Superimposed image using Photoshop

Fun with Photoshop

Just occasionally I can breakout from the mould of my photography, and this image shows just one such occasion. The challenge set by the local u3a Photography group was selfies – but with a difference. I must admit I faced the challenge with quite some reticence. It seemed silly; I didn’t want to take photos of myself; what would I get out of it; was it really a worthwhile thing to spend an hour or so doing? All the questions … but I did go to Alexandra Gardens (part of the Cardiff Civic Centre) and do you know what – I had more fun that morning in an hour, than I’ve had for quite a long time. [It did help that the sun was shining.]

Armed with my Peak Design Travel Tripod, my camera and the 24-110 F4 lens I sat on the bus and thought what could I take photos of myself doing. The first one to come to mind was a superimposition of two images. I knew you could do it in Photoshop, but I’d never tried it. A few other ideas came into my head on that bus ride – it does help if you know the place you’re going to shoot in – and so I came prepared with almost a script of ideas that quite amazingly I completed inside the hour. You can see those images here, on flickr.

But I wanted to use this post to describe (actually to record – given my bad memory) how I did the post-processing of the two images of me sitting on the bench, in Photoshop. Here are the RAW images I took; it certainly helped that it was a still day …

So after loading them into Lightroom…

  1. I selected them
  2. I then opened them as two layers in Photoshop – Photo Menu > Edit in > Open in Photoshop in Layers
  3. Then in Photoshop, I selected the layer I wanted to be superimposed on an existing background; in this case the image on the left, because “the subject” (ie me) was more clearly defined and could be better isolated from the background
  4. I clicked on Remove background
  5. In the Layers Tab, I selected the two layers and created a Smart Object – Layer Menu > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object
  6. I then saved the merged image (the Smart Object) – File Menu > Save As … (or alternatively Save as Copy – to save the image as a JPEG) and saved the image as a TIFF file which then appeared back in my Lightroom catalogue
  7. Finally I did some edits in Lightroom on the TIFF file, and reduced the file size – Library Menu > Convert Photo to DNG … using the settings shown below.

Simples really! But could I remember how I’d done it afterwards! Hence the need for this post.

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