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Moving from Capture One to Photoshop

Lesson 29 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

Moving from Capture One to Photoshop

Lesson 29 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

29. Moving from Capture One to Photoshop

Next Lesson: Compositing Hair


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Moving from Capture One to Photoshop

So the first thing we're gonna do is duplicate that layer, and how I'm gonna do that is first Command and J and that duplicates the layer. And the reason why I do that is because whenever I'm compositing I don't want to ever touch the background layer. To me that's just scared. I don't touch it. I leave it alone. I will duplicate it and anything I need to do with the layer onwards whereas, you know, sometimes I'll push it up, sometimes I'll push it down, I'll change the order of it. The background layer is left alone. Next thing I do is I will adjust the canvas crop. So I'm gonna use the crop tool over here, just make sure my background is wide, and that's a personal preference. Ideally it doesn't actually matter. I'm gonna move it-- actually I'm gonna move it down because we're adding to the bottom Extending downwards so let's do that Yeah, extending downwards smooth (chuckles) Too far down All the way down, great. Enter. Brilliant. So we're going to go to this photo over here...

, and gonna make sure the picture is selected, and I'm gonna press Command + C to copy that photo. I'm gonna open up the photo that I want to work on, and press Command + V to paste it in place. And this is how I composite all my pages, and when you see this you'll be like, "Oh is that it?" (laughs) So then we're gonna turn this on and off. I always just turn it on and off just to see where I am. I'll change the opacity a little as well to just make sure I'm seeing everything properly. There we go. I'm gonna lift that up a little more so it matches up with the dress. I think that seems about right. One thing I do wanna mention here is that whenever you are adjusting location and you end up feeling it snapping to the sides of the canvas, let's see, it's under view and snap. Yeah. So that way it doesn't get bounded by what the canvas dictates. Yeah, I quite like that snap. Yeah I feel like it helps me. But just in case because it could have been the fact that this didn't align up properly. True, true, true, yeah It's just a habit in this case it wasn't too bad. Yeah, well, exactly. Yeah, okay, so I'm gonna move this layer below. There we are. So, it'll also give you a little bit of a better indication of what is happening. I'm noticing the leaves over here, so I'm just gonna lift this up a little bit more, and I'm gonna move it a little bit more this way. And you're doing it with your arrow keys, right? Yes, I'm using my arrow keys to do that. Now I'm going to go back to-- this is the layer, layer one, which is-- I'm gonna call that the one. (laughs) The one that's going to be the finished product. Basically me. (laughs) Okay, no. Best joke ever. No. We're opening up a layer mask, and a layer mask is essentially-- well did you want to explain it? Well I mean, effectively what that is-- Yeah So does that go there? Is that-- let me undo really quickly. Okay. So the top layer here is the shot that we selected. That's right. Okay. And then this bottom one here was from the other frame that we're using as an extension. We mention earlier that this was a background layer. We duplicated it so this top layer doesn't do anything different. The reason why we have this extended one in between the two was so that we can easily move it around underneath it. Yeah. Because if we had it on top you couldn't get a reference on what the main image was. Yeah, I mean it really depends what works for you. You can have it on top, use a layer mask on that layer and that can work as well, Mhmm. But I felt it worked better underneath, and I would just manipulate the layer above it and that way I just felt like Right. I could see the image a little bit clearer. And the reason now is that when you do have a layer mask and then you use your brush and start brushing, you can easily blend the two together. Yeah. So, the layer mask essentially just hides and shows whatever is on that layer, and you just wanna click on this icon over here. Make sure that it's selected, and you can see that by how it's indicated with the four corners around it. And I use my brush tool to brush out and brush in parts of that layer that I want to show and parts of that layer that I want to hide. Mhmm. So, you use the black and white color tones when you're on a layer mask, and the black essentially hides the layer and the white brings it back. And this is a very easy, non-destructive way to edit, because I never need to use to eraser tool. I just open up a layer mask and adjust there, and I'm constantly making mistakes and forgetting things and I'll have to-- and it saves me many of time by just going back in my layers, tweaking the layer mask, and coming back out of that. Yup, brush tool selected. I'm gonna drop this a little bit. And drop the flow to about 12, it doesn't really matter. And while this, do you want to explain a little bit about flow and opacity? Yeah, so-- Because I think people would be interested in that. So, flow basically, aside from opacity, are related in the sense-- let me show you really quickly. I'm gonna open up a new blank document temporarily for a couple of minutes. Because this is a very important concept as you go forward, because if you don't follow along, what will happen is that you're gonna be lost. So, over here I have a blank, it's white. I have our brush set to black. My flow and opacity here, I'm gonna set to 100 at the moment. 