Use Adobe Photoshop to create a double exposure effect.
In film photography, a double exposure is a combination of two exposures in one image to produce evocative results. In this easy-to-follow tutorial, learn how graphic artist Erica Larson uses Adobe Photoshop to combine two photos, creating a seamless double exposure effect.
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Step 1: Prep your images
Step 2: Get clear
Step 3: add more color, step 4: keep focus.
Get twice the exposure
Erica Larson dreams up inspired designs every day as an Associate Creative Director on the Adobe Studio team. She makes stuff that makes others want to make stuff.
Take a quick one-minute look at Larson’s double exposure technique—the steps are written out below.
Before you start.
The best images to use with this technique are high-contrast photos with distinct light and dark areas. Use these sample images if you’d like, or practice with your own.
Step 1: Prep your images
Open your two images and drag one on top of the other. Larson dragged the snowy landscape on top of the image of the bison. Then, in the Layers panel, set the Blend mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity setting.
To bring out the bison’s face and other areas, Larson added a mask to the landscape layer. This allowed her to simply paint wherever she wanted those details to come through.
For a dramatic touch, Larson added a Gradient Fill layer using the Violet, Orange preset, before setting the Blend mode to Overlay and reducing the Opacity to 60 percent.
To keep the focus on the bison’s face, Larson adjusted the Gradient Fill angle to 0 degrees. She clicked on the gradient to open the Gradient Editor and shifted the violet color stop and the Color Midpoint to get the desired effect.
Get twice the exposure.
Find pairs of photos to combine in your photo gallery and have fun creating fresh takes.
Note: Project files included with this tutorial are for practice purposes only.
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How to Make Easy Double-exposure Photos in Photoshop
Introduction: How to Make Easy Double-exposure Photos in Photoshop
Double exposure photography involves combining two photos into one. In older film cameras, the effect was created by opening the shutter twice to expose the same film and form double-exposure images. This was a process that required skill, imagination and luck with film. Today, this can be done both in-camera (with DSLRs) as well as with a photo editor.
Thanks to the pandemic, it's not always possible to go out and shoot photos. So, combining two photos digitally in an editor is a quicker, creative and more exciting way to create double exposure photographs with endless possibilities.
Not surprisingly, even a lot of movie posters are also made using this exact technique!
The only tool you need here is a good photo editor. I used an older version of Adobe Photoshop CS6. You can also use a free photo editor such as Gimp or Pixlr .
I also downloaded some free royalty-free stock photos from Pexels and Unsplash to use in this instructable.
If you want to follow along with this instructable, you can download the below files.
- Foreground overlay
I've made this tutorial for beginners, it's as simple as possible, hence we're using easy images to work with. Once you get the hang of it, then the only thing limiting you will be your imagination!
Step 1: Selecting the Photos
Select a Background portrait photo such it's a single clean colour with a neutral tone, without many distractions such as buildings, trees, cars, lights etc. It should have high contrast and clean edges. This will make it easy to make a selection for a layer mask and overlay a photo.
The foreground can be anything you wish to overlay. The most common themes are buildings, forests (especially pine forests), clouds and mountains.
Step 2: Open Background Image in Photoshop
Open your background image in photoshop. If needed, you can make adjustments like increasing contrast, refining edges and desaturating the photo to make it easier to work with.
The image I’ve used is a simple silhouette of a man to make it easy for everyone to learn.
After opening the image, make a duplicate layer ( Ctrl/Cmd + J ) and hide this duplicate layer. We'll get back to this layer later.
Step 3: Eliminating the Background and Creating a Layer Mask With the Subject
Now, we'll isolate the subject and create a layer mask.
- Now your layer mask is ready! If you press Alt + click on the layer mask , it should highlight the selected area in white (as shown in the third image)
Step 4: Open the Second Image in Photoshop and Create the Overlay
To open the second image, go to File > Place and select the image. Now place the image according to your liking.
To Create the Overlay Layer Mask-
- The unnecessary areas will now get hidden and a second layer mask will now be created which shows the final selection!
Step 5: Editing the Overlay
Lets make the image more creative.
