How to Create a Double Exposure in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Double Exposure in Adobe Photoshop

August 19, 2019 38 By Peter Engel


(lively music) (electronic swoosh and fanfare) – What’s up, everyone? Howard Pinsky here with
another Photoshop tutorial. Today, I’m gonna be showing you guys how to create a double
exposure style effect in Photoshop using two photos. Now, traditionally,
this has been an effect that photographers have been doing for a very, very long time. But if you don’t know how to do this using just the camera, let me hop into Photoshop and show you how this is done. All right. Here we are in Photoshop with a simple image that I
grabbed from Shutterstock. The first thing we need to do is, select the tree and isolate
it from the background. In my Tool bar to the left, I’m gonna grab my Quick Selection Tool. If the brush is a little bit too small, the right square bracket
key will increase it. I’m simply gonna brush
over top of the tree. Doesn’t have to be a perfect selection. But as you’re brushing,
Photoshop’s gonna start to analyze the surrounding areas and do its best to select the other areas, in this case, the leaves in the tree and the stem and all the
things that grow on trees. Photoshop is gonna try to
include that in the selection. Now, don’t worry if you’re getting a little bit of the sky in the background. We’re gonna take care of that in a moment. Now that a basic selection has been made, we want to refine it. There’s a Refine Edge
button right at the top. I’m gonna turn on Smart Radius, increase the radius a little bit, and then tweak the settings
down below, as well. I have done many videos in the past on Refine Edge, so I’m not gonna get too much into detail. This will allow us to
create a little bit more of an accurate selection than the selection we had originally with the Quick Selection Tool. Now, to output it, I’m
gonna choose Layer Mask and then press Okay. You’re gonna notice that
we now have our tree separated from its background. But like I mentioned, we still have some of the
blue in the background from the sky. So I’m gonna make sure
the layer’s selected, not the layer mask, and then head up to Select, and then choose Color Range. I’m gonna move this
over just a little bit, and them I’m gonna sample the
blue sky in the background and I can change the fuzziness around to select more or less of it. I can also hold down my shift key and select a lighter or darker area to include those, as well. I’m gonna press Okay to select the sky. Now that it’s selected, I wanna select my layer mask and then fill that selection
with black to hide it. Black is my foreground color. I’m gonna hold down alt or option and press Delete. That will fill that selection with black and, in return, hide it from the image. Perfect. I’m gonna position this somewhere right in the
middle of my document. If I hold down command or control and click on the layer mask, you’ll notice the selection
now excludes that blue that was in the background. Now, for the image I’m gonna be using as the second exposure, I grabbed another image from my good friends at Shutterstock. I’m gonna simply drag this
image up to the other tab and plop it right into place. I can move it anywhere on
the document if I choose. The first thing I wanna do is, make sure that it’s inside of the tree. In the Layers panel, I’m
gonna hold down alt or option, position my cursor in
between the two layers, and click. That will create a clipping mask which still allows me to move the image and it will remain inside
the layer below it. Next, I’m gonna go ahead and add a black and white adjustment layer at the bottom of my Layers panel. Just like many of the other adjustments, there are a lot of presets
that go along with it. You can cycle through
and choose the preset that looks best for the
images that you’re using. For this one, I’m gonna stick with the high contrast red filter. Now, you’re probably noticing that the texture from the trees
below the woman in the front is not coming through. What we can do, we can select the layer of the woman, double-click on it to
open our Layer Styles, and we want to focus on the
Blend If section at the bottom. We want to blend with
the underlying layer. So I’m gonna hold down
my alt or option key and drag the right side of
the left slider to the right to blend the shadows and do the exact same thing for
the highlights on the right. I’m gonna hold down alt or option, drag that slider to the left to blend the layer of the woman with the tree texture in the back, which is the underlying layer. You can tweak this as much as you want until you have an effect
that looks really nice. Once you’re happy with it, you can go ahead and press Okay. Now, very quickly, I’m
gonna create a new layer, drag it to the back, and just fill it with white, just so we have something in
the background to work with. You know, in many double exposure images, there’s a nice blend between
one layer and another. What we’re going to do, I’m gonna select the layer of the woman and duplicate it with
command or control j. Once that’s done, I wanna turn
