Digital Photo Blending Series Part 2

Automated Blending

In the second video in the series, we have a slightly more difficult task. The image has multiple bright areas that require digital blending, that are separated by dark rocks. This doesn’t allow us to simply apply a gradient filter and then use luminosity masks to clean it up. There is really great separation between the shadow and highlight areas which gives us a few more blending options.

Digital Photo Blending Techniques

There isn’t always a one size fits all answer to how to blend multiple exposures. In this series of examples I run through 4 completely different methods to approach the same image. There is a focus in these tutorials on the automated blending options. Auto blending is a tool that will work for every image, but it is a great starting point. It is extremely quick and easy to apply, and it may give you the result you’re after in just a few seconds. 

Method 1 – Apply – Adjust – Replace

Using the Apply-Adjust-Replace tool we apply a luminosity mask directly to the light layer on top. This reveals the darker, moodier sky in the image below. We then use the dodging and burning tools to clean the mask up for a more natural result.

Method 2 – Automated Blending (Semi-Auto)

With the clear separation between the shadows and highlights and limited movement of objects between frames we can auto blend. With some minor adjustments using the levels adjustment supplied, we are able to get a clean result. Then we take the mask into Apply-Adjust-Replace for some final clean up.

Method 3 – Automated Blending (Blend If)

The Blend If tool is fully automated and can be a hit and miss method for blending, but works really well for this image. We also show how the Blend If tool works, so you can adjust the blend for better results.

Method 4 – Gradient Filter & Painting

In this case the blending is more involved than a typical blend using the gradient filter method. By using the gradient filter method, we have much more control though and are able to take complete control over the final result. We also, have to apply some additional blending techniques to complete the blending, using several masks.