What is a photo composite?
A photo composite is multiple images combined or blended into a single image. Similar to collages and multimedia art pieces, composites can combine elements from a number of different pictures, paintings, graphic art, and other mediums.
Some composites are fantastical or surreal, while others go for a more realistic blend. For example, you might want to swap out the background of an image — transporting someone from an indoor to an outdoor background. If light and shadow are correctly modified, these composites can become indistinguishable from a photo shot on location.
Different techniques for different outcomes.
There are dozens of different styles of composites to experiment with to create online graphics, posters, and more. Here are just a few ideas:
- Clone, clone, clone. Ever see a picture where you see a snowboarder doing every part of a stunt, all in the same image? That’s an example of compositing — the background remains unchanged, while the athlete in question is repeated in different stages of movement.
- Clearing out and retouching. Combining multiple images can be a useful way to retouch photos, removing elements that you don’t want — for example, multiple photos of the same beach scene give you the canvas to remove the people you don’t want in the frame, all while making it look like that was how it was in the first place.
- Surreal dreams. Composites are perfect for creating fantasy dreamscapes and dreamlike people and creatures. Many surrealist artists find the similarities between disparate objects and then combine them to create their art.
Dive deeper into dreamy composites.
Composite photography gives you the opportunity to experiment with new methods and features in Photoshop. Experiment with unlikely pairings to create striking new photo composites using these additional photo composite techniques from Julieanne Kost.
Photo compositing vs. photo composition.
Photo compositing might be confused with photo composition. Photo compositing is the art form of combining multiple images, while photo composition is a principle of photography and design that teaches you how to arrange an individual photo or piece of art for maximum effect.
Good composition happens when the empty space and the elements of your art are balanced well. Use photo composition techniques to help any piece of artwork shine, whether it’s a simple portrait or a fantastical composite.
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