- The last step is to unhide the duplicate layer we created in the beginning, and this will show us the background again.
Step 6: Your Final Image Is Now Done!
Our Double-Exposure image is now done!
Step 7: Animals
This same technique can be used with animals as your subject too.
Step 8: More Double Exposure Inspiration
Step 9: Upside Down Horizon
Another Interesting idea I had was to completely eliminate the idea of a horizon.
I used a normal picture of myself sitting by the river. Then, I took another another image of the river, inverted it and created a layer mask in place of the sky. With some more editing, the above image was the final result!
If you have any doubts or queries, please feel free to ask. I'd love to help out as much as I can. I hope you liked this tutorial and I'd love to see your versions of double exposure photos!
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Impressive work and very helpful. Thanks!
This is a great Instructable! Years ago, my parents gave me a pretty nice camera they no longer used. I figured out how to take double exposures, and the rest is history. I took a pretty cool photo of my former husband with it. How utterly cool that your Instructable details the modern way to achieve similar, amazing results. Special mention of bravo on the intro photo, it is excellent!
Reply 1 year ago
Thank you, I'm really glad you found my instructable helpful!
Wow this is a cool effect, I'll definitely try it out for myself!
Very neat - thanks for sharing :D
By Abbey October 9, 2022
How to Do a Double Exposure in Photoshop
Double exposure hit the art scene as one of the hottest trends ever to exist, but then never went away. However, it’s easy to see why the love for double exposure effects stood the test of time while other Photoshop trends fell away.
Double exposure creates captivating portraits using only a few tools and images in less than 15 minutes!
Let’s take a look at how to do a double exposure in Photoshop.
What Is Double Exposure
Double exposure is a technique that combines two or more images by layering one on top of another. Initially, double exposure was created using multiple exposures to create a single image.
However, the effect can now be easily recreated using basic Photoshop techniques. Two photos are layered over one another, then connected by adjusting the topmost layer’s layer mode, generally changing it to either Screen and Lighten.
While it eventually started to trend big among photographers and Photoshop users, double exposure has existed for years and in various mediums. Alfred Hitchcock often used double exposure in his films to convey all kinds of emotions or even introduce a hint of surrealism to a scene.
Double exposure effects still exist in modern cinema and, of course, modern-day photography, which we will learn the ins and outs of in today’s double exposure Photoshop tutorial.
Actionable Tips to Create a Double Exposure
- Choose compelling images. When choosing stock, try and think about how one image will add to the other. Find exciting angles, play with symbolism, and focus on each image, bringing the best out of its counterpart. Merge the two photos in inventive ways, and try using more than one photo.
- Experiment with exposure. When learning how to do a double exposure in Photoshop, there are no magic exposure settings. Every image will need different adjustments to both brightness and contrast. Use Brightness/Contrast, Curves, and Levels to adjust the exposure of photos. The general rule of thumb is, if you want an area of a portrait to show, make it bright. If you want the underlying image to show, make that area dark.
- Experiment with layer modes. Double exposure Photoshop tutorials will often suggest using Screen. However, Lighten can also be used to great effect. It’s always worth playing with other layer modes to see how they react with each other, creating new and exciting results.
Step 1: Choose Two or More Stock Images
When starting our double exposure effect, you will need one portrait image and at least one other image that will merge with the portrait. Often, this is an environmental or cityscape image.
Today, we will be using a total of three images—one of a close-up portrait , one of some mountains , and one of a foggy forest. Images with large areas of white tend to work best.
Step 2: Extract the Main Image
Next, let’s extract our portrait image using Select Subject, or whatever your preferred method may be.
When extracting your image, no matter what method you choose, make sure to use Layer Masks, as we will be using the subject’s mask in future steps.
Once you are done extracting, create a white Color Fill layer below your subject.
If your portrait is already on a pure white background, then you can skip this step.
Step 3: Adjust Base Portrait
With the subject’s background masked out, we can do some basic layer adjusting to prepare for the double exposure effect.
First, we will go to Image > Adjustment > Hue Saturation and bring the Saturation down to -100. This will turn the image black and white.
