Exercising my Photoshop skills by creating a Cinemagraph and a Composite!

Nearly every photographer can agree, the art is in the post production. Sometimes creating your art is by simply upping the exposure or changing a few hues. Other times, you have to watch a ton of YouTube tutorials, have a ton of layers, bracketing, filters, warping, etc. This type of editing can take hours, even days. It’s exhausting but worth it. You not only get a beautiful image, you learn your way around photoshop pretty well!

Because I’m always digging for new tips and tricks, I tried to make two creative images: a composite and a cinemagraph.

A composite is an image made up of multiple images. For example, you could find a picture of a giraffe and a picture of a birthday party, combine them, and make it look like the giraffe is at a birthday party! Now I’m wishing I did that as my composite. . .

A cinemagraph is very similar to a gif, but there is a key difference. In a gif, everything is moving. In a cinemagraph, everything is still -like a picture- and one key aspect is moving. For example, you take a picture of a man next to a waterfall and a video of the waterfall. You compile the two and it makes a cinemagraph.

Creating the composite

To make this exercise a little more challenging, I decided to only use photos that I’ve recently shot. I can’t use any images from UnSplash, Pixabay, nothing. Thankfully I had a great photoshoot a few days ago that I was excited to try a composite on.

During my photoshoot, I took a bunch of photos of a cute little bird. It was sadly stuck inside an abandoned school and was trying to fly out of a closed window. The poor thing! I quickly took a few photos and opened the window and it flew off. The photos I got were pretty good and I was excited to use them in a composite. I used these photos as my key inspiration and image.

I wanted to find an image that would look good with the birds and seem like the images are interacting with each other. Thankfully, I took the perfect image for this. It was of a cowboy holding out his hat.

I immediately knew I wanted to have multiple images of the bird perched on the hat looking at him. Using the object select tool, I selected the birds and added it to the cowboy’s hat. I rotated them and used the free transform tool to scale them as well. However, after doing all of that, the birds looked obviously out of place. So, I selected my layers, went to Edit and clicked Auto-Blend Layers. It added light and color to the birds and shadows on the hat. This made it look a lot more realistic!

Composite- cowboy holding out his hat with birds on it

Composite- cowboy holding out his hat with birds on it

Creating the Cinemagraph

I’ve never made a cinemagraph before. Yet for some reason, I decided to do an incredibly difficult type of cinemagraph: a double exposure cinemagraph. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do this with out the help of YouTube and Jobi, the creator of dR-DesignResources. Thank you!

I started with an image of my cowboy, the same one I used for my composite. After selecting him, I created a new document. I then grabbed a video I took while at the photoshoot and made it a layer. Then, I made the video layer a mask and painted the video wherever I wanted it to be visible. The video was too fast so I had to slow that down quite a bit.

Then, ta-da! I finished it! Just I clicked save, Photoshop had an error with saving it and crashed. So I had to start all over. But it’s all good! I’m happy with how it turned out!

Cinemagraph - Double Negative Cowboy with snow

Cinemagraph – Double Negative Cowboy with snow

After finishing those two, I was pretty tired. But my mind is already stirring with ideas of what I can do next. So, who knows, you might just see a few more composites and cinemagraphs from me soon!