Photofusion: Mixing new and old photos

Photofusing end product. Click picture to enlarge to appreciate my masterpiece, and actually see what's new and what's old.

After getting a new Canon 60D, my dad and I decided that our first project with it would be 'photofusion'. You may be unfamiliar with this word, and that is to be expected, since I just invented it.

Photofusion |ˈfōtō ˈfyoō zh ən|
-Noun, from verb to photofuse
-when two photos, exactly the same, from different times are photoshopped together to create a unique blend of new and old.

Since we are in Dublin, my dad found pictures of Dublin, taken in 1961. There were several pictures to choose from, and in the end, we took three in total (see number 13, 22, 28 in link). By three I mean we took pictures of three different areas. In reality, we got over one hundred shots. Some places were harder than others, specifically near Trinity, as trees were planted, and the huge plants block reference points, not to mention the difficulty of photoshopping a tree. I have only completely photofused one of them however, and it was by far the easiest one to do. The location is a bridge in O'Connell Street.

Original Photo, (notice the young tree)

Taking the same picture as one made exactly 50 years ago is actually quite hard. First, we set up the tripod where the camera had roughly the same view. Once settled, we had to constantly glance from the viewer to a printed picture we had brought along, moving the tripod around, changing the angle, elevation etc. One thing we realised was that the man who had taken the original pictures had simply put the camera up to his eye, and he was almost the same height as my father, perhaps slightly taller. While tweaking the camera's position until getting the same picture, we took about thirty pictures. Perhaps the hardest part of photofusion is choosing which one you will pick to fuse. I eventually chose this particular one because it had a nice recent bus I could use.
Photofusing a picture requires a little photoshop knowledge, but fear not, I will give instructions (Note: I am using Adobe Photoshop CS4 vr. 11.0, on Mac). First, open your two different pictures into photoshop. They should open into different tabs. Select the Marquee tool and on the recent picture, using Cmd. A, you will select the entire picture. Copy it and paste into the tab that has the old picture. You'll find that the recent one is much larger than the old one. Simply go up to Edit -> Transform -> Scale. Make sure you are on the recent picture layer and holding shift (very important!!) drag a corner in until the images are about the same size. Press enter to validate the transform.

My Picture, (see how the tree has grown in 50 years?)

Now, you need to perfectly align the pictures. Set the opacity to the recent to around 50%, and drag the image around, or re-do the previous step if it is too large or too little. Sometimes, you'll find that the image doesn't quite fit, even if the size is right. In this case, go back up to Edit -> Transform -> Distort. Without holding shift, carefully move the corners around until everything superimposes. Press enter to validate. Remember to put the recent picture back to full opacity. It is also best to double click on the background layer, which is in fact the old photo, and selecting ok, which will make it into an editable layer.
Using the Lasso tool, either polygonal or magnetic, trace around whatever you want to get rid of. To fine tune little details, finish your selection and then go into Quick Mask Mode, which should be a button underneath the two colours at the bottom of your tools. It resembles a circle inside a rectangle. By using this, you'll notice that your selection should turn red. Using the Eraser, you can remove red which will remove the selection from that area. Using the Pen, you can add more red which will expand the selection. When done, just re-click on the Quick Mask Mode button. Make sure you are on the right layer and press backspace which will remove what was in the selection, and thus show you what was right under it. To fine tune the image a bit more, go to Image -> Adjustments -> Levels. Make sure you are on the layer you want to colour correct. Don't forget to save as you go! When finished, just Save As, and show your creation to the world! How do you like mine?

This entry was posted in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to "Photofusion: Mixing new and old photos"

Leave a reply