Blending images together by Tash
The first thing you need to decide on is the theme or subject of your montage layout, what do you want it to portray?
For this tutorial, I am going for a happy and bright yellows, will it work? I don’t know.
I need to say, that when doing a montage, I rarely have the finished layout in my head, I just fiddle and change things as I create, how it will look I have no idea and at times what I end up with is completely different to what I started with.
I am going to ATTEMPT to explain what I do to achieve my montages.
I am going to try use the following images for my layout. Note I said try, I have no idea if they will fit together.
I am not going overboard with this tutorial, will just try show you the basics of what I do in my montage layouts.
My background paper, made using the standard
Photo of Kamika
Photo I took today of a sunflower in my
I am going to create a 6 x 6 inch layout.
Open a new image, 6 x 6 and 300 res.
Drag all your images onto the layout, arranges your layouts so your background paper is the bottom layer, the rest don’t matter so much yet.
Doesn’t look like much now, but it will start to take shape soon (I hope).
Resize your photos if you need to, I have just resized my sunflower a little.
Then grab your selection tool, either the lasso or the polygonal lasso tool and roughly drag a selection around the flower.
Right click on your image and choose feather (or go to Select -> Feather), feather the selection by about 10 pixels.
Then in your layers palette at the bottom, click add layer mask
Your image should have changed to something like this
If you look in your layers palette, you will see the layer mask sitting on your “flower” layer, the wonderful thing about layer masks is that if you make a mistake while “erasing” you can fix it easily by just switching to the colour white.
Remember with layer masks, you must always be on the mask itself when using your brush tool, all you need to do is click the layer mask (see the red arrow below), then use your brush tool (NOT your eraser tool), black erases and white brings it back.
Make sure you are on your layer mask and select your brush tool, with a small soft brush and black, erase the bits we left behind of the flower. We are doing a montage so it’s not absolutely necessary for it to be perfect, and you can always retouch it at a later stage. If you erase too much, switching to white and painting over it, will bring back the part you previously erased.
You could if you wish, use the extract filter in Photoshop, I prefer to use layer masks when working on montages, just in case I need to bring back some of the image.
You can now ignore the flower layer for a while, I am going to hide mine.
Now on my photo layer, I am going to play around with the blending modes, you will find this in your layers palette as shown below, click it once and then use your arrow key to move through the different modes.
Your photo is different to mine, so my blending mode might not suit your photo, don’t be discouraged, find one that works for you, and don’t be afraid to duplicate your photo layer a few times and use different blending modes on each of them.
I think this looks good for this photo
As you can see from the image above, I duplicated my photo 3 times, on the top layer, I changed the mode to Luminosity and set the opacity to 16%, the middle layer is set to soft light at 100% opacity and the bottom photo layer is set to overlay at a 100%.
Now I see that I have forgotten to clean up the outside of my photo, I am not going to redo it though, I’m just going to grab my eraser tool and erase the bits I don’t want and hope that I won’t need to bring any parts back, you should use a layer mask before playing with the blending modes.
Rearrange your photo if you need to, I have moved mine down to the bottom and now I am going to add little dots in a circle.
Create a new layer, then grab your elliptical selection tool and draw a circle around your photo as shown below.
Go to your Paths palette and click on Make worth path as shown below
Pick a colour for your foreground, it doesn’t really matter which because you can change it later, then select your brush tool, reset your brushes to the default brushes and choose a hard round brush, mine is set to 30 pixels, then in your brush palette, change your brush spacing.
In your paths palette choose Stroke Path with brush, it should have brushed around your path as shown below.
You can deselect the path now by clicking anywhere in the paths palette.
As you can see it brushed all around the selection, I don’t want the circles at the bottom or on the right, so I’m going to grab my eraser tool and erase the bits I don’t want.
I also moved the dotted circle down a bit.
You can now change the colour if you want, by selecting the circle layer and filling it with a colour, or you can change the colour in your blending options, I am going to change mine to a peachy colour, set the mode to multiply and the opacity to 50.
Now I am going to see if my little flower fits in with the layout, I have my doubts so we will have to see I suppose.
Okay, my flower is not working for me, so I deleted it, and decided to go to my brushes instead.
I’ve created a new layer to brush on some flowers, I am using my grunge flowers I made for one of the previous newsletters, I brushed it on using a redish colour and changed the mode to multiply.
I am going to brush a bit more around the layout, play around with your blend modes and duplicate the layers as we did with the photo layer.
I added some more flowers and some hearts, I think I am ready to add some text to it.
Always create new layers for every object or text.
I am going to use the path I previously created to add text along the circle, to do this, all you need to do is select your path in the path palette and then using your text tool, click on the path.
As you can see above, the little squiggly line is my text tool, by clicking there, my text will follow along the path.
Recap of what we’ve gone through in this tutorial
Using layer Masks
Experimenting with blending modes
Using paths to brush on and create text
I do realise that this has probably been the worst tutorial to follow, but I hope this has shown you the basics of creating montages.
There is no right or wrong way, experimentation is the key, don’t be afraid to have hundreds of layers on your montage, duplicate, copy, change blending modes, lower your opacity.
Do it all, it all helps.
Before I end this tutorial and because I am very unimpressed with the results, I want to show you a quick trick that gives fabulous results either over your montage or even for a background paper.
Create a new layer, or open a new image
Fill with a colour, I am using a dark red, change your blending mode to overlay (you can change this later on also).
We are going to use effects under our Filter menu
Filter -> Pixelate -> Colour Halftone
I’ve left it to the default settings, but you can fiddle if you wish.
Filter -> Noise -> Add Noise; Pixelate -> Mosaic; Distort -> Glass;
Brush strokes -> Sumi-e
Then I used my eraser tool to erase the parts over Kami’s face.
I would LOVE to know if you found this tutorial useful, and if you did, I’d love to see what you came up with.
I’m also available to assist should you get stuck and need help, just give a great big shout for me in the forums.
I’ve barely touched base with this tutorial, so if I see some montage layouts following this tutorial, I might just sit down and write some more.