The Blending Photos Collage Effects in Photoshop

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The Blending Photos Collage Effects in Photoshop
Photoshop has a treasure trove of useful tools for creating collages with blending modes. ( Images)

By creating collages and blending pictures together in Photoshop, you can produce beautiful, creative visual effects in your digital imagery. Although Photoshop has perfect tools for cutting pieces of pictures and pasting them together, there are also blending-mode tools that will push your collage skills even further with visually stunning effects. The blending options are a more advanced feature of Photoshop, but when used correctly they will allow your images to truly shine.

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Basics of Collage in Photoshop

Collage is quite easily accomplished in Photoshop. Simply choose the various photos you would like to incorporate into your collage and you are ready to get to work. First you will want to make image selections (using the "magic wand" or more advanced selection tools) to isolate the pieces of your photos that you want to use. Simply copy the selected photos, paste into your new collage art and arrange the pieces as desired.

The Blending Photos Collage Effects in Photoshop
Photoshop collage eliminates the need for scissors and glue. (Martin Poole/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Blending Modes: What They Are

Blending modes are a special part of the layers palette in Photoshop. You must have at least one layer of colours or photos beneath your photo layer for effects to be visible. The appearance layer of the photo can be altered by using the blending modes. The blending modes will change the appearance of your photo layer based on the images underneath and on top. The colours and lighting will interact with the existing photos in your picture in the form of transparencies and colour shifts related to images directly above or below your photos.

The Blending Photos Collage Effects in Photoshop
Creating a realisic rainbow onto a landscape photo is easily accomplished using a layer blending mode set to "screen." (Jupiterimages/ Images)

What Blending Modes Are Available

The layers-palette blending mode has a list of effects you can apply to your photo layer. It is important to scroll through the list to view each visual effect and understand what each mode does. The blending modes available are: normal, dissolve, darken, multiply, colour burn, linear burn, darker colour, lighten, screen, colour dodge, linear dodge, lighter colour, overlay, soft light, hard light, vivid light, linear light, pin light, hard mix, difference, exclusion, hue, saturation, colour and luminosity. Each mode will have a dramatically different effect.

How to Use Layer Blending Modes

Using blending modes is quite easy. In order to view results, you must have at least one layer beneath the photo layer to which you apply a blending mode. The blending-mode menu is located at the top of the layer palette directly underneath the word "Layers." It will be set to a default of "Normal." Choose the arrow on the right to switch modes. Simply click on and select your photo layer to which you want to apply the blending mode and scroll through the blending-mode menu to apply.

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