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Please feel free to post tutorials you've written or request one to be written. You may also post tutorials you've found as long as proper credit is given. Please do not post specific questions in this forum. Post them in the Fanart Help forum instead.

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 New Blending Method, Beginner-Advanced
Luke Skywalker
Posted: Aug 7 2010, 06:35 AM


Mystes


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Member No.: 8,366
Joined: 14-August 06



Greetings everyone!

I've been promising the people that check out my Supernatural and Miscellaneous Art threads a tutorial on a semi-new blending style that I believe quite a few other artists have already picked up on. However, I think that this is an amazing style of blending, and is a valuable method for all level of graphics makers! So allow me to teach you what I call the "Lighten Blending Method".

There are several different methods of blending people learn as they progress in graphics. Some of the most popular are the simple select and cut method, another is the Fuzzy Circle eraser method, layer masks are always good, the pen tool is popular for straight up rendering, etc., however the problem I've always found with this methods is that they leave you with a nasty edge (hard or soft) that needs to be dealt with by either putting other pictures over it or just trying to move it into a spot that it's not so noticeable. The Lighten method really simplifies this issue, and it also greatly helps achieve a softer blend of pictures instead of the harsh one people usually achieve because of the edge problem. However, this method I'm about to teach you is like anything else in the graphics world, it isn't a one-for-all method of blending. I often use other techniques or styles of blending in combination to make everything work, as you will see in my tutorial today. So enough with the talking...let's get started! biggrin.gif

Step 1: Open a new canvas with dimensions 500x150, and make sure your background color will come out black.

user posted image


Step 2: Open This image as layer.

Step 3: Scale the Jared-image layer down so that it's new width is 500 pixels. Then move the layer over to the right and try to center his face in the canvas as best as you can.

user posted image


Step 4: Open This image as layer, and repeat step 3 only moving the image over to the left instead of the right.

user posted image


Step 5: Now this is the ground breaking step. While you have the Jensen-image selected, go over to your layers panel and change the layer's Mode to "Lighten Only" or "Lighten" for Photoshop users.

user posted image

This should be what your result looks like after doing this step:

user posted image


As you can see, this method is already paying off because one, it was drastically simple and two, there are no nasty edges to worry about. However, parts of the respective images now cover the darker area of the other. However, this is also usually a simple fix, and here's how:

Step 6: With the Jensen layer still selected right click on the layer over in the Layers Panel and click "Add Layer Mask...".

user posted image

This Window should pop up:

user posted image

Click "Add" and this is what your Layers Panel should look like afterwards:

user posted image


Congratulations! You have just now successfully created a Layer mask, but can you use it? They're actually extremely handy little devils, and save a lot of time and energy compared to simply erasing or cutting materials away. Here's how you use them:

Step 7: Go over to your foreground/background colors and change it back to default (black foreground/white background):

user posted image


Step 8: Then select your brush tool and make sure you have a large fuzzy circle bush selected:

user posted image


Step 9: Set the brush's oppacity to around 44% and scale to about 2.22, doesn't need to be exact, and then head on over to your image and start brushing over the areas that need to be taken away (your primary focus should always be around your focal point, everything else is nearly optional). Note: The biggest problem people always run into on this step is that they don't make sure their layer mask layer is still selected. This is very easy to check, just look over in your Layers Panel and see which layer has a white border around it, this is the layer that is selected. It is kind of hard to tell with the layer mask layer seeing how it's also white, so if you need to be sure of your self, simply click on a different layer and then click back to the layer mask layer to make sure it's selected. Though if you've followed the steps exactly up until this point, this should be a problem.

user posted image

user posted image


Note: Here's the lowdown on how Layer Masks work, incase you didn't get it from simply using it. With a Layer Mask applied to a layer, you can paint on the mask layer in black, which will essentially "cover-up" whatever you're painting over. If you switch your foreground color to white and paint over it again you will "uncover" what you just covered up. This is the wonder of layer masks because unlike erasing or cutting, you can simply go back to the layer mask and paint over what you don't need or need back from your layer at any time. Black takith away, and white bringith back.

