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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reality Vs. Imagination

How to use masking software to make the task of compositing more efficient

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Accomplishing the darkened black silhouette makes it easier for you to use onOne Software’s Mask Pro 4.1 and its Magic Brush tool to mask out the background behind the bird. Other tools can provide alternative opportunities to operate the masking performance when various image details call for finer or broader action.

Next, I opened the TIFF version of the background sunset and placed the silhouetted bird on Layer 1. It’s at this point that I activated Mask Pro 4.1 to mask away the background of the original bird image, thus fully revealing the sunset on the background layer. Then I adjusted the position of the bird in relation to the setting sun, flattened the layers and cropped to get the vertical composition that I wanted.



reality Final

2) This is the original image of the bird flying off the piling.
3) This is the bird image being masked for the sunset background.
4) The final cropped image.

1) This image shows the background in color and the gull in black-and-white prior to full compositing. This is just one of the creative choices LoPinto was working with as he processed the images.
Gull At Sunrise
This image began at 5:08 a.m. on July 26, 2008. While traveling on Long Island, I stopped to photograph the sunrise. I shot for about 30 minutes, taking care to avoid looking directly at the sun—I positioned my eye at the finder, but let the eyecup block the sun from my field of view. It’s a little uncomfortable, but with the knowledge that looking directly at the sun, with or without a camera or other optical device, will damage your eyes, it’s the way to do it.

Off I went to continue shooting at the water’s edge and from a boat. Among my favorite nautical subjects are seabirds; seagulls, cormorants and terns often fill the sky. I’ve studied their flight characteristics and frequently can anticipate when the birds will fly toward me. In the beginning, I kept getting shots of the “wrong end” of the bird, but now I’m usually quite good at getting a more appropriate perspective. After a day of shooting, I went home to edit and found two images that would work together to create my imagination image; one was a gull flying over water, and the second was a sunrise shot.


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