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Hour 20. Compositing > Composites from Nothing

Composites from Nothing

You've seen in some of the earlier hours that with Photoshop you can create art from scratch, as well as edit and alter existing photos. Let's see what you can make out of nothing.

Try it Yourself

Create a Composite Image from Scratch

Start with a new, empty document; you'll apply a gradient as a background.

Gradients can be linear, radial, angled, reflected, or diamond-shaped, and can have as many transparent or opaque colors as you want. To create a gradient, follow these steps:

Select the Gradient tool, which shares a toolbox compartment with the Paint Bucket. Look at its Options bar, which is shown in Figure 20.19. We want a gradient that will suggest sky, water, and beach.

Figure 20.19. Gradients and the Gradient Tool Options bar.

Select a three-part gradient, and click it on the Tool Options bar to open the Gradient Editor. There's the preset three-step Blue, Red, Yellow gradient. Click it, and its settings will appear in the dialog box.

Click the slider at the lower-left end of the color ramp. Change its color to the deep blue sky of early evening. (Clicking the block of color at the bottom of the screen opens the Color Picker.) Then change the middle section to a sort of tropical turquoise, and the right one to sandy beige. The little diamonds indicate midpoints of each color blend. Keeping your goal in mind, slide them left or right as needed to create a horizon and a generous beach. Figure 20.20 shows the Gradient Editor.

Figure 20.20. The Gradient Editor.

Drag the Gradient tool in your empty file from top to bottom to place it with the blue on top. Now turn the image into a cloudy sky. Set the foreground color to the middle value of the lighter blue and the background to the midpoint of the darker blue. Create a new layer and drag a marquee selection to define the upper third of the sky. Choose Filter→Render→Clouds to produce a nice set of clouds. Then select two related lighter colors, apply the marquee to the lower half of the sky, feathering the edges by about 10 pixels, and do it again, making a nice gradation of clouds (see Figure 20.21). If there's a line in the middle of the clouds, blend it with the Smudge tool.

Figure 20.21. Sneak over to the color section to see this in color.

Now it's looking like a day at the beach. Let's add some beach grass. Switch to the Custom Shape tool and choose the Grass shape from the Options bar. Choose a pale green from the Swatches palette and draw some grass; add more grass in other shades of green and gold. The result is shown in Figure 20.22.

Figure 20.22. It's a cool background, but it needs a subject. Maybe some boats?

Finally, I'll make a new brush, and use it to put a fleet of little sailboats way out. I've used Transform to resize and distort them. Figure 20.23 shows the final result: a fleet of boats in a tropical bay.

Figure 20.23. Wish I were there.



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