Creating Backplates for Future Photo Composites

20160104-115856__Photographer_Jon_DeckerA couple of weeks ago Jean and I traveled to Ireland for our long-delayed (5 years) honeymoon. While there I wanted to grab as many photos of the deteriorated castle walls as I could in the hopes of using them for Composite backgrounds in the coming months.

Taking the photos was the easy part, though the rain and short day length felt otherwise. Now I have over a thousand images I think could be useable for my compositing. I’ve rolled through those images in Lightroom CC, collecting them by designated use. For example, all the background layer worthy images go in one collection while the photos that are great for their separated subject go in the Objects collection.

Screenshot 2016-01-30 12.31.59After using Topaz Remask in Photoshop CC to separate the objects, I can have a little fun layering together cool looking pieces until I have created a rough image sketch of what I’d like the Background Plate to look like.

Screenshot 2016-01-30 13.44.43I then go through the painstaking detailing process to make the image clips all look like they were actually part of that place for real. I use all the levels and colors tricks in each layer. I hand detail shadow adjustment where necessary as a separate top layer. I’m trying to make this look real. If it catches people’s eye because of illogical geometry, sometime that’s ok; but if catches people’s eye because the colorization doesn’t match, then I failed.

I will, with the Ireland images alone, have over a hundred of these Backplates completed within that Ireland castle ruin theme. Most, if not all of these, will never see the light of day unless I end up using them in future editorial photos. In the meantime, I just like having a stack of unreal locations to choose from for my personal projects – like friends’ cosplay, or steampunk shoots.

The sculpture in the header image is just a placeholder I used to try Nik filters on.

About Jon Decker

Jon is on a Grand Adventure... life.
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