Sometimes all that is needed is a new look and a bit of creativity to find something amazing and hidden in something ordinary. In this project, my daughter and I looked at the idea of how to shrink to the size of an insect and imagine what the world around us would look like.
This lesson is designed to work together parents and children. The first part of the project includes instructions for joint shooting and preparation of digital photographs necessary for obtaining the final result. Next, there are instructions for parents on how to sort the files so that our little designers can have fun in creating the scene, and therefore, the next part of the instructions will be for children. Finally, the last part must be completed together, this part includes some slightly complex steps that will help complete the project.
So let’s get started!
1. In search of a new perspective
First we need to find a good environment for our project.
A path with a small footbridge over a small river passes through our neighborhood. We often walked or rode bicycles dozens of times past this happy corner with a small river, not paying attention to it. But this time we decided to take a closer look and see if we can find a new perspective.
We first went down to the creek to see if there was anything interesting that we might have missed earlier. It was then that we noticed a small plant that grew among the stones. It was so tender and tiny … and so beautiful!
We looked at this tiny plant and found that if we put the camera on a stone above the water level, we will get a completely new perspective for our scene. It was the same plant, the same stones, the same running water, but shooting from a low point seems to have turned this view into something almost magical.
After we discovered this miracle of the tiny world, we needed to take several different shots to set the position of the camera as well as the focal point. We finished shooting this snapshot, we decided to use it in our project ‘Reduce me’! We encourage everyone to experience the joy of their own discoveries, as we did, although you can also use this image, which is available for download as the source image for this lesson.
2. Small Models
As soon as we found the right setting for our scene, my daughter and I started thinking about funny ways to add it to the scene, as a man the size of an ant. These flat leaves above the running water seemed the perfect place for a tiny person to fish. Now, armed with your camera, follow us on an amazing journey!
The background should be as simple and unremarkable as possible, so that we can later make the selection easier. Therefore, choose a place for a photo shoot with an empty background and good lighting. We set up a background and a few spotlights to create our own little photo studio. My daughter rummaged through the entire garage to find all the props and costumes for a photo shoot. A straw hat with an old fishing rod perfectly suited us.
Now the fun begins! Encourage your child to come up with funny poses that will fit the scene you are creating. Let the child be creative, take pictures even if these are stupid ideas, because this is all part of the fun! We decided to bring a chair to take a picture of how she sits on the chair. We even tried to put an ottoman under the background decoration so that she could lie down!
View your photos with your child, and, given the perspective of the scene on the river, try to decide which photo is best suited for the project. Here this photo, we have chosen for further use. We liked this photo, which reflects the simple joy and innocence of the scene.
3. Preparing the Project
Before we turn our scene into a thumbnail, including the most creative member of our team, there are a few things you need to fix first. These steps will help during the performance of the children’s part of the lesson, so that everything goes smoothly, so that the children will get more pleasure from this, and ultimately from the excellent image
Open the picture you are going to use as a scene. If you are using our image, then open the DSC_0556.jpg file that is attached to this tutorial.
This image is of fairly good quality, however, there are a few details that we can fix to make it even more attractive. First, a thin line of cobweb stretches along the stones just behind the plant. Using tool Spot Healing Brush (Spot Healing Brush (J)), circle around the gossamer line to remove it.
Next, go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Levels (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Levels). In the settings window of the adjustment layer Levels (Levels), notice that there are three small sliders right below the histogram map. Pull the outer sliders slightly inward to enhance the contrast of the image.
Our little character must be extremely small to fit on the leaf of the plant. We want the heroine to be seen and not to get lost in the background, so we need to “zoom in” the scene in digital format. Next, with the tool Cropping (Crop Tool (C)), crop the center of the image.
Do not close the image with the nature scene, let’s go File – Open (File> Open) (Ctrl + O) to open a snapshot of your child. Both images are now presented as tabs at the top of your screen interface.
Choose a tool Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool (W)) and pay attention to the settings panel of this tool. Make sure the mode is on. Add to selection (Add to Selection), and the size of the brush should be about the same as the nose of the child in the image. In the image I was working with, the brush size was about 70 px. Also install Rigidity (Hardness) brush by 25%. These settings will help your child apply this tool in the next section.
4. Hello children!
Children, all here! I hope you got a lot of pleasure in finding small worlds, just like my daughter and me. Did you wear funny costumes during a photo shoot? I bet it was awesome!
You should have a program open on your computer’s monitor called Photoshop. Your picture should now appear. So, proceed to our project ‘Reduce me’! You are ready?
