4.3. Stage 3
The hardest part was over! Well, sort of. … I shot the photographs on Portra 160NC Kodak color negative film, which gives you more control over lighting than sheet film. I digitized the photos on an Imacon virtual drum scanner, to preserve the sharpness.
I opened my six pictures in Photoshop and put them onscreen together so I could compare the dominant elements, the contrasts, etc. I then opened a new file with a format larger than final output size—about seven feet wide—and dragged all the shots into it.
I could now start superimposing the pictures. I worked on the characters one at a time, starting from the left and flattening the layers as I went, to save memory. I saved each stage in separate files in case I wanted to come back and rework them later. For starters, I moved the first picture on top of the second at 50% opacity and used the arrow keys to align them, right down to the pixel.
Since the final image would be about seven feet wide, I could afford to create big enlargements while retaining perfect definition.
The final size of an image determines the way you work. Retouching a 4 × 6-in. picture isn't the same as retouching one that is seven feet long.