Next, we will go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and bring in the left and right toggles. This will make the image darker, as well as add contrast.
My exact input levels were 20, 1.00, and 236. However, every image is different. I suggest using Smart either Objects or adjustment layers, so that you can readjust your image’s exposure if necessary.
Step 4: Align the Secondary Images
Create a new Group over your subject layer. Copy the layer mask from the subject onto the new Group by holding Alt, dragging, and dropping the layer mask.
We are going to place two environmental images into the group, firstly, a set of mountains . Don’t worry about placement for now.
Secondly, we are going to place a foggy forest . I flipped the forest upside down and set the layer mode to Lighten, so that it blends in with the mountains.
Step 5: Adjust Secondary Images
Now, we can make some basic adjustments to our secondary images, starting with creating a Black and White Gradient Map adjustment layer. Place the Gradient Map above both the mountains and forest layers, keeping it inside of the group.
Secondly, above the gradient Map layer, let’s create a Color Balance adjustment layer. Set the settings to Red -11, Green -8, and Blue +14 to add a slight tint of blue to our image.
Finally, if needed, you can adjust the contrast of your secondary images using Brightness/Contrast. I adjusted the mountain range by Brightness -41 and Contrast -12.
Step 6: Duplicate the Main Image
Let’s duplicate the main subject image and bring it above the group holding out environmental layers. Set the duplicate to Screen.
Step 7: Adjust the Duplicated Main Image’s Exposure
Now is where exposure comes into play. This is how to make a double exposure in Photoshop work.
Select the top subject layer, and adjust its Levels. My Levels ended up being 30, 0.89, and 155, resulting in very strong highlights and dark shadows.
Again the settings will change from image to image, with skin tone playing a significant part. Lighter skin tones will likely have to be darkened, while the highlights in darker skin tones will be brightened. We want the facial features to be distinct.
Step 8: Adjust the Final Composition
With our facial features set, we can go back and refine our final composition by moving around the environmental images to match our subject’s facial features better.
Try and line things up logically. Here, I like how the curve of the mountain matched the angle of the subject’s brow. I also made sure the highlights of the mountain matched the highlights of the face.
Step 9: Enhance Facial Features
After finalizing the composition, we can enhance our facial features, making sure they appear solid.
Let’s create two new layers. Set the first layer to Overlay and clip it into the upper subject layer. Use this layer to enhance the subject’s highlights. Paint whites on the area you want to make more prominent.
Secondly, there’s a layer set to Soft Light placed below the upper subject layer, but above the environmental group. Use this layer to paint black on areas of the face you want to appear more solid such as the eyes, nose, and lips. I also enhanced the eyebrows.
You can also use the black layer to hide any distracting details in the environmental layers.
Step 10: Final Masking
Then, we will finish our subject by masking out any details on them that may be distracting. In this example, I choose to remove the right eye, masking it out using a soft round brush.
I also masked out some of the chest highlights. In this example, turning off the original base subject layer resulted in a cleaner effect.
Step 11: Final Color Grade
Finally, we can bring the image together with a quick color grade with a single Curves adjustment layer. I increased the contrast using what is often called an “S” curve. Then I brought up the blues in the shadows while lowering the blues in the highlights, creating a blue and yellow duo-tone effect.
All color adjustments are optional, however, and can be easily changed from image to image.
That is how to do a double exposure in Photoshop! Double exposure is an incredibly versatile and inventive technique, giving you the ability to create an endless amount of compelling results. Once you have the basics down, try and switch things up. Play with exposures, layer modes, and layering multiple images over one another. There is more than one way to create a double exposure effect, and the more innovative you get, the better your results!
Abbey Esparza is a mixed media artist whose composites are all based on photographs that undergo an intense treatment to transform them into the surreal, unusual, and macabre. She typically creates surreal themes, but is experienced in all different kinds of styles and genres, including child-friendly fantasy! She works with The Glorious Company, a content-marketing agency
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How to Create a Double Exposure in Photoshop (Easily)
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Double exposures are a great way to get creative with images in a simple way. It’s a technique that uses two photographs to create a new image. It can be a powerful way to present a concept or a fun way to combine two scenes. Today, I will show you how to create your double exposure in Photoshop . I have been working with double exposures in film photography and digital photography for a few years. Here are the best tips I have picked up from these years of practice.
