How to combine photos in Photoshop with Layer Masks, seamless blending technique

How to Combine Photos in Photoshop with Layer
Masks, Seamless Blending Technique Hey there everybody, it’s Colin Smith here from PhotoshopCAFE, and in this tutorial,
what I’m going to do is I’m going to show you how to blend two photographs together
seamlessly. Sometimes it can be really, really easy to
take two photographs, and then, blend them together, and just make this really nice transition. And then, I’ll show you some masking tricks
to actually help you refine it and make a nice composition out of two photographs. And this is a really good foundational principle for all kinds of compositing and collaging. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it, but this
is a great way to get started with seamlessly blending images. So we got two photos here I got from Dollar
Photo Club, and we can see we’ve got a little background here, and then we’ve got the lady
here with the cool little leaves in her hair. So we’re going to mix these two together. So what we want to do is we want to drop one
image on top of the other. Now, for people that are used to using an
earlier version of Photoshop, and you find these tabs a little daunting, you can go back. If you go under Window, go down to Application
Frame and turn that off, you’ll see you’ll get the floating windows, just like you always
had in Photoshop in the old days. And, now, you can actually just click and drag, and you can merge these images together
just like you always did. I’m just going to undo this and I’m going
to show you a way to do it with the Application Frame, so we’re going to go back to Window
and we’re going to turn on Application Frame. Now I like this because it helps me stay organized
because I can tend to get a lot of mess all over my desktop very quickly, so I prefer
to keep them together. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take this photograph here, and I’m just going to
click and drag over the other tab the other one that’s going to appear. So, right now, I haven’t taken my finger off
yet. You can see the cursor is black there, you
can see that, and that’s holding that image in place. So I’m going to drop it in the center. I’m going to hold the Shift key and drop it. And, now, you’ll notice that we’ve got one
image on top of the other. Now if you wanted to change the order of those, it would be very simple. All we’ll simply do is–well, let me turn
this off first and hide it, so you can see what’s going on. Notice this is a background. One of the great things in CC is you can just
simply click that little lock icon and that will unlock it. Now, if you’re working on an earlier version,
you just hold down the Alt key or the Option key on Mac, and just click on that, and that
will also do the same thing. So now that we’ve set it into just a floating layer instead of a background, we can change
the order. Let me turn the top one on back, so you can
see, and I’m just going to click and drag over the top. So you can see how you change the order of
this very quickly and easily. So, now, we’ve got two that’s just stacked
on top of each other. Now, if we wanted to stack it that way, we could have dragged it back into this image
here too. That was another option. But let’s have a look at blending these two
together right now. What I’m going to do is create a layer mask. Get on the Layers Panel, click on the mask,
and you’ll notice that this mask appears. It’s doing nothing right now, and that’s because
it’s filled with white. So, the little saying, there’s a little thing that says that white reveals and black conceals. So, right now, it’s revealing this top layer. Nothing is happening. But if we want to conceal this layer, we just
simply grab a brush and we could begin to paint with black. And as we paint with black, it allows the
layer underneath to show through. If we reverse that and paint with white, notice what happens there. It, now, reveals the top layer and hides the
layer underneath. So I’m just going to select the layer mask
and I’m going to fill it now with white. So, first of all, I’m just going to hit the
D key to reset the foreground and background colors. And, then, to fill that, notice we got white there as a foreground color, so I’m going
to hit Alt Backspace, and that will fill it. If I wanted to fill up the background color,
I would have hit Ctrl Backspace, or that will be Command Backspace on Mac. So the way a layer mask works is, essentially, rather than erasing out of the layer itself,
what we do is we actually take a mask and put it on top of that layer, and then, we
paint on to the mask. So when we cut out the mask, it cuts out that
layer and shows the layer underneath, and the advantage of that is a mask is non-destructive,
so we can paint it back. So, if we paint with black, it cuts it out, we see what’s underneath. We paint with white; it covers it up again
with that top layer. Now, if you would take the Eraser Tool and
do that, you’ll just make a hole in the photograph that you can’t recover, so that’s why we use
a layer mask. So here we go, so what we’re going to do now is we want to blend these together seamlessly. The way to do that is to grab the Gradient
Tool here. Now with the Gradient Tool, we’re grabbing
our white to black. There are a couple of options up here. We want to open up a Gradient Editor, and
make sure we’ve selected the first option, which is foreground to background, then make
sure you’ve selected the Linear Option. Mode, your Blend Mode is set to Normal and
Opacity is at 100. And, now, if we do this and we paint on the mask, and there’s several ways to see if you
have the mask selected. So if we select the mask here, you’ll notice
