Compositing Layers

Using Image Layers

The layers palette has many options.  You can adjust the blending mode of each layer at the top left, the opacity of each layer at the top right (this lets other layers show through the selected layer).  You can hide layers to see what your image looks like without them by clicking on the eye on the very left of the selected layer.  You can select a layer by clicking it, and change its name by double-clicking it.  At the bottom, there are the options such as a button to add special effects such as a drop shadow, a button for adding a layer mask, layer sets button, adjustment layers button (which you can use to fill also), new layer button, and a trashcan button which will allow you to delete layers (by dragging them into this button.

You can easily make an image with two separate layers by simply using the move tool to click and drag one image into the other one.



Once you drag and drop an image onto another window, it automatically puts the new image on a new layer and puts that new layer on top of the native one.  You can have as many layers as you want, and you can rearrange them by dragging them around within the layers palette (click and drag the name of the layer, not the thumbnail).

Now you have a composite image.  Look once again at the layers palette above, and you can see that the layer closest to the top of the palette is also closest to the top of your "stack" of images that make up your composite image.

The beauty of having images on separate layers is that you can blend the two together to form what seems to be a single image.

Here I am using the eraser tool to erase the sky from the top layer so as to let the sky on the bottom layer show through (because it is a nicer looking sky).

Keep in mind that you can move each layer independently by clicking on the layer in the layers palette and using the move tool.

You can also choose different sized brushes for the eraser tool to make your job easier. I recommend using a small brush and zooming in a great deal if you want to be very accurate. Here, I'm just using a large soft brush because I have two similar skies which I want to blend...accuracy isn't as much of an issue here as it usually is.


  1. imported both clouds and house
  2. resize house to 713px by Image>Resize>Image Size (check the box called "Resample Image")
  3. drag house into clouds
  4. use the magic eraser to eliminate sky above house
  5. Move the clouds up by first unlocking the "Background" Layer
  6. Then click the move tool (1st tool in the toolbar)
  7. Make sure that the clouds layer is the active layer and click and drag this layer to move the clouds to a more realistic placement

Adding a person

  1. erase background from your person image
  2. drag and drop image into composite
  3. Transform scale
  4. Image > Rotate > Flip layer horizontal if necessary for lighting to be consistent
  5. Enhance > Adjust Color > Defringe Layer

Creating a Shadow

Refer to the page about creating shadows here