Creating A Stunning Sequence

Creating A Stunning Sequence

Written 13 years ago by Mark Evans

Branching off the idea of Time Lapse Photography is the idea of shooting a sequence. A sequence can be of almost anything that moves, and therefore the time between shots can vary greatly too. For example, taking pics of the setting sun is more like Time Lapse, whereas taking pics of a person doing a flip is more of a sequence. But whatever the subject, the series of photographs that you capture can be combined to produce one stunning photograph that shows the whole story. Here’s how to do it:

  • Set your camera up so that it wont move for all the frames you’re going to take; this makes it far easier to combine them all later on.
  • Shoot your sequence.
  • Import all photos in the sequence into Photoshop, for this example I’m using pictures of Lee doing a flip on the trampoline.
  • lee01

  • Now copy each photo in order onto the first image so that you have all photos as layers in the first photo. I use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and drag it out to select the entire photo, hit Edit->Copy (ctrl-c) then click onto the first photo and hit Edit->Paste or ctrl-v. This should create a new layer each time you paste another photo onto it. I also close each photo after I’ve copied and pasted it, so it doesn’t get confusing later on.
  • Now you should have your entire sequence as layers like so:
  • lee03

  • All you can see is the last photo in the sequence, so what we need to do is cut a hole in each layer so you can see the one below it. To do this we use layer masks.
  • Click on the little eye icons next to the layers to make them invisible, except the background layer and the layer above it then click on the layer above the background layer to select it and change the opacity to around 40% so you can see the layer below it.
  • Create a layer mask by hitting the little icon below the layers that looks like a little rectangle with a circle in it. The layer icon should now have a white box next to it, click this to select it.
  • lee05

  • Now select the Brush Tool (B); make sure your colour is set to black, and choose a soft brush.
  • Zoom in on the section of your photo that you’re going to work on and carefully brush over the area that you want to ‘cut out’, avoiding areas that are on the layer you’re on that you want to keep, remember all we want to do is cut a hole in the layer you’re on to see what’s underneath. So for my example I want to paint over where Lee appears underneath my layer only, but avoid him on the current layer where there is no overlap.
  • lee07

  • Once you’ve finished painting over that part, set your layer opacity back to 100% and make the next layer up visible by clicking on the eye icon next to it. Set the opacity to around 40%, click the new layer mask icon (rectangle with circle in) and do the same brushing again, this time again avoiding the bits where Lee appears on my current layer, while going over the bits underneath that I want to see.
  • Repeat until you get to the top layer. It does get a bit repetitive going over the same areas again, but the end result is worth it. And hey presto, you should get a pretty cool looking image!


With some practice you can make these sorts of images really look great, or go that step further and create an HDR version, but thats for another time, have fun!


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Jeffrey Byrnes  13 years ago

I love seeing photographs like this. Great post.

Barry  13 years ago

Been a while since I visited (sorry). Great post and original twist on photography. I will be giving this a go (maybe you should ask for your readers to submit their results!)

Good stuff chaps! ;0)

Lee Milthorpe  13 years ago

Thanks Jeff and Barry!

I’ll look forward to seeing your efforts.

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