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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
In order to achieve the effect where one photograph slowly blends into another, we're going to use a layer Mask with a Gradient tool. So I'm going to select these two images in Bridge, I'll go to Tools>Photoshop and then Load the Files into Photoshop layers, that's going to open up each one of these images from Bridge. We're just going to put them both into the same document, so you can see here I have my Spacers and underneath them I've got the Window. Now to create this nice soft transition between these two images, I'm going to select my Gradient tool, we can choose it from the toolbar or you can tap the G key on your keyboard.
Now by default, your gradient tool goes from your foreground color to your background color, but right now if we draw the gradient, the gradient would take the place of the photo on the layer. So, I'm going to click on the Add layer Mask icon at the bottom of Layers panel. As you can see the mask starts off as white. Anywhere that the layer mask is white, I can see the photograph. So I need to make sure that we're all starting in the same place, so tap the D key on your keyboard. What that does is it sets the default foreground and background color, so that we're all dragging the gradient that goes from white to black.
Now since white will show and black will hide, if I start my gradient at the top by clicking and then dragging down, and I can hold down the Shift key to get a straight line here at 90 degrees, when I let go of the Gradient tool, you can see that the gradient goes from white to black. It shows the spacers at the top and then slowly blends into the windows down below. If I hold down the Option or the Alt key, we can click on that mask, there is that gradient mask that we drew, click on the eye icon to toggle back on the visibility of the layer.
Now we can redraw this gradient as many times as we want. If I want it to be a more abrupt gradient, I might start somewhere closer to the center, and click and drag out just a short line with the gradient. Now you can see the transition happens much more quickly. I can also drag from left to right if I want to, we could drag down at an angle. We can drag the gradient as many times as necessary, until you get the exact blending that you want between the two images. We can even switch over to different types of gradients. If you'd prefer a Radial Gradient, we can select that, click in the center and drag out.
Now if that's the opposite of what you wanted, if you wanted to hide the center portion, all we need to do is tap the X key. That will exchange our foreground and background color and then redraw out the gradient. If we select the fourth gradient from the list here this is the Reflected Gradient. If I click in the center and drag out, this gradient goes in both directions. If we look at our layer and we look at the mask over here you can see that it started in the center as black and went to white on the right, but then was also reflected to white going the other way.
So, you can see there's a ton of different possibilities available by using the different styles of the gradient, when you're drawing in a mask to blend two images together.
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