Make a Fun Composite in Photoshop (beginner)

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

Photography composites can be a lot of fun, but how to come up with ideas to create art?.

Ideas can come from watching a movie or a music video. They can also happen while taking a walk, or even during a dream. Fine arts composites follow the Surrealism style.

[Surrealism is perhaps the most influential avant-garde movement of the century, Surrealism was founded in Paris in 1924 by a small group of writers and artists who sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination. Much influenced by Freud, they believed that the conscious mind repressed the power of the imagination. Influenced also by Marx, they hoped that the psyche had the power to reveal the contradictions in the everyday world and spur on revolution] excerpt.

Andre Breton is considered the founder of surrealism. Born in France in 1896. Writer and poet. Breton explored surrealism in multiple media.

Here is one of his pieces:

Jerry Uelsmann is a master of image manipulation and my great inspiration.

Uelsmann was born in 1934. He is an American photographer and forerunner of photo-montage in the 20th century. Take a look at one of his pieces:

In this post, I will guide you through the basic steps to create an easy and fun composite. For the purpose of this post, I will dismantle one of my pieces. I will also be using a PC.

"Falling from the sky"

Falling from the sky is one of my favorite composites. The best part about photography composites is the process. Obviously you must collect several elements to be blended and to create something completely different. I had the honor to exhibit this piece at the SP International Film Festival, 2014 as the Featured Artist of the art show. The exhibition was called "Just Imagine."

Just Imagine was a surrealism exhibition showcasing digital arts.

Falling from the Sky by Ingrid Dietrich

The elements that composed this image were fun to obtain. This photo was taken at Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro. I brought a friend along with a compact waterproof camera.

This is a water reflection I captured at the Central Park, Playa Vista, CA. The water reflects the sky and the Loyola Marymount University housing up on the hill. On the foreground, you can see lily pads floating on the surface.

As you may notice, the first step was flipping the images vertically. You will probably have to play with different angles and compositions before you decide what works. Remember you are working with surrealism, so not everything has to make sense; however, applying the basic rules of design is always a good idea.

Color correct. Make both images match as much as you can. Play with curves, levels, photo filters, contrast, and color balance.

Color correction.

If you do not have clear idea of what you want to design, it is always helpful to play with other images. Incorporate them in to your designs and see if they work as a whole. Ask yourself these questions:

What is the meaning behind it?.

What do I want to communicate?.

How does this image make me feel? uncomfortable? at peace? happy? energized?.

Black and white composite
Colorful composite of a frog and water reflections

OK, so you decided what image you'll use and you have also decided the way they will be composed.

Let's get to work!. Here are some instructions on how to make a quick composite in Photoshop. There is also a demonstration video below.

1- Make a new canvas. (file, new, specify: size, color mode, and canvas color)

2-Import the files you want to use (file, open, select files). Click and drag the tabs to your clean canvas. Click and drag each image to your canvas.

3- Place them in position to edit (edit, free transform or Ctrl T). While holding "shift" click and drag corners of each image to adjust their size. Press enter.

4- Using adjustment layers is a good way to start a composite. On the layer of the image that will be on top, make an adjustment layer. On your left icon menu, click on the brush icon. Select the brush's hardness on the top left (underneath the word "edit"). Set the color to black (000000). Set the opacity to whichever transparency you want to have. In this case, I will use 100%. To make the brush stroke smaller or larger, use the brackets in your keyboard: [ ]

5- Color correct using the following tools: color balance, curves, brightness and contrast, levels, photo filter.

6-Once you are happy, make sure to save a PSD copy, so you can always come back to it (file, save as, name your file, file type: Photoshop PSD, save).

Also, make sure to save it as a JPEG file so you can print or share on the web (file, save as, name your file, file type: JPEG, save).

Video made with Loom by Google. To learn more about this awesome plugin, CLICK HERE

Well, I hope this small and simple tutorial can help you to make your very first composite. Comment or ask a question using the Facebook comments plugin below.

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Have a wonderful day!!!

Ingrid ;)

#Howto #Tips #Photoshop #Design #Photography #Composite #Surrealism #Art