Ready to watch this entire course?
Become a member and get unlimited access to the entire skills library of over 4,900 courses, including more Photography and personalized recommendations.Start Your Free Trial Now
- View Offline
- Making difficult selections quickly and easily
- Saving and loading selections
- Working with adjustment layers, clipping masks, and layer masks
- Using the Straighten and Crop tools
- Adjusting layer opacity
- Applying blend modes
Skill Level Intermediate
One of the easiest ways to combine image layers in Photoshop Elements is to lower the opacity of image layers and also apply blend modes, and I'd like to show you how to do that now with this movie. I'm currently in the Elements organizer application and I'd like to access some specific exercise files to open up inside of the Elements editor application. I'm going to go under the display menu up here in the upper right. I'm going to choose Folder Location. I'm going to access the working with layers sub-folder. I'm going to select dancers.tiff. Hold down the Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key in Windows and also select city.tiff.
I have both images now selected, and I choose fix. Choose full photo edit from the fix tab. That opens up both of these images. Inside of the Elements editor application. Okay great, now I have both of these images open. I'm going to position them side by side without docking them into one another. We're docking them into the work area. And with the mood tool selected, I'm just going to click and drag. The dancers.tiff image into the city image.
If I hold down Shift, it'll actually center that image into the other document. So now I can bring this one to the forefront by clicking on its title bar, close it, and now we can dock our composite image. All right, so we've got the dancers layer. Let's name that layer. Double-click on layer one. Type in dancers, press Return or Enter. If I turn off the visibility by clicking the eyeball icon we can see there's the background still in place. Okay, and we have the dancers layer above it.
Now one way that we can blend the dancers layer with the city background underneath it. Is to lower its opacity. You can see the opacity setting over here. It's currently at 100%. Which means that we can't see through this image at all to the layer underneath. But if we lower this by dragging the slider. We can start to see the city image through the dancers layer. And by lowering it's opacity. You can also use your scrubby sliders here by hovering the cursor over the word opacity and you can scrub back and forth that way. That way you don't actually have to click on the down facing arrow to access the slider.
All right scrubby sliders are kind of neat that way. All right so, that's one way that we can blend these two together. If we drag it down so we start to loose the wooden floor area. It also is loosing a bit too much of the dancers. All right, its a nice blending effect. We're loosing a little bit too much detail by using this particular method. So lets bring it all the way back up to a 100%. Something else you can do is try experimenting with the available blend modes here in Elements. If you click on this down facing arrow where it says normal, you'll find a whole list of blending modes that you can apply to the selected layer. All right, now normal means that no blending mode is being applied at all. No blending happening whatsoever.
Dissolve gives you a special effect which is kind of a pixelated effect, that's not what we're going for here. Darken, and this whole series up here, darken, multiply, color burn, linear burn and darker color are all going to enhance the darker colors in the image and tone down the lighter colors. So white will be completely dropped if we choose multiply, which is the most popular one. In that series of blending modes. And see what's happened here, things are looking a little too dark. We're working with two dark images here that we're trying to blend together. So generally these are probably not going to be the ones that are going to give you the best results. The next group are the opposite.
They enhance lighter colors. And tend to blend in the darker colors. So screen is the most popular one in this group, you choose that. You see that works a little bit better. All right, so now the darker colors in the selected layer are now being blended into the background layer. Okay? A much better choice. Lighten is like a softer version of screen, you can choose and actually like what it's doing there, see even less of the detail in those dark areas in the wooden floor with dancers. All right.
We also have this fourth group in here, the overlay group is what I like to call it. These can create some certain special effects. Depending on the colors that you're working with you can get really vivid effects, okay, things like overlay. What's happening here are the colors are looking way too dark, so we don't want that to happen. They are definitely more vivid, but that are also too dark. Soft light is a softer version of overlay. That's a little bit better but still not what we're going for, and then we've got all of these other ones here that can create some even crazier effects. But the one that I know works really well from this group linear light, okay.
That's pretty cool. You can also bring this down, opacity, try and make that work. Again, you get these sort of vivid, saturated type of effects when you are working with the overlay. Okay, we also have difference in exclusion and we have hue saturation, color and luminosity and these kinds of effects are more creating photographic effects not something that we're doing here. Difference exclusion is going to give you reversed effects, type inverted effects, these kinds of things. And unless you're going for that kind of look it's not necessarily what I'm going for in this instance.
But they give you those kinds of effects. I encourage you to experiment with the different blend modes that are available in here. Cause you can come up with all different kinds of compositing effects where you're working with different image layers. The one I think I'm going to stick with is this one here. It's called lighter color. Okay. That gives me a softened type of screen effect but the lighter colors are really much more vivid and but it does a really good job of dropping all the darker colors here, blending those in with the background image. And the good thing about it is that I don't necessarily have to create a mask in order to fade away parts that I don't want to see in here. Which I can do with the grading tool and that's something I'm going to show you how to do in a separate movie.
For now what I want you to understand is that you can blend image layers together by choosing different blending modes depending on the colors that you're working with in those image layers. You're going to get different results, you can also lower the opacity for a selected layer. In order to help blend it in, with the layers underneath.