Skip to main content

Simple Composites with Photomerge

Lesson 18 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

Simple Composites with Photomerge

Lesson 18 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

18. Simple Composites with Photomerge


Class Trailer

Day 1


Adobe Bridge Basics


Sorting Images in Adobe Bridge


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 1


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 2


Image Processing Q&A


Contrast and Color


Adjustment Brush and Auto Mask


Lesson Info

Simple Composites with Photomerge

First, we're going to make a composite of two images uh what we're going to do is we're gonna take this image in, combine it with this image you see the difference in the two the only difference is the shutter speed that was used waterfalls and white water in general can look nice if you do a long exposure you get this silky look and a lot of people like that but the problem is if there are any trees in the surroundings or other foil, ege bushes and other things and there's any wind, they're going to be blurry, so if you look up here, do you see this area right there and you see that there's motion blur on it? Well, if I went for a faster shutter speed and I was on a tripod, so the two images lineup the other image might have that area muchmore crisply captured compared to the one that had a longer exposure does that make sense? And so all we're going to do is lay er these two images together so that we can use the non motion blurred greenery that's here but used the motion blurred wat...

er makes us all right so let's do that and know that whenever I do anything like this, I'll often start off not using certain features that would be overly useful to use and it's just because we haven't introduced the concept yet so if you've used to shop for a while and you might start asking, why is he doing it this way? It's? Because I haven't described the thing you're used to using yet just sleep now so I'm gonna open one of these images just had open invention camera and then I'll go back to bridge amusing the keyboard shortcut for bridge and if you remember it but open a document it would be commando and if you had shift it means bring me to bridge open it! I didn't there uh I'm gonna open the other end, mitch, click open image and now I need to get this into the other document there are many different ways of doing that I just need to pick one and will eventually learn the other methods and then we could use them all, but I only I can use what I've described so far, so that's why I mentioned if you're used to do in a certain way I might do it differently so I need to get this invention on top of the other one so I want a copy and paste it. But if I go to the edit menu copy which is right here is great out because in photo shop you have to tell it what part of the image you want a copy first and you do that by making a selection we haven't talked about selections, but for now we could just go to the select menu and say, all when I go to the select menu and choose all if you watched the edge of my picture, you'll see what some people affectionately refer to as the marching ants that means that's the edge of the area you're telling photo shop you want to work on, so in this case we're working on the entire image. I'll go to the edit menu now copy is available, so I just copied that whenever you copy it it's being stored in a hidden area, that's called the clipboard and I can close this image because it's being stored somewhere else, it asked me if I want to save the changes. No, I don't want to save these changes, and now I've in the other document that was there, I'll go to the edit menu and I'll choose paste when I choose paste watch what happens in my layers panel whenever you pay something in he had always gets deposited on a new layer so that's one way of creating a new layer in this case, we have two layers now, and we just have a different picture in each layer if I go in my layers panel and I click on the eyeball for the top layer, I'll hide it, revealing the layer that's underneath memories is, if you're standing at the top of the layers panel looking down and right now the top layer is obscuring your view of what's under it. But if I turn off the eyeball it's as if I slit it out of your way so you could see what was underneath and hares are too. So the layer that's on top is the one that had the long exposure, and so what I'm gonna do here is zoom up, move around to where I can see some of the greenery that's blurry. I'm simply going to grab the eraser tool, and I'm gonna make sure have a soft edge brush and I'm just going to a race part of the top layer, and when I race it it's just like using a pair of scissors and cutting a hole through physical print, you'd be able to see through it to whatever's underneath. What's underneath is the other picture, so here I'll use the eraser tool. I'm just gonna paint right here as I'm painting it's, deleting this particular layer and therefore revealing whatever's under it what's under it is the other photo, and so I'll be very careful not to paint where the water is, because I would replace the water with the fast shutter speed version. Now if you look in the layers panel you can start to see a checkerboard showing up remember checkerboard means empty so it means I've thrown away these parts of this layer is like using a pair of scissors cutting away part of one print that happens to be sitting on top of another print so you're just you're standing at the top of layers panel looking down and now you can see through these parts that looked like a checkerboard and the thing that you're seeing through it is whatever's under here which is the other version of the picture I'm just gonna do the rest of this image over here just using the eraser tool with a soft edge brush so now