off the Blend If adjustment, so I’m gonna double-click on the layer, slide those back to the original position, and then press Okay. Now, as I’m really only focusing on the skin of the woman, I’m gonna grab my Quick
Selection Tool one more time, shortcut key w, and simply paint over top of her skin to turn that into a selection. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I do wanna make sure I
select as much of it as possible so I don’t have to do too
much masking later on. Once I have my selection complete, at the bottom of the layers panel, I’m going to add a layer mask. Now, at this point, we want to blend out the areas that we don’t want perfectly visible. I’m gonna select the layer
mask of this new layer, then I’m gonna grab my Gradient
Tool from the Tools bar, shortcut key g. Then, on the top of the Options bar, I wanna make sure that Foreground
to Transparent is selected and that my foreground
color is set to black. Then I’m gonna simply
create a few gradients from the left to the right to blend out the left side
of this duplicated layer so only the right side is clearly visible. Now that that’s done, on the right side, there’s a
few trees that are popping out. We don’t want those ones visible. So I’m gonna select the
layer mask of the trees, grab my brush tool, shortcut key b, and with a hard black brush, simply brush those out, just like this. Perfect. It now looks great, but we’re noticing there’s
a little bit of a border around the woman when we masked her out originally. I’m gonna select the layer mask of that duplicated layer. This simply masks the edge. This will allow me to
further refine the edge so I can shift it inwards a little bit to get rid of some of the border. I can increase the contrast a touch, feather it a little bit, or even smooth it out. When I press Okay, you’ll notice the border is pretty much almost gone. Now, to clean it up a little bit and to add a little bit
more of a transition, I’m gonna turn the tree
layer mask into a selection, I’m gonna invert that selection, command or control shift and i, and paint with my black brush to hide the top of that duplicated layer, to transition it with
the trees a little bit to give a little bit more of a texture. You may also be noticing that the right side of
her face isn’t 100% clear. In this case, I can switch
over to my white brush, shortcut key x, and paint in that area to reveal some of the face that may have been removed when I used the gradient
tool a little bit earlier. If I want to give the image a little bit more of a stylistic effect, I can hide portions of the bottom with a little bit of a
curve so it’s not too sharp. Now that the base effect
is pretty much finished, there’s a lot of things I can do, including adjustment layers, to add even more effect to it. As an example, I can add
a Curves adjustment layer to darken the shadows or brighten the highlights a little bit. I can even add a photo filter if I want to give the overall look a little bit more of a vintage style. Now, the photo filter’s not
affecting the background because it’s a pure white. So I’m gonna set my foreground
color to a light gray and then hold down alt or
option and press Delete. That actually revealed a
little bit more of a border around the woman, so I’m gonna select the layer mask, turn it into a selection, and then head up to the Select menu, down to Modify and then choose Contract, bring that selection in
by around three pixels, invert it, command or control shift and i, and then fill it with
black to hide that border. I’m also gonna switch
over to my white brush and paint in a little
bit more of her skin, right around the right
area where her shoulder is. That ought to just give a
little bit more of a transition between the woman and the
trees on the left-hand side. Again, I’m gonna get
a little bit stylistic with a nice little curve at the bottom so it’s not too sharp. I’m noticing I revealed
a little bit too much around her shoulder, so I’m gonna switch over to my black brush and fix that up just a little bit. You know, another thing you’re able to do, if you don’t want it pure
black and white or sepia, you can turn down the opacity of that black and white adjustment layer to introduce a little bit
of color to the image. Or, instead of messing with the opacity, you can simply change the blend mode from Normal to Soft Light. And if the effect is
looking a little bit harsh, you can group all the layers into a group and slightly decrease the opacity
of all the layers at once. Because we’ve been using layer mask and adjustment layers this whole time, you can go back and make changes to pretty much anything
that your heart desires. For example, if you don’t
like the sepia/color look, you can switch over to a
pure black and white look. Let me know in the comments
which one you like more. That will just about complete
the double exposure look in Photoshop. And that’s how you accomplish a double exposure style
effect in Photoshop. I hope you guys liked it. Let me know if you like the color version or the black and white version. If you do one of these of your own, tweet it to me at iceflowstudios or my FaceBook page,
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