photoshop creative

Experiment with blend modes

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
March 8, 2017

Explore various blend modes, and layer up textures and colours to create a unique double-exposure effect

1. Cut out the subjects

Cut out the two pictures we’re going to use, with the selection tool of your choice. Tidy the selection with Refine Edge/Select and Mask. Choose two images of the same subject – one zoomed in a little more than the other – and feel free to retouch facial features, such as eyes, first.

2. Layer the colours

Place your two images. Clip a #28c6e3 Solid Color Fill layer to the left subject, set to Multiply, then clip a Hue/Saturation layer of Hue: -5, Saturation: +45, Lightness: +30. Cmd/Ctrl+click the right subject’s mask preview and fill in black on the Hue/Saturation mask. Duplicate the right subject, set to Difference, then clip #c13e61 (Multiply) and #ff00f6 (Color).

3. Add the treetops

Add Hue/Saturation and Vibrance adjustment layers to tweak colours. Add images of treetops. Set these to Screen and desaturate (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U). Move over the edges of your subjects. Clip Curves/Levels adjustment layers to alter the contrast. Brush black on a new layer to darken bright areas of fog.

4. Apply the marble

Place a marble texture into your project and set to Overlay. Desaturate (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U), and clip Levels or Curves adjustment layers to increase the contrast of the texture. Reduce the Opacity of this layer to 50% and mask lightly so that the texture doesn’t appear over the subjects’ faces.

5. Place the nebula

Add a nebula. Duplicate this layer; set one to Overlay, one to Screen and set both to 60% Opacity. Place ‘nebula.jpg’ once more and mask a single star over the left subject’s eye, and set to Soft Light, 75% Opacity.

6. Edit the background

Place a worn texture into the project and set to Multiply, 50% Opacity. Mask over the corners of your picture – duplicate if need be – and again clip Curves or Levels adjustment layers to lessen the intensity of the effect, as you can see above.

7. Make adjustments

Add adjustment layers to tweak the image so far. Along with a Curves one (50% Opacity) as shown, add Vibrance: +100, Color Balance: -15, +10, +20 and a Gradient Map (black to white) one, set to Soft Light, 30% Opacity. Elements users can use Levels and Photo Filter for similar effects.

8. Use Camera Raw

Merge everything (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E). Go to Filter>Camera Raw. (Elements: File>Open in Camera Raw.) Experiment with the temperature and whites and blacks, increase Clarity to +20 and go to the Sharpening tab to increase Sharpness and Noise Removal. Mask lightly over the subjects with a soft, white brush.

9. Add more marble

Duplicate your marble layer and set to Multiply, 60% Opacity. Mask in over the darker areas of the picture. Then merge all again (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E) and go to Filter>Liquify (Filter>Distort>Liquify in Elements); just warp the edges of hair and body to blur the lines between the marble and the right-hand subject.

10. Apply finishing touches

Finally, make subtle tweaks just to enhance the image. Mask in some stars over the left-hand subject and set to Screen, enhance the eyes of this subject, use the Spot Healing Brush on the skin, and add a Soft Light, white to black gradient set to 50% Opacity.