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Essential Compositing Tips & Techniques In Photoshop 2021

Lesson 10 of 13

Compositing with Blending Modes


Essential Compositing Tips & Techniques In Photoshop 2021

Lesson 10 of 13

Compositing with Blending Modes


Lesson Info

Compositing with Blending Modes

in this video, I'm going to show you how to use blending mode to composite in Photoshop this'll a composite I made a while ago and I just quickly want to show you how it was made. I have a background group and inside of this background group, I have several layers that make up the background. I have this background image. I have a sky extension and a tower extension as well. I've added planets and a color overlay. This is, of course, a simplified version of the composite. Then I have this hero group with our main hero, and she is made up of many different layers that create her final look. But anyway, I just wanted you to see how this composite was made. I'm going to enable all the layers once again. And I'm also going to show you this lightning layer, which is what we will composite into this scene. We want to make it seem like this lighting is coming out of her. She's got superpowers, she's flying, and we need to see lightning around her. Now. We could use the masking technique you u...

sed earlier to mask the hair strands. But doing this with a channel could be very complicated and time consuming, and we may not get a good looking mask. So what is the alternative? Well, luckily for us, the lightning is up against a black background, which means that we could use a blending mode to mask out the black background and keep the bright areas. If you have the lightning layers selected, you can click on this drop down menu, and from here you have a list of blending modes. Notice that the blending modes have these dividers and this device the blending most into categories. We have the normal category, which really don't make any change unless you bring down the opacity or the film. Then we have the darkened blending modes. They keep the dark pixels but hide the bright pixels. Notice how the brightest areas of this lightning layer are hidden, but we keep the dark areas. Then we have the lightning group, which keeps the bright areas in hides the dark areas, which is exactly what we want for our composite. We're going to use the screen blending mode, but before I continue, let me quickly explained the three remaining categories. We have the contrast category, which either darkens or brightens the image depending on the layers, brightness. And the same is true for all the blending modes in this category, of course, then we have this group of blending modes that I like to refer to as the special effects blending modes. I usually don't use them too much and let someone to create a groovy special effect like you see here. And then we have the component, blending modes that either that keep one or several of the components of the colors of the layer. For example, this blending mode only keeps the hue, meaning the color. It uses the saturation in the luminosity from the layer below. Then we have the saturation blending mode, which keeps the hue and the luminosity from the layer below. And of course, it uses the saturation of the selected layer. And we have the luminosity blending mode, which keeps the hue and saturation of the layer below and the luminosity of the current layer. And you might notice that I skipped the blending. More color color is simply using the hue and saturation of the current layer and the luminosity of the layer below. But anyway, Like I said, we're going to use the screen blending mode in this case, which will hide the dark pixels and reveal the bright pixels. And we can adjust how this layer blends by making the layer darker or brighter. For example, if you go into image adjustment and levels, you can make the layer darker to hide those off black pixels, and you can make the layer brighter by brightening those off white pixels. And, of course, you can adjust the gamma accordingly. What I'm gonna do now is simply press the okay key and I compress control T on Windows, commanding in the macro transform and scale this accordingly so that we can have the lightning right over our superhero, and I can move it around to different areas like so. Then hold Alton Windows option on the Mac and click and simply paint with white in areas where I want to reveal the effect. Like so and maybe I can select the move tool and move the lightning over to her hands. And I couldn't duplicate the layer by pressing control J and Windows Commander in the Mac, moving it to the other hand and pressing control T Command t to transform and click and drag to rotate it so that the lightning is not facing the same direction and it looks like different lightning. Also, I wasn't planning on showing you this, but I'm gonna go into my libraries, and I'm just going to type in the word overlay because I have several overlays in my image that could help you understand how this could work with a different type of image. For example, I can select this abstract grunge layer, and I can rotate it and fit it onto my composite like so click and drag on the corner handles and I can change the blending mode to multiply in this case and notice how we now have this grungy rusty texture on our composite. You can, of course, reduce the opacity as well, so this could be a great way of adding texture to your images. Also, I just noticed that I have a really cool overlay. If I scroll down, you will see it here. This is a lens flare, and I can increase the size of my lens flare, move it down a little bit and change the blending mode to screen so that we keep the bright pixels and Aiken scale this up. And now I have the sun coming through. And of course, I can go into image adjustment levels in adjust the brightness of this image so that I can hide any seams, and I compressed Okay, when I'm done, the cool thing about using overlays like these is that you can actually change the color as well. For example, in the lightning group that we have here, I could select one of these layers and create a hue and saturation adjustment layer clip into the layer below. Check colorize and I can adjust the hue of that lightning so I can have lightning of different colors. And that looks really, really good. So again, when you're compositing, think about when you can use blending modes instead of masking to get better results.

Class Description


  • Easily color match images.
  • Use perspective to make images fit their background.
  • Use familiar tools in unconventional ways to help you create better composites.
  • Realistically combine images from multiple sources into one single image.


Join Jesús Ramirez, the expert instructor from the very popular Photoshop Training Channel (PTC) on YouTube, as he teaches you the concepts for creating realistic composites in Adobe Photoshop 2021.

Composites are more than just merging images together. To make a realistic composite, one needs to consider light sources and perspective. By using Photoshop 2021 you can create worlds and scenes with your photography that would take extreme budgets to capture in camera.


  • Beginner photographers who want to learn how to combine two or more images together.
  • Beginner designers who are replacing backgrounds from photos to fit their designs.


Adobe Photoshop 2021 (ver 22.0)


Jesús Ramirez is a digital graphics expert, speaker, and educator specializing in Adobe Photoshop. With over 15 years of professional design experience, he has worked with clients such as Adobe, Microsoft, Motorola, and Conde Nast. Jesús is best known as the founder of the Photoshop Training Channel (PTC), one of the most popular Photoshop YouTube channels in the world with over one million subscribers.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. The Importance Perspective

    Learn what linear perspective is and why it is important for compositing.

  3. Examples of Perspective in Compositing

    Examples that show how perspective works in compositing.

  4. Creating Depth with Atmospheric Perspective

    Learn to use Photoshop adjustment layers and layers styles to apply atmospheric perspective and create depth in composites.

  5. Matching Brightness in a Composite

    Learn to match the brightness of multiple photos to create one cohesive image.

  6. Matching Saturation in a Composite

    Learn to create Saturation Maps to match the saturation of a composite.

  7. Matching Ambient Color in a Composite

    Learn two techniques to match the ambient color of two images.

  8. Making Selections and Masks for Better Composites

    Understand the select and Mask workspace.

  9. Masking Hair From Difficult Backgrounds

    Instead of masking, paint-in difficult to select hair!

  10. Compositing with Blending Modes

    Use Blending Modes to quickly combine images together.

  11. Creating Custom Brushes

    Use custom Photoshop Brushes to add details to your composites or create better Layer Masks.

  12. Bringing It All Together - Compositing Project

    Composite showing many of the principles and techniques learned in this video.

  13. Final Thoughts



Smart, friendly, easy to see and understand. Tell 'em what you are going to see/do, Show 'em, tell 'em what was done - Perfect training! Muy Bien !

Madelaine Enochs

This is a great course. Jesus is clear, concise and gets a lot of very useful information into short videos. Well done.

a Creativelive Student

A lot of great information that he went over clearly and thoroughly. Highly recommend for anyone looking to up the realism of their composites.