Batman and Robin Photo Composite (PSD Breakdown)

taking your own advice is not always the
easiest thing to do what’s going on create a family it’s Dustin volkema guys
welcome to another PSD breakdown where we deep dive into one of my Photoshop
documents so that we can see the good the bad the ugly some things that went
right and other things that went wrong and I just kind of hid the issue so make
sure to LIKE comment and subscribe click that ball icon so that you get notified
as I upload new content and I will see you guys in Photoshop alright guys here
we are in Photoshop with the final composite this was my cropped version I
have my uncropped here and then we can head all the way down to the bottom of
the stack here so I’ve got my raw image of robben raw image of Batman if you
guys want to know how I cut these out I’ll leave a card up here in the top
right corner so that you guys can check out that tutorial now I’m moving up my
composite if I turn on this Beauty here this is where my background starts to
come into play my Beauty pass here now this is really essentially the the base
of my 3d rendered background that I had thrown in here now I did throw a camera
on that so I can head it here into the actual rendered file to show you guys
some of the things that have to do with this 3d background so first you’ll see
my Beauty pass a which is essentially just how the render spit right out of
cinema 4d and octane and then moving up we have the diffuse pass which in this
case is essentially a color pass with some lighting information in it
we have the reflection pass which gives me the reflection which I really only
change the reflection here to include just the the top of the roof that they
were on and not much else next you’ll see that I have a shadow
pass here which is essentially just giving me all of the shadow information
based on the lighting that I have in the scene and I use this quite often just to
help push the shadows when needed it’s also really nice just to separate things
that need to be separated without having to hand paint shadows in the end of my
composite the ambient occlusion pass just gives really nice soft shadows to
objects that are quite close together now if you think about ambient lighting
and figure maybe like an overcast day this is really just going to give you
shadows in between objects or certain pieces of the scene here like if you
look in these windows up top it’s really giving some nice soft shadows in between
the shutters here and this is something that I often find useful for me when I’m
doing composites just to give me a little bit more separation from object
to object if needed without having any of the specific shadows from my shadow
pass now above that we have the z-depth now this is really nice if you guys are
at all familiar with making the you know say the cool 3d photos that are on
Instagram or Facebook any of that type of stuff essentially what this does is
it just calculates the distance from the camera to the furthest part in your
scene and it just assigns those pixels or you know the points in space a
certain value of gray so it really goes from zero to one so zero being black and
then one being a hundred percent white and then anything between that is
primarily where you’re going to see the differences in value from what would be
our our Z direction in 3d space so immediately in front of you
looking straight back into space now this is used I use this for a lot of
things will do some tutorials on this later on I
know but a lot of you guys are starting to finally look into 3d if you haven’t
been into it already and I’d like to really break down some of the ways that
I use some of these passes I use the z-depth pass for depth of field
generally but I also really like to use it as a base for any type of atmosphere
or fog haze anything like that and so we’ll break that down a bit later now
moving into my ID passes here so I have an object ID which is essentially just
giving every object that’s in this scene a different color now this is primarily
used just for masking situations so if you want to make specific local
adjustments you can go through and you can just use your wand tool or the color
range and start to select any of these objects individually we have the
material ID which is essentially giving a different ID color to every individual
material rather than objects so this is generally what I’ll use most often and
sometimes I’ll even go in and create my own masks but this is a really good base
that is quite easy to set up and so I like to just kick this out and I’ll
generally use this as needed now we have our shading normals which these normals
are really nice because they give you the RGB channels which are essentially
just your Y being your green Channel your blue being or Z Channel and your X
being your red Channel and I like to use my normals a lot to pull and accentuate
certain details whether that’s bits of lighting Direction just generally and
we’ll also get into a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years of playing
with these normals now the reason why I use my shading normals is because I like
to have my bump detail now this really will get into the whole I’m not too
happy with this render overall but it’s finished and not perfect so we’ll talk
about that in a minute but just know that there are various types of normal
is you have geometry normals tangent normal shading normal
smooth normals all kinds of different normal passes that you can choose from
generally and your different render engines but I typically like to just use
my shading normal pass because it has all of my bump information from my
