Composites : How to Integrate Photos with Renders

August 3, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm BST

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August 3, 2019
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm BST
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Integrating photographs with 3D generated renders provides a new universe of possibilities for the digital artist. You can suddenly inject familiar people, objects and landscape elements into your crafted fantasy rendered scene. Compositing can start with the simple – by changing out a sky or background to something more complex, such as placing a photographed person naturally into a 3D generated scene. There are certain essential principles that will help get you the best results and Deanna Cathcart (Deathbycanon in the DAZ forums), a prolific and popular artist at DAZ 3D, Renderosity and DeviantArt will show you how to do this!

DAZ Studio and Photoshop is used in this class, but most of the principles can be translated quite easily for other combinations of software.

Webinar Date: Saturday 3rd August : 20:00 BST (London)/ 12:00 PDT (Los Angeles) / 15:00 EDT (New York)

Duration : 1.5+ hours


  • Planning the composite final image
  • Planning for the photoshoot
    • Lighting
    • Consider using the model’s head/face only
    • Costumes
    • Posing
    • Camera settings
  • Finding and using stock images

DAZ Studio work

    • Matching lighting
    • Matching the virtual camera angle and settings
    • Make a billboard from the model
    • Shadows
  • Main Photoshop work
    • “Grounding” the photo models into the scene
    • Softening the photo models
    • Masking
    • Matching tones
    • Shading
    • Head swap : how to composite a model’s head image onto a 3D character

Postwork Finishing touches

    • Textures
    • Filters
    • Light rays
    • Detailing


About the presenter : Deanna Cathcart (Deathbycanon)

Deanna Cathcart has played around in photoshop since ps5 came out in 1999. She did composites using other people’s stock for several years before picking up a camera in 2004 to start taking her own photos to work from. That didn’t last long as she quickly became very well know locally for her photography and opened up her own photography studio a few months later. It was a very successful business, but the stress that came with it didn’t play well with her chronic illness and after several hospitalisations doctors told her she needed to stop working. She closed the studio in 2012. It was too depressing for her to even touch a camera for a few years so she took a break.

Then her youngest daughter became interested in makeup and costumes and would dress up and ask her mother to take her photos, so Deanna picked her camera back up. She went back to the reason she picked her camera up in the first place and started doing composites again. Some of these needed dragons, and she was running out of pre rendered dragons being offered at DeviantArt, so in 2017 she ventured into Daz Studio. It took her awhile to get the hang of it but once she did she loved it. It was like having her photography studio back again!

Deanna is now a successful digital artist and is a co-founder of Sympatico Studios