ChromaticSoul :: The Blog

Intro to Compositing

Posted on: 16 June 2010

Compositing, or photo compositing, is the technique—art and craft—of combining images to create a new image. The newly created image often presents its own version of reality.

Compositing is often used in advertising, where the use of the technique is sometimes intended to be obvious and at other times is designed to be seamless. Compositing has sometimes been used in journalism, although this use is generally frowned upon when discovered. The opprobrium hasn’t stopped the usage—for example, the Communist party under Stalin used old-fashioned compositing to “purge” out early party leaders as they were discredited by altering historic photographs to remove those who had been purged from the party.

Compositing comes into its own as a fine art technique, where concerns are conceptual, aesthetic and visual rather than related to factual concerns, ethics and marketing. This article concentrates on compositing to create art images—in any case the techniques are essentially the same no matter what the intended usage.

As art, photo composites usually present essentially unreal or “impossible” worlds (this phrase has been used as a description of M.C. Escher’s work, and I like to apply it to many of my photo composites).

If you’ve ever considered this art and would like to learn how to do it in Photoshop, you’ll want to read this article in photo.net.

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