To my beloved friends…

This post is meant for my friends who wanted to know how did I use Photoshop to create this composite:

carte alt

First of all, if you made a mistake in any step, just use the History panel on the right hand side (usually grouped with Color, Swatches, and Styles panel). If it is not there, activate it by clicking on the Window drop-down menu and you will find History there and click it if there is no tick before it). So, this is the step by step how-to:

Step 1: Preparing the C font:

  1. Make a new file of 640×480 px, by going to File>New… or just use the shorcut key Ctrl+N if you are on PC. If you are using Mac, anything activated by CTRL is replaced with Command.
  2. Click on the Type Tool image on the tool window normally on your left-hand side.
  3. By using appropriate Typeface (or Font), type the letter C. In my case, I used Astronaut. It can be downloaded for free here, thanks to Then, set the font to 800px. It should look like this. image
  4. Resterize the type by right clicking the ‘C’ layer created in the Layer window after we use the Type tool, then click on the Resterize Type menu: image
  5. Now, the C is ready.

Step 2: Preparing each photo

  • Duplicating a layer in one document to another:
  1. Using the marquee tool (the first tool in the Tool panel), make a new layer for the picture of the person you want, let’s say Eddy, by right click on the marquee, then choose Layer by Copy: image By doing that, you have just created a new layer.
  2. Drag and drop the layer onto the document which contain the letter C.image
  3. In the new document, we can now see a new layer created for the picture of Eddy.
  4. Do the previous steps each time you want to transfer pictures to the new document.
  • Selecting the picture:
  1. On the same layer, let’s name it Eddy, use the Magic Wand tool image and select the surrounding area, not on the picture itself. You will see the ants around the document and around the rectangular picture of Eddy. image
  2. Right-click on the area and then choose the Select Inverse menu. image It will now choose only the picture. You cannot use the Magic Wand tool on the picture itself since it will pick on similar colors only, or empty areas.
  • Colouring the background: If the background is clear (eg: Eddy, Meor and Azim):
  1. While the picture is still selected (ants are only surrounding Eddy’s picture and no more around the whole document), go to the Select menu, then select Color Range…image
  2. In the Color Range window, choose the Sampled Colors in the Select area, and Selection on the radio options (under the preview) and then use the Eyedropper tool to select the background wall in Eddy’s picture. Use the Add to Sample and Subtract from Sample tools to adjust the area you want to colour up next. The white area in the preview indicates the area selected. Finally, click OK.image
  3. Choose the colour you want for Eddy’s background by using the Set Foreground color tool. The Color Picker (Foreground Color) window will pop up. For me, I want it to be green. Since I am colour-blind, I just type 255 on the RGB option here: image
  4. Don’t mess up the other options and numbers on the Color Picker window, unless you know what is the hexadecimal code for the colours you want, by which you can change the number on the right of the # at the very botton of the window (where 000000 is black and ffffff is white).
  5. Now you are ready to color it. The next step varies. You can either use Paint Bucket Toolimage or Brush Tool image . I personally prefer Brush because with Paint Bucket, the effects might come out unnatural, sometimes. By using the Paint Bucket tool, you just click on the selected area on background. By using the brush tool, you will have to brush all the area where you want the green colour to be.
  6. These are the result where on the left I used Paint Bucket and on the right, I used Brush. Not much of a difference? You’ll find out.image image
  • Colouring the background: If the background is not plain (eg. Ali):
  1. I tried my best to find Ali’s picture with plain backround. The best I can find is this. image
  2. In this picture, Dominic and Wak are behind Ali.  We have to get rid of them. How? The most popular way to do this is the long way: Magnetic Lasso Tool image . By using the tool, trace the outline of Ali in the picture. Make sure you don’t stop till you reach the initial point like this:image Tips: You can add your own point by left-clicking.
  3. Next step is to Select Inverse. You should know how to do that by now. Then, using the Magic Wand tool, use the Subtract from Selection image option (at the top panel), click on the empty area on the layer, so that only the picture is accessible. It will end up like this: image
  4. What lazy people will do next is to delete the area, and/or fill it up with colour. I don’t do that even though I’m a very lazy person. These are the options:

1. Healing brush image : A slow painful way. Choose the blank area at the top right corner as a reference by holding the Alt key and click on the area. Then, use the tool to blur out other area. For example, Dominic shirt in this picture: image

2. Smudge tool image or liquify: Both will have more or less the same effect on the picture. But I prefer liquify since using Smudge tool will fill up the History Panel. To use liquify, click on the Filter menu, then Liquify…. On the Liquify window, choose the Forward Warp tool image and adjust the brush size. Start the liquify process by click-and-dragging the curser from plain area on the top-right corner to the are you want to fill it up to. For example, Dominic’s face: image Don’t worry if you made a mistake, the Restore All button is ready for you on the right panel. If this is a pain in the *ss for you, just use the Smudge tool.

3. Clone Stamp Tool image : I find this the best tool in Photoshop. I use it very frequently. It works the same way as Healing Brush, but instead of blurring the image, it replaces the area to clone with a solid clone. This is the end result when I clone the blank are on Wak’s shirt and hand. image

4. Select Color : Refer back to what I’ve done on Eddy’s picture.

After clearing out with plain colour (not transparency), you should know what to do next, just like what I did with Eddy’s picture.

Attention! It might ended up looking so obvious like this:

image Just use the Blur Tool image . image A little less obvious isn’t it?

I’m going to stop right now since this is too long for a post, the next post will be the continuation of the project.


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