Blending is the essential skill for every photo manipulator and it´s one of the first things to learn. Without proper blending your images won’t look believable. There are several ways how to blend images together. In this article I’d like to cover basic techniques which are essential for every manipulation.

Preview of Final Results

preview

A Photo Manipulator’s Guide to Blending

Blending is the essential skill for every photo manipulator and it’s one of the first things to learn. Without proper blending your images won´t look believable. There are several ways how to blend images together. In this article I´d like to cover basic techniques which are essential for every manipulation. In this tutorial you will learn how to blend with:
  1. Brush Tool and layer mask
  2. Lasso Tool
  3. Blending Modes
  4. Channels
There are plenty other ways how you can blend images together, some of them are more effective, some of them less. This tutorial is meant for the beginners in Photoshop to be able to create their first photo manipulations.

Resources

Before you’ll start download following resources.

1. Brush Tool and Layer Mask

One of the easiest things to blend are photos of nature similar to the two below. They have similar texture with flat pattern.
01_1
Let´s take a look at how to blend these images.

Step 1 – Naming the Layer

Download the picture of the meadow and open it in Photoshop. For the purposes of this tutorial resize the picture. Go to Image > Image Size and set the value Width on 600 pixels.
01_a
Name the layer MEADOW. You can do it on the palette Layers. It´s very important palette because it shows you from which layers your photo manipulation consists. If you don´t see this palette go to Window > Layers or press F7 on your keyboard. Palette like the one on the following picture appears.
01_2
As you can see there is only one layer so far named BACKGROUND. To rename it you need to make the layer editable. Right now it´s locked and because of that you can´t rename it, resize it, move with it etc. You can unlock the BACKGROUND very easily – right click on the layer and select the option Layer From Background…
01_3
Now you can rename the layer. To do that double click on the text Background and type MEADOW. Right now it may seem unnecessary to name your layer but it´s good to build this habit since the very beggining because once you start doing more complicated photo manipulations it will be hard to orient in all the layers (e. g. I usually work with 50+ layers) if they´re not named.

Step 2 – Dragging the Picture of Mountain

You need to place the mountain into the document with meadow. You can do it very easily. Open the picture of the mountain in Photoshop and then simply drag it into the second document. Name the layer with mountain MOUNTAIN by double clicking on the text Layer 1. Your layers should look like on the picture below.
01_4

Step 3 – Resize the Mountain

The picture of mountain is much bigger than the rest of the image. It needs to be resized. To do that go to Image > Free Transform or press Ctrl + T on your keyboard. Small squares arround the edges appear. Move with one of them to make the image smaller. While doing it hold Shift on your keyboard – it resizes the picture proportionally.

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