the little white around there versus selecting the image. Another thing that will happen is if you go
up here, it shows this is RGB when we started the layer. When we select the mask, it changes to layer
mask. It’s going to tell you that the mask is selected. A third way to tell is to actually double click that mask. It will open up the Properties panel and it
shows the mask is selected. If I click away, notice that there is no mask
selected. So, there’s several ways of seeing if your
mask is selected, and you want to make sure that’s the case, and then, we’re going to
simply grab a gradient. Now, the way the Gradient Tool works is if you click and drag, you’ll see a line, and
once I release, that gradient there will fill that area, and I can see that by hitting the
Alt key or the Option key, you can see there’s the gradient we added, and just simply click
black on the image to view it again. So you can see what we’re able to do, we’re
able to create this nice seamless blend between the foreground here, and the background by
using the gradient. There’s different ways we could do it. If we click here, we could, you know, blend
it in there, but notice what happened; that’s because we had the layer selected. So just Command Z to undo, make sure that
the mask is selected and, now, watch what happens. Notice, now, we can blend this together in
different ways just by simply clicking and dragging. So you can see, we’ve got lots and lots of options. So one of the things you may want to do is
just start here, and then, create your blend, first of all, and then, when you’re happy
with that blend, you can fine tune it; that’s simply painting inside the mask. So remember what I said, white reveals and
black conceals. So if I want to show more of the woman on here, I just simply need to paint with a white
brush. So I’m going to grab the brush here, make
sure that white is selected, and we could also look at the Brush panel here. If you don’t see it, it’s under Window, Brush,
and I’ve got it up in here. Now I’m using pressure sensitivity, so there
are a couple of different things I could do. Usually, I like to turn on the Transfer Mode and I set that for Pen Pressure. Notice this little exclamation mark showing,
that’s because it doesn’t see a pen. If I move my pen close to my tablet, that
will disappear, and notice that doesn’t show up anymore, and, now, we’re setting on there. So, I can change the size of my brush many
ways, but hitting the left and right bracket keys are one way, and I can simply begin to
paint in here. Notice what I’m doing. I’m just gently painting and what I’m doing
is I’m showing more of this top layer. If I don’t like that, I can just undo it. And what I’m going to do is I’m just going
to come in here and I’m just going to paint this in a little bit, just on this side, to
kind of show that. And, then, what I want to do is I want to
release, and that’s kind of drawn that in there. Now, you can change the hardness of your brush. You can use a hard brush or a soft brush. A lot of the time, I like to use a hard edged
brush for precision selections, but in this case, I’m just kind of painting gently, so
I’m going to use a soft edged brush, and I think this kind of gives us the look and feel
that we’re going for. So I’m just gently painting over this with
a few strokes here, and you can see we were able to bring her back, and make her much
more visible against the background. Now, let’s have a look and see how that happened. If I hold the Alt key or the Option key, I
can click on the mask and I can see what I’ve done there. So I noticed there’s a little bit of cleaning
up that needs to be done and I can literally do that now because I’m seeing inside that
mask, and I was just going to click back. Now, if you find your edges get a little too hard, you can always double click here, go
in the mask panel and feather that mask. And then, when you feather that mask, notice
what it does. It just creates a soft edge, and let me show
you what happens to the mask while we’re doing it. Alt key or Option key and click and drag,
and notice what we’re doing. When we feather it, we’re just simply softening
that transition there, and that creates just a smoother, more pleasing result. So that’s just like the real basics there on how to blend two images together inside
of Photoshop. There’s a lot of different things that we
can do with Blending Modes and masks, and different things like that. Make sure you check out some of the other
training on PhotoshopCAFE for more in depth training on this. And, also, I want to make you aware that I also have a written tutorial for this and
you’ll see that right there in the link underneath this video, or if you’re on the page on
just read the tutorial there and so you can watch the video, and you can also read the
tutorial for more detailed information. I hope you’ve learned something or, more importantly, I hope you’ve got a little bit inspired. I really want to kind of share what I’ve learned
over the years with you and the best way to do that is for you to obviously subscribe
so I can share it with you, but also comment in the bottom. Let me know how this is helping you or what
you’d like to learn, and in that way, we can kind of move along this journey together,
and really start to focus on the things that you want to learn, and the things that you
want to know. And, also, don’t forget, check out all the resources at We got tons of them. It’s a newly redesigned website with all kinds
of free tutorials. We got videos, we got step-by-step tutorials,
and we got downloads, and, also, an entire library of training, you know, if you want
the premium training from a host of authors–a lot of them you probably heard of. So check it out and until then, I’ll see you
at the CAFE.