Step 10: Now select the Jared-image layer and repeat steps 6-9. This was my out come:

user posted image

user posted image


Step 11: You're basically done with all the blending now. You may want to give your image a once-over check before moving on to the next phase of your graphics making process, whatever that may be, just to make sure you got all the possible edges or bothersome "fuzz" out of the way. smile.gif After making some minor enhancements (I always suggest levels and a good sharpen), this is what I got for my final product:

user posted image
Special Note for GIMP Users: After you finish blending, you often find that you'd like your newly blending images all together on one layer so that you can make enhancements to all of them at once. GIMP makes this so easy that you'll want to take a shotgun to Photoshop for making it much more complicated. Here's what you do: Once you have finished blending and want your images all together on a layer, simply go over to your layer panel>right click anywhere in the panel (including on a layer)>select "New from Visible", and a new layer will automatically be added, that is exactly what was visible on your canvas. This is very similar to the Merge Layers option in Photoshop, only in GIMP you get to keep the layers incase you make a mistake that you don't realize until farther down the road. tongue.gif

Not too shabby, yeah? You may be saying to yourself that these were just two pictures that this happened to actually work so well on. Well...you're partially right, but mostly wrong. I've found that this method works in pretty much every case that I've tried to use it in. Sure the result isn't always as straight forward as this one was, and I end up doing a bit more work with layer masks, but overall this process works a lot better than any other method I've used in the past, and the results are a lot nicer. I hope that you think so too, and I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and walked away with some piece of new knowledge! biggrin.gif

Thanks so much for reading, and if you have any questions, comments, or want to share your results, please post them in here. biggrin.gif I love results, so don't be afraid to share!

Thanks,
Luke

Results:
Cinca:
user posted image

x...H.I.M...X:
user posted image

Carmen Ackles:
user posted image

snaddict21:
user posted image


This post has been edited by Luke Skywalker on Sep 23 2010, 04:27 PM
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Dakota Spirit
Posted: Aug 7 2010, 07:16 AM


Woman in White


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Seeing as blending is pretty much the bane of my graphics existence, I definitely had to try this out.

It was going good and then I ran into a bit of a snag. I'm a photoshop user and upon reaching Step 6 I was unable to locate the 'Add Layer Mask' option. It didn't appear in the drop down menu when I right clicked and upon further searching (through other menus) I wasn't able to find it anywhere else either. I was wondering, do you know if the feature/option is located somewhere different in PS?

And as a side note, I really need to check out this gimp program that everyone is always talking about.

Aside from that, great tutorial! It's really easy to understand and follow. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out smile.gif
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Luke Skywalker
Posted: Aug 7 2010, 08:41 PM


Mystes


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Joined: 14-August 06



Hey Dakota, no worries. I'm glad you're enjoying the tutorial...except for that little snag. smile.gif It's actually really easy in Photoshop; in your layers panel there should be an icon down at the buttom that looks like a gray square with a white circle in the middle of it, just click that to add a layer mask. Here's an image I found from another tutorial online:

user posted image
Credit Link for pic

I hope that solves that small snag for you. Other than that major difference, I don't think you should have any more problems with the tutorial; layer masks function the same way in both programs, black takith away and white bringith back. smile.gif
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Cinca
Posted: Aug 7 2010, 09:52 PM


Weirdy McWeirderton


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Thanks for this. I use the layer mask method regularly (seeing as if I don't use layer masks the image gets painted over, not sure why. unsure.gif , but I like it, makes blending a lot more easier) and picked up on the blending modes one from a few Photoshop tuts. *hides face*

But I used the "screen" mode until now. embarassed.gif

Or Multiply or Darken only if I have a light background pic. unsure.gif

Tried to follow exactly and this is what came out.

user posted image

Anywho, great tut. happy.gif
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Luke Skywalker
Posted: Aug 7 2010, 10:12 PM


Mystes


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Wonderful result, Cinca! And yeah, this method is great for those darker picture that you want to blend (which happens often in Supernatural fanart), but if you have lighter pictures then Darken is what you use...if this is the method that you're going with. This one is just so nice because it helps blend background nicely, I think. smile.gif
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sammy22
Posted: Aug 10 2010, 07:53 PM


Shtriga


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Great Tutorial. It is easy to follow. The only problem I had was the same as Dakota Spirit. I have photoshop 7 so that picture link you found doesn't even help me. Could someone tell me where to find the layer mask in PS7?

