photoshop creative

How do I add a big subject to a small background?

Posted in:
Q&A, by Mark White
October 22, 2015

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The beauty of Photoshop is that you can add any subject to any backdrop, but it’s a little harder to make a big subject look realistic in a tiny environment.

Create your composition as you usually would. Resize your subject to make it small enough to fit on your background, and add shadows below, and perhaps lighting effects above if needed. Add a slight Photo Filter from the Adjustments panel, and use the Dodge and Burn tools on the subject to add light and shade. Sharpen your subject by duplicating the layer, going to Filter>Other>High Pass and choosing a Radius of 5px, before setting the layer to Overlay. In our picture, we have two subjects, so one is more in focus than the other one, to look more realistic.

Complete the effect by selecting your background layer, going to Filter>Blur Gallery>Tilt Shift, and setting a slight blur over the top and bottom. This means the subject’s eye line remains
in focus, and the background becomes blurred to suggest it’s further away; it’s basically using the toy-town effect in a composition, rather than a photo.