As a designer and artist who spends many hours in front of the screen of her computer, I like to select projects where I can invite my children to take part in an amazing adventure in the world of digital art!
In this project, I decided to create a lesson that will be fascinating, as well as interesting for children who will participate in it. So, me and my daughter in the early morning besieged a small section of the city, taking with us a tripod and a camera, our project was filled with laughter!
I divided the lesson into two parts: parents and children. Parental assignment includes working with digital technology, including file processing in Photoshop. The children’s part of the project includes the processing of children’s photographs aged 8 years and older. This part of the assignment will include simple instructions, so you can easily complete them to create a funny effect “Spread me!”
1. Parental Assignment
Finding a good location is a very important task to get this effect. You will need an open space where there will be enough space for setting several poses. In addition, the chosen location should be visually interesting, as well as safe for children, when they climb somewhere, there should be no people around!
My advice is to start shooting in the early morning hours before crowds begin to gather. My daughter got used to waking up at dawn, so she was delighted with the idea of going somewhere! We decided to shoot in the courtyard of the shopping center.
This is a very important part of the lesson. Use a tripod while shooting! You can manually shoot without a tripod, but do not forget that all this is created for children, and further editing of photos and difficult alignment of images can be rude and greatly disappoint children. I used a reliable tripod, as well as a remote shutter release, to be sure that there would be no camera movement between frames.
Please note: Security personnel in many public places tend to frown when they use a tripod during filming, so be polite, explain to the guard what you are going to do. Usually, when you hear that you want to take a picture of your child, it will calm them down and convince you that you are not going to spoil it somewhere!
Choose a composition, take at least one picture of open space, completely deserted. This snapshot will be used as a background, and will also serve as a “safety net” for solving possible compositional problems, if any, in the future.
Take a few pictures of your child, using different parts of the scene, as well as different poses. Do not change the settings of your camera! Be creative and enjoy the photo shoot. Use a tripod if there are a lot of pictures, and also create an action. Try not to shoot the same expression or pose more than once.
Encourage your child, let him offer you his ideas, do not refuse to take pictures, even if these are the most stupid images! You do not need to use them all, and the child will enjoy and laugh from funny ideas! In total, I took about 30-40 shots of various poses, with which I will work, and my daughter at that time was delayed to the fullest.
Check out the screenshots above; I specifically zoomed in on the images in order to simply show the different poses of the child — the actual photos have the same composition as the working empty space.
After the photo shoot, buy ice cream for your child, and thank him for his great help! This is not the most important part of the project, but it’s fun and the kids love it! Next, transfer digital photos to your computer, sort them. Put the best pictures into a separate folder, then drop the picture with empty space.
Open Photoshop, and then go File – Scripts – Upload files to stack (File> Scripts> Load Files into Stack). In the window that appears, in the setting Use (Use) select option Folder (Folder), and then select a folder with images. Do not forget to tick the “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images” box, and then click the ‘OK’ button.
Photoshop will load all the original photos from the selected folder in one working document. The program also aligns them if there was an occasional camera shake. Before proceeding to the next stage of the project, i.e. to your little partner, make sure that the layer with empty space is located below all layers with images, and also make sure that the layers palette window is open so that you can easily navigate in layers.
Now it’s time to bring real artists to the stage!
2. Hey, Kids!
Hello! Kids, thanks for your help in the project. I hope you had fun, and you got a lot of fun during the photo shoot, like my daughter! Now we will combine the resulting photos and create an effect where a lot of your images run. Wouldn’t that be great?
First, let’s look at the program that has opened, this is the Photoshop program. In the layers palette you can see the entire list of source images. These are layers. Look at the layers, they are stacked in such a way as if we would print our photos and put them in one pile.
The topmost photograph is the image that we see. Click on the topmost layer in the layers palette to make sure it is active. A white outline around the layer thumbnail will tell us that the layer is active.
Pay attention to the icons on the left, these are the icons of various tools. Click on the icon, which shows a lasso with sharp corners, this tool is called Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool). Or simply press the ‘L’ key to activate the tool. Lasso (Lasso).
Next, with the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool), draw anchor points, creating a work path around the image of the child. As soon as you close the path, it will turn into running ants, it will be called Selection.
Now, notice the bottom toolbar, the icon with a small rectangle with a circle inside, this is the layer mask icon. Click this icon to add a layer mask.
The layer mask works just like a mask that we put on our face. The only thing is that when we put on a mask, it hides the face, then in this case, the mask hides the image that remains unselected, making this part invisible!
Thus, we will see only the image of the child, around which we have created a selection, and the rest of the image will be hidden behind an invisible mask! This means that we will see the rest of the image only on the layer below. So, a black rectangle will appear next to the layer thumbnail with a white highlighted figure showing that a mask has been added to the layer.
Next, we move to the next layer with the image and do the same. So, click on the layer that is below the first layer, create an active selection, and then add a layer mask. All the same as we did in the previous step. Easy, right?
Now, process each layer with the original image, creating a selection and adding layer masks!
Sometimes you can get confused on which layer you are working. To reveal this, use the tool. Move (The Move Tool (V) is the topmost tool with an arrow. This tool will help you move the entire layer, and you will easily find out on which layer you need to create a selection. To go back, just press the keys (Ctrl + Z) or go Editing – Step Back (Edit> Undo) to return the layer with the image to its original position before creating the selection!
Sometimes layers will overlap with other layers. Oh no! The best way is to turn off layer visibility by clicking on the eye next to the layer thumbnail. This means that the layer will not be visible.
Continue to create a selection and add layer masks to each layer until your scene is filled with lots of images of your child! The last layer is the bottom layer, it will be the background, you do not need to add a mask to it, and you do not need to create a selection on it.
3. We work together
OK, in this part of the lesson, parents and children should work together! Parents, please make your little artist feel happy during your work together, because you don’t want to spoil their hard work!
Check all layers and masks, pay special attention to the highlighted edges on the masks. If there are areas that can be slightly corrected, use the tool. Brush (Brush Tool (B), the brush should be used on the layer mask. Remember that the white brush restores the image, and the black brush hides the image. Show your budding designer how it works, and also let him try using a brush!
Next, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers to correct the light of the whole scene. My scene was created in bright sunlight, so I decided to slightly reduce the sharp contrast with the help of a slightly inverted S-curve.
Next, enhance the color tones of the entire scene with an adjustment layer. Vibration (Vibrance). Set the value Vibrations (vibrance) at its discretion, so that you like the color shades that you are editing. We used the value of +53.
Next, create a merged layer on top of all other layers. To do this, hold down the ‘Alt’ key and go Layer- Merge visible (Layer> Merge Visible). Next, go Layer – Smart Object – Convert to Smart Object (Layer> Smart Objects> Convert to Smart Object).
Next, go Filter – Camera raw (Filter> Camera Raw). In the settings of this filter, in the tab Basic settings (Basic), perform additional color / light correction. My daughter and I decided to strengthen the parameter settings Shadow (shadow) in order to brighten dark areas, we also liked how parameter Definition (Clarity) transformed our image, therefore, we also strengthened this parameter.
Next, go to the tab Effects (Effects). Decrease the parameter amount (Amount) in customization Vignetting (Post Crop Vignetting). This will darken the corners to create a funny photographic effect.
You and your child did a great job!
This is an interesting project and you will get even more pleasure if you devote more time to it. The project was so fun that we decided to repeat the photo session. In the screenshot below, you can see the result of our photo session on the playground. We are waiting for your projects: Spread me!