Alibony Lessons for Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Digital Photography

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Photoshop Elements: Merge Two Images With a Layer Mask

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 6

February 7, 2008

Ever want to be in two places at once? In this lesson, we are visiting two cities in one image! We'll use a layer mask to magically transport me from New York to Paris.

New York Paris

To merge two images using a layer mask:

  1. Open the Paris image and the New York image. We will use the Paris image as our working image.
  2. In the Paris image, create a new Levels adjustment layer above the Background layer. In the Levels window, do not make any changes and click OK. Notice that the adjustment layer contains a layer mask filled with white.
  3. Create a third layer above the Levels adjustment layer and copy the New York image to the third layer.
  4. Select the New York layer and press Ctrl+G to clip the layer to the layer below. You have created a clipping group that groups the two layers together; the layer mask attached to the adjustment layer now affects the top layer, too.

  5. Paint the mask on the Levels adjustment layer:

    1. Select the mask on the Levels adjustment layer.
    2. Select the Brush tool and choose a large soft brush.
    3. With the mask selected, paint on the picture with black to hide New York pixels on the top layer and show the Paris pixels below. (The black paint will show on the mask, not the picture.)
Result Layers Palette


Another way to merge two images is to apply a Black and White gradient to the layer mask in the adjustment layer. Start the gradient at the point where you want the two images to merge and stop it where you want the transition to end.

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Updated on July 31, 2013