What Is A Double Exposure In Photoshop?
What is a Double Exposure Effect?
Why Create a Double Exposure?
Double exposure photos create a great relationship between two images. They are great for making images that look like you are looking into the subject’s soul. A great example is when you use landscapes as the second image inside a model. We are presented with a scene and cannot help but link our feelings to the person depicted. We can use this to our advantage. If we want to portray someone as calm, we could pick the sea as the second exposure. Similarly, if we wanted to depict someone as angry, we could pick fire as the second exposure. Alternately, we could use an empty subject and fill it with people. This could work well for a picture of your family home. You can put a portrait of your family members inside this house!
How to Make a Double Exposure Effect in Photoshop
A double exposure effect can be tricky to get your head around. Trial and error will be a part of this process, but to help, I will guide you through an easy step-by-step.
Step 1: Selecting and Masking your Image
Step 2: Prepping The Image
Step 3: Adding Your Double Exposure
Step 4: Extra Touches
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The better way to do a double exposure effect in Adobe Photoshop
Maybe you’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for a while, or maybe you’re just getting started. There are many ways to do every type of edit in the software, as well as all kinds of tips, tricks, and hacks to do things more simply and easily.
In this tutorial Colin Smith, the creator of PhotoshopCAFE , demonstrates an easy way to a super cool technique — creating a custom brush from a photograph in order to do an impressive “double exposure” effect.
Check out the video below for the Adobe Photoshop tutorial, or read on for a summary of the instructions!
In this Photoshop tutorial, we’re going to combine two photos so it seems like one is emerging from inside of another — creating a “double exposure” effect.
Identifying the subjects
The first step is to identify the main subject of your image, and the image you want to blend into it to create the double exposure effect. For the main subject, I recommend using something with clearly defined edges and some contrast between the foreground and background.
Select the subject of the image by using the Object Selection Tool set to “Select Subject,” and copy the selection to a new layer. To make it easy to follow as we move forward, I’m going to refer to this layer as Silhouette. You can now hide the original layer and focus on the new Silhouette layer.
Add a color fill of a solid color, like white, as a new layer, then drag the Color Fill 1 layer below the Silhouette layer so that your silhouette now appears in front of a solid colored background.
Set up your layers
Now, turn your attention to the image you want to blend into the Silhouette layer to make the double exposure effect. Drag and drop the entire image into the image with your silhouette. It will create a new layer, which I am going to refer to as “Background,” so that you can follow along.
Drag this layer to be on top of your Silhouette Layer. Hold down the Alt or Option key, put your mouse over the line in between the two layers, and a square with an arrow will pop up. Click the mouse when you see that image and it will clip the Background layer onto the Silhouette layer.
Select the Background layer and use the dropdown menu to change the Blend Mode from Normal to Screen. Now you will see some details from each image coming through. You can play around with the levels, alignment, or other details of the layers until you’re happy with them.
Not done? Try a custom brush
If you’re pleased with the double exposure effect you’ve created you can stop here, but you can also create a custom brush to blend to the edges of the silhouette so that it feels more interesting and natural, without such hard edges.
To do this, head back to the other project tab containing the image you used to create the Background layer. We’re going to use this image to create a brush.
Start by adjusting the levels to create a stronger contrast between the light and dark colors of your image. Smooth out the edges of the photograph and create a softer look for your brush by using the Foreground to Transparent gradient tool.
Creating a custom brush
To create the brush, use the marquee tool to select the area you want to use in the brush, select Edit in the menu, then click on Define Brush Preset. This brush will remain in your library for future use. You can create multiple brushes to capture and combine different textures from the image and make your final result look more varied and natural. Now that you know how to make a new brush you can do it anytime you’d like a custom brush.
