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Composite Images: Attention to Detail


Anyone familiar with my work knows that I’m a big fan of compositing images in Photoshop, and can spend hours sometimes on one image tweeking this and that.

For this short tutorial I want to cover with you what I consider an extremely important part of compositing…the attention to detail; I want to show you how in a few of my recent composites I’ve added a flag onto the background, but done in such a way that it looks as if it was originally in the image by it looking weathered and worn away in places.

So, here’s how it’s done…

Step 1:

In Photoshop the background ‘Wall Layer’ was opened then on top of this the flag was sized and positioned …


Step 2:

The blend mode of the ‘flag’ layer is then changed to Soft Light. This allows for texture from the wall below to show through and gives the impression that the flag has been painted onto it. To increase the ‘aged’ effect the opacity of the flag layer was then reduced to around 25% …


Step 3:
The next stage is to increase the overall weathered look to the flag so first of all select a Brush by pressing ‘B’ on the keyboard and then using the menus, selecting a rough/patterned brush. When selecting a brush in the top menu one of the options is ‘Opacity’ and this will come handy in a moment…


Step 4:
A white layer mask was added to the flag layer and then using the brush tool already selected and the foreground colour set to black, paint/dab randomly over the flag. This will remove parts of the flag in patches giving the overall ‘weathered’ look where over time paint would fade and disappear. To add just a touch more realism, when using the brush vary it’s size and also lower the opacity occasionally so that there are varying degrees of ‘faded’ patches…


And that is all there is to it. Of course you don’t have to use the Soft Light blend mode; choosing ‘Overlay’ for example would give the flag a more ‘contrasty’ look but that’s the great thing about blend modes; just by playing around with them you can come up with all manner of effects.

Enjoy 🙂

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