materials in there one cool thing that you can do is head into your RGB
channels and you can just start to pull all of these different values and create
your own masks we’ll get to that in a later tutorial but I think it’s kind of
good to just show you guys maybe why I would use these in in a realistic
scenario so it’s always good to really have a normals pass of any kind to use
in your comps if you guys are rendering out in 3d packages now the light
direction pass is really similar to my normals pass which this one here is
going to be a little bit different than most that I may actually use and that’s
because this one this scene overall is fairly ambiently lit but if you have a
lot of direct lights you’ll start to get specific information that’s being pushed
from each of these lights and so you’ll really see that go here in this case for
this scene I really didn’t need to kick out a light Direction pass that’s
something that I didn’t really use but it was here so I figured I’d mention it
all right now with the passes discussion out of the way we can talk about some of
the things that I didn’t really like too much and they were truly finished and
not perfect in this scenario so it’s something that I like to preach about a
lot and it’s something that I’m currently practicing myself and so just
know that I’m taking my own advice because this is something when I get
into 3d I really enjoy that side of it and so I can often spend way too much
time what I’ve been doing for quite a long time now is working on I finished
and not perfect method if it doesn’t need to be perfect in which case most of
the time those budgets are quite a bit higher so the time is there now in this
one specifically I knew that I didn’t need to have a ton of detail
running in my entire scene and so for me it was quite easy just to know that my
focus was gonna be from say this guide here and below and so everything behind
that was going to be filled with heavy atmosphere now what I didn’t think about
was rendering a full res you know or even like a region rendering preview at
full res to see what this looked like so if we go ahead and zoom in here a lot of
my details head around the front of this roof roof top aren’t sharp and the
textures are quite large and I mean these cement textures here that are
sitting on the antenna the buildings have you know the the bump here was
pushed way too heavily and things are not scaled properly now that that’s
something that’s to really be considered when you’re using pre-made assets like I
was here and when I put all of this together I was like oh cool and in my my
small viewport render this looked amazing everything looked good you know
didn’t to where I knew I wanted it to be to take into post and I should have done
something about that now normally I would go ahead and just layer this and
we’ll get to that here in a moment once we get to the to the other side here in
the Photoshop document but this was one of those things especially this area
here on this lower quadrant that I really wish I had paid a little bit more
attention to and maybe pushed some of the reflections if we look at our
reflection pass here you’ll see that certain things really aren’t pushed the
way that they probably could have been and so if I push that a little bit or
quite a bit here but you can see that there’s this quite a few things that
normally you’d want to have maybe a wet surface here on the top knowing that I
would want some rain and the overall scene for the atmosphere going on and it
was something I didn’t focus on so with that being said just know that it
doesn’t always have to be fake then even when you screw something
up and don’t want to go back and render it usually there’s a way to make things
happen if there’s a well there’s a way and let’s get back into our main copier
all right so back into the main count I have my beauty layer here which I did
through a camera run now I wish that I had I went through before doing this
entire breakdown and I rasterized all my layers and that was kind of a oh crap
moment because then I realized that I just merged down all of my adjustments
but I throw in a camera raw which helped a little bit kind of runs up certain
things I did push the clarity quite a bit so that even though it was fuzzy and
hazy detail I mean at least there’s a little bit there and there’s some
breakup in the texture of my beauty render no my shadow pass I just used
that as I said before just to kind of amplify some of the shadows and
everything else that’s going on in the scene my ambient occlusion now this is
going in and this is really adding quite a bit of nice breakups to some of the
scenes that are the scene sorry not scenes that are going on here and it
just gives a little bit more depth to it there now I went and threw a z-axis pop
here which really helped bring a little bit more light to the front of the
building so if I press alt and I click on this layer mask here you can see how
this was masked out now I just did a simple lasso selection here to cut off
the front face of the building because I didn’t want that to be affected too much
but this is just giving a little bit more of a pop to the front faces of the
buildings that are in the background there now this general grade layer is
just a gradient map that I use to give a blue hue to the scene overall and then I
went into an atmosphere depth which was just using the depth pass that we
previously discussed and I used that on a solid color adjustment layer and I can
push and pull and tweak the values here and my depth map to give me a little bit
