Working with layers 2

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Mobile Photography Editing – Working with combining multiple photos in Brushes app.

By Matt Glastonbury, accomplished Mobile Photographer, providing great tutorials and App reviews. Matt is an independent blogger who acts as a Contributing Editor to Ink361. (Add Matt on Google Plus)

In this tutorial we will go over how to combine two images, on the iPhone-in one app, and erase the background of the top layer. Just like we did in the first Layers Tutorial, but this time we are using Brushes, not ArtStudio. Brushes is an easier to use alternative to ArtStudio, but doesn’t have anywhere near as much capability. That doesn’t matter when it comes to a simple edit like this one.

So, here’s how I do the simple, but effective edits for my surrealistic #dreamboatseries.

The idea is to flip the sky upside-down and place a boat on top which really gives a strange appearance since the brain immediately wants to perceive everything under the boat as water.

Step 1: I took a photo of an appealing sky. So, knowing I like to have a bank of these available on my iPhone for these kinds of edits, I capture them when I see a sky scene that would suit a floating boat composition. What I look for is a sky that has soft clouds, which creates depth, and also a watery appearance. This shot will be flipped, so I turn the captured photos upside-down just to see what the clouds might look like, and how they may appear, as surrealistic water for a boat that could be popped on-top.

Step 2: I also capture different boats as I see them, so they are ready to match together with a sky scene.

Tip: Capturing sky and clouds at similar times of the day will get you similar colours in your images and therefore the end result will look more natural.

Step 3: (Upgrade your Brushes app to handle more than one layer) I choose the cog-symbol then Place Photo. Then selected my sky shot, and pressed Flip Vertically (so it’s now upside-down), then Accept. Next, I repeated the same process, minus flipping, and I placed the boat. That gave me the two images, with the boat on top. Next, I selected the Eraser tool and hit the Brushes selector. In here, I edited two existing brushes to match two types of erasing. The first is a small, hard edged, brush for removing the background around the boat, and the second was a huge, soft, brush for rubbing out the edges of the boat’s reflection.

Tip: When rubbing out you will need to keep re-sizing your brushes. It’s well worth learning to modify their properties so you can make the exact brushes you need for particular jobs. Play with heir property sliders, by pressing the little properties arrow on their bottom right, to see what affect they have on the brush.

Step 4: I only worked on the boat layer, and kept zooming (by pinching in and/or out) right in, and out, to keep checking the result of my erasing. Bit, by bit, I went right round the edges of the boat, the reflection, and the rope. The difficult part was definitely the reflection.

**Tip: **Don’t forget you can save multiple copies of your files. This is good just in-case you make a mistake and/or want to compare an older version with a new one.

Step 5: Here you see the result of everything rubbed out minus the edges of the reflection. I moved the boat around the image trying different compositions to see how interesting it looked in different areas. This time, I chose to place it in the middle. To move a layer, hit the cog symbol and choose Transform Layer. Remember, once you have the boat rubbed out, you can try placing different sky scenes behind it and see what works best.

Tip: Keeping the boat’s reflection in the water, from the original shot, is an important part of making sure the boat appears to be floating in the sky/fake water. To add to the dreamy feel, and ensure colour blending for a natural appearance, I made the boat partly transparent. I set it to around 80% opacity. To do that you can press the Layers tool, then select your layer, and move the opacity slider at the bottom.

Step 6: The final result.

Tip: Try duplicating the bottom sky layer and placing that copy over the boat layer, (to move a layer from behind another, drag and drop using the three bars/change order button on the far right of any layer) then rubbing out more of the clouds while still leaving some. This can give the appearance that the clouds are actually surrounding parts of the boat.

It’s great fun to see what creative edits you can come up with. Try different brushes, and compositions to see what surrealistic mobile art you can produce.



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