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Hour 20. Making Composite Images > Working with Lighting and Scale

Working with Lighting and Scale

When combining images, the two main things to watch out for are lighting and scale. If the shadows and highlights on the imported image don’t match those on the original, you might not immediately recognize why the picture doesn’t look right, but you’ll know that it doesn’t. This will happen if the light source for one photo doesn’t come from the same direction as the light source in the photo you wish to combine with it. Of course, if the shadows aren’t exactly in the right place, you can use the Clone Stamp and the Brush to move them where they need to be, as we did with the zebra photo in Hour 15, “Making Color Repairs.” However, this is rather tricky (not to mention tedious) business, so avoid the problem as much as possible by selecting photos that have their sources of light coming from the same direction whenever possible.

Scale is an even trickier question. You can create very funny photos by having the family cat cowering in front of a three-foot-high mouse, or some similar scene, but should you? It’s a gimmick. It’s not art, which is not to say I don’t do it myself. My cat Reebok would have sworn the rat shown in Figure 20.1 was at least three feet tall.


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