Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Amaryllis in December

Amaryllis, from the genus Hippeastrum of the family Amaryllidaceae, are the glorious lily-like flowers that grow indoors during the long months of winter. They grow so rapidly and the blooms are so huge and colorful that they help us pass the time until we can actually get out into the garden and dig in the dirt. Below, instructions on making a composite of amaryllis blooms in Photoshop.

"Apple Blossom" amaryllis blooming in my kitchen

Setup for photographing amaryllis, setting the plant on the floor, using black poster board as a background with a lamp on top of a dresser for the light source. Take pictures from different angles for this composite.

After taking your photos, import two of the best into Photoshop. 

The image above, will be the flower that appears smaller, behind another brighter image. Double-click on the "Background" layer in order to unlock it.

Make a new layer and pull it below the original layer.

Go to Image/Canvas size, or Alt+Ctrl+C, and enter width and height sizes double what is already there.

Select the empty bottom layer and fill with black. Alt+Backspace will fill it with the foreground color in your toolbar

Background filled with black

Now work on the second photo. 

Unlock, add a new layer, and drag the new layer below the original layer. 

Delete the background for the flower layer using your favorite method.

Place the images beside each other. Drag the deleted-background image onto the black-background image.

You should have two image layers above a black background.

Go to CTRL+T on the selected top layer to transform it to the size you want. Hold down the Shift key while you transform in order to keep the proportions constant.

While on this top layer, apply the Lighten blend mode in the layers palette

Now select the middle layer, with your background image

CTRL+T transform this image to the size you want. You may want to adjust sizes and positions, including rotating images slightly, until you have the placement you want. Crop to the final size.

Final image of composite Amaryllis blossoms

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