Create a levitation effect on the photo

A levitating person is one of those very photo tricks when you look at the question “How is it?” The answer is surprisingly simple – the real skill lies in the right preparation.

To create the effect of levitation on the photo, we need two shots: one with the model on a stable support, the second is an empty scene. Both photos should be perfectly aligned.

In fact, working with the camera is as simple as setting up a tripod and taking two shots. Then we combine them together, and this, even for newbies in Photoshop, is quite a simple task.

But then it will be just an effect for the sake of effect. It is important to create an atmosphere on the composition. This is the only way to attract the viewer’s attention. Visual elements look interesting, but the story is much more attractive. This can be done with the help of different methods: atmospheric lighting, proper placement of the elements of the composition, creative and creative approach to work, thoughtful poses, the use of additional props – all this can improve the result. Even the weather can be used. After a few shots because of the rain, we had to postpone work, but as a result there are drops in the photo with beautiful outline light and highlights that complement the atmosphere of the composition.

Trick with levitation

With the help of special props and a drop of magic, you can create a floating person.

1. Tripod

Images for this effect should have a perfect alignment, so it is important to use a fixed tripod. The position of the tripod also plays a big role – lower it below to emphasize the distance between the person and the ground.

2. Strong support

The model should lie on a strong support in a floating pose. For this, we used a folding workbench, but an ordinary chair, a ladder, or a chair would also work. Use what is available to you.

3. Empty space

Together with a snapshot of the main object, we need a photo of an empty scene without a model and a support. To make the result look realistic, the camera settings (exposure and focus) must be the same in both photos.

4. Back light

Night time and dark lighting will add atmosphere. In addition to car headlights, we also used two flashes. One in the background on the right, and the second – on the left in front of the model.

5. Clothing

Clothing can both improve and spoil the composition, especially in those places where the body is in contact with the support. Clothing should float as freely as possible and not look crumpled. Hide the hanging fabric around the edges of the support or secure it with threads and clips.

6. Manual focus

After adjusting the focus on the model, switch to manual focus so that it does not change from frame to frame. But do not forget to reconfigure it in case of a change in the position of the model or tripod.

Step by step create a hover effect.

Using a mask, combine two photos in Photoshop to add a levitating person.

No photo with empty stage?

Even if you have not made a separate photo with an empty scene, we can still get the desired effect, but provided that the background details are enough to hide the support. We took these photos in the pouring rain, so we managed to take only a few shots with strange poses. But later it turned out that for the most successful picture there is no corresponding photo with an empty scene (we moved the camera while shooting). The solution was simple – hide the support in Photoshop using the cloning tools and the healing brush.

1. Copy the photo

Open both shots (with model and empty scene) in Photoshop. Go to the document with an empty scene, then to the layers panel. Window – Layers (Window – Layers). Right click on the layer Background (Background) and select Duplicate Layer (Create duplicate layer). In the window that appears in the menu Destination (Appointment) select the document with the model and click OK.

2. Add a mask

We return to the first document with the model and see two layers on the layers panel. Select the top layer, hold down the Alt key and click on the button Add Layer Mask (Add layer mask) at the bottom of the layers panel. As a result, a completely black mask will appear on the layer and its contents will be completely hidden.

3. Hide support

Now in white we restore part of the background and hide the support. Take Brush Tool (B) (Brush). Hit the D key to switch the foreground color to white. Right click on the working canvas and reduce Hardness (Hardness) up to 0%, then draw over the support to partially restore the layer with an empty scene.

4. We finalize the mask

Draw a document (Ctrl +) and continue to refine the mask. If you have restored too much background, then press the X key to switch to black, and hide the extra. Using the] and [keys, you can adjust the diameter of the brush, and while holding the Shift key, you can draw a perfectly straight line.

5. Remove excess on clothes

At the bottom of the layers panel, click on the button to create a new layer. Take Clone Stamp Tool (S) (Stamp) and on the top panel we switch its mode to Sample All Layers (All layers). Approaching the place where the clothing touches the support. Hold down the Alt key and take a suitable sample of clothing, then paint over it with extra details or add new ones.

6. Color correction

Finally, if necessary, we refine the colors. For this work, we prefer to use the Camera Raw filter. Hit Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to merge all layers, then use Filter – Camera Raw (Filter – Camera Raw). Tab Basic (Basic) customize shades, add contrast and clarity. When finished, click OK.

Some tips

1. Soaring clothes

Floating clothes or a raincoat help to emphasize the feeling of weightlessness and movement, especially if positioned correctly before shooting. Translucent materials, as in the third council, look spectacular when illuminated with a back light source, for example, from a window.

2. Reflections

Try to add reflections to the composition, since they help to ground the object and avoid the unrealistic effect of the application, which is sometimes found on such works. As an alternative to reflections, you can make the model touch the ground lightly or “put” a foot, for example, on a wall. In general, create a point of contact for the model with the composition objects. The effect will be the same as with the reflection.

3. Soaring objects

Why not make soaring and other objects of the composition, except the model itself? Just take a picture of them, hold it in your hand, then hide your hand with the clone tools. And if you are good at catching the desired frame, toss items and capture while they are in the air.

How to make the effect more believable?

Pay special attention to the pose

There is a possibility that the finished result will look more like a bad collage, as if we cut out a part of one photo and pasted it onto another. To avoid this, the objects of the scene should be interesting to interact with each other. Or use visual grounding techniques that we described above, such as shadows or reflections. In our example, car headlights help to more harmoniously insert the model, since such a flow around the glare is difficult to imitate.

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