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Montages - a Photoshop Guide

Barry Beckham and David Rowley explain how to combine several images into a montage with Photoshop.

| Adobe Photoshop
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Montaged images are popular with digital imagers and we often get asked how to put them together. In their simplest form they may consist of just two images that separately don't set the world on fire, but combined they might make it smolder a bit.
Words & pictures Barry Beckham and David Rowley

Call up the first image below and we will show you how.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

Please download the full resolution images battle1, battle2 and battle3 before you begin (580KB total)

If you look critically at this picture all the action and interest is in the bottom half so a good start may be to crop our image down to a better compositional shape.

1 Select your crop tool from the tool bar and make your crop selection. We have suggested a possible crop below.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

2 Call up your levels palette and hit the auto button. The auto button will lift the picture a little, but you also need to lighten the image too by moving the central slider to the left as we have done below.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

3 Open your layers palette and make a copy by dragging your thumbnail over the copy icon.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

Select the bottom image as we have shown above and run the find edges filterfromthefiltersmenu.YouwillfindthisviaFilter>stylize>find edges. After the filter has completed its work hit Ctrl+Shift+U, to remove all the colour.

4Using your levels palette again darken and adjust the contrast of this layer as we show below.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

5Select back to your upper layer and choose hard light from the drop down menu options as shown below.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

This process will alter your image quite a bit and it may look rather light and lacking in impact as ours does below, but the next stage will deal with that. You can now merge these two layers together using the command in the layers menu.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

6 Open the second image, which is the confederate flag and using the magic wand tool select all of the sky area. Add a pixel or two of feather via Ctrl+Alt+D and cut out the sky. Using your move tool drag the flag into your layers stack.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

7 The simplest finish to your image could be to choose hard light to your flag from the drop down blend options shown above. That will give you the result shown below.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

8For a lot more control remain with the normal blend mode, but add a layer maskto your flag layer. By spraying black lightly into your mask you can decide the level blend that suits you as we have shown below.

9 The final step is to add the cross to the image and some shading around the edges if you wish. The cross will need to be made into a transparency and dragged into your composition in the same way as the flag. Choosing hard light will blend the cross into the picture, but you can help it along with another layer mask.

Montages - a Photoshop Guide: Montages - a Photoshop Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The "find edges" technique made this guide for me. Thanks

Ian
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