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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


Digital Face Painting
Adobe Photoshop


Images Blends - Using Blend Modes And A Displacement Map
Suitable for Adobe Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 & CC
Skill Level - Intermediate Plus

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This tutorial demonstrates how to create a face and flag blend. To work along exactly, you are welcome to download two images of equal size Here.  Unzip the file and open the contents onto Photoshop’s workspace. (This website Here has a large selection of world flags).

Understanding Layers
Understanding Blend Modes
Understand The Workspace And Palettes

Preparation Note
This type of blend works best when the subject’s background is very dark, or black: therefore, when working with your own photograph - remove the subject’s background using your choice of
Background Removal Tool, and replace it with a Solid Black Fill.

Undo and Navigation Steps
Two ways of undoing steps are from the top menu, Edit then Step Backwards.
Alternatively, click a previous snapshot in the History Palette.

Navigate (zoom in and pan) your image using the Navigator Palette,
or the Zoom Tool.

Activate The Hand Tool by tapping the Spacebar, keeping the Spacebar pressed, pan your image in the usual way.

Open your Start Images onto Photoshop’s workspace - ensuring they are of similar size.

To resize images: from the top menu, choose Image then choose Image Size. From the subsequent Image Size dialogue box, enter your preferred setting into the Width box, then click OK.

Then activate the Face image, and save it as a .psd file - File then Save As. Remember to save it to a memorable folder, as you will be retrieving it later in this lesson.

Now, activate the Move Tool .

Then activate the Flag image, and Shift-drag it onto the Face image. (Shift-dragging ensures the Flag is centrally placed).

To save PC resources, close the original Flag Jpeg.

Now, from the Layers palette, activate the Flag Layer, then change its Blend Mode from Normal to Overlay. Given that different coloured pixels react uniquely when blended with other pixels, it is important to experiment with different
Blending Modes. In addition, for personal results, experiment with different Layer Opacities.

To create the illusion of the Flag contouring the subject’s face, we will retrieve and apply the Face’s .psd file that was saved earlier. Therefore, from the top menu, choose Filter then choose Distort then choose Displace. From the subsequent Displace dialogue box, set the following attributes, (or experiment), then click OK.

After clicking OK, the following Choose a displacement map dialogue box will appear. Now, scroll the Look in menu and locate the face.psd file you saved earlier, then click Open.

After clicking Open, the Flag will assume the Face’s contours - as demonstrated below.

To fade the Flag: activate the Flag’s Layer, and reduce its Opacity - as illustrated below.

Prior to flattening the Layers, areas of the flag that transcend into the hair and eyes can be removed using the
Eraser Tool

In addition, any harsh edges can be smoothed using the
Blur Tool: Chapter 10 - setting a fairly low Strength setting of around 15%.

To finish, sharpen your image: Filter then Sharpen. Then, Flatten the Layers, (Layer then Flatten).

Congratulations, your blend is complete and is
ready to save.

Wendi E M Scarth.
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