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Double Exposure Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics, welcome back to another video tutorial. This time we’re going to play around in Photoshop to create a Double Exposure effect, which is originally a Photography technique using nothing but cameras to blend and merge two separate photos together by exposing the film twice in two completely different photos. The style of this effect has also become popular with digital artists, who can use Photoshop to mimic the double exposure effect to create a surreal image. Popular examples are the True Detectives TV show intro, or if you’re a bit of a Taylor Swift fan, you might recognise this effect from her latest music video. Common subjects that are often combined are portraits or profiles and scenes of nature, such as mountains or trees. The example we’ll be creating in this tutorial uses a side profile of a female and a snowy mountain scene, which are blended together so the landscape fills the silhouette of the portrait. Begin by opening up your chosen portrait image in Photoshop.

Ideally the image will have a nice clean solid colour or white background like this. I’m lucky enough to have a Shutterstock subscription, but you can also find some quality free images on the web. The link to the images I’ve used are down in the description. First we need to separate the subject from the background. One of the quickest and easiest methods of doing this is with the Channels. Find the channel with the most contrast, then duplicate it by dragging it into the New icon. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, then move the midtones and shadows sliders towards the right to dramatically darken the image. Go as far as you can without expanding the black outline too much, as you can see if the sliders are moved too much. Select the brush tool and set up a hard tip with a black fill, then paint over any remaining highlights in the centre.

Click on the RGB channel layer to return back to normal, then CMD+Click on the duplicated channel to load the selection, followed by Select > Inverse. Return back to the Layers panel and ensure the background is selected, then Copy and Paste the clipping onto a new layer. Fill the original background with white. Next, find a landscape image and paste it into the Photoshop document. Move it to the top of the layer stack. CMD+Click the thumbnail of the portrait layer, then apply a Layer Mask to clip the landscape image. Un-link the mask with the layer by clicking the chain icon. Then select the landscape layer thumbnail and go to Edit > Transform to scale and position the image independently to find the best composition. ——-Select the original portrait layer and press CMD+J to duplicate it. Move it to the top of the layer stack then go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to transform it to black and white, then change the blending mode to Multiply. Apply a Layer Mask to this layer, then set up a large soft brush with a black fill. Paint around the edges of the portrait to erase away everything except the facial features.

Press X to switch the colours between white and black to toggle between erasing and restoring the image to find the perfect result. Reduce the opacity of this ghostly portrait layer to around 70%, so the features are just subtly visible through the landscape. ——-Deselect the mask, then use the eyedropper to choose a colour from the image, then brighten it up by adjusting the colour picker. Fill the background layer with this colour. ——Paste in another copy of the landscape image, which should still be in your clipboard. Move it to the top of the layer stack then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and alter the radius to 250px.

Apply a layer mask, then erase away this layer so the portrait can be seen again, leaving a vignette style effect around the edges. Reduce the opacity of this layer so the vignette is hardly visible, but it produces some subtle changes in tone. Finish off the effect by applying a Levels adjustment layer. Tweak the highlights and shadows to increase the contrast to bring out the details of the image. The final result is a cool blend of two images to create a surreal piece of art which is perfect for posters or album covers.

The big advantage of doing this in Photoshop, as opposed to the traditional photography technique, is you can experiment with different images to find the best mix. So I hope you enjoyed this Photoshop tutorial. If you did I’d really appreciate a thumbs on YouTube up to help spread the word. Don’t forget you can subscribe to see more video tutorials for Illustrator and Photoshop. So thank you very and I’ll see you in the next one..

As found on Youtube

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