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📄 Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Gathering All the Shots into One Document
  3. Beginning the Detail Work
  4. The Next Step
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Gathering All the Shots into One Document

The first step is to open the shot of the falls and save it as a PSD file. Next, I had to bring in the shots of the Buddha statue and the woman. We want to maintain as much editing flexibility as possible when compositing, so use File > Place to bring all of your images into the main scene (see Figure 2). This will create a Smart Object Layer for each placed image. Note that Smart Object Layers have distinct icons and layer masks in the Layers panel. These masks will be important later in the process.

Figure 2 Using the waterfalls as a backdrop, the other elements are added to the document as Smart Objects using File > Place.

Once you've gathered your images together in one document, the next problem is usually the simplest to address: Placed images often require scaling to make the visual illusion possible. Anything that looks obviously too small or large will detract from the quality of the final image. For this concept, the woman needed to be smaller so that she could be placed somewhere in the foreground or middle-ground of the landscape shot (among the rocks and grass); the statue of Buddha also needed to be smaller, although it ends up being a very large object relative to the scene as a whole.

To scale a Smart Object Layer, select the layer and choose Edit > Free Transform (Ctrl-T on the PC, Command-T on the Mac). Next, hold down the Shift key to constrain the image's proportions, click a corner handle, and drag it inward to reduce the image (as shown in Figure 3), or drag outward to enlarge it. Click the Enter or Return key when you have a good approximation of the size you want to use.

Figure 3 Use the Free Transform command to scale Smart Object Layers properly.

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