more information here and there wherever I
wherever it’s needed I’ll do a tutorial on that specifically at some point I’d
really like to break down how I use some of these passes for you guys that are
that are either just getting into 3d or you know maybe some more advanced stuff
that I’ve learned over over my time as a 3d artist but this year will really help
you create some quick atmosphere without having to do too much work now the sky
swap is just a sky swap and this guy here you know it’s just about you know
building building from the background here what we’re doing is just building
up layer by layer and so we don’t have our Batman and Robin in this composite
yet but you’ll see that there’s a few things that will be hidden once we get
them there so moving along up the stack here we have the building antenna paint
which is essentially just me grabbing a brush and painting onto these antennae
that are up on top of the buildings I wanted to have a little bit of detail
there just to kind of create a little bit more of a silhouette and so what I
did here is I just grabbed the the mask or kind of an alpha from my buildings
here and then just use that on a normal layer and brushed over that now the
mid-tone drop this is essentially just dropping all of
the mid-tones here with a curve and then I just have a gradient that’s not really
letting that affect the sky too heavily here and what I really wanted to do
there is just make it a little bit more dark I kind of like dark images if you
guys haven’t noticed yet here on the channel and so this kind of brings this
all down into the the value that I knew my overall composite would want to hit
now this depth drop layer here is essentially using my depth pass now to
drop the values in the back buildings just so that they weren’t too bright
overall and there’s really not a whole lot more to that it’s just using another
curves layer kind of another mid-tone drop there and then I have a light pop
which essentially just creates a light here on the front face that’s going to
somewhat mimic the light direction of robbing once we get him in there now
this reflection base is essentially as previously discussed when we were going
through the 3d renders it’s just giving a nice base reflection and making the
the top of this rough here look a little bit more wet that’s definitely one thing
that I wish I would have pushed a little bit harder so that I could have some
really sweet breakups but we didn’t have that and so moving right along with it
so now we’re getting into one of the fixes that I had made for this scene and
that was really taking a lot of these like if you see here on especially the
front panels that are on these buildings they get really crunchy and that’s
because my texture map was huge and I had the normals so I started noting
normal as well it was the bump so whatever I forget what I used or what
was there from the bump channel and it was just way too heavy and so I just
grabbed and kind of did a flat curves method here to make sure that I could
drop the value of those and just kind of hide it overall no this was just using
my material ID to go in and select all of the those
similar panels that had the same material and I just dropped those over
all let’s get back in here alright so the ground shadow layer that’s
essentially just giving the ground and contact shadow for Robin
and then I thought that it would be a little bit cool to have the building
lights on and so what I did here is just use the material ID to go through and
select all of my window elements and then I went through and lasso selected
the ones that I I wanted off and on definitely something I could have done
in 3d but it didn’t need to be perfect to get my point across and so I decided
not to spend the time there now the bat-signal is essentially just an image
here that I threw over it with a screen blend mode and I figure that that’s you
know it’s kind of enough you don’t really need it to be you know the focus
of the image but when you’re doing a Batman composite you know especially on
a rooftop having a bat signal looks kind of cool I guess right maybe maybe not
so the smoke atmosphere this was here just using a smoke brush to push a
little bit more atmosphere from the ground up I guess perspective and for
this I just used my material ID and my object ID to create a mask and then just
a normal layer to use a smoke / fog brush to paint in those details so from
there we go into the rain particles now in this case I didn’t get too detailed
with it I just had to rain overlays that I threw in here and scaled them down
just a little bit so that they were smaller in the background and they would
be the foreground and I knew that I wanted to add a depth of field so that
wasn’t going to be a heavily seen detail overall but it was one of those things
that I generally like to do that and just create some kind of depth with my
effects overall so the wet ground was just a photo overlay that I found of a
cement pavement type water puddle reflection that I just blurred a little
bit and masked it in there there’s nothing to very detailed with
that it was just a simple blend F method here to go in and pull some of that out
of the shadows so that we could give kind of a nice look that it was almost
natural for this rough top now moving along here I just dropped the sky here a
little bit with the curves and then a slight gradient for the adjustment layer
now all this did is just gave it a little bit more emphasis to the
bat-signal without pulling too much detail out of the sky there now the
background lighting pop here this was I use this do somewhat simulate what could
