Blending for Beginners

Requirements: Adobe Photoshop 7.0+

Previous Knowledge: No previous knowledge required. However, must have a certain grasp of Photoshop.

Introduction: When I was just starting to design, I came across websites that used a technique called "blending"... they blended textures, pictures, brushes... anything that you can possibly think of... together. It made the most wonderful effect on the finished picture, so I wanted to learn more. Back then it was hard to look for a tutorial about blending images together using Photoshop, and I googled it and everything. Without success, I decided to learn this on my own. So far, this style never fails me, so I've decided to share it with you all.

There are many, many ways of blending images. But you shall learn it the Vicky-way!

You see, I don't blend for the purpose of merging two or more images together. I blend for the purpose of making the BASE image look better than it is. If you believe that blending is used otherwise, then this tutorial is not for you.

Blending for Beginners

1. Choose at least two images to blend. For this tutorial, we will only be using three pictures just so that you understand blending. I have chosen this picture of William Moseley and two graphics that I had readilly made for this tutorial.


2. Secondly, decide which image is it that you would like to blend INTO. Decide on the BASE image before you start blending. For this tutorial, I have decided to use image ONE to be the base image.

3. Now that I've decided on the base image, I am then pasting image TWO on top of image one. Understand that by doing so, you have also generated Layer 2 in image ONE. Place Layer 2 wherever you want.

4. Now you have two ways of blending my way:

You just select whatever style of blending you want this way. This is the quickest way, but the bad thing about this is that everytime you change styles it gets recorded in the history.

Therefore I do it this way: right click on the layer you are to blend and select Blending Options. It should lead you to this window:

You see that it still has the same selections in the drop-down menu, but the thing with this is that there's so much you can do in this window, and because there's a preview function whatever you do in that window doesn't affect the history, of course unless you clicked OK.

Now, because we're only BLENDING, we'll ignore the other functions of this window as we'll only look at the DEFAULT option, not the drop shadow, stroke, etc.

5. Now we experiment with the blending. If you have a scrollable mouse, use that on the drop down menu as it's the easiest way to preview.

After much scrolling up and down, I have decided on Color Dodge.

6. It looks really horrible at the moment, but we'll fix that. Select all and copy image one again, then paste it on TOP of image 2 so that you've generated layer 3. Put it on EXACTLY the same spot as Layer 1, then blend it in Hard Light.

7. It still looks horrible, doesn't it? Take Image 3 and paste it on top of Layer 3. Now I would like you to change the opacity to 25%. By now the image should be looking like this:

8. I would now like you to create a layer BELOW layer 1. This would be the background layer. Fill it with the colour black.

9. Copy image one once again and paste it on TOP of Layer 4, exactly on the same position as layer 1. Blend this in Overlay.

10. Now we clean up. How? By using the feather-edged eraser and erasing the edges of Layers 1,3, and 5 so that at the end it looks something like this:

11. Create Layer 7. Fill it up with the color: #B30202. Now blend this as Soft Light.

12. Now by this stage, you have officially finished blending. BUT! It still looks a little... blank. This is where you use your brushes. I've used brushes from Broggadocio and Sanami onto new layers, which are layers 8 and 9.

Remember how I told you that brushes blended into another picture makes it look super? Well, this is what I'm talking about. Layers 8 and 9 was blended as Color Dodge to create that "burnt" border look.

13. What is a blend without a story? Sweetie, this is Vicky-style, so you're blending to create a tale through graphics. Therefore make a title for your story! I've named mine as Mystery, then blended that text layer as Color Dodge as well.

14. And there you go! You have successfully made your very first blend! This is not my best blend though, I admit. But it's enough to make you understand the joys of blending. =)

Fragiled Arts 2005-2006 Victoria Galang. All Rights Reserved.