Blending a Photo


Before I was a scrapbook designer, I was creating tons and tons of scrapbook layouts of my boys.  I learned so many different ways of creating layouts that I want to now share them with you using PSE!  I hope you find my information useful and would love some feedback from you!

Blending a Photo

The Call Kit (No longer available)
I love blending photos.  If you want to create a layout that is non-traditional and without frames, this is a good way to go.  I especially love blending photos for more art journal layouts.  It adds lots of interest and drama to a layout.
In my above layout, I also added a filter to a photo, but I will save that tip for another day.  I would like to explain how I blended this photo onto my background paper.  Note:  In this tutorial, I am assuming you all know how to open a file into your Elements.
1.  Open your PSE.
2.  Choose and open your photo you wish to blend.
3.  Choose and open your background paper you wish to use.
4.  Converting your photo to black and white:  There are several options of converting a photo to black and white, but I will stick with the most simple version.
  • Click the top of your menu bar ‘enhance’
  • This will open a menu list
  • Click ‘convert to black and white’
  • Shortcut:  Or you can click ‘alt+ctrl+B’ at the same time
  • You should now see a new window that shows your photo in color and it in black and white.
  • If you like what you see, you can click ‘OK’.
  • There are also below, different black and white options and on the right you can adjust the colors and contrast.  Just adjust your photo until you get your desired result.  But, for blending purposes, it’s not that important.
4.  Now that your photo is black and white, go ahead and drag your photo from the bottom in your ‘project bin’ onto your scrapbook paper in the main window.
5.  Move around and/or resize your photo to how you want it (as you can see in my example at top, I have expanded my photo to the full size of the paper and moved it towards the left).
6.  Now comes the blending part:
  • On the right of your screen, go to ‘layers’ and make sure your photo is high lighted and not the paper.  If your paper is highlighted in layers, click on the photo to highlight.
  • You will then see at the top of layers, a drop down menu that says ‘normal’.
  • Click on the drop down menu and you will see a large list of blending options.
  • Click on ‘multiply’.  I like multiply for this type of blending because it eliminates everything that is white and light and keeps all that is dark gray and black.  You will see the paper coming through all the areas that was white.
  • You will see there are sharp edges where the photo ends.  We want to make the photo look like it’s part of the paper, so we need to eliminate the edges.  You will need to select an eraser brush to soften the edges of the photo.
  • Click ‘E’ for eraser or you can go to your toolbar and click on the eraser icon.  Then at the top left of your window, you have a selection of brushes to choose from.  I chose a soft brush, size 300 at 100% opacity.
  • Now work your way around the edges to achieve the look you want and to eliminate the sharp edges.
  • But, wait we are not done yet!  Now go ahead and reduce the opacity of the eraser brush to 30%.  Go around the edges again to make sure the photo looks really blended into the paper.  I went ahead and moved my photo here on the left because I liked it better 🙂 and I went around the whole photo slowly and softly so it looks like the transparency slowly merges into the photo.
Once you get the image just the way you want it, you can now add your elements and/or journaling.  Now go ahead and merge your layers by clicking the top of the menu under ‘layers’ and when the drop down menu appears, click ‘merge down’ or ‘flatten image’.  You can use shortcut ‘ctrl+E’ instead.
That’s it!  It may seem harder than it really is and maybe there is an easier way, But, this is the way I have done it and it really gets the look I want.  The eraser brush takes some practice, so just play with it…even using different brushes with different textures is loads of fun too!  We will save that tip for another day :).

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