Today’s Post by John E Adams
Even though I try to frame up the best shot possible, most of the time at crowded car events it can be near impossible to get what I consider a clean shot, without any onlookers in the image. When using low angles to eliminate people’s heads and tons of patience waiting for folks to pass by just does not work out, my Plan B is to then try to at least get a clean shot of the visible parts of the car and foreground and then work it as a composite image later in the Digital Darkroom.
As an novice with compositing I now take a series of shots around the area of an event that are close to the show field in light and subject (without the onlookers) that can be used as backgrounds later on. I take multiple exposures and process 99% of my car images using Photomatix HDR software and this also includes the backgrounds.
There are a number of ways to start a composite, my preferred method is to set up the two base images as layer on top of a larger white background image so I have some room to get them into an optimum blending position. The Opacity on Layer 2 is then adjusted so you can position it into the best spot for the blend. On this image the area in front of the right front tire was the critical reference point for me.
Once everything is lined up you paint out your background. There are a number of ways to do this as well, the best automated process I have found is ON1 Photo 10 but normally I just do it in Photoshop manually with the layer mask and a soft brush tool where I can also blend other areas at the same time. Tip: Using this process requires you to zoom in to 100% or more and then basically the trace around the vehicle with the brush on the areas you want removed.
I always do on final finish work in ON1 Photo 10, which has an amazing bag of tools. With this image I added a couple different texture layers and fine-tuned them using OnOne Effects.
If you would like to see OnOne background removal in action here are two great demos: