How to choose correct background to blend with character & make realistic blending?

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  02 February 2013
How to choose correct background to blend with character & make realistic blending?


I am a photographer who want to learn more about proper artistic techniques of realistical "blending" of a foreground character to its background.

The problem: I usually have an isolated subject shot against some seamless in a studio. I want to choose a stock background so subject appears in some environment. Alternatively, I might just want an abstract texture to imitate a painted portrait. Let's assume that lighting on my subject is correct regarding my hypothetical background.

I have the character figure and full control on its lighting and shooting angles, but I can only choose some stock images for background.

I would like to read more about techniques that allow the most realistic blending into virtual background. The manual I am looking for should enumerate most of things that should be done right in order to make a perfect blend:
- in case I want to put my character in some virtual environment (eg person walks on the street)

- in case I want an abstract background to support my character, such as in portrait painting, but do not need to place character in virtual environment. I need to know pricniples that would lead to choosing a non-distracting, supporting background.

If you know a good sources of information that are dedicated to principles of realistic blending, I appreciate if you name them
  03 March 2013
Compositing foreground into a background and making them look like they fit naturally into a convincing scene, is mainly a matter of understanding enough about lighting, values, colors, edge quality, level of detail, and perspective. All of those elements have to match, and when even one of them doesn't, the result will look awkward. These are considered the critical foundations of visual art, and all visual artists should learn them, regardless of medium.

As for compositing a person in front of a textured background to create a portrait, you need to mainly learn composition. While most portraits have basic iconic composition with the subject in the middle, how you frame or counter-balance the subject can any way you want, depending on what the subject is. You need to consider the overall tonal composition such as how the whole image looks at the most basic abstract level of just the simplified large shapes. You can creating lighting on your textured background, such as some kind of spotlight effect, or vignette effect, and you can also create strong or soft contrast with the textures, as well control how sparse or dense the textures are, the pattern of the textures, the surface property of the textures, the depth of the textures, the colors of the textured surface, etc. All of these are more or less compositional decisions, and how you make those decisions will affect how the image reads. Do it wrong, and the background will be distracting, clashing, and inappropriate. Do it right, it'll add mood and complement the subject.
  03 March 2013
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