|Here it comes, as I somewhere promised, a stage by stage instructions how to merge images creatively. First of all you need at least two images to work with. Here's the first one I used for this example.|
|And here's the other one. As you can see, this is somewhat similar with the first shot, but the tree is different. You can also shoot the same subject and try to change something else like angle of shoot, zoom, or use different light. At twilight you can for example shoot one shot with flash and another without it.|
|What you then do on image editor (GIMP or PhotoShop) is that you open the two (or more) images on separate layers. Next you need to try and decide what layer mode you use for topmost layer(s). Try for example 'Soft light', 'Hard light' and 'Darken' layer modes. Which one is the best depends much on subject and outcome you want to achieve. Here I wanted to multiply the branches against snow, thus selecting 'Darken' layer mode.|
|Next stage is the "blurring stage". The idea is to blur one of the layers either just a little or quite much, depending again on what you want to achieve. With 'Gaussian blur' 50 for 1000 pixel wide images you get just tones enhanced, which can be cool when pictures are differently lit. Here I wanted to achieve something similar as on so called "tilt and shift" images, thus giving only 'Gaussian blur' 10 for the image with a house on background.|
|Quite often one may wish to enhance the image using so called "contrast mask". What you do then is that you first merge the image onto one layer, then duplicate, change the duplicate into 'Soft light', invert the duplicate, turn the duplicate to balck and white, and finally blur the duplicate with Gaussian blur (e.g. 50). Now you get image that may look flat (little contrasts) but you also get more tones on shadows and highlights.|
|The final stage is where you do your usual magic. Just remember to merge the image onto one layer once again. You may just try to increase contrast and lightness. Here I first ran Elsamuko's LOMO script, and after that I increased the lightness for middle tones with 'Curves tool'. Not quite finished yet though, but hopefully you got the idea.
Click here to see the final image in full size.