Using the custom brush
Now it’s time to return to the project where you have combined the two images and use your new brush! First, create a new layer above the Silhouette layer. Unclip the Background layer from the Silhouette layer and instead clip it to the new layer. You should see the silhouette shape without seeing the Background layer. This will make it easy to see what you are doing when you work with the brush.
Select a foreground color that will blend in easily with the double exposure image you’ve created. Use the brush tool to select the brush that you created. Adjust the brush settings like the size and the angle of the brush, and use it to create detail along the edge of the silhouette. The brush will paint the texture from the image you used to create the brush.
Finalizing the effect
When you’re ready, you can right click the Silhouette layer and the layer where you have been painting with your custom brush and convert it to a smart object. This will give you the full final effect of double exposure with details on the edge of the silhouette from the image, for a cool transition.
Extending the effect
From here, you could keep going with more edits and customizations. You could add a solid Color Fill layer, for example, just as you did earlier, to create the background for the silhouette, and then use the Blend Mode to blend the color with your image.
Keep using the same technique to create composites and double exposures of multiple images to make a really cool effect, as seen below!
Learn this technique and more with a Photoshop Cafe class.
Want to learn all about how to use layers in Adobe Photoshop, like the experts do? Learn this technique and a bunch more in Colin Smith’s Learning Layers in Photoshop course, or any of his Photoshop Cafe courses!
About the presenter:
Colin Smith has been using Adobe Photoshop professionally for 20 years. He does training for Adobe and Apple and has written 20 books . At his YouTube channel, PhotoshopCAFE, he has hundreds of easy to follow Photoshop Tutorials and tips as well as Lightroom tutorials and occasional photography tech or drone videos.
For more information or to see more of Colin’s free Adobe Photoshop resources, check out the Photoshop Cafe website , or check out his premium training library .
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Photoshop » Effects » How To Create A Double Exposure In Photoshop (Step By Step)
How to create a double exposure in photoshop (step by step).
The double exposure effect in Photoshop is an excellent technique to elevate your designs and produce creative results. The process involves superimposing two or more images over your base image to create a blended effect.
This technique works well when placing a landscape or city scene over a strong portrait image. Once you understand the basics of making a double exposure, you can get creative and edit your photos uniquely to create awe-inspiring results.
S in this tutorial, you’ll learn an easy step-by-step process to create a double exposure effect in Photoshop, along with example images you can follow along with by clicking here.
How To Create A Double Exposure In Photoshop
The following steps will teach you the basics of creating a double exposure in Photoshop. However, you can tweak the process slightly to suit your image and make it unique when superimposing your images onto the base image.
For this example, I will be placing the photos of the trees and the cave over the side portrait of the man to produce the desired effect.
Step 1: Add Your Base Image To A New Document
You can work directly on the base image to start the double exposure. However, if you need extra space around the subject, add the photo to a new document before creating the effect.
To create a new document, click New File on Photoshop’s home screen or go to File > New . You can also use the shortcut Control + N (Win) or Command + N (Mac) .
Set the Width , Height , and Resolution you want for your new document. For this example, I also have the Background Contents set to Transparent . Once complete, click Create after inputting the settings.
You should then open your base image in a separate tab by going to File > Open or pressing Control + O (Win) or Command + O (Mac) .
Once you’ve selected the picture from your files, drag the background layer from its tab over the new document tab you created and then drop the image onto the empty canvas.
You can place the base image anywhere on the document that works for your project.
To add a background to the document, select the bottom layer in the Layers Panel , click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom, and select Solid Color .
Select a color from the Color Picker and click OK .
You can change the background color anytime or create a gradient fill layer for a more dynamic background.
Step 2: Remove The Background From The Subject
When you have your image on the new document with your background, you must remove the original background from the photo. This is necessary so you can isolate the subject later on.
Note: If you want to keep the subject on the original background, duplicate the image layer before following this step.
There are various ways to remove the background of an image. However, the fastest is to use the Select Subject method. To do this, select the Object Selection Tool (W) from the Toolbar.
Then, use the drop-down menu next to Select Subject in the Options Bar and select Cloud (Detailed results) .
