Photoshop (PS) Vs Photoshop Elements (PSE)
The Project is to “merge” these two photos.
In PSE there is no “masking” except for Adjustment Layers, and that as you will see gives us a work around if you need to make a mask in PSE. More on that later. Also there is no auto align layers “button/menu” in PSE.
Instead in PSE there is a “merge” Wizard that let’s you accomplish this task all in one place.
Load the images in to the “bin” that you want to merge in PSE. Then toggle
Menu: New > Photomerge®Group Shot
You will see something like this…
There is an auto align feature in the wizard, and hidden “masks” that allow you to use a pencil or a brush tool to add or subtract what you want in the final image… Quite straight forward, but I found it to be more time consuming than using auto align and “masks” as in Photoshop.
Load the images into PS.
Layer the images… Use the Move Tool “v” key, but hold down the shift key. Holding down the shift
key will automatically center the image you are dropping into the top layer. Unlock the background layer.
Select both layers by holding down the Shift Key, you can also use the Command Key (Mac), Control key (PC), (using the command/control key lets you select non contiguous layers.)
Edit > Auto-Align Layers
Then choose Projection: “Auto” (Let the computer do the work)
button at the bottom of the layers palette. Click inside the “white” mask so you can see an outline indicating it’s active. Make the foreground color black and paint with a soft edged brush on the canvas over the areas you want to appear from the bottom layer. To see what’s under neath you can make the top layer 50% transparent using the Opacity setting at the upper right of the layers palette.
Think of a mask as having black holes that allow the light from the layer below to shine through!
We can make a layer mask in Photoshop Elements by borrowing the mask from an adjustment layer, in this case we used “Levels”. By grouping a duplicate layer with the previous layer,with the Levels Mask, we can borrow and use the levels mask as-if it were a regular layer mask.
When you duplicate layer 1, move it above the Levels adjustment layer and select it. To make the duplicated layer “group” with the adjustment layer use the key board combination Control G (Mac) Command G (PC) or the menu Layer > Group with Previous.
The duplicated layer will move to the right and a little arrow will point down at the adjustment Layer. The PSE layer palette shows how the Photoshop Elements layers pallet work around works.
Now all you have to do is select the mask and paint with shades of gray to black to allow the effects in the layer below to show through.
Unlocking Photoshop Elements
Three web sites offer Photoshop’s way of doing things by unlocking Hidden Features in Photoshop Elements. They both offer a free demo-download that unlocks a few of the PSE’s hidden features. The free demo from each company offers The Layer Mask for free!
Give ‘em a try!
If you have any questions… ‘ holler
If not Practice, practice, practice