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When I first started in Elements I had the hardest time visualizing what people on the forum were talking about. I asked the dumbest Qs, over and over. The nice people here patiently explained, over and over :D I would finally get it, especially if a screen-shot was posted.

I posted this picture a few days ago; got a lot of nice comments. The routine is pretty simple. Here are some screen shots for anybody that wants to try it for the first time.

The plan was to try to depict the "motion" of a person walking up a flight of stairs. I took a series of shots: exact same exposures, exact same view (camera was on a tripod). The first step is to start with the first frame (background layer) and then drag each successive frame onto that file, in sequence, with the last frame on top.

Multiple-start.jpg (116.17 KiB) Viewed 768 times

Now, starting at the very top layer, erase parts of that layer to the right and below the person. Drop down to the second layer and do that again - erase to the right and below. Drop down to the next layer and repeat. Keep doing that. The very bottom layer is left undisturbed.


It doesn't really matter how you select the parts to be erased. Use whatever you are comfortable with; I happened to use the polygon lasso tool.

The final step is to tweak the layers.

Multiple-finished.jpg (133.4 KiB) Viewed 767 times

There were several places where parts of the person in the "lower layer" overlapped part of the person in the layer just above. I used the eraser and a small-size brush to erase parts of the upper layer to reveal those places.


In this particular image, selecting and deleting, or erasing, was easy because it didn't have to be precise. I was using a very slow shutter (1/8th) because I wanted some motion blur on the moving person. If you are working with crisp, sharply focused images, you need to be much more precise when erasing. If you are shooting on a tripod, every single image should be perfectly aligned. I must have bumped the tripod because my very first shot was just slightly "off", just a bit but still not quite perfect. The solution is, for that layer, Select > All, engage the move tool, and then use the up/down, left/right arrows, one click at a time, to nudge that entire layer into alignment with the others.

Give it a try -- much easier to do than to explain :biggrin:

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa
Thanks for the tut, Rusty. going to have to try that
I don't like using the erase tool-too scared I'll get too carried away. I use Grant's layer mask or a clipping mask for those who don't have that useful plug-in.
True, Linda,
The erasing in this instance, however, was so uncomplicated, I took the fast way. If I screw up -- and I did on one -- it's easy enough to delete that layer, drag the proper image back into the stack and start all over.

Had I been working with a different type of image that required exacting and precise erasing, I think a layer mask would have been the way to go. Sure 'nuff, if I had a 20 minutes per layer job, I would have screwed it up around minute-18 :D You don't want to start all over from scratch on those.

For anybody that doesn't know what Linda is talking about, this is a Clipping Mask:

Multiple-mask.jpg (122.06 KiB) Viewed 703 times

You put a blank layer under your image-layer, group the image to that blank layer, fill that layer with color - any color - and that reveals the entire image layer. Then you start erasing the color on the mask layer. Wherever there is no color, the image doesn't show. If you screw up and erase something you want to keep, simply take your paint brush and paint over the erased spot. Again, paint with any color.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa
Thanks Rusty! I have a plan for a page that this will come in handy for. Much easier than the method I was going to use.
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