Working with Layers

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Foundations of Mobile Photography Editing – Working with Layers.

By Matt Glastonbury, accomplished Mobile Photographer, providing great tutorials and App reviews. Matt is an independent blogger who acts as a Contributing Editor to Ink361. (Add Matt on Google Plus)

In this tutorial we will go over the process of combining images into one picture while removing sections of another.

One of my favorite hash tags on Instagram is #FromwhereIStandBlended. That’s where you take two photos and combine them. You snap a shot of where you’re standing and another of what you’re looking at. Then import both of those images into an app, and edit the top layer to remove sections, giving the appearance that the front-facing photo has been painted onto the surface where you’re standing.

Ultimately the objective here is to make the top layer seem as though its been painted on the bottom layer. So we will be rubbing out the areas covering the feet and any holes.

Tip: When deciding what to erase, imagine it’s a painting that has been applied to the ground where you were standing. Imagine that all cracks, holes, and areas further away from the surface you’re standing on, would not have paint/image applied to them, but the main surface would.

Step 1: Take a shot of where you’re standing.

Step 2: Take a shot of what you’re looking at.

Step 3: Import them both into ArtStudio. (Or ImageBlender, or Brushes or PS Touch) ArtStudio is best because it is like a mini version of Photoshop (PS Touch is too, but it’s not as mature as ArtStudio) with so many other features we can cover later.
Here are some sub-steps, of Step 3, broken-down with more explanation:

Step 3a: File/New; create a new image 2448 x 2448 pixels size. (you can print a canvas off this setting, up to and around 24 inches in size)

Step 3b: File/Import/Insert as a Layer/Import from ‘photos’. Do this twice, once for each of the images you want to combine.

Step 3c: Select the Layers tool to see your two images, change the transparency of the top layer to 50% so you can see both.

Step 4: On the top image, remove the areas covering the feet and any cracks, with the Eraser tool.

Tip: Pinch in and out to zoom. Zoom right in to get more accuracy when erasing. Play with eraser sizes and transparency until it feels right for you. The smaller sizes would be needed with lots of zoom, when you are erasing small corners. Don’t forget to turn the phone around to suit the flow of your finger when erasing.

Sub-step 4a: Re-adjust the top layer’s transparency to whatever percentage you think shows enough texture, colour, and tone to display the top image clearly enough.

Tip: The top layer’s opacity and blend mode will determine how much it looks like it’s been painted on the surface of the bottom layer. Sometimes changing the blending mode to Screen can be an effective way to merge the two images and make the top one seem like it’s been painted onto the bottom layer.

Step 5: Save to Camera Roll (File/Export/JPEG/Export to ‘Photos’ ) and fine tune in Snapseed, Photoforge2, or FilterStorm

Step 6: The final result.

Try different scenes and see what wonderful compositions you can make, and get some ideas by searching #fromwhereistandblended on Instagram.
There’s some fantastic blends others have done that can give you some great inspiration!



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