You have probably seen photos on the internet where the same person appears in multiple spots in a single photo. At first sight, you might not have believed it, and later you must have gone berserk looking for ways that effect can be achieved. Well, who does not want that superhero feeling where you can appear in 2-3 different places doing 2-3 different things as well in a single photo.
Let me tell you, it is not at all complicated or difficult to clone yourself multiple times in a single frame. You can achieve this effect by going through two simple stages, the execution stage (shooting) and the post-processing stage. By the end of this tutorial, I am sure you will be able to create pretty awesome clone photos, feel free to share them in the comments section.
Part One – How to Clone Yourself – Execution
In the execution stage all you need is a:
- A digital camera
- A tripod
- Shutter release remote or use the built-in self-timer
Mount your digital camera on a tripod. As you will be taking multiple photos you need to make sure that the frame in each photo remains the same and the camera doesn’t move.
Make sure that Manual Mode is selected as you do not want any aperture, shutter speed, or white balance variations in your multiple photos. This is to make sure that all your photos are consistent in exposure, depth of field and color temperature.
Now focus on the point where you will be standing or sitting and switch the focusing mode to Manual as well. This is again to ensure that each photo is consistent in terms of depth of field and sharpness. An important suggestion is to use an aperture which is not too wide, something around f/5.6 – f/8 would be ideal to get good depth of field.
Switch on the 10-second timer on your digital camera so that you have enough time to position yourself in the frame and get ready for the photo. If you have one, you can also use a wired/wireless shutter release remote to click photos once you are ready and in position.
That’s it, now you are ready to take as many photos you as want to by positioning yourself at different spots in the frame.
Here you can see the four shots I took. It’s important to take one of just the scene without you in it as well as you’ll need it for the next stage.
Note: It’s important to take one of just the scene without you in it as well as you’ll need it for the next stage!
Part Two – How to Clone Yourself – Post-Processing
Now comes the interesting part of this tutorial where you get to learn how you can clone yourself multiple times in a photo using software such as Adobe Photoshop. Let me take you through a step-by-step explanation of how I achieved this photo.
Note: you need an image editing software that works with layers to do this. Lightroom cannot do this.
Import all the photos into Adobe Photoshop and get them to a single workspace by going to individual photos, pressing CTRL/CMD + A (select all) and again pressing CTRL/CMD + C (copy). Now go to the photo where you want all other photos to be brought together and press CTRL/CMD + V (paste). Do this for all the other photos until you have all the photos in one workspace as layers.
Make sure the image without you is the bottom layer. If it is not, drag it there now.
Note: Alternatively you can open Adobe Bridge and find your images. Select all the ones you want to use (CMD+click on each to select more than one) and go to Tools > Photoshop > Load files into Photoshop layers. This will achieve the same thing as copy and pasting each image. If you work in Lightroom you can select them all, right-click and select Open as Layers in PS as well.
Now add a black layer mask (press and hold ALT and then click on Add vector mask icon as shown in the photo below) in order to start the editing process. Select the Paintbrush tool and make sure that black is selected as the foreground color, and then click once on the mask of the layer you want to work on first.
Note: Make sure the mask is selected not the layer. See the white bracket corners on the mask? That means it is selected.
Layer by layer, start painting (at 100% brush opacity)_ over the area where you are located in that frame to make yourself visible in the photo. Do this with all the layers in order to make yourself appear in the photo at multiple spots as shown in the image below.
While bringing back one of yourself in the frame, if by mistake you erase your previous photo (your clone) you can bring it back by selecting the foreground color as white and painting back over it on the mask. So basically, painting with black lets you make the elements of the current layer visible, and the white color erases the elements of that current layer if you by mistake overdo it.
Black reveals – white conceals
Once you are done cloning all your photos proof check the final photo carefully, there is a chance that you might have erased a part of one of your clones by accident. Make sure you aren’t missing any toes or limbs.
So once you are satisfied with the final result, export it and start flaunting it on your social media channels and please share in the comments below.
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Author: Kunal Malhotra
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