How to do a Multiplicity Photo

Multiplicity photos, also known as Clone Photos or Me, Myself and I are quite popular, and always bring plenty of laughs with friends and family, not to mention other Multiplicity creators.

Multiplicity: The Crowded Tree

Multiplicity Photo: The Crowded Tree

First question for those who are not sure, What is a Multiplicity Photo? Basically, and in a nutshell is a series of photographs taken by the photographer where the camera does not move, but the subject does. To get the final image (like mine shown here) the photos are blended together in Photoshop or other photo-editing packages.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the process from start to finish – and please don’t worry; it may sound complicated but its not ūüôā

Getting Set Up

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the right tools for the job. ¬†Apart from the obvious, being a camera, a tripod is a most definite. ¬†The only other you will need is either an infared remote, or cable release. ¬†If you don’t have either of these, then you will need to use the self timer on the camera, and time things just right!

Next, find a nice location for your Multiplicity Photo.  It can be anywhere you like, inside your house, in your back garden, in a woods (like my example) or in an open field Рits entirely up to you.

Getting the Photos

Now that you are ready – have a think of what type of image you want to do. ¬†Its always good to have some kind of theme in your mind, and a title. ¬†For my example above, I called it The Crowded Tree. Looking at the photo you can see that the tree IS pretty crowded, so much so, that you got one of me on the left freezing because I can’t get in, and then there is the other me on the right tip-toeing away.

Take a look at my original photos taken for the final image.  You can see that I first took a photograph of the tree by itself.  Next I photographed myself six times.

Multiplicity Photo: Getting the Original Photos

As a general rule I take more photos and weed out the ones I don’t want when I get back home.

Now you have the photos its time to get them blended together in Photoshop or your preferred photo package.

Bringing Things Together

This first step will depend on what RAW software you use.  What you need to do is if only using Photoshop, is open Mini Bridge, find your photos and select the ones you want.  Next click on the Tools icon, then Photoshop, then Open As Layers.

If you have Lightroom, again select the photos you want, then chose Edit In… Open As Layers in Photoshop.

As long as you can get your photos into your photo package for editing, and they are all lined up, it doesn’t matter which way you go.

Once in Photoshop, this is where the real fun begins. ¬†As I mentioned earlier, it may sound difficult, but it isn’t.

Layers Mask Icon

Click on the Layers Mask icon

This is my process, you may choose to try something different.  I begin with turning off all the layers apart from the original tree and the top most layer.

Now press keyboard combination of CTRL+E – this will merge the two layers together.

Next turn of all layers, and turn on the 2nd from the top of the Layers Pallet Рthis is to get an idea of the next YOU is.  Once you have an idea, turn on the top most layer again, and click on the Layer Mask Icon, shown in the example over to the left.

Press the ‘B’ key to activate the Brush Tool, and then press the ‘D’ key to make sure the colour pallet is set at its default of Black as the foreground colour, and White as the background colour. ¬†Now – simply paint over the area of the 2nd YOU was, and you should see the 2nd YOU start to ¬†appear.

Tip: Start off with a hard edge (largish brush), then change to a smaller soft edge brush to refine the edges.

Once you are done, merge the layers using CTRL+E and continue the whole process until you have merged all the photos together.

Click the photos below to view some more of my Multiplicity photos on my Flickr PhotoStream.

Multiplicity: Think We're Lost - Click to view more examples

Multiplicity: Think We’re Lost

One thought on “How to do a Multiplicity Photo

  1. Pingback: How to do a Multiplicity Photo « Mark White Photography

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