Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating layered documents, part of Creating Composites in Photoshop.
Creating a composite image by its nature involves two or more image elements. That could be an image layer and text layer or variety of different image layers. And when you want to blend multiple image layers. I recommend taking advantage of the ability to have Adobe Bridge or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom automatically create a layer document for you. Here fo example, I have a photo of a squirrel and I also have a photo of a sky with some clouds and sun in it. And what I'd like to do is blend this image of the squirrel, so that the sky falls behind the squirrel and behind this rock face that's sort of in the foreground.
And so what I'm going to do, is first select the squirrel image, simply by clicking on its thumbnail, in the Content panel, in Adobe Bridge. And then, I'll hold the Shift key, and click on the Sun in Sky image. If the two images were not adjacent to each other, I could hold the Ctrl key on Windows, or the Cmd key on Macintosh. And then click on any image to toggle its selection on or off. With these two images selected, I can choose tools > Photoshop and then Load Files into Photoshop Layers from the menu.
As the name implies, this will open both of these images in Photoshop and merge them into a single document that contains multiple layers. I will go ahead and choose that command, and Photoshop will come to the forefront. And after just a couple of moments of processing, you will see that I have two layers, the Squirrel layer and the Sun and Sky layer. Each layer name reflects the original file name which is a convenient reference. But this point the image has been assembled and I consider about creating my layer mask for example, to produce the composite result. I'll go ahead and close this image for the moment and not save it, since I have not really done any work with it and I am going to switch to Lightroom.
If you using Lightroom to manage your images, the process is slightly different, but very, very similar. Once again, you'll start off by selecting the images that you'd like to blend together. So in this case, clicking on the Squirrel image, and then once again, Shift clicking, or Ctrl clicking on Windows, Cmd clicking on Macintosh, on the sky layer. I can then go to the menu, and choose Photo > Edit in followed by Open As Layers in Photoshop. And that will perform the exact same task as we saw within Bridge. The only difference is that with Lightroom, once I save and close the image in Photoshop, that composite document will also be in my library in Lightroom.
So, I'll be able to continue managing, that composite image within Lightroom moving forward. I'll go ahead and choose the Open As Layers in Photoshop command. And then, the images, once again, will be opened in Photoshop, with the result being an assembled composite image. So, I have those two layers, once again, as you can see, on the Layers panel. Then as I mentioned, if I then save this image, obviously there's not much work having been done, in this case, but I'll go ahead and choose Save. And then, also choose Close, both from the File menu. And now, when I switch back to Lightroom, you'll notice, that I have a layered document, that I could always open, once again, in Photoshop.
In this case, for example, I've not yet assembled the actual composite that I had in mind, so I might open that composite image, in Photoshop, once again. By choosing Photo > Edit In and then Edit in Adobe Photoshop CS6 and when the dialog comes up asking me what I would like to do specifically. I will choose the Edit Original command and then click Edit, so that, that composite image will open up in Photoshop. And then once I finish my work, I could simply save and close once again and the the updated version will be reflected in Lightroom. So, as you can see, whether you're using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Adobe Bridge, to manage your images. You can create layered documents very quickly and easily, in Photoshop, which makes starting off that process of producing composite photos, very simple.
- Composite concepts
- Creating automatic composites
- Image compositing
- Refining layer masks
- Matching images
- Adding effects to composites
- Using layer groups