Experimental Images with Photoshop, merged multiple images

How did I create the experimental pictures?

I created this studio photograph of me using a digital camera this is so I could take the picture into PhotoShop easily and

Photograph of Me
Original Photograph of Me

without degrading the picture in the process. I took the picture with the ISO 200, shutter speed of 1/125 sec and the aperture  F stop of F14 this is so the picture would have a deep depth of field and fast shutter speed so picture wouldn’t be blurred and be bright enough with out over or under exposure of the picture. I also used a flash to take the picture this is also so the main subject of my face picture would be bright enough to see.

I took the photograph in RAW format and transferred the image to the computer where I could manipulate it with Photoshop.  I used the RAW format because I did not want the image to be degraded when the image is stored to JPEG format.

When I opened the picture in RAW format I made sure that all the features were at 0, this was because I did not want to change any of the setting for brightness, colours, contrast etc at this point.   I pressed OK to open the photo it into Photoshop.

In Photoshop I used the Quick Selection tool to select my head and shoulders from the background.  I copied the head and shoulders (Ctrl+C), Created a new tab (Ctrl+N) and pasted my head and shoulders (Ctrl+V) into the the ’empty’ picture.  This new selected head and shoulders image I will reuse when creating my future experimental merged pictures 1-3.

Experimental Picture 1

Experimental Image 1
Experimental Image 1

I opened a picture of a field of rape plants – this image I am going to use as the background to my merged image.

I opened a second picture of a distorted street scene of car lights, raindrops and light reflections on glass.  This is going to be my top layer.

I copied the head and shoulder shot of me as Layer 1 (this had no background) on to the  picture of the field of rape plants, background Layer.  I went to the 3rd picture of the street scene and rain drops on glass, selected a smaller part of image that I wanted and copied this area of the picture and pasted it as a Layer 2 on top of the picture of me.  I selected the Layer 2, clicked on image Transform and re-sized the copied area to cover completely, positioned over the composition and adjusted the opacity sliding it up and down to see what effect it had.  I stopped at 80% so that my face was clearly visible and the rain drops on glass an reflections can be seen, and give the illusion that I am standing behind some glass, the photograph was from taken outside on a rainy day, looking in on me.

When I was happy with the overall effect I clicked merge all layers and saved the image as a new file.  This meant my original images will not have been accidentally lost or changed.

Experimental Picture 2

Experimental Image 2
Experimental Image 2

I opened another photograph I took of some woods in PhotoShop, this will be my background layer.

I opened a second photograph of some trees on a hillside in PhotoShop this opened into a new tab and will become the top layer,Layer 2.

I clicked on the tab with the image of my head and shoulders, copied the image.  Clicked on the tab of the woodlands (Background Layer). Pasted the image of me (Layer 1) on top of the background.

Next Clicked on the tab of the picture of trees on the hillside.  I selected an area of the photograph.   I copied the selected part of the image image, clicked on the background picture of the woodland with me superimposed. I pasted the selected trees on the hillside to create Layer 2.  Clicked on transform so I could move the selected area to appear across my face and stretched the image to cover just my face and hair.

I experimented and adjusted the opacity sliding it up and down to see what effect it had on the overall image.  I wanted to show my face but to also have a shadow or mask half covering my face, the appearance of a native warrior.  I decided 65% opacity gave a the effect I was looking for.

I clicked merge all layers and saved the image as a new file.

Experimental Picture 3

Experimental Image 3
Experimental Image 3

I used only two images for my 3rd experimental picture.  The photograph of me, and a second image of space.

I went and searched the internet for copyright free images of space. I found one I liked, saved the image to the PC.  I opened the saved space image with PhotoShop

The photograph of me was the background layer.  I clicked on the tab of the space image, copied the image.  I clicked on the tab of the picture of me and pasted the space image as a new layer over the top of the photo of me.

I selected layer 1 and adjusted the opacity.  I wanted the image to be dark, with a ‘ghost’ of me showing through.  Half of my face is eclipsed by the planet.  The opacity I selected was 90%, this gave the effect I was looking for, my pale face with stars covering my face is visible.  My hair and body fade into the darkness of ‘space’

I clicked merge all layers and saved the image as a new file.

What worked well?

The photograph of me, using the selection tool to “cut me out” and ability re-use this image was very useful.  The skills I am learning and developing to use Photoshop.  The use of Layers and how to manipulate elements in each layer before finally merging and saving the final images.

I was very pleased with all three images, they all have been transformed into very interesting compositions that would not be possible by taking a picture alone.  A very flat picture of me has been used to great effect putting me in the frame of places I have visited (except space) and I have come from behind the camera to being in full view and part of the main subject.

The Experimental Picture 1 has a a stormy brooding atmosphere, and a quality of slight sadness.  Experimental Picture 2 has a nature, warrior and native of the forest appeal.  Experimental Picture 3. Lost among the stars, part of the universe.

What Could I have improved?

The experimentation with PhotoShop, trying some additional effects changing the colour hues and the use of gradients to see if more interesting effects of the layers is possible such as an image layer could be strong in part of the frame but fading out across the composition.  The use of other PhotoShop effects such as blur or soften to make images more ghostly and faint.  This could have improved the Experimental Picture 2 so that the picture of me could have been softened in to the background, around the top of my head the cut out of my head and hair is very harsh.

How do these compositions represent me?

Experimental Picture 1 represents me, I look to be starring out, studying what is going in the outside world.  When I am left out I feel slightly sad and lonely.

Experimental Picture 2 shows my love of nature and of trees and woodlands.  The half covering of my face gives an illusion of a mask.  At times I hide my true thoughts and feelings.  I am a very private person, not letting people see the total me.

Experimental Picture 3 displays my tendency to dream and drift off to other worlds in my imagination.  Also the planet eclipsing the view of me shows my tendency to hide in the shadows and watch from afar, but at the same time wanting to be part of something bigger.

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