Day of Photoshop

Where possible, I try to keep my transactions above board.  I buy copies of software I need if it’s retail and my attempts to legally consume blu-ray movies have been well documented so I didn’t get to work on any of the photos I took Saturday until my new software key arrived Monday, something I could have avoided if I just pirated Lightroom 3.  My confirmation email arrived around 2 and I set to work.

I’ve taken action sequences before:

[flickr album=72157623606737607 num=5 size=Medium]

These were all done through a masking method whereby you align a bunch of photos and punch through with the portions of each photo you want to appear on top.  So in the above, I brought each photo in as a layer in photoshop, used the auto-align feature to fix any oddities in the camera, and created a negative mask (all black) for each layer except the background, and then took a white brush to push through the parts with the appropriate pose.  This method was how I made these:


The splash is a separate frame from the one where Jordan's feet hit the water

To do the above I had to zoom in on the splash frame and mask out the portion of where Jordan makes impact.  This was terribly tedious and if you zoom in I think I took out chunks of his shoulder and abdomen.

I wanted something easier so I decided to give the magic wand tool a try.  The magic wand tool popped up years ago and is a contrast-sensitive selection tool that selects everything that looks alike along a certain gradient.  Sometimes this doesn’t work if there’s a smooth gradient between the subject and background, but here I think it’d work well.


Pretty strong contrast

I was very happy with the results that took maybe a 1/5 of the time of the previous method.


The tolerance here was set to about 70%

Additionally, it’s something you can do in Paint.NET.

If I had the presence of mind to do it, I would have had the swimmers do various things in different parts of the water and stitch it together to make it look like the body of water was filled with people.  Darn.