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Image editing tutorial - Composite images

Step 1 – Load the files

The best way to start is to copy all of the photos you want to use into a folder on your hard drive. Start up your editing program, go to the File menu and select Open. Navigate to the folder in which you’ve put your photos, and select all of the ones you want to use for your composite. You can do this by clicking on the first one in the sequence, then holding down the Shift key and clicking on the last one. All the ones in between will be selected as well. With all the relevant photos highlighted, click Open. Note that if your computer is very old or has very little memory doing this may cause it to slow down noticeably, but most modern PCs should have no problem opening a dozen or more pictures at once.

In Paint Shop Pro X or later there’s no need to open all the shots at once, because you can use the browser to see the contents of the folder while you’re editing, and just open the files as you need them.

Step 2 – Start at the end

Find the last shot in the sequence and expand it to full screen. This will be the background image for the composition, so if there are any blemishes, such as those dust spots I mentioned in my review, now would be a good time to correct them. Don’t adjust the picture colour or brightness however, unless you want to do the same adjustment to every shot in your sequence.

Step 3 – The first layer

Leaving the background image still open, find the second to last shot in the sequence and expand it to full screen. Using the Polygon Lasso tool, draw a point-to-point line around the subject. You don’t need to be too close, in fact including some of the background will make it easier to match up the position.

When you’ve made your selection, either use Copy from the Edit menu or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-C to copy the selection to the clipboard.

Minimise or close the image you’ve just copied from, which should bring you back to your background image. Either use Paste from the Edit menu or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-V to paste the selection into your picture. It will appear as a new layer in the layer palette.

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