In art, blending in isn’t always a good thing. On the contrary, what many creators want most is to stand out. In this article, however, we won’t be talking about figurative blending. We’ll be exploring the literal kind: blending two pictures into perfect, seamless harmony.
This type of edit, while merging parts of different photos, will result in an utterly unique image. So, in that sense, it’s a function of blending in with the crowd. Think of it, if you will, as “blending out.”
This effect looks particularly striking in abstract work, as layering images brings a fantastical aspect to regular photos. You can add unique or otherworldly elements to an everyday photo to make it look avant-garde and like a polished piece of contemporary art. For example, if you’re in a band, this technique might help you make an edgy album cover. If you’re simply into new-age art, this effect is perfect for making funky posters or graphics for sharing online.
That said, the overlay effect is perfect for more serious or “literal” works, too. You can layer natural-looking images onto one another for an imperceptibly smooth effect that’s seemingly realistic. In the tutorial below, we’ll not only show you how to blend background images with creative foreground elements, but we’ll also explore how to merge objects on more quotidian projects.
How to Combine Images to Make Incredible Layers
To get started, you’ll need an idea and two or more photos. Think about the image that will be in the background of your project. Perhaps it is a portrait or a landscape onto which you wish to impose another image for effect. Think about what that second image might contain. Are you going galactic with your project? If so, perhaps your second layer might include a spacescape as our first example does below. Are you planning on keeping things a bit more reserved? If so, maybe you’re thinking about making a minor edit to a photo without losing the natural feel of the image. Maybe you’d like to “change the weather” by layering in some clouds or a rainbow, as we did in our second example below. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that you can add as many layers as you see fit, and the basic process won’t change. So, jump into this tutorial fearlessly. Once you get the hang of layering, you can take your project to whatever heights feel right.
- Open the Picsart mobile application and click on the purple plus sign at the bottom of the screen to start a new project. Your photo library will appear. Select the photo upon which you wish to place an overlay. In other words, select your background photo or your bottom layer. Don’t worry about the layers to come just yet. You will add them in the following steps.
2. On the editing screen, locate the “Add Photo” icon on the toolbar below your canvas. Click on this option, and when your photo library appears, choose the photo you wish to use as an overlay. Alternatively, you can search our free stock photos for the perfect fit. We used “Space” as a keyword to bring up a galactic image.
3. With the overlay image now on your editing screen, drag on the photo’s corners to stretch it to cover as much of the image below it as you’d like. Don’t worry if the top photo covers up the one below it completely. In the following steps, you will be able to blend both photos. You can also rotate the image as need be by simply pulling it in a circular motion with your finger.
4. Once you correctly position your overlay photo, you can start the blender, so to speak. Move the opacity slider below the image to get the foreground photo to fade into the one behind it. The lower you go on the slider, the less you’ll see of the top layer. In most cases, you’ll want to aim for a median number on the slider, around 50. That will ensure that one photo doesn’t overpower the other.
5. If you’re pleased with the look you’ve achieved, you can skip this step or simply play around a bit with the blending filters we’re about to describe. You can always quickly remove the filter if you don’t like the effect. Highlight “Blend” on the bottom of the screen and click through the different filters to see if one intensifies your overlay effect in a visually pleasing way. If you’re not convinced, simply move back to the “Normal” filter to remove the effect. Whatever you decide, be sure to click “Apply” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to save your changes.
6. Repeat the overlay process as many times as need be, and when you’re satisfied with your layers, add text, stickers, or other elements as needed to finish out your project. If you’re making a poster or album cover, now’s the time to add your band name or other textual details. Explore the toolbar at the bottom of the screen for all our editing options, including text boxes and stickers. Then, when you’ve finished editing, click on the downward arrow above the image to download it to your phone or share this unique project with the world.
A Less Abstract Look: Another Way to Use Overlays
Perhaps you intended to use this blending technique to apply a more realistic-looking effect to a photo. We’ve done the same so that you can appreciate the ease of achieving more natural layers. Following the same steps as above, we changed the feel of a cityscape by tinkering with the weather. We started with an image of the New York City skyline and layered in a stock photo of a double rainbow. We took down the opacity, much as we did in the previous example, and positioned the overlay so that it only affected the sky of the photo. The result is pretty convincing if we do say so ourselves.
Picsart is a full ecosystem of free-to-use content, powerful tools, and creator inspiration. With a billion downloads and more than 150 million monthly active creators, Picsart is the world’s largest creative platform. Picsart has collaborated with major artists and brands like BLACKPINK, the Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Sanrio: Hello Kitty, I am a Voter, Bebe Rexha, Maroon 5, One Direction, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app or start editing on web today to enhance your photos and videos with thousands of quick and easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers, and brilliant backgrounds. Unleash your creativity and upgrade to Gold for premium perks!