have been say like a lightning strike happening in the background something
that just had a little bit more illumination there on that side which
would also in turn help the silhouette of Batman once we get them in here
and then this gradient here is essentially just giving a little bit
more of a pop that would happen right around Batman to really strengthen all
his silhouette so now that covers the basic background there so we can go
ahead and just close that group we can pop on the smudge background up the
field now what this did is essentially just gave a decent depth of field to the
scene this is another one of those things that it was finished and not
perfect because I didn’t really get a perfect operation here and you can see
that some of the antennas that are on the top of these on top of the roof here
is just a little bit funky now I could have gone through that and painted it
out with a blur brush but again it wasn’t something that is too noticeable
once we throw the entire comp together so at this point now we really get into
the Batman and Robin part of the composite and so this is really one of
those areas that is quite fun to get into because this is kind of obviously
where you start to see everything get put together so we had the Batman image
there masked out as I said I have a tutorial on how I did this and so that’s
already carded in the beginning of this video so from there I went through and I
just did a curves layer or a curves adjustment layer and then went ahead and
painted in some rim light and also a little bit of light accentuation on some
of his equipment here so I do have a tutorial already on how to paint rim
lights and I can leave that carded in the video as well here at this point so
that if you guys are wondering how that was done we can go over that there in
that video now the local exposure drop is really focused around bringing some
of the silhouette back to Robin once he actually got into the comp so I knew
that Robin would be in front of him and so I wanted to pull some of the detail
out of certain parts of Batman here as well as
strengthen up the silhouette here around his cowl and I feel like what that did
is it gave me a really nice kind of hard edge you know between the the contrast
and the separation that was happening there between him and the sky the eyes
are one of those things for me that I don’t always like to sit and just paint
white in the eyes this way I know that you know it’s a pretty cool look but
usually when I’m doing fairly realistic looking composites or you know work of
this sort I don’t really like to go with a straight just white comic I and so
what I’ll generally do is use the pen tool and I’ll go through here and select
these eyes I’ll actually create a tutorial on this here on its own so that
we can cover this I have a whole series that I’d like to do on different eyes
and so we’ll get to that at some point but what I used here for this method was
just a pen tool and I went around both of the eyes here created a selection
from the mask or from the path that was there and just filled those with white
right on its own layer and then the eye shadow is essentially just using a brush
with a very low flow and you know low opacity and just starting to build up
some of the shadows and stuff that would be happening you know just given the
white direction and whatnot in the scene and then I do throw a curves layer on
top of that which just allows me to control the you know the brightness and
the intensity overall of the eye and so for me at this point is set pretty well
and that was really it for the Batman specific adjustments for Robin it was
quite a similar process actually so I have Robin cut out and then I went
through and created just a gradient here that was essentially mimicking the
shadow that would be coming off of the front of this building now in hindsight
I would have probably went out and painted that a little bit
because some of the values here especially in the Cape really seem muddy
but that was something that I thought about quite a ways into the comp and it
was finished and not perfect and I didn’t really feel like I needed to go
back in and repaint that especially once I got to the grading process I was like
I would just leave it it’s not that big of a deal and I’m nitpicking my work for
no reason because I knew that my client would be happy with these so on top of
that shadow adjustment I have another clipped layer here that was that has a
clipping mask all the way down to Robin and that is just repeating my rim curves
and so it’s essentially doing the same thing here and just using a hard and
soft brush and creating some nice rim effects on Robin there that emphasizes
silhouette you know especially here with with Batman behind him I didn’t want
those values getting too dark to where they get muddied up once we got the
grading now this eyes are literally the exact same process that I did for Batman
I just used the good old pen tool went around that created the eye shadow and
then use the curves layer to adjust that and that’s it for Batman and Robin with
their specific adjustments now I did do a few global adjustments and so we can
get right into these I have my Dodge I did do a Dodge and burn on Batman and
Robin here and so we can turn these on so essentially for the Dodge I just went
through and emphasized some of the areas of the other subjects that I wanted to
have a little bit more light on them it’s really just more of a macro dodge
and burn nothing too detailed just to give a little bit more of an emphasis
pop and then the burn was exactly the same thing I wanted to create especially
