By DA's definition, a photo manipulation is a combination of at least two photos to create a whole new image. Often time, photo manipulations can contain 5, 10, 15 or more photos. All of which may come from different sources, meaning different lighting, perspective, color, and quality. The list goes on and on!
Stitching all these photos together to make one cohesive composite can seem intimidating, forcing beginners to limit their visions to simple composts the contain just a few images max.
While a photo manipulation shouldn't be judged on how many different images it took to create it (If all you need it 2 images then only use 2 images!), don't limit yourself out of fear of complexity! Let's cover some of the common issues we all run into.
Forced or inconsistent/odd perspective can actually be done on purpose! Especially in pieces try to give the feeling of distortion, or in surreal works. With that being said, it is usefully pretty obvious when it was done intentionally and when it was done as a mistake.
The Problem:When it comes to wonky perspective, the problem lays with the ingredients. AKA your stock choices. While stock's perspectives don't have to match up perfectly, and Photoshop gives you a few tools to help fix perspective problems, forcing a model who was clearly shot with a downward point of view onto a background that was shot at eye level is going to give you some problems.
The Fix:Be smart about your stock choices! It's really that simple. A good 40% of a photo manipulators work goes to finding stock. It can take hours. And hours. ....And hours. No one is saying it will be fun!
This is one of the most common issues even the most seasoned artist have. Unless you are working with images you shot yourself, all with the same lighting, chances are you are going to be dealing with images of all types of lighting.
Expect look around you, I bet you see no big blob-y shadows. Not a one.
- Observe the world around you very closely. Pay attention to light and shadows.
- Instead of photo manipulation tutorials, look up digital painting tutorials and lighting studies.
- Be patent, practice and never settle! Do it over and over until you nail that lighting!
If you are using Photoshop, the layer modes "Multiply" and "Soft light" will be more useful than "Overlay".
Overall Mismatched Color
Again you are working with photos taken in different environments. A Model on a blue backdrop. A background with a lot of green. A photo of a dog taken during the late evening. A photo of a bird taken on a blue sunny say.
The Fix:Study color theory! I know, obvious right? But many of us don't go out and LEARN we simply kind of ...wing it. Which is also great, but there should be a bit of both. Again, seek out digital painting tutorials that focus on color. Learn how to use complimentary colors, and how to use color not only as a way to tie a scene together, but as a way to convey mood and feeling and also as a way to give context (like time of day) to a piece.
At the top of all my .PSD files I have a "Color Correction" folder. It holds all my layers (mostly adjustment layers) that determines the majority of the overall color of the piece I am working on.
Working with a medium the starts as several other mediums can be frustrating. We all have a specific image in our head that we want to create. Finding the perfect stock, and then having to force that perfect stock to fit in with all your other perfect stock can be....frustrating.
Don't comprise your vision because things get messy! Just like in a hunk of clay, or in a box of paints, in that pile of unedited stock, random textures and brushes, and countless layers there is something fantastic. You just need to combines the pieces.