100, yeah. Hundred. Okay. My brush size, again, I'm gonna keep it to any size as long as you can visibly see it. My hardness, for now, I'm gonna keep 200%. Actually, lets keep it to zero 'cause we're gonna be on zero most of the time. Now, if I start brushing, what happens is you see a solid black line. It's 100 and 100. That should be pretty standard. If I adjust my opacity down to say or something quite low, you see its 35% of the actual color that comes out. And you know this because if I do another stroke, it builds on top of each other. But the problem is each time you want to build, you really have to continue letting go of your cursor and then painting again 'cause now if I start painting again then it starts building. The difference is that with flow, if I set my opacity to and my flow to something really little, like one, I will have something that allows me to build as I brush. I don't have to let go of my pen. I can keep brushing. Transition is smoother as well, isn't it? Exactly. So you get really beautiful transitions and you can mask seamlessly much easier. Yeah, as you can see. Right. Yeah. And as we mentioned this is an advanced class as well so if anything that you don't understand, they have a lot of classes here on CreativeLive that also demonstrate it, and I also have a tutorial on my site for Photoshop 101, which is awesome, that I think you should check out. But we're gonna get into the really advanced stuff next and go from there. But its good to know the foundation. It is, absolutely. 'Cause when you see me brushing right now, my flow is low and now you know why. So let's go down to your continuation. Right, so, now you know why my flow is gonna stay low. Low flow. Low flow. (laughs) Hashtag low flow. (laughs) Oh no, someone's actually going to do it, Do you know? Bella fleur. Bella fleur. Fleur like Bella. Okay, so at this point, whenever I first start painting a picture together, I am not the tidiest person and that's because I want to see how that photo works together, and then what I will do I'll come back, zoom in, and finesse it, because if you forget lines that's a bit of a giveaway. So, at first I will just be a little bit rough around the edges. Just to see how it works and if it doesn't work then I will just take that picture out and put another picture in. And I think at this point, it's important to be a little bit playful. Mhmm. Okay, so really what I'm looking at here is just how that works. Like how the flowers are blending in. I can zoom in a little bit, actually. I'm gonna turn the layer-- I always turn the layer on and off so I can see what's happening. There's a bit of messiness over here. And again I'll just change my flow a little bit if I need to, raise it up a bit. Just to get a sharper edge. You know it's interesting-- you can keep going, Okay. but one that thing I learned a lot from compositing was when it comes to artistic composites, you know we always, tempted to be extremely precise as possible with masks. Yeah. But sometimes, when it visually works together, it's fine. And I was shocked to learn to learn this, because we have a friend. He goes by Draco Rubel, and he's a master compositor. And he's very generic with his mask, because sometimes when you look at the way light flows it's not always clean cut and precise. And the same thing happens with composites like this, is sometimes it's not 100% precise to start with. What happens is you get a better idea quicker of what your direction is. Yeah. So I am just very casually working around this seam and changing my brush size, as you can see. And how are you doing that? Well, I'm using keyboard shortcuts we have tailored our keyboard so that our hands don't make dramatic moves across the keyboard and we can work very efficiently. Do you want to show how we can do that? Yup. Okay. So I wanna mention this one thing, because it is gonna help speed up our workflow as we go forward. Yeah, and hopefully yours too. Right, so under edit and keyboard shortcuts over here there is a section called shortcuts for tools. Okay, this is where you edit the shortcuts for all of your tools in Photoshop. So for instance, all the way at the bottom, it'll say increase brush size and decrease brush size, and that's effectively where I change it to Q and W. Okay, and you can change anything you want so it's up to you on how you wanna customize it. It gives you a good idea on how we do it as well. Secondly, over here on your toolbar, if you're using an updated version of Photoshop, you'll notice these three dots. If you click on edit toolbar, and you hold it down you'll see another thing that says edit toolbar. I don't know why it's the way it is. You can actually customize and put it all together and organize this section. And you can also double click on the letter of the shortcut and change it to whatever you want. So customize, and play, and make it really concise