How to blend one image into another.
The layer mask my friend. Click here for the article on layer masking.
Often throughout many great designs you will see perfect fades where an image
(layer) fades into the color or rest of the background. How can you create
the universally used effect? With my secret weapon; the gradient layer
You simply use the gradient tool on a layer mask to 'swipe' in and hide
pixels. The gradient is the smoothest way to hide pixels with the layer
mask (you can also use the brush, paint bucket, fills, etc.). Remember to
use black as your foreground color and foreground to transparent as your
settings. Using foreground to transparent will allow the black (hide
pixels) to fade into invisible-ness so you can see the layers beneath it.
So to blend one image into another, have your two layers on one document and
simply click on the layer mask icon to add a layer mask. Now grab your
gradient tool on the right settings and swipe across one of the layers (make
sure the layer mask icon is selected in the palette). The shorter your
swipe, the tighter the fade will be and the longer your stroke, the smoother a
transition of the blend you will have.
Check out the tutorial
on gradient layer masking to create a perfect blend.
You can view the rubylith (which shows you what you are doing) by toggling
the "|\" key on the keyboard or going on the channels palette onto the layer
mask channel (yes it's own channel is created) and clicking the eye on and off.
You can mask without the rubylith but I recommend using is so you can see what
you are doing if you are a beginner. Remember to choose white to bring
back your original pixels on the layer mask and you can use any level of grey in
Try taking a photo of yourself (a close up) and dragging it onto an image of
a sunset, do a good layer mask to cover the rough edges and put the blending
mode on screen, lighten or overlay. You will often have to use layer
masking (better than "erasing") if you don't make selections before you drag new
layers in because they will have the rectangular shape around them. I will
usually just layer mask it if I don't need to get a selection (ie. landscapes).
Oftentimes I'll use the star gradient tool with the rubylith on and switch to
the smudge tool on a brush of say, 8 pixels and 90% strength and drag one of the
lines out to create a starburst effect.
Learn how to blend with the layer mask and using the gradient tool.
It's my single favorite and most used feature in Photoshop for graphic design.
Here's a perfect basic example of a "blend" using the gradient tool on a layer
mask (you only need to choose one layer to mask). My Basic Photoshop DVD
layermasking in-depth. You can also see it at work in advanced real-world
designs with my Photoshop
- Orion Williams copyright 2004