photoshop creative

Perfect montages part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 25, 2014

Create an amazing composite, no matter your level of skill!

1. Cut out

Open up your main figure, zoom in and pick the Pen tool to cut the image out. Take it slowly and remember you can always press Cmd/Ctrl+Z if you make a mistake.

2. Close the path

Keep working around your subject until you get back to the beginning point. Click to close the path and then head to the Paths palette. Click the arrow and choose Make Selection. Set a Feather Radius of 0.9px to soften the outline.

3. Paste an image

Open your background image. Return to the figure and paste it into this shot. It will appear as a new layer so use the Transform tools to scale or flip the model if needed. You might also want to use the Pen tool to clean up any straggly bits from the original background.

4. Create shadow

It’s important to give your pasted image a shadow. Duplicate the layer and then flip it vertically. Fill with black and choose the Overlay blend mode. Reduce the Opacity of this to 74%. Finally, call upon Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and enter a setting of 495px to soften.

5. Colour change

You can get some great effects from enhancing selective parts of your images. Embellish your model’s clothes, for example, by selecting them with the Magnetic Lasso tool and creating a new layer from that selection. Open the Hue/Saturation dialog to change the colour of the dress by moving the Hue slider.

6. Make realistic hair

If you are working with people or animals in your composites, you will find that the hair ends up looking unrealistic. To get around this, create a new layer and choose a custom hair brush, or find stock imagery that you can paste in.

7. Hair selection

If you’re using a brush of some hair, position the brush then hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click to make a selection of some hair. If you’ve found a stock image, paste it over your model’s hair, select the hair from the stock image, and then switch layer so that you’re selecting the model’s hair.

8. Paste new hair

Go to the layer with your model and press Cmd/Ctrl+C and then Cmd Cmd/Ctrl+V to copy the natural colour and paste paste a new piece of hair. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T for the Free Transform tool to position it and then tidy up with the Eraser.

9. Paint new hair

Sometimes even if you add a lot of hair there is a good risk of it looking unrealistic, so it is a good idea to paint in strands. Use a soft brush from 1-4px and then employ the Smudge tool with about 65% Opacity to give the strand the desired shape.

Take me to Part 2!