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  • Writer's picturePhil

Challenging myself to learn something new... Photoshop.

Hi there, so everyone starts the new year saying new year new me... I don't like to follow the norm so its never a new me its always a new challenge, a new something to learn and expand my knowledge.


So that being said, this year I really wanted to expand my photography into an area I have previously avoided. Composite images and heavier photoshop work... why? well why not... It is an area the photography world that has always intrigued me however I have steered away from it for many reasons including personal preference and also not having the skill or knowledge of photoshop, I make no excuses I am far from competent with Adobe Photoshop hence the curiosity and my want to challenge myself in 2020 to learn this programme.


Where to start, its like deciding to jump into a rocket and blasting into space, this programme is vast, unforgiving and mind boggling. I started by watching videos online, as these are not just informative but you can pause and directly copy what the people in the video are doing, like when you were a child learning to spell... Look, Copy, Cover and Copy. Take baby steps and learn the controls, this is where BDM's Independent Manual Series, Photoshop - The Beginners Guide really came in handy with its breakdown of the controls in photoshop came in useful.


Being an automotive photographer I know a lot of other professionals in my field were lightyears ahead of me when it comes to photoshop however that should never push you away in my opinion but encourage you and also help with it comes to your learning as you have a wealth of people to learn from and also critique your work.

So this is my first ever attempt at a composite image... this image is made up from two images, the background is a low res royalty free image from google images, the Porsche GT2RS is a car I photographed in the rain in London, UK.


First job was to learn the pen tool and how to cut out the car from the image, ill tell you now this was the hardest and most time consuming and I still have a lot to learn in this area, all I can recommend is zoom in and take your time with this as it will make or break the image. once I had the car cut out it then took ages for me to figure out how to cut it as a layer and then import the background as a later.


Once you've figured this out you have to place the car in the image and it will look totally out of place and terrible but one thing I have learnt is that the shadows are key, they are absolutely vital at tying the background and the car together, without the shadows you get no depth and it looks like you've just cut out and glued the car onto a poster of a grey wall.


Once I had done all this I wanted to add some smoke to then give more depth and separate the car and background so for this I watched a video online as to how to turn a photo of a cloud into a smoke brush for photoshop which was a lot simpler to do than I imagined, all I did was pause the video at each step and copied exactly what the person in the video did and hey presto I had my own smoke brush. then simple to add the smoke to your own personal taste.


I then went into each layer and colour corrected each layer to blend them all together more and saved it back into Lightroom to get my final edit which is a long way from what the best can create but for me at the time was a master piece.


Below I have also done a similar process with a Custom Harley Davidson that I photographed. I even (badly) added the Harley logo.


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