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Author name (Administrator) #1
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: NFG's Quick Guide to Multi-Action Images
I'm very happy with this shot.  The timing, the action, the light...  Everything came together rather nicely.

click for larger...

As you can see it's made from six exposures.  I combined them in an editor, PaintShop Pro 9 in this case.  The concept isn't really difficult:
  • Cut out the figure from each successive image
  • Paste it as a new layer onto the base image
  • Mask out the bits you don't want

I make a fairly coarse grab of the subject, taking a large rectangular chunk rather than trying to carefully cut out the figure.


Once pasted into the new image as a new layer, start masking out the background parts to reveal as much of the background as needed.  Obviously in this case I need to mask out anything that covers up the subject on the bottom image, but some parts of the background may also need to be revealed.

Unless you're shooting with a tripod, your camera will drift a little no matter how steady your hand is, and the background won't always line up.  By masking out all or parts of the background, you can hide the mis-matched lines, colour differences, things that have moved etc.  Masking it all out is quite a bit of effort, and wherever possible I try to reduce the workload.


As you can see, I masked out only the important parts: most of the building lined up, but I had to mask out the new layer wherever it covered the subject in the layer below.  This mask also reflects the layer above it: the subject on the next higher level (not shown) covered parts of the pole, so I didn't have to mask it completely.  Straight lines are important, as they'll be noticed first if one layer doesn't match another's positioning.  Pay close attention to them.

There's not much more to it except practice, and paying attention to the details.  There are some things that will make your life easier though:

1. Don't shoot in automatic mode, shoot manual.  IF you leave your camera in auto, it will try and make changes to the exposure based on the changes in each frame.  Nothing sucks quite as much as a brilliant action sequence ruined when the subject (and his background) change from light to dark to light again.

2. Use a tripod if you can, but if not just be sure to hold the camera as steady as possible.  A little movement is easy to accomodate later, but rotation tends to make a mess of things.  Do not follow the subject!  Work out where your subject will be, and then just hold the button down until he's done.

3. Keep it simple.  The fewer moving objects you have, the easier your masking job will be later.
Author name #2
User title: Vacant lot.
Member since Dec 2009 · 17 posts · Location: Melbbourne
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Photoshap  ;-)
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