let's take a look I'm going to turn this layer that's underneath off so that it's hidden now all we're looking at is the top layer and you can see where parts of it have been deleted and I can continue to delete where I am it happened to notice that I didn't get enough here that's pretty good I don't say anything is moving over in this part and so all we're doing is looking through that and wherever the checkerboard is we'd see what's underneath so it's turn on what's underneath by turning out its eyeball the layers pal and now we filled that in the other part if I hide the layer that's above that's layer that has thie slow water, the the blurry water, then I can see there's what's underneath it, and this is what we have on top, that has part of it deleted away, so we have now er combined those two images, the problem I have with this idea is we deleted that stuff away, and if I save and close this image and open it next month, there's no way to get back what used to be in this part we deleted away so later on, I'll show you how we could do that in a way that's not permanent. So right now I don't like that we used the eraser tools so, so far with this, when we learned we can copy and paste and pasting is what creates the new layer, and then if we erase away part of one layer, we're just revealing what's underneath it and that's the only thing I wanted, teo, show you there. I'm going to close this one let's create a different one. We're just going to ramp up to creating other things. So here we're at a national park. Me, my wife, we just have my iphone and we want to take a picture of the two of us together there, and we don't have anything to set our phone on whom there's nobody walking around near us wearing hand amar phone and we don't want to do a selfie, so what we did is I had karen, uh sit down there that's my wife and I took a picture with my phone in them without moving my iphone. I said, okay, come over here and grab my iphone and so I tried to get her to not move the ice don't just hand it over to her holding the same position, and I walked over there and we got that shot, but any time you hand the phone off it's going to move and that's, why it's great using tripods and things, but in this case, we didn't have that. So I want to combine together these two photos so it looks as if we were both sitting there and we're in one shot. The end result that I'm looking for is like more like this, so let's do that before we copied and pasted in order to get the two images into the same document now let's, figure out a different way of doing the same thing. In this case, I'm in bridge and I'm going to select two photos, and instead of opening the opening them and then copied and pacing and get them between documents, I'm gonna go the tools menu in bridge I'm going to go to photo shop and there's a choice in here called load files into photoshopped layers and what that means is load all these images into a single photo shopped file where we end up with one layer for each picture. If I had thirty images selected right now, I'd end up with one photo shopped file. They have a total of thirty layers, and it would be the equivalent to me opening all those images separately in just copying and pasting between same n resolved issues faster, less work. So there we ended up. If you look in the layers panel, you can see karen sit in this one. I'm up on top, right? And then he remember yesterday we stitch cem panoramas, and when we stitch them panoramas, we selected the images and bridge. We went to the tools menu and there was a choice in there called photo merge. I want to show you that photo merge is really using three features in photo shop that we can use manually. The first feature that photo merge does to stitch a panorama is what we use just now, which is it stacking the original images in a single document this separate layers it first uses the thing called load. What if it was called load photos into photoshopped layers? Uh, uses that first to just stack the images? The next thing it does is what I'm about to do. In my layers panel, I'm going to select both of these layers because I want photoshopped to compare these layers and it's only going to be able to compare whatever selected currently in here. So right now it thinks I only want to think about this layer and ignore this one to select the other layer I'm just gonna hold down the shift key and click on it, it's another both highlighted. I'm then going to go to the edit menu and I'm going to choose a choice called otto a line layers that's. The second thing that the command called photo merge does when it is stitching a panorama. What photo merge does is it compares the contents of two layers, and wherever it thinks it sees the same contents, it tries to line them up so let's choose otto align layers and this comes up. Does this look at all familiar doesn't look like the left side of the photo merge dialog box separate was presented differently. It was presented in a vertical list it's the same choices. I'll just leave it set to auto click okay, so it just distorted these two layers, rotating them, scaling them and even bending them to try to get any content that looks the same in the two layers tow line up. And so now if I hide the top layer, you could see it. Karen still under there, she's in the layer underneath, but both that layer and layer on top have been distorted so that they line up and that's what otto align layers does and it's found under the edit menu. Otto align layers. So somebody yesterday asked if they could manually like line up players and things. Yeah, you can use auto align layers to get photoshopped to try. And then if it mess stop, you could manually move one of the layers mohr or anything like that. The third thing that photo merge does it. The thing that we use for stitching panorama shows is it seamlessly