking on the first image in the series and then holding down the command button (control on PC) and clicking on the rest of them.
- Right-click on one of the images’ thumbnail. Go to “edit in” then “Merge to Panorama in Photoshop” (If you are absolutely sure there was no camera shake you can click “Open as Layers in Photoshop” and skip step 11.)
- Uncheck the box that says “Merge images together”
- Let Photoshop do it’s job aligning and layering up the images. This can take about a minute.
- Once that is done, rearrange the layers so that the subject that is furthest from the camera is on the bottom layer and the subject that is closest to the camera is on the top layer.
- start at the top layer and hold down “option” while clicking on the add layer mask icon on the bottom of the layers pallette. The layer masks should be black.
- Do this to all of the layers, except the very bottom one.
- Now select the layer second from the bottom and hold “shift” and click on the layer mask. This de-activates the layer mask and reveals the layer hidden by the black layer mask.
- Study where the subject is on that layer and re-activate the layer mask (by clicking on it or holding shift and clicking on it again)
- Push “B” for the brush tool and make sure that your options match the hardness of the edge you plan to paint. Set white for the foreground color and black for the background color (quick key is “D”), and 100% for opacity (quick key is “0”) and 100% flow.
- Paint with white over where you want to reveal the subject. If this isn’t working, check the settings and retrace the steps 14-18.
- If you paint too much, invert the foreground and background colors (quick key is “X”) so that you are painting black back onto the layer mask.
- You might need to adjust your hardness, opacity, and flow for different painting and blending circumstances, but mainly you will just need to adjust the brush size (quick keys are: “[” and “]” to make the brush smaller and bigger)
- Once done with one layer mask, move up the layers palette to the next one and repeat step 16+ until you are all done.
- Overlapping subjects take a bit more finesse and care, so zoom in (quick key is “Z”) and get the edge to look seamless.
- Make sure to get all of the subject- including the shadows and reflections.
- When done, save the layered PSD or TIF file. Hold down command and push “S” to save.
- The file should show back up in the lightroom catalog and you can process it more or export it from there.