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.

 

Exercise 4.5 Layers

Brief:- Most imagery contains layers of some kind: subject and background, f/g m/g and b/g, for example. In this exercise you’ll experiment with ways of making layered imagery in your camera. In the following exercise, you’ll experiment with using image layers in Photoshop. Look out of a window from inside and make a photograph that includes all three of these elements:

  • foreground detail in front of the window
  • a reflection of something otherwise unseen in the window
  • background environment on the other side of the window.

Consider the light carefully. If there’s a dark area on the other side of the window, it will help the window act as a mirror for an illuminated object inside. It may be best to shoot in the evening or at night to achieve this, but then you’ll have to consider the balance of exposures between the inside and the outside environments.

Having fun exploring layers

Guess who followed the brief fully and completely? I have had so much fun with this exercise. I took all of the photography whilst I was on holiday in London, and tried to find situations where there were multiple layers within the frame. Here are a few of my favourites. These have been through Lightroom for re-sizing and auto-colour neutral only.

Exercise 4.5 LayersOne of the most pleasing aesthetically for me, and additional layers are created by the multiple frames from within the shop.

Exercise 4.5 LayersThe reflection in the window that I am looking out of, a secondary one in the other coach’s windows, and them the layers through the bus station into the car park beyond.

Exercise 4.5 LayersThis one plays tricks with my mind. What exactly am I looking at? Whats outside and whats a reflection from the inside of the bus?

Exercise 4.5 LayersThe repeated reflection, and difference between mirrored reflection and glass reflection is appealing to me, along with the colours.

Exercise 4.5 LayersThe glass cover of the escalator provides a view through to an indoor shopping centre, which is all glass. But what really makes this are the reflections of St Paul’s Cathedral. The dome is enlarged at the bottom of the frame, with a smaller reflection which shows more of the tower in the top of the frame.

Exercise 4.5 LayersEek – Confusing

Here are a few others

Cork – Favourite Two

Cork, 2017Without doubt this is my favourite photo out of all of those I took in Cork that didn’t include friends. I like the movement created by the different layers. The following is a second favourite. I have taken some tourist photos whilst away, but its the street and action shots that I prefer.

Cork, 2017

25mm Prime Lens – Layers and Depth – Bird-Watching

I went out to do some bird watching today, a bit of an adventure to look for fieldfare and redwing. Alas, I dint find any, but I enjoyed watching redshank and oyster catcher, a few goldfinch, and a cheeky starling that took a ride on the back of a sheep.

Of course I had a camera with me, and as my OMD EM 10 iii is new, I feel that I need to get used to its menus, the way it handles, and using a prime 25mm (50mm equivalent).

I havent used a prime lens before, and have always relied upon telephoto. There are two things that are immediately apparent to me. The 25mm places the subject further back than I see them with my eye, not a lot, but it’s there. To make use of the prime I am going to need to slow down, move around, and take more notice of composition, distance and perspective. I have a feeling that this is going to be good for my photography. To really consider the shots that I am taking, and allowing myself to move closer, to get into the scene.

Having the prime on me was a good enough reason to explore layers, and how the use of them can add depth in a photo. It’s a step further than the foreground, midground, background exercise, and it can create either a feeling of spaciousness, or movement through a photo, depending upon how it’s used. The photos that I took today are not special,  (I will add them to my sketch book menu above), but the practice is always good.

Thought I would also create a panorama as well. I made three overlapping shots, knowing that I could run them through the Lightroom panorama option. Thanks for the tip Agrandaiz.