Click the Select Subject button and give Photoshop a few moments to select the subject.
To hide the background, click the Add Layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel . A mask thumbnail will be added to the layer.
The image’s original background will be hidden on the document.
Step 3: Add The First Top Image Into The Document
You can now start adding the top images to the document. First, if you want to add an image that sticks out of the subject on an edge, you can use this method.
To add an image, you can open it in your File Explorer or Finder and drag it into the Photoshop document.
To place the image, activate the Move Tool (V) .
You can drag the image to place it. Then, to resize and rotate the picture, you need to activate the Transform Tool by pressing Control + T (Win) or Command + T (Mac) . You can then drag a corner handle to resize the image.
To rotate the image, right-click or Control + click on the image and select a rotation or flip option.
Keep moving and resizing until you are happy with the placement.
Click the Checkmark icon in the Options Bar to accept the changes.
Step 4: Remove The Background From The Image
If you want to create the illusion that the objects in the top image are sticking out of the subject from the base image, you must remove the background. When you have a complex image like the trees in my forest photo, the best method is to use channels to remove the background .
You can find more detailed information in the linked article above, but here are the basics of this method.
First, hide the other layers in the document and select the forest image layer.
Next, open the Channels Panel . This is usually a tab next to the Layers Panel, but if you can’t see it, go to Window > Channels .
You will see four channels on an RGB image in the Channels Panel. The RGB channel is all the colors. Then you have separate channels of Red, Green, and Blue. Click on each channel, and the image on the document will change. Find the channel that has the highest contrast for your picture.
In my case, the channel with the highest contrast is the Red channel. Duplicate the channel that works best for you by dragging the channel layer down to the Create new channel button .
Ensure the duplicated channel is selected and use the shortcut Control + L (Win) or Command + L (Mac) to open the Levels window.
You need to make the dark areas as close to black as possible and the light areas as close to white as possible.
You can do this by moving the highlights and shadows sliders inward on the graph. Push these toggles as far as possible without creating halos and unwanted artifacts. Click OK to accept the changes.
You can now make an accurate selection of the trees by holding in Control (Win) or Command (Mac) and clicking on the duplicated channel’s thumbnail.
The selection will surround the outside of the trees, including the background.
You must invert the selection to remove the background, not the trees. To invert the selection, press Shift + Control + I (Win) or Shift + Command + I (Mac) . The selection will now only surround the trees.
You can now remove the background by adding a layer mask. To do this, open the Layers Panel and click the Add layer mask icon at the bottom.
The background will be removed, and only the trees will remain.
You can turn on the other layers again to show all the elements on the canvas.
Step 5: Remove Excess Areas From Both Images
You can now see that the base and forest images have excess areas that need to be removed. You can easily remove these areas since you’re working with layer masks. You can resize and reposition your top image before you remove any excess.
First, remove the excess areas of the base image. To do this, select the layer mask of the base image. The white border indicates that the mask is selected.
Next, select the Brush Tool (B) and set the foreground color to black in the Toolbar.
Adjust the Brush size using [ to decrease and ] to increase. Then paint over the base image where you want to remove excess. I will paint over the bottom where the base image is showing through the trees.
Keep painting over until you are happy there are no excess areas of the base image sticking through.
Now, you can remove the excess areas of the tree image while using the base subject as a guide. To do this, create a selection around the subject by holding in Control (Win) or Command (Mac) and clicking on the image’s layer mask thumbnail.
The selection will cover the base subject.
You need to invert the selection to ensure the outside of the subject is selected. To do this, use the shortcut Shift + Control + I (Win) or Shift + Command + I (Mac) .
Now, activate the Brush Tool (B) and set the foreground color to black.
Then, ensure the forest layer’s layer mask is selected.
Now, you can use the same technique as before to paint out the excess trees around the subject. Be careful to keep the trees at the bottom sticking out.
Keep painting until you have removed all the excess you want to. Then press Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect the area.
Step 6: Add And Resize The Second Top Image
Next, you can add the second image for the double exposure. This method works when you don’t need to remove the image’s background and only need to confine it to the subject.