Apparently I can't find the Application Window. According to Goggle, it apparently only exists for MAC! Is there a way to do that in Windows? Thanks!

Too much bla, bla, bla; you need to be more concrete and the best way to do that is to asume that everybody is dome and stupid.
For example: how do you download the images on to the protect? You are not starting at the beginning!!…And it is very important tat you go slow and show people carefully where are exactly the things that you click on, with the name and the detail of the option,'slow, clean and clear!!…
This is a tutorial, it is not an screen text!!… Thank you fot the effort!!… Hugs!!…

here's several ideas about which features of Photoshop to learn first
The selection feature
Removal of unwanted objects
(I read about these and more on Trevs photo blueprint website )

Gained a sub 🙂 thank you for a great tut .. can ı now asume that wıth thıs new &easy technique that ı can blend more than 2 images to gaın the the result ı want. Also any tweekıngs to the ımages eg colour correctıon ect..ıs to made ıt the adjustments layer …sorry just a fledgledling at PS.

Hey, are there some tricks for blending people or animals' hair better with a background when you change the background of a photo?

Nice tutorial on masking. Almost cleared my concept. I would like to watch that how can we use other tools with masking.
Thanks. Keep it up dude !!! 🙂 🙂

Dear everybody… According to the Adobe CS website, until up to CS2014 (which is the one I do own), this awesome feature of reverting the floating windows is exclusive for MAC and its rich users. We, poor RUINDOWS users, will keep having to do it with the good old copy-paste way, unless of course, they have implemented in newer versions of Photoshop, which, alas, I do not own. I hope it helps.

Been trying to get it to work forever now but it wont work. When I create the layer mask and try and use the brush tool nothing happens and I cant blend the images

Hey Colin, great tutorial. I finally was able to learn how to blend. The only problem I am having is the ability to control the pressure of the brush tool. I followed all instructions as you showed – but it seems when I try to choose the pen pressure to change the little caution sign – it doesn't allow me to change it ( to get rid of the caution mark) – regardless of doing the steps you did. Any suggestions on what this can be?

Great video …. Im using layer masking on with drawings and photos and would love some help.
Is there a way to fill a black outline of a drawing with an image without having to colour all of it with a brush tool. Steps …… put image over drawing …then use layer mask to reveal photo below it ….. is what im doing. then i flatten the 2 layers and copy and paste to another image. Hope im explaining myself properly. Cheers Jean

I am sorry, but when I drow gradient nothing is happened, I am standing on mask, put two pictures one to other, but nothning, can you help me?

Appreciate the pause to explain the back end of the masking! Hella understandable now that yu reference that! Thank you

Thank you for explaining everything slowly in great detail- too many tutorials speak way too quickly, making it frustrating. Keep them coming please! Love it

Amazing video! thank you for sharing!! I have been struggling with layers but you cleared up so many issues I was having!

This video is only for those with a huge sack of patience. This procedure could have been done in 1/4 of the time. couldn't finish, had to move on to another video.

This was extremely helpful. I have scoured Youtube to find out how to do this. Your teaching style is right up my ally. Thank you!

I would love to see a tutorial on iterior compositing with lighting on furniture. Thank you! I absolutely love your channel

Hi I did See in your hand a pan and tablet what its the name of the company name and type Model I need to buy one sometime in the future، thanks to you. Not: I am windows10 user

Sue Shepherd Thank you, Colin, you give clear information love your approach I see you started life in New Zealand I live in Whangarei keep up the good work

Hi Colin, I'm truly enjoying your tutorials. I find it inspiring and very doable. Can't wait to work on my photos. Cheers!

Gday from Australia. Just found your channel, great stuff. I just got photoshop cc and it baffles me like you wouldn’t believe. I’m going to watch a few of your lessons and try them for myself in the morning. Cheers. It’s raining ☔️

Colin, that's the best Photoshop video I have ever seen. Your instructions are clear, succinct and comprehensive. Thank you SO much. I am going to Photoshop Café now to learn more.

Voice is too soft and too fast for me. I am hearing impaired. Nobody seems to adapt for Hearing impairment.

Can anyone help? I tried but all it does is make my whole picture black and white.

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