Use masks for a double exposure
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 16, 2015
Learn how to use one of Photoshop’s best tools for taking the mystery out of digital painting
1. Start the double exposure
Open your start image. Set the Model layer’s blend mode to Lighten. Use the Move tool to position the Model and Tree layers to get a good blend.
2. Fade the tree
Apply a layer mask to the Tree layer using the icon in the Layers palette. Select the Brush tool and choose a soft, round brush at 80% Opacity. Set the Foreground colour to black. Paint in the mask to fade the bottom.
3. Fill empty area
Create a new layer above Tree. Cmd/Ctrl+click the Model’s thumbnail to make a selection of that layer. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert the selection. Go to Edit>Fill, use White, then click OK. Press Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect.
4. Reinforce the model
Select the Model layer and press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate. Set the blend mode to Normal. Apply a layer mask. Paint black in the mask to hide everything save the face and any other areas you want to restore. Use the square brackets to size the brush as needed.
5. Paint some leaves
With the Brush tool still active, create a new layer. Set the Foreground colour to #805012. Choose the Scattered Maple Leaves preset at 100% Opacity. Set brush size to 175px. In the Brush palette, un-tick Colour Dynamics. Paint some leaves. Lower brush Opacity to 30% and paint some more.
6. Add texture to the leaves
Find a leaf texture, and go to File>Place to add (CC users open the file and Select>All, Ctrl/Cmd+C, then Ctrl/Cmd+V into your image). To clip it to the leaves, Option/Alt+click between the Texture layer and the brushwork layer below it.
7. Reduce texture
Apply a layer mask to the Texture layer. Set the Foreground colour to black and brush Opacity to 80%. Paint in areas to reduce the texture, restoring some of the leaf colour.
8. Add more leaves
Add more leaves by repeating steps 5-7. This time use white at 100% Opacity and a 500px brush. Paint in the areas surrounding the model, and add leaves in the hair and body.
9. Extract blossom
Find a blossom picture such as this one. With the Quick Selection tool, click and drag within the blossom to select it. Press Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy. Return to the main composition. Create a new layer at the top and press Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste. Move to position.
10. Transform and duplicate
Use Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to scale and rotate the blossom. With the Move tool active, Option/Alt+click and drag to quickly create duplicates. Transform each for variety. Remember to hit the Move tool and click Apply Transformation after transforming each one.
11. Apply Levels
Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Levels. Set Shadow input to 12, Midtone level to 1.42 and Highlight level to 230. With black and a soft, round brush, paint any areas in the mask at 20% Opacity that are too light.
12. Apply Photo Filter
Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Photo Filter. Choose the Sepia filter, and set the Density to 66%. Ensure Preserve Luminosity is ticked.
13. Add overall texture
Go to File>Place and add the texture that you added earlier to the leaves. Set blend mode to Hard Light and drop Opacity to 70%. Apply a layer mask. With black and a soft round brush at 80% Opacity , paint in the facial area to remove texture.
14. Apply Colour Fill
Click the Create New Fill Layer button in the Layers Palette, choose Solid Colour. Pick #36d2ab. Set blend mode to Colour Burn. With black and a soft, round brush at 80%, click on the mask and paint all areas save the left side of the model.
15. Add another Colour Fill
Create another Solid Colour fill layer. Pick #f73e5e. Set the blend mode to Colour Burn. With black and a soft, round brush at 80% Opacity, paint all areas in the mask apart from the lower face and shoulder area.
16. Soften with Divide
Create one last Solid Colour fill layer. Pick #36d2ab. Drop Opacity to 70%. Set blend mode to Divide (or try Colour Dodge). In the mask, paint black in areas to reduce the effect.