Every time I create one of these action shots of kids running or diving, the reaction from viewers is the same.”That’s so cool.” You can do it too with Photoshop and a little trial and error
To show a sequence of several frames follow these steps:
- Fire away a sequence of continuous shots. If you can capture the sequence without moving the camera, you’ll save work in the next step. Otherwise, pan carefully, doing your best not to tilt the camera
- In Adobe Lightroom, select several of the best frames. Ensure that they all have the same exposure and color temperature values, as best you can.
- Open those frames as layers in Photoshop. Now you have to manually align the frames. Turn off the visibility on all but the top and bottom layer.
- Using Photoshop’s auto-align function may not work well because it is going to attempt to align the diver (or your key subject) when what you want is to align the background. Select the top layer and reduce the opacity to 40 or 50%. Then, grab that layer and move it until the backgrounds line up. If you remember rangefinder cameras this will be a bit like lining up the split image in those classics of the film era. Restore the opacity to 100%
- Turn off the top layer and turn on the next layer beneath it and repeat the alignment. Continue down the stack of images.
- With all the layers turned on create a layer mask for the top layer. Select a paintbrush tip with no feathering and paint away part of the top image to reveal the (diver) below. Switch the paint color back and forth between White and Black to paint in, or paint out the image.
- Work your way down through the stack of images turning layers on and off to check your work.
With a little practice you’ll get the hang of it.