Sunday, May 9, 2010

Processing Layered Images in Photoshop

This is the final image I liked for this particular set of ideas and images.

This is the process I used:
This post is in response to a request for learning how to layer blend images in Photoshop (and more). First let me say, this is not a new technique, but I do use it, and I do shoot for it when I am in the field. I am going to use a couple images I shot in Tennessee to share this thought process. On another note, I have always enjoyed the process Robert McClintock applies to his images and finally started playing with that idea here too.

On the Scene
I saw a beautiful cluster or red bud trees in the green forest and knowing that the colors magenta and green cause visual vibration, I wanted to capture the moment for its beauty and color play. So I made a straight shot paying attention to the diagonal lines the branches created and framed them carefully.
(At home I applied the standard levels curves and a small color adjustment, no more.)
 Straight Shot

Then while on the scene I also made a multiple exposure shot in camera.
 Multiple Exposure

Also while on the scene I made a swipe.
Now that I have made, in the field, the images I might want to blend later and am satisfied with the results, I can go to the processing. (and as I always do in the field when I get a subject that works, I shot this all vertically as well)

On the Computer in Photoshop

Open the image you want to work with first; 
in this case I used the original shot, because this is the shot I wanted to work the Robert McClintock effect on. In order to do that I worked with the smudge tool located in the tool bar here:
Then I selected the brush I wanted to use in the top bar here:

Then I started to smudge the original image all over and landed here: 
(OK its a little far out but its only for a layer purpose....)
Then I blended this image lets call it the Smudge, with the multiple exposure (I preferred that to the swipe for its texture).

OK here's how that's done in PS> 

1. Open the layer you want to be the background this case I used the smudge.
2. While you are on the background layer add a blank new layer by clicking on the new layer icon in the bottom of the layers palette.

3. Then open the next image you want to use as a top layer. Use the select all option from the menu bar and choose select all (you will see the marching ants all around your image) then while the selection is made go to edit copy. 

4. Return to the first image by clicking on it and click in the new layer you created by clicking on the little icon in the bottom of the layers pallet and hit paste. 
5. When you have the new layer on top then adjust the opacity and fill to the level you like. If you want to can play with the blend modes to see what differences they can make in the look of your image. 
6. When you have achieved the "Look" you want go to Layers and hit flatten image.
7. Rename your file....before saving....that's  it...have fun in the field and on the computer!

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