Replacing Parts of an Image

A particularly effective way to replace a portion of an image is using the Paste Into command, which creates a layer mask based on your active selection. A common usage of this feature is to replace a washed out or monochromatic sky with a more dramatic or colorful sky from another image.

Figure 4.23. The source images with washed out sky (example A) and the more dramatic sky that will replace it (example B). The finished composition (example C).


Open the Beach Huts and Sky images.


In the beach huts image that contains the boring sky, make a selection of the sky. If you are working with an image where the sky is completely washed out, the Magic Wand tool may be adequate; otherwise, you might need the Pen tool (p) or a Quick Mask (q) for a more complex selection.


Open the sky image and select the portion of the sky you want and copy it to the clipboard, Edit > Copy (Command/Ctrl-C).


Return to the beach huts image and choose Edit > Paste Into. The sky image is added to a new layer with the inverse of the sky selection from the Beach Huts layer used to mask the new sky where it overlaps the background layer.


To reposition the new sky within the shape of the layer mask, click the layer thumbnail and drag using the Move tool (v) in the document window to move the sky around. When using Paste Into, the layer and layer mask of the new layer are not linked.


Check the edges where the new sky and buildings meet at a high view percentage. To avoid any fringing of the original background color, set the blend mode of the sky layer to Multiply (combining the new sky with the featureless old one) and as necessary paint around the edges of the layer mask with the Blur tool (r) to blend any areas where you can see the join.

Figure 4.24. Choose the Paste Into command to add the sky image to the new layer.

Figure 4.25. The image layers and the layer mask added by choosing Paste Into and then refined by using the Blur tool around parts of the edge to achieve a seamless blend between the new sky and the buildings of the original image.

In a similar vein, you might want to composite elements from two or more shots of the same subject in order to use the best parts of each. Take this family portrait, for example.

Figure 4.26. We want to take the boy's head from example B and composite it with example A. The finished result, example C, is sharpened with the background slightly blurred.

In example A the older child is looking away from the camera; in example B Mom is pulling a funny face. The simple solution is to make a selection of the boy's head (example B) and drag this to the other image. Include a generous amount of the background around the boy's head because this gives you more flexibility when blending the new head with the layer below.

Figure 4.27. The Layers palette showing how the image is constructed.

Blend the copied head with the background image. In Figure 4.28 I have circled the joins. Adding a layer mask and painting in black over these areas with a soft-edged black brush does the trick.

Figure 4.28. Mask out the joins by painting in black on a layer mask.

Adobe PhotoShop Unmasked. The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths
Adobe Photoshop Unmasked: The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths
ISBN: 0321441206
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 93
Authors: Nigel French

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