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In order to achieve the effect where one photograph slowly blends into another, we're going to use the Gradient tool and draw in a layer mask. So, from Bridge, I want to open both of these documents, and I want to put them into the same single Photoshop document. So, I'll select Tools and then Photoshop and then load files into Photoshop layers. Bridge will hand off each one of those images to Photoshop. But instead of opening them as two separate documents, we can see in the Layers panel that they are both in the document.
And the great thing about that feature is that it also names the layer what the document was. So, we can see that I have these spacers on the top. And if I click on the Eye icon in order to toggle it off, we've got the window underneath. In order to blend this top image into the bottom image, I'm going to add a mask by clicking on the Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Now that I have my Layer mask and I know that it's selected, because it's got the double frame around it, also like the Gradient tool. We can either tap the G key for gradient, or you can select it from your toolbar.
Up across the top, you'll notice that my gradient is going from black to white. But yours might be different. So, in order to make sure that we're all doing the same thing, let's tap the D key on the keyboard and that's going to to set our default colors. So now, our gradient should go from white to black because that's our foreground to background color down here in the toolbar. So, positioning my cursor anywhere in the image area, I can click and then drag out my gradient. You can see wherever the mask is white we can see the information on that layer, wherever the mask is black it's hiding it.
In fact let's toggle off the Eye icon because, what I want to make sure that we understand, is that this Layer mask really has nothing to do with the layer underneath it. This Layer mask is only showing or hiding information on the layer next to it. So, yes certainly when it hides information we can see the layer underneath, but that's quite confusing when you're first learning. You just need to know that this mask controls what part of this layer you see. And if we Option+click on the mask here you can see that wherever the mask is white, that's where we could still see the photograph. Where the mask was black, that's where we were hiding the photograph. So, let's click on the Eye icon to toggle that on, and we can see where it's white we can seethe layer where it's black it hides the layer. And the reason I point that out is because that's the way masking works no matter what kind of layer you have.
It can be an Adjustment layer it can be a Type lair, wherever the mask is white you see the type, or the adjustment or the photograph on that layer. Wherever it's black, it's hidden. Alright lets turn on the layer underneath, by clicking on the Eye icon, and lets redraw our gradient. So, if we start at the very top and we drag all the way down and we wanted this to be a straight gradient, I can hold down the Shift key and that would constrain it to a vertical line. If I'm dragging at a diagonal you can see that it would also constrain it. To 45 degrees or to a horizontal line, but I want it to go all the way from the top to the bottom.
So, now I've got a really long fade in my gradient. It started at white at the top and it took all the way down to the bottom in order to transition. If I wanted to create a shorter length gradient, it would create a more abrupt transition. But I can do that by just starting maybe near the midpoint, I'm going to hold down the Shift key and just drag a short gradient. And now we can see that the transition is much shorter between what we can see and what's hidden. And sure enough if we Option or Alt+click on the mask, we can see how short that transition is here in our mask.
So, if we don't draw the mask correctly the first way, it's not a big deal, because we can just continue to click and drag in order to create a new mask. Now, if we did drag out a mask, and it was exactly what I wanted, only backwards, like it was opposite, and I just wanted to invert the mask, we can do that one of two ways. Certainly on the Properties panel, I could come down and click the Invert Button. But we could also just use a keyboard shortcut which is holding down the Cmd key on the Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, and then tapping the I key.
That will invert your mask. And of course we're not limited to the linear gradient, there are five different kinds of gradients that we can explore. The second one is the radial gradient, so we'll click and drag out. You can see that it creates a radial gradient over here in your mask. And again, if I wanted to invert this, I can either use Cmd+I in order to invert it or we can also tap the X key. The X key is going to swap the foreground and background color. So, now all I'd need to do is redraw it and I could redraw it inverted because we swapped the foreground and background color.
And that's how easy it is to slowly fade one image into another in PhotoShop.
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