advanced photoshop

How I Made: Autumn

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General, by Rebecca Greig

We explore how Larry Rostant conveyed drama and beauty by compositing and editing image lighting

How I Made: AutumnThis image was created as a portfolio piece to demonstrate Rostant’s impressive photo illustration skills. The artist’s intention was to convey the drama and beauty associated with the autumn season, through the use of colour, atmosphere and movement. “The turbulent yet beautiful nature of this time of year is expressed by contrasting the dynamism of the moving cloth with the serenity of the model,” explains Rostant.

His work is informed by a passion for all themes ranging throughout art history – from Caravaggio to more current graphic, advertising and poster art. He adds: “Although fundamentally photographic in my execution, my background in illustration influences my work during both photography and image manipulation stages. Lighting is fundamental during both.”

Rostant prefers to shoot all source material himself. However, if there is a budget restriction he deploys stock imagery, in which case he tends to choose pictures that are flat in tone. This lets him easily manipulate lighting, bringing every  single element in harmony with the rest of the composition. “The way I work is reasonably straightforward,” he reveals. “After isolating each separate element my process largely revolves around Scale, Rotate and Move commands, trying to achieve the perfectly balanced image. When I am satisfied with the results I unify all elements using colour and lighting adjustments.”

Screen shots Stage 1Isolating the elements

All the source images are cut out by eye, using layer masks, and soft and hard brushes, ranging from 5 to 50 pixels. This is particularly essential when reflecting the surface and edge quality of the material being isolated.

 CompositionScreen shots Stage 2

Placing the source images is the most important part of the process and is fundamental to the illustrative aesthetic of any piece. In all, 32 images went into this composition, placed using simple Scale and Move commands.

Screen shots Stage 3Colour and light adjustment

To make the image function as a single composition I re-lit using multiple layers of Curves adjustments, masked to highlight and lowlight specific areas. Colour adjustments were made by overlaying multiple vignettes of pure colour.