Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Blending two photos together, part of Photoshop: Blend Modes for Photography.
- In this movie, we'll take a look at how we can combine or blend two images together. Here we'll start off by looking at how we can bring two different images into a single layered file in Photoshop. Next, we'll talk about how we can work with a few different blending modes. And then last but not least, we'll discuss how you can change your layer stacking order in order to modify the effect. All right. Well here, you can see, I've opened up two photographs. The first one is this no_parking.jpg image. The second one is this building that I've photographed in Brighton in the UK.
Well, when you have your images docked in tabs like this, you can click on one of the tabs and drag it out so that it's floating or hovering on top of the other. Then if you choose the Move tool and hold down the Shift key and just click and drag and drop, what that will do is it will bring the image over and when you hold down the Shift key when you do that, it brings it over and it centers the photograph, so it gets it in just the right spot. If it isn't in the right spot, you can always just click and drag around and make sure you get it right where you want it. All right. Next, let's go ahead and organize our layers a little bit, so here, I'll double-click the layer name for this one.
I'm going to call this Brighton and then let's start to experiment with blending modes. Now what we've seen before is that you can select a layer and then click on your blending mode pull-down menu and then choose some different options. Let's try Multiply. This will give us blending, but also kind of a darkening effect. It's a bit too dark for my liking. Screen, it's going to brighten it up. It's a little bit too washed out there. And the blending modes, which really are going to work well, are these in here. So, you can think of these in here, especially the ones at the top: Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light, as working in similar ways, but yet with different intensity.
So, if we try Overlay, we're going to see we're going to get kind of these rich and vivid colors. Let's compare that to Soft Light, a little bit more subdued, and then Hard Light, it's going to be a different look altogether and you can see it almost gives us brighter whites there on the building and the blue turned a little bit more purple. And so, it's really just about experimenting and trying to find the one which you like. All right. Well, that's step one for this little mini project. Step two is to talk about layer stacking order. Let me turn off the Eye icon or turn off the Visibility for this layer for a moment.
Let's go to the Background layer. If ever you want to modify the Background layer, you can just click on the Lock icon. That will give you the ability to rename this. I'll go ahead and just name this one No Parking. And if we apply a blending mode to a layer like this, what do you think will happen? Well, let's try. Here we'll go ahead and choose an option. Maybe it's Multiply or Soft Light. We can see here that regardless of the blending mode that we choose, nothing happens. That's because the way blending modes work is from top-down. There's nothing underneath this layer.
Therefore, there's nothing to blend it with, so it just stays the same. Yet if you change your layer stacking order, this is where things get interesting. So here, we'll click on this layer, unlock it and rename it, apply a blending mode. And we can see that above we have blending down with Soft Light so that this image is on top, but sometimes what I like to do is just to experiment and see, what would happen if I were to reorder these layers? For example, if we were to click on this one and drag it underneath the wall, all of a sudden, it gives us a very different and distinct look.
Now, with the wall above, we could also try out different options here. So you can see I'm just going through various options. And again, it's all about trying to find the look that you think works well with your photographs, but the fun thing about this is just to point out that when you start to apply this blending, sometimes you'll see a result and think, "Okay, that's all I can do," but really, you can experiment a little bit more and it's all about just reordering your layers because it depends upon what's on top and how that's blending in with what's underneath. Now, for this particular image, my own personal preference is the building on top and the wall on the background, but I did want to show you that you do have different options if you want to get creative with how you start to blend multiple images together.
- Learning about Multiply, Screen, and Soft Light
- Blending color and aligning images
- Creating composites with blend modes
- Adding glow and grain
- Using blend mode shortcuts
- Adding new texture to a backdrop
- Masking in clouds
- Using blend modes to enhance portraits and landscape photos