Friday, April 25, 2008

Tutorial for Photo Blending Options in Photoshop

Ever wonder how people get that incredible depth and definition on their photos? What about how they get the background of a picture to disappear? Well, there are MANY ways to go about this, but a GREAT way to accomplish this is to use your blending modes. Although it is a "trial and error" procedure and may vary with each photo, once you learn the basics you can simply click until you are happy with the result. Here is what our photo will look like in the end on a scrapbook page:

1.) Choose your photo and drag it onto a New Document. In this example, I changed the photo to black and white, but you can use this technique for color photos as well.

2.) Right-click on your photo layer and choose Duplicate Layer. Then pull down the drop down box for the blending modes (should be defaulted to Normal) and choose Screen. (You will notice that your photo will now appear lighter and brighter.)

3.) Now duplicate your Screen layer and change that blending mode to Overlay. (Note: if nothing else, these 2 layers set at these blending modes will give most of your black & white photos and a lot of your color photos incredible depth and defintion as you can see below.)

4.) Now, click on your top photo layer and while holding down your shift key, click on your bottom photo layer to select all 3 of them. Then right click somewhere on one of the layers and choose Merge Layers. Once you have one layer, right click on it and again duplicate your layer. This time, change your blending mode to Hard Light.

5.) Last one... duplicate it one more time and change the blending mode to Screen. Now, in this case, this virtually eliminates the back ground and gives her a wonderfully contrasted and sharp appearance.

6.) Again, merge your photo layers together. (Be sure you merge only your photo layers together and not all of your layers. You will still need your "background" layer in order to edit your photo further.)

7.) Use your eraser tool to erase any remnants of the background. In this case, I will also make my image larger by choosing my Move Tool and grabbing one of the corners of the photo and while holding down my Shift key, dragging my mouse out to enlarge it. I will also move my image all the way over to the right until I like the positioning of it.

8.) Place your word art on your layout. (You can find my Fading Emotions Vol 2 word art by clicking HERE.

11.) Now, in order to get the text off of her (since this is not truly an extracted image), just choose your Eraser Tool and, making sure the layer with text is active, simply erase any text on her. (Note: The end result will have a much cleaner look and appear as if it's going behind her if you zoom in and even erase the little pieces of text on her hair and other small details on the photo... it sounds scary, but it's really not... it only took a couple of minutes!!!)

12.) Now choose your text tool and type your title at the top and that's it! You're done!!!! Again... here is our finished layout:

******I'd LOVE to know what you think of this tutorial!! Feel free to leave comments! Also... if you have any questions regarding this tutorial, you can certainly email me at with PHOTO BLENDING TUTORIAL as the subject. Thanks!!!!


Celeste said...

This is AWESOME!!! I've been wondering how to get this effect so THANK YOU for posting this!!!

Helen Hancock said...

WOW! Great work. Have you ever thought of teaching? So clearly and well explained! Great work A! Have a wonderful weekend!

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks for the tutorial!! Your instructions are really clear and easy to follow.

the Sassy Scrapper said...

That tutorial was awesome!!!!!!!! Do you know how many hours I spend extracting Tarrah from a photo? LOL! I'm gonna go find one now and do a scraplift! Great LO by the way!!!!

stevie kay said...

I love it, Amanda. You're such a wiz at blending, and I'm so . . . not :-) This will be so much fun to try and work with. Very clear and easy to understand. Thanks!!!!

Nicole Marshall said...

Great tutorial Amanda!!! I get asked this a lot too so now I can direct them here!! I haven't really used blending to "extract" like this And yours is so cool I have to go find a picture and try one just like yours! AND the word art OH MY AWESOME!!!

Nicole Marshall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Therese said...

I have to try this at once, it looks GREAT....TFS!!!

Cat said...

You Rock girl!!! Love ya!

missy said...

