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The Puppet Master - Composting and Adjusting

compositing tutorial Sep 10, 2018

Hello guys, today’s tutorial is a super fun throwback to one of my older images. We’re going to going to make it look like our little boy is controlling his own marionette.

So the first thing I do is go in and get rid of the stick he’s holding using the spot healing brush tool. We’re going to be bringing in our own rod, or “controller”, for our little marionette insert, so we won’t need the original stick. The next thing I do is go in and remove that pesky vine that is poking out toward our subject.   

After we have our image all cleaned up, we’re going to go into our camera RAW filter and sharpen our image. After that, we’re going to play around with our color tones and luminance, finishing off with our vignetting. To see exactly how I edited this image, you can access the full tutorial, and many more like it, through my premium membership.

From there, I went in and cut out our little “puppet” from another image I took, and figured out the hard way that I should have brought him farther away from the background to make it easier when it came time to cut him out. I also cut out our “controller” from the same image and start tweaking it back on our main image.

This is the tricky part, playing around with what portions should be masked, and which shown. After I’m done setting up my controller, I’m going to grab my little puppet and bring him over to our main image to set him up and paint on his strings. You can opt in for my premium membership to see exactly how I do this in my full tutorial.

Now we get to go in and adjust the brightness and contrast of our little puppet so that he looks more fitting for our final image. Then we go in and duplicate the image and play with its curves to turn it into a shadow for our puppet.

I add an additional curves layer to bring down the brightness of our background and parts of our subject. We mask the layer and brush it on where we want to see it.  We can then add in our background, blending and masking it in so that it warms up our image without over saturating.



Now it’s time to focus on the extra details using our dodge and burn tool to create contrast and highlight the details we want to really pop. I finish off with a film stock that gave me the tone and brightness I wanted, making sure to mask the areas I didn't want impacted.

That wraps up our tutorial, I hope you enjoyed it! Check out the full tutorial with my premium membership if you want a walk through of all the steps taken to get to our final image.


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