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Blend Tutorial - For Photoshop 7
I have had many people ask me how I blend my images so I thought I would make a simple tutorial on the method I use most often. This may not be the correct way but it is the technique I use in the majority of my wallpapers. This tutorial assumes you are already somewhat familiar with Photoshop. The version I use in this tutorial is V.7 but I think it will work pretty much the same for versions 5 and up. You may have to adjust some of the steps because one or more of the tools may not work as they do in Version 7.
For this tutorial we are going to use 3 simple images from Lord of the Rings that are the same size and are for demonstration purposes only. When the images are not the same size then more work is required to blend them properly. You can download the zip here.
1) Unzip the images and open two of them in Photoshop. The ones you want to open are the single Frodo image and the one with Frodo and Sam. Open a new canvas, 800 X 600 with a white background. Drag the two images onto the blank white canvas with Frodo the first layer above the background and Sam and Frodo the next layer. Make sure your layer palette is on your desktop as you will be using it. Select layer 1 which will be the Frodo image and drag it to the right til it just meets the right side of your canvas. Then select layer 2 and drag it to the left til it just meets the edge. Your image should look something like this:

2) Now go up to your layer palette and turn off layer 2 by clicking on the eye and select layer 1. Next click on the "Add layer mask" at the bottom of your layer palette. See diagram below:

3) Select your gradient tool and make sure your background color is black and your foreground color is white. Make sure that the "Linear" gradient is selected.

4) Now place the little crosshair on the very right edge of your image and drag it to the left til you are about 1/4 inch from the left edge, then let go. The point is to make the edge fade out gradually with no line showing. Your image should look like below
5) Now go back to your layer palette and select layer 2. This should turn the layer back on. Once again, with layer 2 selected, click on the "Add layer mask" icon at the bottom. You don't need to turn off layer 1.
6) You are going to repeat the steps you did in step 4 only you will start on the left side and drag it to the right. It should look like the image on the right below when you are done.

7) Now at this point you could leave it as it is and still have a nice blend but lets say you want to do something about the white faded area down the middle. There are several ways to get rid of this. The easiest way would be to select your white background layer and flood fill it with a color of your choosing. You would get something like this: (I chose a blue color in this example)

Or you could even choose another image, maybe some kind of scenery shot and place that below the two blended layers. There are many possibilities. Another option is to add a third layer on top and blend that one also, which is what I've done below. However, this time we are going to center the image and fade the outer edges. With layer 2 selected open up that third image that was in the zip which is the image of Pip and Merry. Drag it to your layered image, making sure it is the top most layer. Center the image.

8) As you did with the first two layers you are going to click on the "Add layer mask" icon at the bottom.
9) Now with your gradient tool active, you are going to select the Reflected Gradient.
10) When you click and drag the crosshair start in the middle of your image and drag to either the right or left edge.
11) With that blended in, we see that it kinda covers up the images below it so we are going to play with the opacity a bit.
12) And there you have it! Your finished image should look like below. However, this can just be a start. You can add as many layers as you wish, just remember to start on the side you want the darkest and end on the side you want faded out. If you want more of it faded then don't drag it as far. Just play around with it until you get the look you want. If you don't like the way it looks then undo it and try again. From there you can add whatever effects you want like brushes or erasing the edges of your canvas. It is only limited by your imagination.

If you have any questions about this tutorial then please feel free to e-mail me.

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