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Combining Two Images in Photoshop, Part II

Since my last post on combining two images in Photoshop, I’ve been using more advanced techniques in compositing and masking. This time, I added a subject to a new environment to create a very interesting scene. The final picture became popular on 500px within the first half hour.

First, I had this picture, which I took at a fashion show in January. The model and dress were beautiful, but the background was so blah that the picture as a whole didn’t work.

dress

 
I decided to add the model to a new environment. I looked in my files for a good picture, and came upon this shot, which I took in Sayulita, Mexico during a vacation last December.

beach in Sayulita, Mexico

 

I used the same compositing techniques in Photoshop that I outlined in my last post to combine the two pictures. This was the first result:

Photoshop Composite Intermediate stage

Pretty cool, heh? I was pleased with how the beach scene was made even more interesting with the woman walking along the shore. However, I felt like the masking and compositing looked a bit obvious. The light on the beach was coming from the front, but the woman was being illuminated from the back. What to do?

I decided to try masking the woman more to make the overall scene more realistic looking. Parts of her became transparent, but this would subdue the light coming from her back.

masking in Photoshop

Mask further to make parts of subject transparent

 
Beachcomber

Ta-da! Here’s the final result. I thought this looked a lot more natural. But could it fool the experts? I decided to put it up on my profile on 500px, which I consider to be the ultimate test in photography. I was very happy to see that the picture scored a 93 and hit the popular section within the first half hour. Yay!

 

Combining Two Images in Photoshop

March 7, 2013 1 comment

Today, I learned a neat technique of combining two images in Photoshop to improve the overall picture. I’ve practiced this technique four times already today, and it’s great fun.

First, I had this picture of my friend Kiana. I think her face looks very pretty, but I was curious to see if I could combine this with another picture.

photoshop composite exercise

 
Photoshop composite exercise

I liked her long legs and boots in this pose, but I didn’t think her facial expression worked as well. Because of the differences in size and angles of the two photos, I knew it would be a challenge to make the composite look natural. But with a little patience, I saw how Photoshop can make pretty much anything possible.

Ta-da! Here’s the result:

Photoshop composite exercise

I’m excited to start using this technique for more advanced composites and make some truly stunning images.

Here are the instructions to combine two photographs.

  • Put the pictures in two separate layers.
  • Make the top layer transparent and move it to lay on top of the second image as desired.
  • You can try using Edit > Auto-align to align the two pics. (In the above example, I couldn’t use auto-align, and actually had to rotate the second image so that the position of the head would look natural.)
  • Add layer mask on the top layer.
  • Choose the paint brush. Choose black for color. Adjust hardness to 0 on the brush.
  • Use the brush on the mask.
  • The new face should appear as if by magic.
  • If you find that you’re masking too much, switch the brush color to white and go over the parts of the mask you want to adjust.
  • Try changing the brush size and hardness to 100 to fine-tune the image.
  • For an additional effect, put a levels layer at top and adjust colors.