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Old December 8th, 2011
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Default Superimposition in Photoshop CS5

I need help with superimposition of images in Photoshop CS5.

I have mastered the technique of superimposition but only in a limited way.

When using two images only to incorporate one above the other (superimposition) I find that the first image, that is, the one on top of the other (superimposed) retains its transparency but loses its focus. How to prevent the loss of focus?

When I select a section of a picture by the magnetic lasso tool I find that, although I can shift the selection, the space it leaves on the image is a blank space in the form of graph-paper with tiny squares. How to put another image into that blank space?

Many thanks from an elderly pensioner, ever struggling with computer navigation!.

If possible, stepbystep directions please.
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Old December 8th, 2011
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You use masking. It's a wonderful method to use. In effect, whenever using Photoshop, you should never do anything that cannot be undone at some other stage. That's the professional approach. With multi-layers, multi-effects layers and masking, this is achieved.

When you select the area you wish to diminish in transparency whilst that layer is selected in the Layers window, go to the Layers window and select Add Layer Mask. You will suddenly see the area that was selected vanish. If it was the opposite, then undo the add mask layer, and choose Select Inverse (Command-Shift-i on Mac, I presume Control-Shift-i on Windows.) Then re-do the add mask layer.

Now if you wish to adjust the area of transparency, this is the fun part. lol
From the Layers window, select the Channels tab window. Then select the Layer Mask layer so it is active. Click the eye on to the left of the layer mask so that the area that is transparent turns Red. You can use a black or white pencil (or similar tool) to paint the area. White will undo the transparency. Black will extend the area of the transparency. Now if you wish to make part of the area partially transparent, then change the pen's opacity from 100% down to whatever you wish to get the effect you want. . In my example image (#4.), I could put partial transparency around the edges of the hair and perhaps even some parts of her upper body to let the background partially show through to give the impression of background glow, etc. so it looks more-so as though it realistically mellows in with the background picture layer. Doing so really does help to make the upper layer image look as though it's a part of the background scene (and would rid of the sharp edges.) Though I did not do it in this example. It took me 5-10 minutes. Took me much longer to do the sample images lol.

With Layer Masks, you can always go back and re-adjust the mask at a later time such as another day. The same applies for applying effects such as blurr or color changing. These should all be used in Effects Layers, never used directly onto the original image.

1. Select image. (You may see the faint selected area around the body.) ie: Do your selection around what you wish to show or not show from the upper layer.
Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-1.jpg (Click the thumbnail Sample images to see larger view, click again to see in it's own window.)


2. Inverse selection (if necessary.)
Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-2.jpg


3. Create a Mask from the selection.
Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-3.gif (Click to see the animated GiF image.)


4. Result is transparency from the selected (or unselected) area around the main figure.
Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-4.jpg


5. To clean up the image, go to the Channels tab, select the Layer Mask, then use the Pen tool to adjust the transparency around the image.
Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-5.gif (Click to see the animated GiF image.)


6. Shows the Layer Mask visibly selected on main screen, gives a red area showing the transparency. Pencil coloured white will remove transparency, black will add more transparency. Use the Pen's opacity if you wish partial transparency of any parts. A gradient layer can be used also for a larger area of fading transparency but that is more complicated.
Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-6.jpg

The sample image I chose was larger than I thought, I should have chosen a smaller image so I could put it all into a Gif animated image (both pictures had been sitting forgotten on my desktop for over a year lol.) By the way, I always save my master work using TIFF, it has always been a superior format to Photoshop PSD. And non-flattened TIFF can also save to a smaller size than PSD if you use both LZW and ZIP compression (maybe half or third the size of PSD.)
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Old December 9th, 2011
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Have just typed out my reply as a followup to yours which you so promptly sent me yesterday. Am not sure if my response has gone through as I did not type it in this space but in some other space and I forget how I accessed that space !

In that message I explained the difficulty in following your directions for superimposition, particularly as I could not find the "eye on the left of the layer mask so that the area that is transparent turns RED."

I beg your pardon for being so slow on the uptake at my age of 73. Sorry for all the bother and please accept my grateful thanks all over again.

JOE
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Old December 9th, 2011
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ermm...hmmm...me wonders just exactly what she is taking a picture of!
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Old December 9th, 2011
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Whilst the area you wish to become transparent is selected (using one of the lasso or quick selection tools), only then can you create a mask of the area. And the layer you wish to add the transparency to also must be selected in the Layer palette window (in my sample image, Layer 1 is coloured light-blue to show it is selected.) I recommend you use the tool icon at bottom of the Layer window (3rd tool icon from left.) See the sample image to see what I mean about the Layer's palette window and location of the Create Layer Mask Tool. If you hover your cursor over-top of the tool it will probably display what it does.

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-b2-larger.gif

After adding the mask:

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-layer-palette-window-layer-selected-larger.gif (Keep this layer with Mask selected if you wish to adjust the transparency area. Otherwise you will not see it listed in the Channels window.)


Only if you wish to edit the transparency area do you need to do the next step. After creating the Layer Mask, select the Layer Mask in Layer window, then open the Channels window, then select the Layer Mask so it is active and becomes editable (also must first be selected in the Layer window or you will not see it, I forgot to mention this in my earlier post.) Checking to the far left of the Layer Mask will make an Eye icon appear, this will make that layer visible on screen. And then the red area of the transparency will appear. The red area represents the transparent area. Black pen will extend the area, white will remove. Grey will result in partial transparency. Turn the visibility of that mask layer off in the Channels window after you have finished editing the transparency area.