for Robin here I wanted to go through and create some shadows on his face and
so I pushed those a little bit here with the burn curves
and then moving up into the orange light cast is something that I use to help
accentuate the orange light here that was going on at the bottom of the scene
that was hitting Robin I knew that I needed to have a little bit on Batman
because he would technically be in the same space and so I went through and
created just a curves layer and I played with these values here a little bit in
each of the channels to give me an orange hue that I could push under his
armor the color match this is essentially
using the same color match that I’ll put a card here for the process that I use
for that but even when I’m using a 3d rendered background and I start to do
any type of post on it and then I’m putting subjects into that I still go
ahead and I do the color matching process on them so that everything still
stays cohesive so whether it’s a photo backplate or a 3d rendered backplate
it’s still always good to kind of perform this type of process and so I’ll
have this tutorial already on my channel and so I’ll show you guys how I did that
there and leave a card here the specular pops is something that I’ll also put a
tutorial together on but this was essentially to give my subjects a little
bit more of a wet feel to their face kind of moisten their skin just a little
bit especially here on a Robin who would technically be getting maybe almost
directly hit from the light that’s down here on the bottom right and essentially
what that is is a curves layer that is pushing these mid-tones quite a bit and
then I go ahead and use my blend if options to remove it from the shadows or
you know pull it out of the shadows and then into the mid-tones so that it’s
primarily only hitting some of the more highlighted parts of the face and the
armor and so I thought that was a really good way to kind of help some of the
metal stand out here on his chest as well as kind of give him a sweaty look
and I know that Batman here has a little bit on his face there so that wraps up
Batman and Robin I feel like this is getting quite too a long video at this
point but hopefully this is helping somebody maybe see some of things that
you know are going into this and kind of a thought process behind them it’s
definitely not always perfect and so that’s really in an image like this you
know the final composite a lot of people may do an all over it
but as an artist it’s always easy to go back and just want to nitpick everything
down to a dime make changes and go back and tweak and
make changes and go back and beat yourself up over it and you know it
doesn’t always need to be that way you know sometimes you can just create
cool artwork and people will love them for what it is now on top of Batman and
Robin this is where we get into some more of the the effects sine of things
here I went and added to fog light overlays you know just to kind of give a
little bit more the look and aesthetic of there being atmosphere in the scene
and it really kind of helps push a little bit of the eyes here and it makes
sense even of especially say this rim light that I had on Batman here it gives
a little bit more sense and reason to why that would be there now we’re
getting into the foreground rain the foreground rain is really just another
overlay so there’s a ton of different overlays here I forget where I got these
I think this one was part of a pack that was from photo batch org no this layer
here so these are the drops on Batman and Robin layers so what I did is I
grabbed a an image of water on glass now this is kind of the the cheap and lazy
man’s way of doing it but what I did here is I just grabbed a
bunch of different images and laid them over my models here and went through the
warp transform and just kind of pushed and pulled different parts of it to give
somewhat of the illusion of being worked around their armor and their
breastplates things like that so it’s really not something that’s
super noticeable it’s kind of one of those details that you know for people
like myself who like to zoom into artwork and look at it at full scale or
if the client was printing this on a much larger canvas it would be you know
something that’s pretty cool for them to see but it’s not perfect but it
definitely gives the illusion of maybe water being there and sitting I could
have spent a little bit more time maybe dodging and burning and really making
the armor or the fabric on their cosplays look what but I didn’t think it
was too needed at this point so last but not least we’re getting into the some of
the more I guess hand-painted odd aspects of this composite here or like
the rain effects and that was really just putting a few more details of maybe
drips and water running off of my subjects now I this was really one of
those fake it see you make it you know type of scenarios because I didn’t
really feel like going in and spending a long time painting details and so it
really was scribbles I went through and I just with it with a white brush and
you know about half you know opacity with my pen pressure sensitivity and I
just started you know kind of scribbling where I thought some of this water might
be running off on the models and it gives a certain level of detail just to
kind of put them into the scene even though it’s not perfect I mean this here
I don’t know what that was I just kind of scribbled a little fake splash water
drop and then I have the splash paint here
which is essentially just a brush that I created which again I think this was
