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  • Writer's pictureSophia Canfield

Masking and Image Compositing

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Today we learn how to utilize masking and layer styles in image composites.

Creative tutorial on image composites:

Homework 4 Due: Social Campaign – Photomontage first draft due 10/7

This is a two-part project split over two homework assignments that expand your Photoshop toolset and introduces you to Illustrator to combine Photomontage with Vector Design.


Required Viewing:

From LinkedIn Learning “Photoshop 2022 Essential Training”:

ch. 9 Working with Layer Masks (all tutorials)

ch. 10 Making Selections (first two tutorials)

ch. 13 Blend Mode Essentials (all tutorials)

As we saw in the Week 3 lecture, photomontage can be used to create political commentary, cultural critique, express the subconscious or create self-portraits.

For this assignment, create two photomontages that use masking and at least one blending mode to present a message.

Brainstorm a political or social or ecological issue that interests you and utilize this issue to inform you images and design. Each photomontage should combine at least three images; however, you may want to do many more. Make precise selections and use masking to combine different elements of your image.

Like the images we saw in class, your photomontage should have a concept that drives the selection and juxtapositions of images.

Review the discussion of blending modes in the lecture and consider how you may use blending techniques creatively. In addition, consider the role of scale, rhythm and texture in your composition. In your pieces, try to use as many images as possible that you have shot, are in the public domain or have a Creative Commons license that is appropriate.

Both of your finished images should be 5”x7” and posted on your website as jpg images. Please also include a screen shot of both of your PSD working files including an expanded view of your layers panel.

On your website write a two-paragraph explanation of the concepts you are exploring and what techniques you employed to achieve the results. Describe which blending mode(s) you chose and why. Make sure to also discuss the source of your images, are they from online or photos you shot or some other source.

Be sure to save all original files and PSD working files to work on next week during lab and at home.

Example Project for part 1 of this 2 part homework:

viking dnd castle
Download PSD • 22.72MB

I was inspired to create this project as I work on a Norse mythology themed DnD campaign surround the witch trials in Iceland during the mid 1600's. I needed a very particular splash screen for player to fully grasp the feeling I was going for when they arrive at the final boss' castle. I found the perfect elements I was looking for so I decided to put them together! The castle and boat I found using Google's Usage Rights filter with the creative commons selection. The dragon is sourced from Adobe Stock.

For the dragon, the lighting didn't quite match the darkness of the original image. So I masked it out and added two gradients as adjustment layers to shade the wings. For the viking boat, I have multiple layers active. The bottom layer of this element is the water with a blend mode/layer style on it called "screen." It was a little bright, so I added a hue and brightness adjustment to this layer. The 2nd boat layer is for the reflection. I flipped it horizontally and warp the edges to match the direction of the reflection. I lowered the opacity and added the screen layer style as well and added a blue hue with an adjustment layer. The top layer is the main visible portion of the boat. This I only need to mask out enough of the bottom as to not cover the elements of the water movement and reflection and add yet another hue/saturation adjustment layer to match the cool feel of this composite.

Original Images:

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