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-5b.gif or larger sample image: Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-photoshop-layer-masks-5b2-larger.gif (This is an animated GiF.)

If you have problems reading the red text in the sample images, click the image again so it opens into its own window. Then the red text will have a white background instead of black.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peerless View Post
ermm...hmmm...me wonders just exactly what she is taking a picture of!
rofl .. I think it's more of a multiple angle trick. The picture came from a funny or odd photos site someone pointed out to me.

Last edited by Lord of the Rings; December 11th, 2011 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Replaced a few sample images with larger (double-size) versions for ease of seeing
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Old December 12th, 2011
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I thank you again for your latest addition to yr previous reply about my problem with superimposition in photoshop CS5.
THANKS TO YOU, I have now managed to superimpose one image over another whilst preserving the transparency of the superimposed image.
So far I have not used layer masks as I still find them a bit confusing but I have managed nicely without them by following your directions.
One problem that I still have is this:- When I make a selection and superimpose it I have no problem provided that selection is a part of the image but if I want to superimpose the whole image I am in trouble as the superimosed image is automatically reduced in size and therefore covers only a section of the image under it.
How to superimpose the whole image and make it the size of the image underneath it?
As always, grateful thanks again for your patience and kindness and congratulations on your fantastic knowledge of computer navigation. JOE
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Old December 12th, 2011
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Glad to hear it has been helpful and your welcome.

I am not totally understanding what you are wishing to do. Do you mean, similar to my example image (the image above was much smaller than the background image), take the overlaying image (Layer 1) and re-size/re-scale it to the same size as the background image?
If yes, there are two ways to do it. Just a quick answer for now:

(1) One is to take the dimensions of the background image via Image menu -> Image Size (make a note of the document sizes), then copy the image above (Layer 1) and paste into a new document. Re-size the new document to the same size of the background image dimensions of the main document using the Image menu -> Image Size using the same dimension size as the main document. Then copy-paste back into the main document. (If Constrain Proportions is checked, it will resize in ratio to the original. You can turn the Constrain Proportions off but the image may look a little warped if you do. Depends what kind of image it is, you can get away with it. Or leave a little of the layer overhanging over the edges of the background image.)

(2) The other way is to select the above layer (Layer 1) and go to Edit menu, choose Transform -> Scale. This is probably the easiest for you.
Then you will see boxes appear above. x and y for height and width pixel dimensions, and W and H for percentage of increase or decrease (these each start at 100%.) Use either percentage or pixel dimension approach. Pixel dimension will be more accurate if you already know the dimensions of the main document (ie: background image.)

If you would like me to post sample images for doing both of these, I can do it tomorrow. I am up late at moment, not fresh enough to do it I was just passing through. lol I won't get into technicalities, but in the earlier versions of Photoshop there was a reason I preferred the first option (accuracy of pixel transforming.)
Different types of transforming techniques the best depending on type of image (very simplified & roughly put: black & white, detailed, blocks of colour.)
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Old December 13th, 2011
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Once again, my grateful thanks.

Have been wrestling with the 2nd method in yr latest email, which starts with the wording "The other way is to select the above layer (Layer 1) and go to EDIT menu, choose TRANSFORM > SCALE."

I have done that but:-

(1) I cannot see the boxes x and y and W and H

(1 A) Which is layer 1, is it the back image or the front image, by which I mean the image that I want to put on the back image, that is, superimpose it on the background image?
(2) Perhaps the best way is to choose two images that I am trying to superimpose and email them to you along with this reply. BUT HOW TO SEND YOU THE IMAGES?

Thanks, as always for patience. JOE
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Old December 13th, 2011
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It can be a good idea to name your layers. I do that if I have many layers, makes it so much easier to remember which layer is which. Whichever layer is higher up on the Layer Palette window, is the layer sitting above the background image. The Background is the bottom-most layer.

I was referring to Layer 1 in my example (it is labelled Layer 1.)

I made an error in my description of transforming size. The X and Y are for positioning, ie: how far across and how far down.

You will see the H and W boxes in my 2nd example. Excuse the picture quality, I was trying to keep the file sizes as small as possible.

1. Go to Edit menu, and choose Tranform -> Scale.

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-transform-scale-1.jpg

2. Adjust the percentages as you wish to fit the background image. In my example image, you will see the H and W boxes circled in red. If you change the H figure from 100% to 125% then the height will increase by 25% over the previous size.

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-transform-scale-2.gif

3. You will see drag boxes around the outside of the image you are transforming. Thus, it means you can also manually drag the sides or top or bottom of the image to where you wish to change the layer size. In my example, I went off the canvas in order to drag the image to the size of the top of the background image. You will also see the image is a little contorted because the width and height were adjusted differently.

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-transform-scale-3.jpg

What I often do first is check the image size of the background. That can easily be done by checking the document size. But can also depend on how I transform the upper layer.

Superimposition in Photoshop CS5-image-size-reference.gif (animated GiF)
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Old December 15th, 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Busuttil View Post
(2) Perhaps the best way is to choose two images that I am trying to superimpose and email them to you along with this reply. BUT HOW TO SEND YOU THE IMAGES?
I somehow missed or forgot about this. If you are still having problems let me know.
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