from the the rain pack from photo bash and I went through and I just created
some of the details here that are definitely not perfect but it shows
enough of kind of the hint of detail from things that would be happening or
you know maybe getting hit by pools of water on the top of my subjects
shoulders you know on top of the hands and then especially right here on the
foreground ledge and I left those there a little bit bigger than maybe they
normally would be and that’s primarily because it was more to give a hint of
detail and let your brain know that hey this is something that really happens
when it rains water pools up in it you know kind of splashes and you know it’s
definitely not a perfect scenario I can show you guys actually real quick here
what this brush looks like and then in another tutorial we’ll get into how to
create these type of brushes and use them in your artwork all right so here
we are in a new document I just want to show you guys this rain brush because
it’s it’s not anything special but it definitely works to add a little bit
more detail so like I said I think that this this is the base image that I used
to create the brush was just another one of the rain brushes from photo bash or
sorry the rain overlays that I just put in the Photoshop and created a brush
from and this brush overall I just went through and created a custom brush that
will give me a little bit of jitter and rotation and it will flip the brush
around so when I’m going through and I’m putting this on certain aspects of the
subject I can then just paint around and give the hint of details and things that
are needed in certain areas so we’ll get into this here and how to build you know
your own custom effects brush and stuff in different tutorials but
just know that it’s it’s nothing overly detailed and at the end of the day it
just gives a hint of you know the details and and things that would be
happening in the scene physically that can really make it pop and stand out so
that’s really it now for this PSD breakdown that’s exactly how the comp
looked before I went into Lightroom and as I’ve stated in previous videos I like
to use Lightroom for my grading and final adjustments on most of my artwork
and that’s primarily because I don’t have all the tools that I have in
Photoshop and I often find myself spending unneeded time in Photoshop
doing things that I could just do with the you know basic fundamental tools of
Lightroom and not get too nitpicky in Photoshop and so it’s really one of
those places that I really forced myself to stop focusing so much on every heavy
detail and her sorry really every fine detail and then I went into Lightroom
and started making a lot of adjustments there instead of photoshop so it saves
you a lot of time or saves me a lot of time because I like to do my own grades
especially for client work I don’t use presets I don’t use anything like that
when I’m doing this type of work here and I create everything kind of custom
per image and if I do that type of thing inside a Photoshop it can take quite a
bit longer because I like to focus a lot on details and so it just takes those
options away from me and allows me to go on Lightroom and just do a few simple
pops throw a smooth gray done work with some luminosity mask at me to make
certain aspects of the count stand out but not get too heavily nitpicky with
all of the fine print then I went in and cropped it so this is the final image
here and what I delivered to the client and they were extremely happy so huge
shout out to debonair diet’ cosplay links down in the description go check
those guys out awesome guys they work with a few charity groups and the League
of Enchantment here in Michigan just an awesome group of people as a whole so
make sure to follow these guys go show them some love but yeah that concludes
this PSD break done guys alright guys so that wraps up this PSD
breakdown thank you so much for checking it out now make sure to LIKE comment and
subscribe I’m thinking about doing my first Q&A at 2k subs here which will be
coming out fairly soon so make sure to watch out for some community posts and
also on my other social platforms if you guys follow me there if not make sure to
do so it’d probably be a pretty cool thing you know y’all get to know each
other and hang out Network all that cool stuff so it feels good to be back it
just fits been a while since I’ve put out a video so it kind of you know it’s
like getting all this stuff back out there a little bit now I’m looking at
doing a couple tutorials here coming up after this video so make sure to stay
tuned for those as well and always remember to create more say less and
stay creative guys I’ll see you in the next video you

7 Replies to “Batman and Robin Photo Composite (PSD Breakdown)”

  1. Hey everyone! Welcome to another Breakdown! I know this one's a bit long but as per my norm, I like to talk about things as I go layer by layer. Hopefully the insight here is worth the time invested for you :D. What do you guys think? Open Q&A at 2k? I'm thinking at this point it could be cool for those of you who don't know me to have an opportunity to do so.

  2. Great video brother man, I’m going to need to pay for a private session with you to learn more because I’m still lost. 😔

  3. Awesome mate. Stunning final image and great walk-through. I'll definitely be keeping a close eye out for you future uploads, thanks for sharing.

  4. Great tutorial! Thank you so much!
    About the final touches, why don't use Camera Raw? It is basically the same as Lightroom.

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