Add another image by locating it in your files and dragging it into the program.
Step 7: Add A Layer Mask To Clip The Image To The Subject
To ensure the image only shows inside the subject, you can create a layer mask that confines the image to the subject. To do this, make a selection around the subject again by holding in Control (Win) or Command (Mac) and clicking on the layer mask of the base image.
Next, select the Cave layer and then click on the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel to add a layer mask.
The top image will now only cover the inside of the subject.
Step 8: Duplicate The Subject Layer And Change The Blend Mode
At this stage, you have lost all the details from the base image and only have the outline. You can now bring back the details to complete the double exposure effect. To bring back details, duplicate the original base image layer and place it at the top of the layers stack.
To duplicate the base image layer, select it and press Control + J (Win) or Command + J (Mac) .
Then, click and drag the duplicated layer to the top of the layers stack.
The man will cover the entire composition in the document, except for the forest sticking out.
Now, desaturate the duplicated base layer to remove the colors. To desaturate the layer, select it and go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or press Shift + Control + U (Win) or Shift + Command + U (Mac) .
The color from your base subject will be removed.
You can blend the base subject into the rest of the layers by changing the Blend Mode . First, locate the drop-down menu next to Normal in the Layers Panel .
Open the menu and select Lighten from the options.
You will now see the two images blended in with the base image. Your double exposure is almost complete but needs a bit of cleaning up.
Step 9: Clean Up The Effect
You can now start fine-tuning the effect to clean up any hard edges or placement issues. Firstly, if you want to move any top images, you will notice the entire layer mask moves with it.
To only move one of the images inside the subject, you need to unlink it from the layer mask. You can unlink any of the images by clicking on the link icon between the two thumbnails in the Layers Panel. Then, when you move or resize the picture, it will move independently of the layer mask.
Another thing to consider is any hard edges that remain in the two added images. For example, you can see the forest image’s hard edges that need to be blended.
To fix up the hard edges, you will use the same technique of painting on the layer mask, with one difference. First, select the layer mask of the image you want to fix up.
Then, activate the Brush Tool (B) and set the foreground color to black.
Since you don’t want to completely remove the forest areas and instead blend them in, you need to reduce the opacity of the brush. Use the Opacity slider in the Options Bar to decrease the brush opacity. The amount will depend on your image.
Use the brush to paint over the hard edges and blend it into the base image. Adjust the brush size and opacity as you go to create a seamless blend.
If you need to fix any areas on the other image, select the layer mask and use the same settings with the brush.
You can then adjust the brush size and opacity as needed to blend the areas into the base subject. For instance, when using a person as the subject, you want to ensure that the main features, including the eyes, nose, and mouth, are clearly visible.
You can continue painting over the different layer masks to hide areas of the two additional images to bring back some features of the base subject. Keep adjusting until you are happy with the result.
Step 10: Add Adjustments To The Entire Composition
The final step is adding global adjustments to the composition to ensure the images blend well. The adjustments you add will depend entirely on your photos and the feel you are going for. However, here are a few examples you can try on your composition.
Reduce the saturation to blend the top image into the base image. To do this, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by selecting it from the Adjustments Panel .
Then, drag the Saturation slider to the left in the Properties Panel to reduce the saturation slightly.
Another adjustment you can make is to add a Selective Color adjustment by selecting it from the Adjustments Panel .
Then, adjust the necessary slider in the Properties Panel . I moved the Black slider for the Red Colors to the left to lighten the red in the cave image.
You can also adjust the contrast using the Curves adjustment layer . To do this, select the Curves Adjustment from the Adjustments Panel .
Then, adjust the Curve graph in the Properties Panel to increase or decrease the contrast based on your image.
You can add as many adjustments as you like to edit your image how you want to and to create a unique double exposure effect with your photos. Here is how my image turned out after all my adjustments.
Hey, I'm Brendan ! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. You can view my photography portfolio here.
These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.
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Hey there, I'm Brendan! Around here, my mission is to help you improve your photography, photo editing, and graphic design through easy-to-understand tutorials that maximize your creativity. You can learn more about me and this website here.
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