Again thanks for the tutorial. Once I find the layer mask I'm going to try finishing this.
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Dakota Spirit
Posted: Aug 10 2010, 08:15 PM


Woman in White


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QUOTE (sammy22 @ Aug 10 2010, 07:53 PM)
I have photoshop 7 so that picture link you found doesn't even help me. Could someone tell me where to find the layer mask in PS7?

Same, lol.

Although I have P6 and after searching around the 'net a bit found out that you apparently can't create a legitimate mask in that program. I did however find a video that shows how to cheat and basically make a pseudo mask with the same effect...so I'll be giving that a try and hopefully have some measure of success.

I actually realized that my program is Photoshop Elements, which I think is different then the standard PS. It also probably explains why the set up is a little different lol.

Anyway, thanks agian for the help Luke. I'll hopefully have some results to post soon smile.gif
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sammy22
Posted: Aug 10 2010, 10:34 PM


Shtriga


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QUOTE (Dakota Spirit @ Aug 10 2010, 01:15 PM)
QUOTE (sammy22 @ Aug 10 2010, 07:53 PM)
I have photoshop 7 so that picture link you found doesn't even help me. Could someone tell me where to find the layer mask in PS7?

Same, lol.

Although I have P6 and after searching around the 'net a bit found out that you apparently can't create a legitimate mask in that program. I did however find a video that shows how to cheat and basically make a pseudo mask with the same effect...so I'll be giving that a try and hopefully have some measure of success.

I actually realized that my program is Photoshop Elements, which I think is different then the standard PS. It also probably explains why the set up is a little different lol.

Anyway, thanks agian for the help Luke. I'll hopefully have some results to post soon smile.gif

I didn't realize there was a difference between PS and PS Elements. I have the elements. I'm pretty new to the Photoshop world. I've never really edited pictures so it is all trial and error for me. I finding new things every day and still can't figure out how to do half the stuff people here can do.
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Luke Skywalker
Posted: Aug 13 2010, 10:50 PM


Mystes


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Joined: 14-August 06



I'm sorry you two are having so much trouble with the Layer Masks. sad.gif They're not vital to this tutorial working, but they are extremely useful to be able to utilize. I haven't had the time to do any research for other versions of Photoshop. I'll do my best to get to it this evening if possible. smile.gif
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Cinca
Posted: Aug 14 2010, 03:56 PM


Weirdy McWeirderton


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I have masks in PS at Layer/Layer Mask and then there you shuld have two options, Hide all and Reveal all, I usually go with the latter.
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x...H.I.M...X
Posted: Aug 21 2010, 05:14 PM


Zombie


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Hey Luke thanks for the tutorial biggrin.gif

This is my result, I added tweeks of my own like levels and rounded curves at the end laugh.gif

user posted image
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Luke Skywalker
Posted: Aug 26 2010, 04:08 PM


Mystes


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Great work, Dal! biggrin.gif I like the addition of the text in the background, cool idea!
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x...H.I.M...X
Posted: Aug 26 2010, 05:55 PM


Zombie


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Member No.: 8,226
Joined: 10-August 06



Thanks Luke hug9in.gif I always go and write Seth and then think nope he has morphed into Luke Skywalker laugh.gif Thanks for the amazing tutorial biggrin.gif

I went and actually made another banner using the tutorial but with different images wink.gif

user posted image

Thanks again because i'm always limited with options when it comes down to blending dreadful images but now thanks to layer masking....tis a saviour laugh.gif Thanks!
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Luke Skywalker
Posted: Aug 29 2010, 06:50 AM


Mystes


Group: members
Posts: 4,127
Member No.: 8,366
Joined: 14-August 06



You're most certainly welcome, Dal! biggrin.gif Layer masks truly are a life changing tool for digital art once you figure them out and start using them. They not only make things loads easier, but they also help save a lot of time if you make a mistake and need to go back, they're just amazing! smile.gif Love your new result banner! Very nicely done!

Is anyone still having problems with the tutorial? I'm sorry I never got around to looking up those other methods of doing layer masks in different programs, but if anyone is still having trouble, I can try and help you out this week...
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Carmen Ackles
Posted: Aug 29 2010, 03:56 PM


james maslow's girl


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Yay, definitely love your tutorial really so simply and love it. smile.gif

here's my result. biggrin.gif

user posted image
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