Combing Two Photos

The first step is to find two photos you want to combine. I am going to use a picture of my dog Cracker and a picture of a Chirstmas tree.

Christmas Cracker

Christmas Tree

Open both photos in Photoshop Editor. You should now see them in your Photo Bin:

Photo Bin

Click on the picture of Cracker and with the move tool slected Move Tool simply drag it over to the Christmas tree photo. This will create a new layer on the Christmas tree document:

New Layer

Close the picture of Cracker because you now have both pictures in one document.

First we need to make the background edible so we can work on it. Notice the lock on this layer. We are not able to edit or do anything to the Christmas photo at this time. Just double click on the Background layer to open the New Layer dialog box shown below. You can just leave the Name Layer 0 or give it a name. When working on large projects it is best to assign a name to each layer, example Christmas Tree.

Name Layer

Now you need to decide which photo will be the background image. In this activity it is pretty clear that the tree will be in the background and Cracker will be in the foreground. Make sure the background image is at the bottom of the layer stack:

Layer

Next we will create a mask in order to blend the photos. With the top layer (Cracker) still selected, click the half black/half white circle at the top of the layers palette Adjustment Layer to create an adjustment layer. Choose Levels and accept the default by clicking OK.

Adjustment Layer

Drag the adjustment layer inbetween the two photo layers, like so:

Adjustment Layer

Click on the top layer to select it (it'll turn light blue), then hover your cursor between the two layers (Cracker and the Adjustment Layer) while pressing the Option key. The cursor will morph into two intersecting circles. When it does, click once. This clips the top layer to the adjustment layer. TIP: With the top layer selected, you could also choose Layer > Group with Previous, or just press Command + G (PC: Ctrl + G). Your Layer Palette should look like the picture below. Notice the top picture has moved to the right:

Adjustment Layer

Position the top picture using the move tool Move Tool where you want it to be in the completed picture. You want be able to position the photo once you mask!!!! I positioned Cracker to the center at the bottom of the page as shown below:

Christmas Cracker

To make the effect work you will need to get rid of the background in Cracker's Picture. Select the Brush tool Brush Tool and press D to set your color chips to the default of black and white. You want the black color at the top as shown below:

Default Paint Colors

Click once on the mask itself (circled in red below),

Adjustment Layer Selected

and with a nice big, soft brush,

Ajustment Brush Setting

begin to paint the area of the photo you'd like to hide with black. TIP: In the realm of the layer mask, black hides and white reveals. If you paint out too much, just press X to swap color chips so that white is on top, and paint that area back in. You may need to adjust the size of the brush to adapt to different parts of the photo. To adjust brush size click the adjust brush size to open the slide option.

Make sure you are on the mask layer as shown above. As you paint on the mask area you will notice that what you are painting in black is revealing what is on the bottom photo.

Paint Away Backgroun

Don't worry about getting rid of the areas close to Cracker because we are going to use another tool that will magically take away the areas to close to erase. Once you have masked out most of the background the next step is to get around those hard to reach places.

Click on the top layer, the one that contains the actual picture of Cracker. Select the magic wand tool Magic Wand and then click on the areas you couldn't get using the masking technique. The trick here is to play around with the tolerance level in order to select just the area you want to delete. I used 20 in some areas and 50 in others.

Tolerance

Here is the area selected with the tolerance of 50:

Magic Wand Selection

Once you have the selection you want, simply hit the delete key to get rid of that area. Conitnue until you have removed all the unwanted areas in the photo. Press Cntrl + D to deselect the selection.

Wouldn't this be a good picture for a Christmas Card? By adding text to the photo you can make a really unique card. To add text to the photo, click on the Add Text to Your Document on the Artwork and Effects palette.

Add Text to Your Document

Some of the presets contain their own color theme and some you can select your own colors. Choose the colors you want yourtext to appear in your document. I choose the colors below:

Christmas Colors

Click on the preset of your choice. I chose the preset Outline text shown below. This preset uses the colors you choose from the color palette. Feel free to play around with other preset text options.

Preset Outline Text

Make sure your text layer is selected:

Text Layer Selected

Then with the move tool Move Tool move the text "Your Text Here to the top of the document window:

Text

Double click the text to select it. Select the font face and size from the options palette. My options are shown below:

Text Options

With your text still selected type in your message. Once you have the text the way you want it you will need to save the photo. Click File > Save As and select JPG as the file format. Give it a unique name like Christmas Card:

JPEG Format

My finished photo is shown below:

Christmas Cracker

Now that is great. I got the photo, what do I do with it?

Open Publisher from the Start Menu (Start > Programs > Microsoft > Microsoft Publisher).
In the New Publication task pane, under New from a design, click Publications for Print, click Greeting Cards, and then click Holiday.
Scroll through the pre-designed greeting card publications. When you find the one you want, click the pre-designed card.
In the Greeting Card Options task pane, under Design, click the layout option you want.

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