Join Ted LoCascio for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a fine-art montage, part of Combining Images with Photoshop Elements 9.
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Now, I'd like to show you how you can create a Fine Art Montage in Photoshop Elements 9. I'm currently in the Elements Organizer application and I'm viewing the exercise files in Thumbnail view. I'm going to switch that view by Clicking on the Display button and choosing Folder Location. That allows me to access the exercise files specific to this chapter. I'm going to Click on the chapter sub-folder name creating a Layered Photo Project. I'm going to scroll down in the File browser here and I'm going to select these two images, bamboo trees.tif and then Hold down the Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key in Windows and choose Buddha.tif and ultimately what we want to create is this Buddha trees image. All right, so with these two working images selected now, I'm going to go into the fix tab and I'm going to Choose Full Photo Edit.
That opens up both of the images inside of the Editor application. All right, here they are, we can go ahead and hide the project band. And we'll just work with these two images. The first thing that I want to do is Drag the Buddha to the right, Switch to the Move tool. And I want to Click and Drag and Hold down Shift as I do, in order to copy that image into the bamboo trees image. Notice that they match perfectly. These are the resolution and the size of these is pretty much the same, right and that means that they're very compatible to work with. All right so we can close the original Buddha image and now just work with this composite.
Let's go ahead and Drag this up til we see that blue rectangle in order to dock it, and then we can Drag down this Layer. First, let's name it. We'll double-click Layer 1, and we'll name it "Buddha." Right. Let's Return, or Enter. With the Move tool now holding down Shift to constrain my movements, I'm going to Drag down right about there, okay? All right, so we can start to see some of the background Layer behind the Buddha layer and that's the trees, okay? All right, let's go ahead and zoom in. We can Choose fit on screen from the View menu. All right, next thing I want to do is Create a mask in order to hide all of this scenery around the Buddha on this layer. I want to do this nondestructively so I'm going to apply a mask, but before I do that I need to make a selection.
So I'm going to Click on the Quick Selection tool over here in the tools panel, size my brush accordingly. I'm going to increase the size using the right bracket key. You can also Choose a value from up here using the slider. I find that the Bracket key is much easier to work with on the fly. So, pressing the right Bracket key to re-size the brush incrementally, and then just Clicking and Dragging over the Buddha and just trying to get the best selection I can. We're obviously going to have to edit this somewhat, after we get the basis of our selection made. Okay, so we got a little bit too much area.
If we hold on the Option key, we can Click and Drag over the areas where we selected a little bit too much. All right, and that removes, the selected area. All right, we'll go ahead and use the same up here, we don't need that tree, select it. Now, it does not have to be exact at this point, all right? Or really ever. (LAUGH) It's okay to, not be perfect. All right? So don't spend too much time being anal about this and trying to get a perfect selection, because ultimately, we're going to use some soft edges in our mask, and it doesn't require that this selection be super precise. All right? All right. So we're close.
I'm going to go ahead and do the best I can editing with the tool. I think that's good enough for now. All right, so we have the basis of our selection made using the Quick Selection tool. Now I want to apply a Layer mask. And I can do that by Clicking on the Layer mask icon. At the bottom of the Layers panel and you can see what's happened. The area that I had selected is white within the mask. And the surrounding area, which was not selected, is now filled with black, which means that it's now hiding all of that extraneous scenery that we don't need in our composite image.
All right, now, in order to clean this up even more, we can just paint inside the mask. That's why there was no point for us to kill ourselves with the selection, cuz it's much easier to adjust the mask, okay, using the brush tool. So, let's click on the brush tool down here. All right, I'm going to set it up to 100% to start out with. Open our Options panel. I'm going to make sure it's a soft brush, maybe 300 pixel, something like that. And let's go ahead, and the first thing I want to do is hide some of these areas down here that don't need to be selected. Maybe I should re-size the brush. Left Bracket key and then Click and Drag, to paint black in the mask. All right, black conceals, white reveals.
So what I'm doing is anywhere I paint over is hiding that area in the image for that layer. Okay? Hiding that imaging area, that looks good. Now if we want to bring back some image area, all we need to do is switch these around. And paint with white so Click on the Arrow here. That switches them around and then we can paint, say over here. Bring in some of the side of his face and down over here, etcetera, etcetera. All right something else I would like to do is soften the areas all the way around him, the edges, okay? And I'm just going to paint him.
'Kay, rather than messing with the Refine Edge dialog box, I'm just going to paint him. With this brush now, I'm just going to go around the edges and I'm going to paint at 50% like so. And then, Click and Drag to go around the edges and soften everything up, 'kay? Actually want it to look really soft through here, we can almost see through him. Or we can see through him. Okay, and down here as well.
We're going to combine this with some blend modes and things which will add to the transparency effects. Okay? For now we're just focusing on the edges. Okay. Starting to look good. Okay if you overshoot the mark you can always switch colors again, come back in, and paint again, to bring that area back like so. Okay? All right so this is starting to look really good. You can see what we've done in here. We've got our mask, remember, this is completely non-destructive. No pixels have been damaged.
If we wanted to, we could throw away this mask, and Start over from scratch. Okay? That's the beauty of working this way. Everything is completely editable. All right, now, to add to the the Fine Art Montage, we're going to actually duplicate some layers. And the first thing I want to do is Select a background. Drag that down over the create new layer icon in order to duplicate it, and I'm going to Drag it above the Buddha layer. Okay? Now we've covered everything up. I'm going to go ahead and rename this. Trees lightened. And the reasons I'm naming it lightened is because that's the blend mode I'm going to apply to it.
All right, lighten is sort of a softer version of the Screen blend mode which drops your darker colors and emphasizes the lighter colors. Okay? So that's what's happening here. All right? You see, that's why this is looking more ghost like. And that's because this blend mode is bringing out those colors. All right? I'm going to decrease the opacity value though, because I think the effect is a little bit harsh. So if we decrease this down to about 45%, the effect will not be as intense. All right, that's the beauty of the opacity slider up here. It does control how much you're adding the effect, okay? All right, so the next thing I want to do is duplicate the Buddha layer and bring that to the top of the layers panel.
So we'll Click and Drag that down. Bringing this up to the top. And then I'm going to change this one to Overlay blend mode. Okay? Which is going to make the colors much more vivid wherever it's blending. Okay? And I'm going to lower the opacity of this layer as well down to about 80%. Okay? I think I'd like to lower the opacity of the layer down here as well. Okay? To get it even more ghostly. Something like that 80%, 81 somewhere like that. And now we have a finished Fine Art Montage.
All right? All we used were two images, dragged them into each other, they were sized perfectly which is great. Made that nice quick and easy. We made a selection with the Quick Selection tool. We then applied a layer mask, based on that selection, and then we refined the mask, using the brush tool. Made some nice soft edges doing that. Painting at a lower opactity, all the way around the edges of the mask, looking really nice. And then, to intensify the transparency effects we duplicated the layers and we used different blend modes. Lighten for the trees layer that we duplicated and Overlay for the Buddha layer that was copied.
And of course, to control the overall effects of these blend modes, we reduced the opacity of all three layers. Right, so. It's one example of how you can create a Final Montage here in Photoshop Elements 9.
- 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