Tool Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool (W)) should be ready to use. You will use this tool to create a selection around your image. Imagine that it is like a brush and just start to “paint over” your image. You will see a flashing dotted line around the area you have painted over. This is called highlighting.
Continue coloring by creating a selection until the flashing dotted line is completely around your image. If you have identified areas that it is undesirable to allocate, for example, a chair, then you need to remove it from the selection area. Pressing the (Alt) key will help turn your tool into an eraser to remove excess selection, therefore, remove areas that should not be selected. Do not forget to select an empty area inside the elbow!
Look at the top of the screen, there you will see a button. Refine edge (Refine Edge). When you find it, click it!
When the tool settings window appears Refine edge (Refine Edge), first, put a tick in the box Smart radius (Smart Radius). Next, set the following settings:
- Radius (Radius): 3 px
- Smooth out (Smooth): 10
- Feathering (Feather): 3 px
- Edge shift (Shift Edge): -25%
This will help make the selected edges clear and even! Do not press the ‘button yet.OK ’!
In the left part of the window there is an icon similar to a brush. This is a tool Refine radius (Refine Radius Tool). Make sure that this tool is active, and then start coloring the hair area that was difficult to isolate earlier. This tool will create a soft selection around selected hair! Next, click the ‘OK’ button.
Now select the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (L)). This tool looks like a sharp angled lasso … or a crown. Next, at the top of the screen, click on the two small boxes that overlap each other, this means that this tool will work in Add to selected area (Add to Selection).
Now use this tool to highlight the bait. This tool works a little differently. Instead of staining, this tool connects the dots more. Click the corners to create a contour along the fishing pole. When you select a fishing rod, double click the mouse to complete the selection. Next, you should see that your selection includes the highlighted fishing rod image!
Now we need to copy your selected image. Let’s go Editing – Copy (Edit> Copy). You will not see any changes. The computer copied the selected pixels into its memory.
Notice the tab at the top of the screen that says “DSC_0556.JPG”. Click on it to switch to the little river image. Next, go Editing – Paste (Edit> Paste) to add a copied image to our scene!
Before we continue further, let’s convert the pasted image into a smart object. This will help preserve details when we zoom out. Let’s go Layer – Smart Object – Convert to Smart Object (Layer> Smart Objects> Convert to Smart Object).
It’s time to place the little fisherman on the leaf! Let’s go Editing – Free Transformation (Edit> Free Transform) to display the transformation outline around the image. Pull the corners of the contour to zoom out. Holding the key (Shift) will help avoid compression or stretching. Next, arrange the image so as to create a feeling as if it is sitting on a leaflet, press (Enter) to apply the changes.
5. Color Correction
So, our little character is added to the scene, it’s time to complete the project using color correction so that all elements of the composition are combined together. Children, now ask your parents to help you here a little, because The following steps are a bit more complicated than the previous ones.
The colors of both images do not completely match. Let’s apply the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to fix it. Hold the (Alt) + go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation). In the window that appears New layer (New Layer), put a tick in the box Use previous layer to create clipping mask. (Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask).
Reduce value Saturation (Saturation) until the child’s image visually matches the color saturation of the background. For our images, a value of -12 is well suited.
The child is still visually different due to the sharpness of his image. We compensate for this with a filter. Blur (blur). Click on the child layer in the layers palette, and then go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Install Radius (Radius) blur 1.7 px.
Create a new layer below the child layer and using a soft round brush of black and low opacity (Opacity), carefully paint over the leaf and the girl, adding shadows.
Move to the topmost layer (this should be an adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation)). Create a merged layer by holding the (Alt) key + go Layer – Merge Visible (Layer> Merge Visible). Next, convert the merged layer to a smart object.
Now it’s time to give our picture a bit surreal and almost fabulous look. Let’s go Filter – Camera raw (Filter> Camera Raw). In the settings window of this filter in the tab Main (Basic), increase the parameters Definition (Clarity) and Vibration (Vibrance) each, approximately, up to +40.
Next, switch to the tab Effects (Effects) and settings Vignetting (Post Crop Vignette), install amount (Amount) -70 to add beautiful, deep and dark corners to the scene.
Press ‘OK’ and we have completed the lesson!
Have a nice time!
We liked this project so much, so we decided to share the experience with all the little girls. It was fun and easy to do. Plus we created some more amazing pictures!
How did you get off? We will be glad to see your work.
I hope that you and your child got a lot of pleasure in the implementation of this project, just like me and my daughter.