blends those images because right now I can see the edge of this photograph a little bit. Can you tell right here where the edge of this photo ends and I think it's the shadow of karen's leg starts to appear? I can also see just a little bit over here where this railing suddenly gets cut off if I were to hide the layer that's underneath it's the edge of the top photo it's just the brightness is, uh is the equivalent so you don't see it all that obviously, but I can select these two photos, go to the edit menu in choose auto blend layers in this is the last step that the photo merch does you remember at the bottom of photo murder? There was a check box and it was called I can't remember the wording, but seamlessly blend images or something like that. Uh, it applies this thing, but I'm gonna click, okay? Let's see what happens? Who karen's, they're not quite what I was thinking about that, uh, my legs air kind of odd if you look at my legs in and also the siding on the building is coming through me and it's screwing up karen over there, but it tried to seamlessly blend the two images so you can't tell the seams. It just didn't know that there was a couple parts and that that we're somewhat important. Teo it thought the building might be more important, so I'm going to choose undo I'll just type command z and let's see if we can influence what it does when it puts those things together. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna work on the top layer, and I'm going to use the eraser tool. All I'm going to do is a race. The top layer that's layer contains me wherever karen was sitting so that it can't use the part of the bench that was covering up karen so I'm just using the eraser tool if you look I'm working on the top layer so that's what? I'm a racing away and I'm gonna click right here and a race it were karen iss right now if you look in the layers panel you see what happened there used to be part of this top photo right here that was covering up karen who's underneath so we couldn't see her and I just deleted part of that so there's nothing covering her up if I were to hide the layer that's underneath I just took that chunk away from the top layer so by doing so now it's going to be impossible for it to grab this part of the bench from this photo and put it on a cz part of karen but see, I can see where I deleted away can you tell that this part is darker then the what's just outside of it? I can see this kind of a hint of a line here hope you guys can see that slight difference so let's see now if I could merge those together off select the tuks it needs to know which layers you want to compare I'll go to the edit menu again and choose auto blend layers and I used the default settings click okay and now it wasn't able to mess up karen because it didn't have the material that was covering her up to put in, but it could mess me up. You see the lines from the building going through my shirt, so choose undo and now I might click on the layer that's underneath and what I'm going to do is delete away parts of what's underneath for my shirt is because it was grabbing parts of that building plenty it in I'm going to just not allowed to do that, so I'm using the eraser tools I'm gonna click right here and I'm going to erase now look in the layers panel it tells you what I'm a racing I'm not going to erase the photo that contains me no more racing the photo that's underneath because that's what's active, so I'll click right here and I'm gonna paint even though I don't see any change happening, there is a change happening if you look in the layers panel the second I let go, you would find that the photo underneath is being deleted away, so she's undo a few times can you see the layers panel? I just took that chunk away and therefore when you tell it to blend the layers before it was taking part of the layer that was underneath and kind of blended into my shirt, well, it can't do that anymore because what's underneath just isn't there anymore so I'll grab these two layers again, I gotta have both selected, and I'll finally come over here and say auto blend layers just click okay? And it didn't have any material beyond the edge of my legs in the layer underneath, so created that all we're going to do is crop because we need to fix that anyway, there's no material for my legs, but it made it so it's seamless here we're no longer has a difference in brightness across those, so auto blend layers was nice. I didn't need to kind of manually, though, come in and force it to not be able to use certain material by deleting those areas away. So now what I'm gonna do is cropped the image I'll grab the crop tool in a newer versions of photoshopping automatically puts a cropping rectangle on the image that starts on the edge that you pull in. In older versions of photoshopped, you would have to click and drag on your picture to get a rectangle show up. It was going to bring this in here and see I need to get rid of the space up here, but I don't have any extra legs here are other things, some kind of limited if I move outside of the cropping rectangle, I can rotate and I think if I rotated enough, I can get in there. And get rid of that empty spot at the top trying to crop out this upper part, you know, get us much of my leg so I could get so I get karin's feet, trying to get rid of that thing that's over in the corner, all right, something like that. And then I'm gonna press returner inter, and now we have our end result. So there's, a little bit of work we had to do there to get that tow happen, and I could have done it in other ways. I could have done it with a really soft brush when I raced away part of that layer, and then I could have adjusted the layer that contained karen to brighten their dark in it, to try to get it to match the other one. But I chose to let photo shop do some of the work