I touch on it in my tutorial on "3 tone guide to composition". In that tutorial I use black, white and gray to determine eye flow and subject to ground weight and position, but a 2 bit depth (B&W) is also effective and much easier to achieve in most image viewers (I use IrfanView). Check out my tutorial for a better understanding of how I use that technique to look for strengths and weaknesses in a composition.
When compositing, I see all elements as being fluid for positioning. While I may have a base plate image that creates my canvas size, I keep in mind that placement of all objects within that canvas are relative. I might even expand my plate image beyond the physical borders of my canvas if needed. In this case, lowering the foreground elements (people, bike, grass and pavement) will give the same results as raising the building a touch.davechinn wrote: ↑Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:57 pmYou are correct to some degree on building placement. Composites does give one a lot of control. To me, the building was stationary, where the main subjects were the added features that gave me the control to move about where ever I prefer. I suppose I could have reversed the choice, but never have done composites in that way so I didn't consider it. Maybe I should give that portion a try. I hope I'm making sense to where anyone ready this will understand what I'm trying to get across.
True, a novice or casual observer may not notice but I find that often the truer scenario is they notice it subconsciously but are unable to vocalize what exactly is wrong with the image they are viewing. We have the benefit of a working knowledge of photography, composition and art principles on top of experience with image analysis through past critique processes to be able to identify and verbalize certain issues and discrepancies. Never fall into the trap that the viewing public doesn't know what they are looking at. Doing so disrespects your audience and leads to bad habits within your own work. Never underestimate your public.davechinn wrote: ↑Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:57 pmThe handlebars and building didn't have any importance to me, but maybe should have. Something I need to keep an eye on when doing composites. Composites are always a work in progress so there will be mistakes that matters and there will be some that won't. I'm convinced the average individual viewer will not pick up on most mistakes, but that doesn't correct any issues, so therefor need to be corrected from the beginning.
One technique I use when looking to replicate a specific style is to cull various examples from different source materials. In your case there are plenty of examples of Norman Rockwell's art all over the internet. Once you've collected some samples, you need to deconstruct the images and isolate the various techniques used that give his work that particular feel. What is it about the lighting? What is it about the use of textures? What is it about the posing of the subjects? Color saturation? Exposure range? etc...davechinn wrote: ↑Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:57 pmI thought about adding a little more blur but decided against it, but I still may do so later. Overall your suggestions and edit does help. My thoughts and theory on exposure was to stay in the guidelines of the direction of lighting, which is why the faces were on the darker side. I just didn't want to go too far and overdo it, which I am guilty of in the past. Its always a challenge for me to stay within certain guidelines so to speak. Always an education and its much appreciated Duck !!!
By breaking these key elements down you can then use your experience with the tools within Photoshop to try in replicating the look within your own image. For example, with Norman Rockwell, the driving elements are expression of emotion through the face and body language through the pose. Together they drive the story he is trying to make. Everything else are supporting that story such as props and a very minimalistic use of backgrounds. As with critiquing, this also takes practice.
Best of luck moving forward. A piece of advice... don't be afraid of scrapping a project to start over again. Sometimes a fresh start gives a fresh perspective.