I am so excited about this tutorial! It's awesome! I am terrible at extractions (partially due to lack of patience/tools) so I will definitely try this technique! And I adore typeface so I like that you combined it together. Thank you so much! I'm so glad I followed the link from Shaui!

lynette said...

God bless you for posting this tutorial! I've just recently purchased Photoshop Elements 6.0 for Mac and I'm still trying to figure things out. Thank you, this is great!

Nancy said...

This is great, the best I've seen. I actually GET IT just by reading it. Great job!

MariaT said...

I am very excited to have a way to extract the background without actually having to do all the work! Can't wait to try this...thanks!!!

Shanarama said...

I don't have any questions, but I do think you are a GENUIS!!!! Thanks for the awesome tips and tricks... can't wait to try it out. :)

M u s s said...

This is so great!
Love it!
Thanks a lot!

SteinwaysMom said...

This is great. Thanks...

Hummie said...

Wow! Totally awesome layout! You rock!

esther_a said...

This was great - thanks so much. I guess it works best on a photo where the subject is darker than the background?
Didn't work at all on the pic I tried - it had a dark background. But I liked how it looked with the colors more vibrant half way through! I look forward to having another go.

3 Twisted Sisters said...

Thank you so much, this was an easy to follow tutorial with great results! Here's a link to my layout using your fantastic instructions! Jen

Mrs. N said...

I love the tutorial - I had no idea that I should use so many blending layers to make the photo pop! Thanks. My only question - how did you get the text overlay of yours to look like it's fading?

Denise Olson said...

This is a wonderful tutorial. Thank you for sharing and for your "inspiration"!!!

HSDesigns said...

This is probably the most clearly written tutorial I have ever seen. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your beautiful tutorial.

Gretchen said...

Love this tutorial! I just started using PS (although I can use Paint Shop Pro in my sleep) and this tutorial was great for me! I LOVE your final LO!!

Catherine said...

Wow! What a cool technique! I tried it in PSP (X2) and it's pretty cool there, too ;o)

Emilie said...

WOW! Awesome tut! Thanks for sharing! :)

Rose S said...

This is awesome!! I have only been doing digital for a 1 1/2 and really only do simple layouts, so this is one that is on my list to do. Thanks so much for sharing.

MariaT said...

well i tried it out with a color photo and it just didn't work out at all, but it did give the photo a neat effect with a few tweaks. i'll try it with another one soon tho.

Amy said...

This is a great tutorial! I didn't get quite the crisp look that you did though...the girls shirt is so black, was it originally black? Could it be the quality of the photo because my camera isn't that great. Any tips would be helpful!

HeatherB said...

This is one of the best tutorials I have seen. I love the fact that you aren't keeping your techniques a secret (like you see so often in the digi world for some reason). I am really impressed and I'm going to be back here often!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Amy said...

Here is a link to a layout I did using this technique:


cassiopée said...

Thanks for this great tutorial!
Here's a link to my layout using your technique:

timounette said...

Thanks to you for this great tutorial. Ihave just try it, and you can see the result on my blog :

Godena said...

Thank you for this Tutorial. here is mine:

Dumpty said...

thanks a milion times Amanda for sharing your techniques with us !!
this way we can try to come a little closer to your talent ... (please go on sharing : I have such a long way to go LOL)

Simply Susan Designs said...

so thats how you did it. i love this technique and just finished a layout using it. it is pretty much a straight scraplift from your sample. thank you thank you thank you.

CACTUSmango said...

Great idea! Sounds like this method is alot more fun to do than -EXTRACTING! Thanks Amanda!

Jodie Redman said...

Thank you so much for all these wonderful tutorials! Here's a link for a LO I made using this tutorial I'm not sure if her eyes look right?! Thanks again, Jodie

Anonymous said...

I ready this tut. when you first did this and played a bit, but it was more for the photo effect than the LO - and now I'm coming back to it again for the LO aspects - amazing. Thanks so much. I appreciate everything you do from your LO's to your tuts to your great freebies!

xo Colleen


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