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Monday, November 28, 2011

Combine Two Or More If The Action Doesn’t Unfold

How to use Photoshop to create an illustrative wildlife image, by combining two or more files into a single photo.

Step 1: Find two images to composite. It's best if the light is identical, the setting is the same, and the background is plain and simple. Open both in Photoshop.

Step 2: Click on the Lasso tool and make a selection of the subject to move. Leave extra room around it. Go to Edit>Copy. Click on the photo to which the selection is to be moved and go to Edit>Paste. A new layer will appear on the layers palette. Use the Move tool to position the added subject to the desired location.

Step 3: Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and tweak the midtones slider to get as close a density match as possible. This will help alleviate any variations in exposure from one file to the next.

Step 4: Add a Layer Mask to the new layer. To do this, click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Click on the Brush tool. Make sure the layer mask is active - it will have a thin black line around it. Be sure your foreground color is set to black and the opacity is set to 50% in the Options Bar. Paint away the edges of the new layer to blend the two images together. Use a very soft brush so the transition is feathered. If you paint into the layer that was pasted and need to get the pixels back, change the foreground color to white and paint over the area that needs correcting.

Step 5: Click the eyeball of the new layer ON and OFF to preview how natural the addition looks. Some clean up cloning may be needed in addition to other tweaks. If so, perform these steps.

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