Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Photoshop: Blending Images


To learn Photoshop's advanced layering and masking techniques by recreating the following image.


The seamless blending of images is a popular collage technique. In this example, adding the clouds to the inside of the type and the screen area of the phone helps unify the entire image.


preparing the images

  1. download starter files
  2. launch Photoshop; open downloaded files
  3. magnetic lasso tool: silhouette hand (single-click a starting point; DELETE removes anchors; single-click adds an anchor; double-clicking will close the selection)
  4. quick mask mode: clean up selection
  5. move tool: drag selection from "hand.jpg" to "sky.jpg"
  6. save as "sky.psd"; close "hand.jpg" (don't save)

merging the images

  1. rename "background" "clouds"; rename "layer 1" "hand"
  2. make "hand" layer opacity 50% (this is temporary)
  3. edit > free transform (cmd+T): make hand smaller, reposition
  4. layer > add layer mask > reveal all (or click on icon in layers palette)
  5. paint brush tool (soft edge): paint black to reveal clouds, white to hide clouds (try changing opacity and size of brush)
  6. return layer opacity to 100%

adding details

  1. add new layer "shadow" above "hand"
  2. copy layer mask from "hand" to "shadow: load mask from "hand" layer as a selection (cmd+click on mask thumbnail), go to "shadow" layer, add layer mask
  3. paint brush tool (soft edge): paint black to add a subtle shadow; adjust layer opacity
  4. magnetic lasso tool: outline screen
  5. duplicate "clouds" layer, move to top; add layer mask
  6. unlink picture and mask, scale/move clouds into screen area, relink
  7. layer mode=overlay; adjust layer opacity
  8. add layer style "inner shadow"; adjust

adding type

  1. type tool (Impact): type "AIR TIME"
  2. edit > free transform (cmd+T): rotate 90 degrees (hold down SHIFT)
  3. adjust size and position
  4. add layer style "drop shadow"; adjust
  5. rectangle marqueee tool: select "clouds" behind type
  6. layer > new > layer based on copy (cmd+J); move layer to top
  7. make clipping mask with type layer (opt-click between layers)
  8. make clouds inside type larger (cmd+T)
  9. new adjustment layer (levels): make image lighter
  10. clip adjustment layer with previous layer (opt-click between layers)


  1. print a proof for grading (with your name and exercise number)
  2. file your graded proof in your 3-ring binder for individual review

Last updated: 3/2/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young