Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photo Blending Tutorial using Photoshop

I use photo blending on a lot of of my digital scrapbook layouts.

I admit that when I started doing this... I didn't know at the time that it was a common technique used in digital scrapbooking. For me then, I was just having a lazy day and didn't want to take the time to extract *wink*. 

I'm sure there are a lot of other techniques and tutorials out there on how to blend or merge 2 photos together. I like mine because it's faster... like done-in-a-minute faster.

What you need for this project:
  • Photoshop CS3 or higher (I'm using Photoshop CS3)
  • A good computer, one that can handle working with graphics (slower machines will die when working with large hi resolution files, which digital scrapbooking elements usually are)
  • Basic knowledge of Photoshop
  • A good, clear photo of the object or person you want to extract. 

Step 1: Open the photos you want to merge in Photoshop. For this tutorial, I will use 2 photos. When blending, one of the photos will be the background (the photo at the back), and the foreground (photo in front.

Step 2: Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool. You can check out my previous tutorial if you are not yet familiar with this tool on Photoshop.

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, draw a random shape around your subject on your foreground photo. 

Step 3: Refine edges. Click the Refine Edge button. When the settings window appears, set a high value for Feather.

Feather refers to how wide the blur or fading will be at the edge of your selection. A higher value will give you a wider area of fading at the edges. For my work, I usually use a value between 90 to 100. As you adjust the value, you can see how it will look on the image so you can adjust the value to make sure that the faded area will not include the main subject of your photo. 

 When you're happy with the settings, click Ok.

Step 4. Copy your selection. You can do this by clicking Edit and then choosing Copy, OR using keyboard shortcut CTRL + C.

Step 5: Select your background photo and paste your copied selection. You can do this by clicking Edit and then choosing Paste, OR using keyboard shortcut CTRL + V.

 Step 6: (OPTIONAL) Erase more area from the foreground. If you are already happy with how your foreground photo blends with your background, there is no need for this step. However, if you still need to erase some parts of the foreground, this might help you.

Select the Erase tool. 

On the tool bar on top, look for the Brush button, and then click the small arrow beside the Brush button (see where red arrow is pointing on the image below). This will display the Eraser tool's Brush settings.

On the Brush settings, here are a few things to note to select the settings you need.
  • Master Diameter - refers to how big your Eraser's brush size will be. Higher value means a wider area can be erased.
  • Hardness - refers to how blurred/faded the edges of the erased area will be. A higher value means crisp edges of the remaining area after applying the Erase tool. For blending, I usually use a value of 0% or sometimes, a value between 0% - 40%.
  • Opacity - refers to how much of the erased area will still be visible. 100% means the erased area will not be visible. A lower value means that the erased area is still visible, but faded.
I usually play around with the settings using trial and error. But if I need to remove a wide area, I will apply this settings to the Eraser brush:
  • Master Diameter - 400 pixels (if my image is big like 3600 x 3600... smaller value if my image is smaller)
  • Hardness - 0%
  • Opacity 80%
Using these settings, I will erase the very edge of the portion of the foreground photo I want to remove. For example, see area highlighted in red.


The area highlighted in blue shows the entire area I wish to delete. After applying the erase tool to this area, adjust the settings to:

  • Master Diameter - 400 pixels (if my image is big like 3600 x 3600... smaller value if my image is smaller)
  • Hardness - 0%
  • Opacity - 50 % (the deleted portion will look transluscent... therefore achieving a fading effect on the edges)
Apply the Erase tool on the entire area highlighted in blue.

See the difference? The highlighted area on the second photo is a little more faded.

And there you have it. When you are already used to the Photoshop tools I  mentioned, this will not take you more than a couple of minutes to do. 

I hope this is helpful to you, especially those who are only beginning to use Photoshop. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email and I will try to answer you to the best of my limited Photoshop knowledge :)


Diane Writes said...

Ay hindi ko din alam 'to, thanks for sharing. If I will wake up and suddenly becomes interested in digital scrapbooking I will refer to this post.

Divya N said...

you can use a blur tool at the edges to further blend it in

plaridel said...

for those who can't afford the expensive photoshop, a freebie alternative is available. it's called paintnet and can be downloaded here:

cheekeegirl said...

thank you for sharing.