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Creative Compositing

I shoot the team and individual pictures for the sports teams at Shepherd High School.  This Spring I decided to try a new technique.  I had been reading and looking at Joel Grimes images in which he had been placing cutouts of people he had shot portraits of into different backgrounds.  For the most part, his backgrounds are HDR and full of a lot of drama/emotion.  Recently, I took the time to watch a Grimes’ Tutorial on Scott Kelby’s Kelby Training Web Site to try to gain some expertise on how to accomplish this technique.  Above is my first attempt using the Varsity Baseball Team as Guinea Pigs.

I shot the individual images against a white back drop.  I then used the workflow described by Grimes to extract the ball player in Photoshop 6 beta.  Using the white back drop simplified the process immensely.  It only took a few minutes to get a great extract.  Of course, shooting baseball player’s with their hats on removes the largest hurdle …extracting hair.  Grimes explains (and  Matt Kloskowski also does in his book) in detail how to extract the hair, but I have yet to get the process to work as well as his does.  I need to perfect this technique because I will soon be doing the same technique with the Girl’s Softball Team.  Practice, practice, practice, eh?

I originally shot the background just using Photomatix for an HDR effect.  But, I wasn’t thrilled with it.  I think if I had made the image on a cloudier, darker day, that I would have had more success.  But time wouldn’t allow it (Mom’s want the pictures of their son in a timely manner!).

Above is the HDR version of the background.  I wanted a darker/grittier version.  So, I ran it through Topaz Adjust (Detail) to achieve a somewhat darker version.  The ‘Grimes’ experience has me looking at the environment I walk around in differently these days.  Now, carrying my camera, I look for gritty backgrounds that I can put people in.  I just have to figure out an efficient way to organize all those shots, so when the time comes to use them I will be able to find them!

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2 Responses

  1. That look very good!

  2. Thanks Akikuvaa!

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