Exercise 4.6 – Using Layers In Photoshop

Brief:- Create a series of photographs that include deep shadow in much of the frame. You could achieve this by using a black backdrop or by exposing in high contrast light as in Part One Project 2 (Shadows). Choose about four final images. In Photoshop, place the images on top of one another and change the Blend Mode to Screen (removes the black from the image) of the images above the lowest image. Experiment with Luminosity and Color blending modes. You may also want to reduce the opacity of each image. Move them around with consideration for the sense of depth the image represents and try to create a final composite.

This has been an enjoyable exercise. You’ll be surprised to know that I followed the brief, and then deviated from it somewhat as well.

Lets begin with my favourite. For the first composite I have included three subjects that bring me pleasure, although for different reasons. They create a conflict of emotion for me as well, due to the negative impact that heavy industry and aviation have upon nature.

I broke from the brief for this, because I knew what I wanted to portray and the brief wouldn’t have got me there. The bottom layer was the bird, and I left the blend mode as normal, the second image is the coastal heavy industry at Tees Port, I altered the blend mode to screen, and the third is two aircraft from  Armed Forces day in Scarborough, in which I altered the opacity. To remove the backgrounds in the second and third photos I have used the background eraser and changed the brush to Kyle Spatter Brushes – Spatter Bot Tilt. These are free brushes that I had previously downloaded. I progressively lowered the flow and opacity with the brush to try to create a more natural look. The final image is very small because the birds eye was such a small part of the original photo. It’s far from perfect, but it still says something to me.

The Originals

The following two photos were made by following the brief, although I did find that I needed to mess around with the blend modes to get the effect that I found to be most effective.  I will show the originals first, in order from the bottom layer upwards.

The above is my favourite out of five different attempts that I made from the same three photos. The church and the blue background appear as if they could be a stylised satin wallpaper. The bottom right looks a touch messy, but you know what, I like it. It has a surreal and smokey feel and the colour blends in with the blue. The difficulty was removing the obvious line over the vase, from where two layers were not aligned. I can’t remember which brush I used, and It hasn’t come out to bad here, except for the area below the vase.

Layer 1 – Blend mode:- Dissolve, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 2 – Blend mode:- Pin light, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 3 – Blend mode:- Darken, Opacity 59%, Flow 100%.

This hasn’t worked as well. Although it isn’t obvious that I have blended the edge between two layers, it is clear that something has happened. The brush was meant to disperse and weaken the edge, which it has, but not my best work. If I could have somehow blended that edge more proficiently then the overall quality would have been pleasing.

Layer 1 – Blend mode:- Dissolve, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 2 – Blend mode :- Linear dodge (add), Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 3 – Blend mode:- Darken, Opacity 33%, Flow 100%.

A great exercise and one that I am very pleased to have given a go. It’s interesting to notice how I have developed with layering in Photoshop. More practice required, but I will feel better equipped and more confident with experimenting in the future.

 

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