so you're not fiddling around so much with Photoshop. I think it's important to have a shortcut on all the favorite tools that you use. Yeah, that's very true. Yeah, so in our case, we have a shortcut for the heal tool as well, which we've changed to the letter A. And, yeah, it's just in the same place, isn't it? Right, I am gonna carry on brushing. Alright, let's see, back and forth. Turn it off turn it on, great. So I'm just looking at the quality of what's happening. I will change the brush size accordingly so that I can like, get in there. And, yeah, I think that's looking okay. Oh yeah, no, this is why you go back and forth. And actually flowers are quite forgiving in the sense that Well yeah. This is a very forgiving photograph. It is. Yeah. And it's a great example of how to do this technique regardless of what you shoot because effectively it's the same process. Yes, so, that's another thing. Right now you're seeing me being a little bit quicker, a little bit more casual, and that's because you know I don't have all the time in the world to sit here and like go right into it, because we have a lot to cover today. Right. But ideally you wanna take your time in the composite process especially when tidying up around the edges because that will give the photo away. But, you know what's quite amazing, is the fact is the fact it's actually blending together quite nicely already. Yeah, so maybe I'm spending way to long on Photoshop. Yeah. I don't know. Or you're too good, that's what's happening. Aww. It looks great. Yeah, no, I've done this many times so I kinda know what I'm looking at and looking for, and it does become a lot easier the more you do it. Okay. Alright, quite happy with that. Let's zoom out and have a look. It doesn't look too shabby. What do you think? I love it. Yeah, great. Let's see. So let's take a close look, and the beautiful part is that even if we zoom in and look at a few of these details, without knowing the fact that you did any composite work at all, you can see the shifts here because this is from the depth of fields of the flowers. Yeah. This is not-- we didn't make it blurry. Okay, the depth of field changed, but the difference is that you don't see any outlines of what you did and you can still see all the flowers intact That's why you take your time. Yeah. Yeah. You take your time. And that's why, also, I changed the density of that brush as well so, sometimes, its soft and sometimes it's hard or nearly hard. It really depends on the edge in which you're trying to cut up close to as well. It's really beautiful because even here, something so complex, you think well with ever-changing flowers and the light conditions it would be really hard to do, but it's not. Yeah, so that's just an example on how I composite. I just take a piece from another photo, bring it in. I open up a layer mask, I might move that layer above or below depending wherever I feel like it makes more sense to me to work from, and then I'll just work off it like that. Okay, so, we use a low flow, we change the brush density if we need to from hard to soft sometimes depending on the edge. And then the brush size as well, change it as you go because that will make editing a lot quicker as well. You always using the round, soft brush when you're masking like that or do you choose to use different shape brush depending on what you're masking in? Well that's a really good question, actually, and it really depends on the artist. I use a round soft brush. I'm very comfortable with it, but I do know some artist have tailored brushes that they use specifically when it comes to composite work. So, yeah, my personal preference is a round soft brush, but then you can't really go wrong because Photoshop has like 100 ways to do the same thing, so find something that works for you. And, yeah, I don't think there's ever a right or wrong answer when it comes to getting a finished piece in Photoshop. Right, like our-- Because there's so many different ways. Yes, and when would you ever use a hard brush? The only time I've ever really used a hard brush is if I was brushing against a hard edge 'cause I'd just be matching that edge. So at the moment here, everything thing is very soft and out-of-focus and that's why I'm using a soft brush. But if I had like, for example, a shoot where I was shooting like a building or something, you know that edge is quite harsh sometimes. That's when I would use a hard brush. So does that apply the same-- like when you're masking, for example, hair, something that has a texture like that? And it'll still give you a nice look, even though your brush is soft rather than-- Yes, and we're gonna do that. And then the other reason is because she's masking hair with a background plate also brought in to the source file it ends up working. So, for example, when you do fine details like intricate, areas we use hard edges in those instances when we're trying to actually cut that thing out physically. But her process and how she composites is very soft in a way because we're using the exact same sourced area so they both blend in quite nicely. So we get away with that because of it. I'm pleased you asked it, Yeah. because we're gonna do it right now (laughs). Okay. Yeah. We're gonna (mumbles) select some hair.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work