Tripods for Digital Compositors

Everyone is familiar with the basic uses of a tripod.  They’re designed to keep your image steady and reduce shake.  This is especially important when taking photos in low light setting, but they have so many other uses.  One such use is when it comes to speeding up your workflow as a digital editor.  Retouchers, and digital compositors alike can gain a lot of benefits by including a tripod into their workflow.  For a retoucher it ensures that you get the crispest photograph possible to touchup later, for digital compositors it allows the artist several identical shots to work with.

The goal of digital compositing images is to take several images and blend them together in a way that make you think you are looking at a single image, while retouching is taking an already well taken photo and making corrections on it to bring out the required image.  Whether you are merging multiple image into a single image to create a digital composite, or retouching your images one of the key features you need is a good photograph.

The most obvious reason anyone uses a tripod is to reduce shake.  However this becomes even more important when you are working with images you want to be extremely sharp.  As a digital compositor if you are cutting out images along edges then you want to have mostly straight edges to cut from, this will speed up your workflow and stop you from having to spend too much time in a particular area.  If you are retoucher and you want to remove a blemish, it can be difficult to do if you don’t have uniformity in your photo.  By stabilizing your image on a tripod you can ensure you’re working with the sharpest skin texture possible.


The tripod becomes even more essential if you’re working on location and you want to maintain the same background throughout an image.  By using a tripod you will be able to capture you scene and your subject in several different positions.  When you are finished it’s simply a matter of stacking all of your shots into your photo editing software and removing the pieces that are unwanted.  The alternative to this would be having to hand hold your camera and hoping that your background lines up, or having to use warp tools in your photo editing software to align everything perfectly without distorting your image.


Having several shots of the same image not only allows a digital compositor to create something new, but it also gives the artist the ability to create the original image that was intended.  Many digital compositors rely heavily on their clone stamp and healing brushes.  This can often create an unreal look to an image, and cause the viewer to focus on unintended parts of the image.  By working with multiple images taken on a tripod the photographer can add them all into layers in photoshop.   Once they are all added the photographer can then easily remove any distractions that came into the scene during the time the photograph was being taken.    By adjusting the opacity on any of the layers the artist can then determine what spots need to be edited, and can remove them by using layer masks or simply erasing them.



This technique becomes even even more important in locations with lots of tourists.  When there are a lot of people walking around it’s almost impossible to take a photograph without someone walking in front of your camera.  However by digitally compositing the images you can create the perfect shot.


-Timo Frazier

FANTiM Fotography


Model/Dancer : Mone Ohashi

Assistant: Xian Six

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