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October 15, 2007

Using Photoshop Blending Modes: Multiply

Time for a Photoshop tip. The last three photos I posted of a native American Indian warrior with a sunset background are a composite of two photos: this one of the Native American Indian performing at a pow-wow and this photo of a sunset over the Grand Canyon South Rim.


Indian Chief Photo

I used a couple of Photoshop's blending options called "multiply" and "darken" to create the various works in the series. The general principle that applies to these blending modes is that if the color of the pixels of the top layer are darker than the corresponding pixels in the lower layer, then you will see what is on the top layer, otherwise you see what is on the lower layer.

Photo illustrating selection of subject in PhotoshopSo keeping this in mind, white is always going to be lighter than everything else, so I started out by making a selection of the chief and masking him. Then I make everthing that was unmasked white. My intention here is that all the white will be replaced entirely by what is in the second photo when I change the blending mode from Normal to Multiply. To the left is what my lower layer looked like.

Changing blending mode to Multiply in PhotoshopI then opened the sunset photo that I wanted to use as the background. I arranged my window in my Photoshop workspace to "Tile Vertically" and then dragged the sunset photo over top of the photo of the chief. (Hint: By holding down the shift key before clicking on the photo you want to drag, and then continuting to hold down shift while you do this, Photoshop will automatically center the photo over top of the one below when you let go of the mouse button. If you don't do this you might have to nudge the top layer around a bit if it ends up off-center. At this point in Photoshop I see only the sunset in my window. However, with the sunset layer selected and chosing Multiply from the Blending Mode dropdown as illustrated I end up with my beautiful blend.


So that's it. Just keep the principles in mind that the darker colors of the top layer will overlay the lighter colors of the lower layer, and of course, play around a bit.

Something to keep in mind to make this successful is to start out by not only considering how to make what you want replaced lighter than what you want to lay over top, but also make sure you resize the images you are going to use to to be the same dimensions and resolution otherwise they won't lay over top of each other perfectly.

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