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3.5 Building a City

The most interesting aspect of our scene is the fact that this giant tortoise has a city on his back! In this lesson we isolate elements of a multiple city images and fit them to the back of our tortoise.

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3.5 Building a City

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Advanced Photoshop Techniques. In this lesson, we're going to finish up chapter three on roughing in the scene. This is lesson 3.5, where we plant a city on the turtle's back. Here's where we last left our project, we added this giant turtle to our scene. And in this lesson, we want to take some stock images of a city, and add it to its back. In particular, we have stock images within the course files, of this one here. I think this city looks really good, and I like the way it is not necessarily symmetrical but we have the outskirts of it seem to taper down. In the middle of it seems to be concentrated upwards, and I think that that's critical for this to actually look good. I think if we were to have a city that was heavily weighted on one side or the other it wouldn't necessarily work compositionally within our project. So like we've done previously, I'm going to take the Rectangular Marquee Tool and create just a very quick rectangular selection around the areas of the city that I'm going to want. Now while we're dragging out the selection if you hold down the Spacebar you can relocate it instead of resizing it. So we'll pull it out like that, again Ctrl+C for copy. Back over to our source project. Ctrl+V for paste. Comes in really huge, so let's turn this first into a smart object and then scale it down. And rename it while we're at it here. This is the city layer. So we'll scale this down to deposit it right on the back of that tortoise. Say right at about there, perhaps. Now admittedly, this looks really rather flat just sitting here on the back of his shell like this. I think it's gonna look a little bit better if we add a little bit of a contour to it. If we think of this shell as part of maybe the continent of this city that it's on. We would see a little bit of curve, as in the top of it would be pointing straight up and the outside edges would have a slight angle outwards. And that really helps just sort of seal the idea that this actually on the back of this turtle. That's one of the beauties of having it as a smart object, is that it's really easy to do that. Now, we can go to edit, transform, and we'll use the warp transformation and set this to arc. And it comes in as a very drastic arc, so let's grab that center pivot point there and pull it down so it's not nearly as dramatic. So I'm liking generally how that looks, I wanna focus in a little bit more on it though and manipulate this a little bit more. And to do that I'm going to turn off that sketch group, because I think at this point it's kind of getting in the way. And I wanna focus more on what I'm doing with this city. Now we did just rough this in, and although I wanna keep it rough, at this point, I think I wanna make it a little bit more detailed so that we see the buildings against this background, instead of the background that's already included in that photo. And so to do that, first of all, I'm gonna reopen that smart object and start making a better selection within here. Now there's several ways you can go about this. And again, because at this moment I'm still gonna make it a little bit rough I'm actually going to use the magnetic lasso tool. And I honestly don't really like the way that this building over here fits in with everything. So, I'm gonna start with this bottom edge here. And just trace along the edges of these buildings. Now, the way that the magnetic lasso tool works, it will try to edge detect for you. But if you want to make sure it's at a certain point, you just click on that point. So I'm not super worried about how this looks right now. I mostly just want to extract the city from the clouds. And so once we've got a rough selection fully created like that, we can add that as a layer mask. And then with this still open, we can just hit this save button, File > Save. And when we go back to our source project, we see that reflected. So now the city is completely cut out over in here, just because we cut it out within that smart object. And in that sense, let's go back over in here again, and fade out this bottom just a little bit, so just using a very soft edged round brush, just add a little bit of a fade to these bottom areas. Now I feel like we'll probably end up going to end up treating this a little bit later on, too, but for right now, let's just get get the file to a point where it will sit well within that turtle shell. Save it again, and head back over. And one of the beauties of using this as a smart object, is we can really mask out the smart object again, too. So if we really don't like how that mask is really blending that bottom area in, we can add a mask here to the smart object, and blend it in even better here. Seeing more directly how it looks within our scene. Now this roughed-in city is looking pretty good. I'm enjoying the fact that it actually looks like it is on this turtle. But let's add a little bit more too it. We have this picture of the London Eye, and I think that this would actually be pretty interesting to put at the edge over here, because how fun would that be? If you were actually living in a city that's built on the back of a turtle, and you had a big old ferris wheel on the very edge of it. So you could ride that ferris wheel and look out into this vast universe of clouds, or wherever it is that we are. So let's work a little bit on that. Let's go to this London Eye image, and thinking about creating a selection here. Well, that would not necessarily be something that's all that easy to do, except if you take a look at what's the negative space, which is made up primarily of blue tones. So let's go to select, color range, and using the sampled colors click in that blue tone area and you can see how it needs to expand a little bit. So we use that add to selection here to select all the blue areas until we get what looks like a decent isolation of that ferris wheel. Click OK. Now, we selected the blue and we need to select the inverse of that so we go to the Select menu and we Inverse the selection. So now, it's selecting the wheel areas or I should really say the non-blue areas. And we don't need the selection of the water and the other buildings. So let's use the elliptical marquee tool and set this to intersect with selection. And so by doing this we can sort of carve out the rest of it. So this will constrict the selection only to the pixels that are contained within both of these selection areas. So the one that we previously selected, and now the one that we're drawing, so it's only that. And because I know this is going to probably be a very miniscule part of this entire composition, I'm okay with just copying this to a new layer and putting it over it with the nut smart object. So we'll do it that way. So Ctrl+C to copy. Back over here, Ctrl+V. Paste it in as its own new layer. Which I'm going to put underneath that city layer and move over here. And I want to make it as part of this city edge here. That's way too large at that moment. So, let's use Ctrl+T to scale this down some. And there seems to be a slight skewing to the shape of it. Because of the angle that the picture was shot at, I'm assuming. And we can compensate for that a little bit by, well, first of all, let's try doing the edit, transform, and flipping it horizontally, and see if that helps. That actually looks like it skewed it even more. So I'm gonna press Ctrl+Z to undo that, and instead Right-click and use the Distort Tool to make it appear more roundish. Say, something probably about like there. And then we save this and see how it looks back in our regular project. I really like the way that looks. I think that turned out really well. And then, before we close out this session. Let's go ahead and grab all of these turtle and city layers, and group them together. And so that will bring lesson 3.5 on adding the city to a close. It also finishes up Chapter 3. Where we have roughed in all the major elements of this composition. Next chapter, Chapter 4 is where we put it all together. We'll go through some more refine techniques for selections, talk about how making some compositing judgements to make the thing look better. We'll talk about some compositing decisions to make to make the overall piece look a little more realistic, and work through things like filters, adjustments, textures and even some lighting effects.

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