Unidentified Technique HELP!

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Unidentified Technique HELP!

I don't know what to call this technique, so here goes : I really like layouts that have a very soft photo in the background, usually the same or similar to a photo that is in the layout elsewhere. I would love to learn how to do this, but as I don't know what it's called, it's a bit difficult to search for it! Please help!!

Hmmm, I don't know what that is called either, but I do know how to achieve the effect! Copy the photo to a seperate layer and either lower the opacity or change the blend mode: Multiply works well to make it darker, Screen works to make it bright, Soft light makes it well, soft... Play around with the blend modes, they are fun! Try blending your big photo with different background papers and don't be afraid to experiment - you can always undo!

I heard this called as overlay, blending or watermark. I never faded the picture on the background too much, but I´d do it like Melo said.

Ooooh, look: I found some tutorials here: http://www.sweetshoppedesigns.com/tutorials/index.php/category/layout-design/blending-2/

Great tutorials, Lorien! exactly what I meant. I guess the word we were looking for is Blending photos...

Thank you so much, ladies! This tutorial is EXACTLY what I meant! I have PSE 11, and the tutorial uses PS, so it should be very similar. Thanks again!

I've been wondering how to do this technique too. Thanks for posting the tutorial link!


Thanks for that link, Lórien - I may not have Photoshop, but I might be able to figure out how to do it in PSP... (crossing my fingers) I love the blended photo look on pages - I didn't know what it was called either.

My pleasure smiley I´ve learned so much with you that I´m very happy when I have something to add smiley

This is an awesome technique I read a tutorial on the other day using layer masks to create a similar effect.
Here's a sample photo in mid process:
458 x 276
and here's the final image:
458 x 276

Thanks Shawna, it´s a very interesting tutorial!

Back again, I tried Lorien's tutorial link, but I can't get the effect they get in the tutorial. Maybe I'm just trying to run before I can walk (I've only done 4 layouts!!) I'm on my tablet at the moment, so can't try out Shawna's link, I'll have to wait until I get a chance to go back on my desktop computer. I'll have a go at what Melo said too.

That is interesting, Shawna - going to have to bookmark that tutorial also & hope I can apply the same techniques in PSP. Thank you, sweetie! smiley

You ladies are welcome. I just thought it was neat merging the two photos together without as much fading but you still almost can't tell where one ends and the other begins. smiley

Hello again, just thought I'd update my progress so far. I haven't tried Melo & Shawna's suggestions, but I have done another layout showing my experiments. It's called "The Magnificent Mary Valley"

great job Robyn for you first experiments... tfs your lovely layout with us! smiley

If anyone is interested, this is what I did in PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 11 :

1. Open Photoshop Elements 11 in Expert mode.

2. Open the photo you want to blend into the background.

3 On the menu bar, click on LAYER  New Adjustment Layer  Click on Hue/Saturation.

4 Press OK.

5 In the Hue/Saturation box, drag the Lightness slider bar to the right, until your photo looks the way you want it to.
(I dragged it until it was +50).

6 Click the x to close the Hue/Saturation box.

7 Save and close the photo.


1. On the menu bar, click on FILE  New Blank File.

2. Specify the following (for a 12 inch x 12 inch layout) :
NAME : Type in your choice of name.
PRESET : Custom
WIDTH : 3600 pixels
HEIGHT : 3600 pixels
RESOLUTION : 300 pixels/inch

3. Press OK.

On the menu bar, click on FILE  PLACE. Navigate to the folder with your chosen paper.

5. Click on the paper file, then on PLACE. Click on the green tick to confirm.

On the menu bar, click on FILE  PLACE. Navigate to the folder with your lightened photo. Click on the photo file, then on PLACE.

7. Resize and place the photo as desired, then click on the green tick to confirm.

Make sure that you have selected your photo layer.

