Double exposure was originally used by photographers using film cameras, they would expose same shot twice to get mysterious looking photographs where you would see combination of two images. Nowadays it’s being widely used by advertisers, designers and can be easily made in Photoshop. Ever wondered how it’s done? I will show you how to achieve double exposure effect in Photoshop in less than 10 minutes, so let’s get started!
1 Step. Select two images
It’s popular to use portrait in the scene of landscape, so I picked two images which I thought would work together. You can use any photo to your liking, for example, picture from your personal archive. However, make sure that the background of your subject is more or less neutral, otherwise you’ll spend more time to cut it out. I’d suggest using images that are in high contrast – either dark subject on the light background or a light subject on dark background.
Step 2. Select your subject
Zoom in (CTRL + ) on your subject and select the outline by using Pen ( P ) tool. You can also use Magic Wand Tool (W) if subjects background is clean.
Roughly follow the outline of the hair to avoid capturing the background between the hair strands.
After you select the subject, Right click and select Make Selection in the menu, then enter 0.5px in the Feather Radius option.
Now let’s bring more details in the hair. Go to Select > Refine Edge and move Edge Detection Radius slider until you bring the hair line into the selection. This would be handy if you’re cutting out the element that is surrounded by other elements, or the image has some more complex background and the edges of the main object are messy. In our case, these minor adjustments are enough to continue creating the double exposure effect.
Step 3. Create new layer
Copy (Ctrl C) your selection and create new layer, than paste (Ctrl V) subject on new layer.
Now hide the background.
Step 4. Create a brush
Select your subject (Ctrl A) and go to Edit > Define Brush Preset
Name new brush and press OK.
Step 5. Create the Double Exposure Effect by Combining Two Images
Let’s select the second photo for our composition. It could be nice landscape shot or architecture, anything abstract or even mind-boggling. Because we are completing this effect in Photoshop there are no restrictions when it comes to what images you will combine. With endless possibilities it seems appropriate to choose objects that have some relationship with one another. For this tutorial, I chose surfer and seascape picture which was rotated 180 degrees to make it more interesting.
Import the background image and turn it into a layer by clicking on it twice.
Create new layer, paint it white and put under your background. Then select your background and add vector mask.
Select Brush Tool (B) and click Brush Preset clicker to find the brush we created in step 4.
Pick your brush size, find the place on the background and click to apply it. Take your time and find a sweet spot where pictures blend nicely together. This is one of the most important steps in this tutorial, because the overall look of the image will depend on where you will place the brush.
And now the moment of truth, press (Ctrl i ) to inverse the image. If you don’t like the way it turned out, click Edit > Step backward ( Alt Ctrl Z ) couple times and place your bush again until you find the spot you’re happy with.
And here it is, we made double exposure in Photoshop!
There are couple ways to achieve double exposure effect, but I feel like this is the fastest way to do it. Don’t give up if don’t get it first time, it took me couple times until I figured how it works.
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