Creative compositing

By combining 2D and 3D elements you can create breathtaking composites. Hugo Delevante shows you how by explaining the creative process behind his piece Self Residual Image.

Compositing is a fundamental illustrative skill and this tutorial will reveal the techniques you need to layer a variety of different elements together - combining photographic, 3D and illustrative material. We'll be using Maxon's brilliant 3D modelling application Cinema 4D to create some of the elements from scratch, before jumping to Photoshop to layer the individual files.

Creating great artwork is as much about communication as it is about technique, so over the following pages you'll be shown how to focus on telling a story with your imagery, using elements that give depth of meaning to your craft and combining them in subtle but striking ways.

There are no hard and fast rules for compositing - anything goes. There are, however, several key Photoshop features that are central to the compositing process, including the Layers palette, Blending Modes and filters. Here you'll employ both basic and advanced tools to create Self Residual Image, using the primers we provide to streamline your workflow.

Establishing a clean and consistent workflow is essential for any design project because it allows you to focus all your energies on creativity. Using keyboard shortcuts whenever possible and implementing best practice is vital, and the ability to select objects quickly, without leaving your canvas all the time, will make you more productive. We'll show you how to collect all your elements together by placing them on your master canvas and then composite them together through intelligent use of the Layers palette.

Often with illustrations, you can make a massive impact simply by executing simple concepts effectively. So by using primitive lines and fades with soft edges to create a seamless transition between images, it's possible to make impressive, advanced composites, as you are about to discover.

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