Original images taken with a medium resolution camcorder

There are occasions where a client may need a photo merged for publicity. In this case, my clients were traveling abroad with only each other, so they would take pictures of each other, but couldn’t always have a photo taken of them together.

I was given a set of four photographs in which both men were in an approximate similar area.

Merging of this kind works really well when the subjects are in a similar environment. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when merging photographs is that they are taking two images from completely different realities and trying to merge them. The reason it works best in a cohesive environment is because of lighting and reflection of environment on the object(s), in this case, skin.

Human skin is made up of a myriad of colors which are both absorbent and reflective, so if, say, one person was at the beach and another in a dungeon, the light on the skin is going to be vastly different and therefore look “faked” when you try to merge them. It may work on occasion, but overall, I think that it’s an undesirable effect.


Beau & Thompson Lange in Indonesia

It should also be noted that to make seamless merges, the original images should be rather large These images were taken on location in Indonesia with a portable camcorder. The original images yielded 1488px x 1288px and were well under 1mb each. Those aren’t huge files, but they’re big enough.

I did this by taking the image of Thompson on the right and using that as the background. I (rather sloppily) “cut” Beau (left) out of his photograph and literally dropped him into the other photograph on a new layer. Then I cleaned up the image and blended the edges. I did this several years ago, so trying to remember exactly everything I did is impossible, but I know it was something like this because back then I didn’t even know how to do channel masks.

You’ll notice that there is some strange cyan outlining the body of the temple; that’s originally from the quality of the camera. In this case, the¬†clients use rough-quality as a trademark for branding their own DIY aesthetic, so it was fine to have medium resolution images to start. And because we wanted to blend some color into the sky, we chose to enhance the saturation a bit and even emphasize the DIY method. It’s part of their schtick, so it’s all good. For other clients, this may not be appropriate.

Here’s a link to a larger image for inspection.