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Another fun way to take multiple images and combine them together is to photograph the same scene when different things happen. So this can either be, say a sports event where someone is running by the frame, or it can be an instance like this, where I've got the Sydney Harbour and there's boats going in and out of the frame. So in order to merge these all into the same document I will select the first one, hold down the Shift key and then select all three of these and choose Tools, Photoshop, and then Load Files Into Photoshop Layers. That's going to tell Bridge to hand off each one of these documents and put it in a single layered document.
We can see our multiple layers over here on the Layers panel. So let's hide the eye icon next to the top layer and also next to the middle layer. You can see the only thing that's changing here, of course, are the boats in the water and the clouds, but this building, for example, right here is not changing and neither is this one and that's because I did have my camera on a tripod. If you don't have your camera on a tripod and you need to align multiple layers, you'd make sure they're all visible and then select all of those layers, and you can choose Edit > Auto-Align Layers. But I don't need to do that, so I'll hide that top layer and then just select this middle layer.
Now, this might seem a little bit backwards at first, but what I want to do is, I actually want to hide this entire layer. So I'm going to add a mask, but I want that mask to be black. So, I'll hold down the option key or the alt key on Windows and click on the mask icon. So now my mask is black so I'm hiding everything on this layer. If I toggle on the I icon, you can see nothing is changing in the image. But I need to kind of peek at what the contents are on that image, so I'll use my properties panel. And I'm going to decrease the density a little bit, because this is a non destructive change, I can decrease the density here, and it temporarily decreases the density in the Layers panel, but the same rules still apply. So, even though I'm seeing this at a light grey, I still need to paint with white in order to reveal the contents on that layer. So I'll bring the density down a little bit and then I'll tap the b key to select my brush tool and I'll zoom in a bit using command plus, a little smaller brush using t he left bracket..
And make sure that I'm painting with white, so I'll tap the x key so white's my foreground color. And I'll want to make sure that my opacity's up at 100%, and then all I need to do is paint over the boats that I want to appear. You can see in my layers panel and if I hold down the option or the alt key and click on that, there is the hole that I've cut in my mass. Now we'll go ahead and paint over this boat here on the left and this one right here. Now I want to increase the density here. So I'll grab my density slider move it all the way to right. We'll hide the properties panel for a momentt and then we can toggle on and off this layer.
One of the things that I can see though is that lighting between the two photographs that I took, and so, around this boat or scene of brighter area. I could go in and try to mask that a little bit more accurately. But I might also want to try to just darken down that area. In fact, I actually probably want to darken down the entire layer. So I'm going to add a curves-adjusted layer. And I don't want this adjustment to affect all of the layers, right? So I'm going to use the clipping mask icon right here, so that this curve only affects this second layer. So now you can see as I make changes to the curve it's only affecting those three boats.
And I'm just going to bring the curve down a little bit, and I can use the down arrow in order to do that. You can see as I bring it down we're actually darkening down that water, so that these blend together better. Alright, now let's work on this top layer here. I'm going to hide the properties panel. Make the top layer visible and select it. We can toggle it on and off so, we can see the boats that we want to use from this layer. And then again, I'll add my mask while I hold down the option or the alt key. That adds the black mask.
We go to the properties panel and decrease the density a little bit so that we can see those boats that we want to add. And then I'll make sure that I'm painting with white and I will click and drag over the boats that I want to add. Looks like the lighting has changed here as well, so I'll probably need to go in and change the curve on this layer. But let me just get these boats in the background here as well. And, I'm not sure which of the boats I prefer.
I actually think I like the way it was before, so really easily I can just Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z. I think I like having this boat here as opposed to the smaller ones behind it. So we'll return to the properties panel, increase the density of the mask. Then we'll add a curve adjustment layer, we'll make sure it's clicked to only effect the top image. Click on the curve to set a point, and then just decrease the curve until we blend those images in. If there are portions of your image right here which aren't quite blending well, then we can return to the mask.
Tap the X key in order to exchange your foreground and background color. Then I'm just going to paint a little closer, be a little bit more careful around that boat in order to remove the extra background. We'll close the Properties panel. And now if I hold down the Option or the Alt key And I click on the eye icon next to the original layer. You can see that we've added all of these different boats. If I use the Cmd key, Ctrl key on Windows, and tap the 0 key, we can zoom out.
And we can go ahead and preview that again with the Option or the Alt key. So that's before and that's after. This is a great technique if you want to add elements to an original photograph, but those elements happen over a period of time. Just take multiple photographs and then use your masks in Photoshop to composite them together.
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