I try to let it you do the work instead of me, and so we just needed a force it not to be able to use certain parts, so we raced them away. Now, the layers panel what's left in the layers, it's not overly useful. We've already permanently kind of got him to match and it's kind of sorts of stuff going on in here. When I'm done, I could just combine those together if you want to say you were done and I don't need to make changes anymore that's when you go to the layer menu and at the very bottom of that choice called flatten image, that means make everything permanent so in the layers panel it goes into one thing and it will be called background. I only do that if I'm done there's no chance whatsoever I'm going to need to change those individual pieces anymore. I want to permanently combine them together so there's my end result. So what we learned on this one, we learned that we don't have to copy and paste to get images between documents instead of foreign bridge, we can select those images, and there was a command under the tools photoshopped menu called load files into photoshopped layers or something similar to that. I don't remember the exact wording and that stacks are images, and if you have ten images, you're going ten layers if you have to, you'll have two layers like I did hear. The other thing we learned was when you stitch a panorama photo shop is really using three features and it's just tryingto automate the process for you, so when I select two images, I choose this photo merge and it tells me photo shows busy is always in this comes up the middle part of this dialog box is just another way of presenting you with the choice that was called load files into photoshopped layers. That's what that part does, it loads them. The part of the left uses what's called otto a line layers and you just have telling which setting to use in this check box right here also applies something called auto blend layers, three separate features that we could have done separately so I'll actually do them separately to stitch this panorama and this is what you do if you had issues with your panorama and you needed to make changes along the way, I would choose load files into photoshopped layers when it's done loading the files and who layers. I just need to make sure that all the layers are, um, selected so that the next feature knows which layers to compare. So I hold shift. I click on the bottom layer, but that could be ten layers in there I go to the edit menu I saw otto a line layers that's what actually puts your your panorama together by lining up all the pieces, but I can see where the edge of the photo is c right there with the brightness is different and stuff, so with those two layers still selected, I go to the edit menu and I choose auto blend layers. Yeah, I use default settings, click okay although you might need to change, the top setting was mostly but anyway. There itjust stitched a panorama. Itjust, too. Three steps to do it. It was nice of adobe to come up with something that combined the three steps, and they call it photo merge. But we have them available separately because if I sent the other version that had karen and I in it just through photo merche, it would've messed up. It would have done the very first version you saw where the lines were going through karen and me and all that so it's, really nice that they made him also available separately so we could interact somewhere in the middle of the process to modify the way it worked. So photo merge is really three steps that we could apply separately and do something in between the steps to get a different end result and that's what we did here, and just like with a panorama. When we were done, we had to crop it.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Course Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ben, thanks again for this course. I have taken and purchased quite a few of your courses to date. I keep thinking I will only watch to make sure I am on the right track and you always bring more to the table than the last course. Your teaching methods are the best, sorry to all the other instructors from Creative Live, but you are very easy to understand and you speak in layman's terms so we all can understand. I am following your instructions and working along with your files and it is the best! It is hard to keep up with you even when I watch you on one computer and work with the same files on another computer, to do what you are doing...impossible but I gain so much by trying. You provide so much info on each topic, it is amazing. Thanks to Karen for the PDFs, she does a fantastic job and also, for her templates/layout documents. Thanks again and to anyone who thinks this is too much money for all the videos, the exercise files and the instruction PDF, I am sorry to say but you are mistaken.

John Taylor

Like all of the Creative Live courses, excellent training. Ben does a great job of explaining the entry part of Photoshop. A lot of things cleared up in my head and i like his easy pace into this complex program. Thanks Ben.


I had several "lightbulb" moments with this class, after many years of photography and when you think you know it all, you don't :) Ben Willmore is an excellent tutor, with his many years of experience teaching PS, he obviously knows the types of things a lot of us struggle to understand. I learnt a lot about Bridge, and have since implemented these things into my everyday workflow, so much easier to sort out what I want to keep etc.. Thanks so much Ben and Creative Live. Thanks also to Ben's wife for her amazing work creating the Guide etc. Even though being in Australia, I pay more for the courses (the conversion rate, the aussie dollar is low at the moment) it's very worth it to me. I have paid more for courses here, and learnt next to nothing. Thanks again.

Student Work