Is there never enough time in a day?
Need more hands to help around the house?
Want to build an army to take over the world?
Well no worries, the solution is quite simple. Layer masking! You can duplicate yourself (or anyone else) endlessly that way.
While the most recent version of Photoshop has made masking easier, there have traditionally been two methods of doing this. One would be to cut the subject out of a photo and basically paste it onto the background of choice. This is the easier way, but it isn’t always appropriate. The other way involves creating a layer mask in which the subject is completely blacked out, and the background is completely whited out. Though more complicated and time consuming, this is a far more precise method. However, the second way will be discussed at a later time, as you can easily preserve detail under the conditions in which we are using the masking.
In this particular situation, we’re taking a single environment and duplicating the subject. Under these circumstances, you don’t have to have a lot of precision. The most important part of this process is to make sure that the camera doesn’t move.
What you’re going to want to do is place your camera on a tripod, using a remote if possible to fire the shutter. After the initial shot, you’ll move the subject to the second desired location and take a second shot. After that, a third, and so on.
Once you’ve taken the shots, it’s time to open them up in the editing program of your choice. You’ll want to select a primary photo; this is the one you’ll be placing all the masks on.
The best tool for this job is the lasso tool. You won’t want to try to be too precise; when you use this method to mask, it is difficult to preserve fine detail. And if you want to transplant hair? Forget it. It’s best to simply get the rough outline, slightly outside the border of the subject.
After you select the subject, you can choose ‘select,’ then ‘invert selection’ (if you’re using Photoshop). You can then use the background eraser tool to get rid of everything you don’t want to transplant. Then pull up the primary photo, and use the ‘move tool’ to transfer the subject onto it. Again, you’ll want to be careful that you place the subject precisely on the image in order to ensure that the remaining portion of the background surrounding the subject matches the primary image. That being done, you are then free to repeat the process as many times as you want.
So remember: the key to taking over the world is… creating layer masks!