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Misunderstood Photoshop: The Apply Image Command

Article Description

Photoshop's Apply Image command is a tool for blending two images or layers. You can use it to apply masked borders to images and to create interesting collage effects. It's also one of the quickest ways of creating a mask from an image. Helen Bradley explains the basics of using the Apply Image feature in Photoshop.

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Blending Two Images

The Apply Image command can be used to blend two images together. Follow these steps to give it a try:

  1. Open the two images you want to use, and choose Image > Rotate if you need to rotate one image so both are in the same orientation. Select one of the images and choose Image > Image Size to display the Image Size dialog. Click open the Window menu and click the second image’s name at the foot of the menu (see Figure 1). Click OK. This step automatically sizes the selected image to the exact size of the second image.
    Figure 1

    Figure 1 To set two images the same size, when the Image Size dialog box is displayed, choose the second image’s filename from the Window menu.

  2. Select the image with which you want to work. Duplicate its background layer by selecting the layer, choosing Layer > Duplicate Layer, and clicking OK. Then select the duplicate layer in the Layers palette.
  3. Choose Image > Apply Image. From the Source drop-down list, select the second image as the one you want to blend with the current image. Set the Blending mode to Add or another blending mode that produces an interesting result (see Figure 2). Adjust the Opacity value to suit. When you’re satisfied with the effect, click OK.
Figure 2

Figure 2 In the Apply Image dialog, select the Source image to blend it with the current image; then choose a Blending mode that produces an interesting result.

Notice that the two images are now blended and combined into a single layer. This layer can be treated as any other Photoshop layer—and even blended further back into the original image if desired. In Figure 3, the Overlay blend mode is used with a reduced Opacity to blend the newly combined images into the original layer below.

Figure 3

Figure 3 A layer created using the Apply Image feature can be treated like any other layer; here it’s blended into the original image below.

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