9. Make sure that your foreground colour is white.

10. Select the Eraser tool.

11. Make sure that Type is set to Brush.

12. Select the brush you want to use. (I used Basic Brush 60 “Soft Mechanical” at around 600 pixel size and opacity at 100%).

13. Erase lightly around the edges of your photo.

14. Save the page, then add whatever elements, extra photos, and journaling to finish it off.

15. And that’s it!

I know this won't be the 'real' way of doing this, but I still got the effect I wanted, and it's a way to do it until I learn how to do it the right way!

Something to think about instead of using the eraser tool to remove the background of the layered picture, use a layer mask. Select the area you want to feature, than mask it. This way you can feather the edges, smooth the edges and adjust the blending effects.

One think nice about using a layer mask is that you can duplicate the layer and hide, than delete the mask if you do not like it at any point and time, even if you saved and closed the picture. Why duplicate. This way you can compare the different looks and select the one you want to keep and delete the other. But with the eraser tool after saved and closed you cannot undo if you decide to make different adjustments. You cannot reclaim any part of the removed background.

Thanks, Judy! I'll definitely have a go at using layer masks. (That's why I posted what I did -- I knew that someone would suggest another way of doing things.) This whole process is so exciting for me, as I'm learning something new all the time. Everyone on Pixel Scrapper seems to genuinely want to help everyone else --it's such a friendly place to hang out. I just can't resist logging on multiple times a day!

The tutorial I mentioned with those wedding photos above uses layer masks. smiley

Thanks, Shawna! smiley

Shawna a great tutorial. If you want to add a shadow effect duplicate the layer, daken the image and offset it to shadow the image.

WOW! Y'all are fantastic with Photoshop Elements! I have it, but can't use it like you do! I am feeling like a slacker. I use Artisan for my layouts and the other software to edit photos, png elements, etc. I am totally impressed!

I have used masks in Photoshop for years. Once you know how to use them, they are so much fun! I created my son's birth announcement in Photoshop, using almost only masks - made a fairytale wood from the hundreds of holiday (photo)memories we had on our HD. I learned the basics from a series of tutorials, it is very helpful for beginners. I think you can find the PSE equivalent of most of these tutorials on their site too.

A few months ago I couldn't resist some masking fun and made a photo manipulation of my son running up some stairs, using masks only. After I was satisfied, I dragged my new photo onto a layout, onto a layer I had previously 'stamped' with brushes and clipped it there. If you're interested I uploaded my layout for you tonight (it links to the gallery):

too funny... I just commented on this layout in the gallery Melo. I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you did. I noticed someone asked if you had triplets in the comments... you did such a good job on it. LoL

Thanks Shawna! I found the exact tutorial I used on blending my three little boys (or was it just the one?) together, it's in the description in the gallery if anyone wants to try. It is not as hard as it looks, just take your time!

And I am so glad I do not have triplets! He is adorable, but three of him.... smiley

Great ideas, thank you

Love the masking layout and idea! My husband isn't going to be too happy with all the time I am going to want to spend on my computer learning new techniques! All about balance.... smiley

It's so much fun, though, isn't it! I can feel my knowledge expanding every time I have an "Aha!" moment smiley

@Melo I love what you did! I am going to have a look at the tutorials above and try to figure it out. What an amazing idea. I take a lot of series shots of my kids in action and this sort of thing would be amazing. Thanks for sharing.

@Melo, I LOVE that! Perfect for series shots… we do a lot of them in ballet, soccer softball, etc…

I have to admit, I haven't given PSP much time. It seems SO difficult every time I try.

@Ash... welcome to the PSP club! Don't worry - it's just a learning curve (as with any software). smiley I had a difficult time in the beginning, too, though with time & practice it's become easier. If you have any specific PSP questions, post a question in this forum (starting it with "PSP:" so you don't get a ton of replies that are geared toward Photoshop). There are a few girls in here that use PSP. For instance, Carole from Cassel Creations is one & not only does she host PSP classes, but she designs & makes scripts.