Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Multiplying Models


This is one of the most fun and easy tutorial combined. This trick is evolved from the double-exposure technique used in the film days. Once you know the simple trick to multiply your subject(including you) and do it right...it can be taken to a level of a big creative assignment....or, you can just have fun with your family.
Every good image has to begin with a good shoot and end with equally good editing. This technique is a perfect balance of shooting technique and photo editing skill. Yet, it is very simple.


To begin with, lets start with an easier image of just two models.


The pretty model here is Andrea, who is also my partner and editor of this blog. I thank her for posing umpteen times for this tutorial.

Okay, back to the topic. There are two most important things to look for while shooting for multiple frames.

1) A sturdy tripod is an absolute must.
2) Lighting should not change in any frame.

Yes, this shoot is not possible without a sturdy tripod.(Well actually you can, but it will take like 50steps in photoshop to blend the images, and even then it won't be as perfect...trust me...i've tried). And even if you have the tripod, make sure it doesn't even move a millimetre to ensure seamless editing later in photoshop. If you are confident of your skills in photoshop, then maybe you can move it an inch...but seriously....i wouldn't recommend it.

About the lighting, try and use soft/diffused light to avoid shadows. Because if you place your model close enough to each other in your composite image, and have a harder light....the shadow supposedly should fall on the model behind....and since you won't have that, the whole composite will look fake(uh well, badly retouched). So, use a big soft box/white umbrella etc, start with one light only until you get the hang of it. Place the light in such a way that it falls evenly everywhere you plan to place the model. Beginners who don't have softboxes/umbrellas, can bounce their camera flash light on the ceiling....or shoot in sunlight/available light. Just don't forget the tripod!

Lets take a look at the two shots seperately.



What the model did here was pose for the shot on the left side. Then she quickly changed her top and hair and sat and posed on the right side.We used a big softbox on the right of the camera to light the image so that it falls equally on both the positions. There was also a flash next to the curtain on the left corner at very low power, bounced from the wall and curtain(that gives a faint gold tint on the right models face and a rim light on the arm of the left model which otherwise would have merged in her black shirt.)

Now lets open these images in photoshop...i'm using elements 2 here for everyone to play. Stack them one above the other as shown below.


Now you can just use the eraser tool on the top image and be done with it. I do it many times. But the ahem 'right' way is to create a mask clip the top image. To create a mask in elements, click on the adjustment layer icon as shown below and select levels. Don't do any changes to it, just click OK. PhotoshopCS users can just select the top layer and add layer mask to it and kindly wait for element users.Like in the image below, make sure the adjustment layer is between the two layers.


Now press alt(opt) and click on the dividing line between the top layer and the adjustment layer. Like in the image below, you will see an arrow icon appear on the top layer. This means that the adjustment layer is now a mask of the layer on top of it.


Now click on the mask box on the adjustment layer, and start painting with black to reveal the image below. If you shot it right, like mentioned above, this would part would be like cruising on a calm sea. And if anything changed in the images other than the model, even 1mm, you will know now. Like, yours truly. I forgot the position of the clock, but that was easy and i used the one i liked. But the chess board moved an inch and correcting that, will be a whole new tutorial. Try not to complicate your life like mine and skip the chessboard. Be careful of the reflections if any...like in the glass here. Both models have their own reflections in the final image below.


Take a closer look at the mask i painted below.


And a quick glance at the layers of the title image should tell you the story. The whole process is exactly the same and repeated one more time.


So there you have it. We would love to see what you guys come up with. You can multiply a model unlimited number of times, you can do it with two different models/couples and also put yourself in the mix by putting the camera on selftimer of 10-20 secs. 

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