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Photo Manipulation, but the colors don't match. Help please!


Skyes

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Hello guys. I was playing with Photoshop today, and wanted to try something new. So, I took a cool picture of a knight, and then pasted my head over his. I adjusted the layer correctly, erased the borders of the picture, and tried to make my head proportional to the size of his body. But the problem is that I feel it's not "real" or "perfect" yet. It feels very artificial and fake, but I don't know what the problem is. I blame the colors, but maybe they are correct? I tried playing around with most of the image adjustments, contrasts, curves, hues, etc, but nothing helped.
Could you guys give me any hint? Here is the image:
Please, help me identify what it is that looks so artificial here.
Knight.jpg
 

thebestcpu

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Hi Skyes

The eye can see subtle artifacts to tell when something is off. In your image there are several

- The head has a soft blur while the armor is sharp
- The head implies a very strong light on the left yet not so with the armor
- The connection transition around the neck does not look real clean. The eye can pick the subtle issue
- And a very subtle issue is the armor has a higher level of JPEG compression than then head (difference in artifacts)

That's what I saw off the top of my head (not pun intended)

John Wheeler
 

Tom Mann

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It's not a bad first attempt. I've seen much, much worse, even from experienced photoshoppers, but I agree completely with John, both in terms of the problems he listed, as well as the order of importance in which he listed them.

To me, the mismatch in sharpness between the head and the body is, *by far*, the first thing that literally jumps out at me, and must be corrected first. Probably, the most common reason for this is that the number of pixels, say, across the head in the original of that image was much lower than the number of pixels across a similar distance in the source image you used for the armor. Sure, you can enlarge the head even from a very low resolution image to force it to fit, but it will look soft after enlargement, just like this one does. The second most common reason for this sort of softness is that while the photo for the head might have plenty of pixels, it simply is out of focus or blurred, whereas the photo of the armor might have been taken by a pro on good equipment and is sharp down to the last pixel.

With respect to the difference in light sources between the armor and the head, let me elaborate on what John said: The light on the head is coming from a relatively small area light source (that happens to be to the (viewers') left and above the head). This leads to very deep, sharp edged shadows. OTOH, the light illuminating the armor seems to be much more diffuse, almost like one would experience on a classic "cloudy bright" day. The extremes of light on the armor (ie, the highlights and shadows) are much more controlled and soft-edged.

I think that the take-home message here is that putting a good composite together starts *not* when you start working on it in PS, but rather, long before that, when you in the process of finding the most appropriate component images to be used for the composite.

HTH,

Tom M
 
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Tom Mann

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PS - BTW, there is one more difference between the photo of the head and the photo of the armor that I forgot to mention: The photo of the armor was clearly taken with quite a long, wide aperture telephoto from a considerable distance, whereas, in the composite, the head somehow seems oddly closer to the camera. If I had to guess, this is because the photo of the head was taken at a more normal working distance with a shorter focal length lens.

T
 

Skyes

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Wow, you guys do know alot! You are fantastic! :)
So, is there a way that I could "sharpen" my head, so it could look a bit more like the armor picture? Trying to remove the blur, etc.
Or is there any way any of you guys could suggest for me to correct this issue?
Thanks in advance!
 

thebestcpu

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Hi Skyes
Tom Mann might have more ideas than I, yet I think you would be better off getting another head shot that is sharp, with good depth of field, lighting similar to the armor a a much better starting point and place the new head.

Taking the blur out with today's technology would be a project in frustration. You could blur the armor yet that would not look great and does not take care of the lighting issue.

My vote is to start with a better head shot if at all possible.
 

IamSam

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Taking the blur out with today's technology would be a project in frustration. You could blur the armor yet that would not look great and does not take care of the lighting issue.

My vote is to start with a better head shot if at all possible.
This would be my suggestion as well.
 

Skyes

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Thanks guys. Unfortunately, I don't have a better picture, with a better resolution. My phone sucks.
But I'll try blurring the armor, who knows? :)
 

Tom Mann

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Unless you dropped or otherwise damaged your phone, I'll bet it could take a much better shot of you, especially for an easy application like this. In fact, probably any camera phone made in the last 3 or 4 yrs would do just fine.

I'll bet that all that happened is that in the photo of you, it decided to focus on the background instead of on you, and that's why you came out looking so soft. Just go out on a cloudy bright day, position yourself so that there is a plain, featureless background behind you, and it will probably do just fine.

Also, a bit of advice from someone who has been taking pix since the 1950's and sold my first pix in the '60's, don't waste time trying to soften the armor or sharpen the picture of you. Instead spend the minute or two it takes to walk outside with your phone, and you'll be much better off.

Tom M
 
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Skyes

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Unless you dropped or otherwise damaged your phone, I'll bet it could take a much better shot of you, especially for an easy application like this. In fact, probably any camera phone made in the last 3 or 4 yrs would do just fine.

I'll bet that all that happened is that in the photo of you, it decided to focus on the background instead of on you, and that's why you came out looking so soft. Just go out on a cloudy bright day, position yourself so that there is a plain, featureless background behind you, and it will probably do just fine.

Also, a bit of advice from someone who has been taking pix since the 1950's and sold my first pix in the '60's, don't waste time trying to soften the armor or sharpen the picture of you. Instead spend the minute or two it takes to walk outside with your phone, and you'll be much better off.

Tom M

Do you think a simple Selfie would do?
 

Tom Mann

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In a word, absolutely not.

Get someone else to hold your camera-phone and take the photo. Make sure they have good steady hands, are somewhere between 6 and 8 feet away, and know how confirm that the camera is focusing is on the face (e.g., a little square appears in some camera phones to confirm focus).

The problem with selfies is that:

(a) even on a selfie stick the camera will be too close to you, so it will exhibit perspective distortion of your features compared to the rendition of the armor which has almost no perspective distortion;

(b) whether on a selfie stick, or you take a selfie using its self-timer, there's no way you can be absolutely sure that the focus is on you, not the background.

The reason for the 6-8' recommendation is that it is a reasonable compromise between the size of your head in the photo (which decreases as you get further away) and good distortion-free rendering (which improves as you get further away).

HTH,

Tom M
 

Paul

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You could always use another image and blend you into that, making the emphasis on the other image more so than you but making sure you are still adequately visible that is.
encorporate.jpg
 

Tom Mann

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You succeeded in distracting me 110% or more!!!! BTW, is the OP even in the picture? I didn't notice. :rofl:

All the best,

Tom
 

Pedro Castro

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I think the major issue is that the knight/armor is in high resolution, and your photo isn't.
The results when you mess around in a low res photo are not OK, or professional like.
Try using a better photo.
 

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