4.3. Stage 3

4.3.1. Ensemble

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.

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