HOW TO MULTIPLY YOUR KIDS, OR YOURSELF, USING PHOTOSHOP LAYER MASKS

by Jess

I’m by no means the best Photoshop editor but I love using it for fun photo ideas like this so thought I would share with you how I did it. This isn’t the only way, it might not even be the best way but I think the fun thing about Photoshop is that you can just start messing around and find your own way of doing things.

I have two kids but lockdown in a tiny house during winter has me feeling like I have about ten kids so this morning I thought it would be fun to multiply them.

I set my camera up on a tripod, you definitely need a tripod for this. You also need to make sure the light is consistent, so if the sun is going in and out it will result in a big difference in brightness which will affect the images and stop them matching up. You are essentially going to be layering photos together and revealing small sections of each one which means everything, apart from the subjects, needs to match.

So for for this reason you will also need a form of shutter release that doesn’t involve touching the camera as if the camera moves then the photos will all be taken from a different angle and they won’t match up, something which I’ve explained above is very important!

I have a Nikon D5600 and was using it with a 10-20mm lens (f/4.5-5.6G). It’s not great in low light but I needed a wide angle to fit the whole room in so had to make do with it.

Typically my phone wasn’t connecting to my camera and my shutter release is out of batteries so I had to touch it and as a result the last two shots didn’t line up, the last one if so off that the kids must have knocked into it. You can still make it work but it makes the process a lot harder.

I took 4 shots, you need to make sure the subjects are not overlapping as again this will make the process a lot harder. Here they are unedited, I shoot in RAW as it allows you to bring back so much detail.

multiply yourself using photoshop layer masks - before

Once you’ve got your shots you need to open them into Photoshop and before resizing, cropping or editing I use the rectangle marquee tool to copy (Ctrl & C) then paste (Alt & V) all the layers together. I keep one as the base layer, it doesn’t really matter which one but one with the largest subject area makes sense.

Then I add a layer mask to all the layers except for the bottom one. This basically allows you to paint through sections of the layer, it will start off white which means everything is visible. You can then use a black paintbrush to paint sections so they become invisible.

If you only have a small section that you want to be visible then it makes more sense to invert the layer mask making it all black then use a white paintbrush to bring back the part you want to be visible. You can do this by hitting Ctrl & I.

If all your photos are perfectly aligned and you don’t have any subjects overlapping then this is a really simple process as you will only need to paint roughly around your subjects for them to appear and be in the right place.

If they aren’t then it is more tricky and it will involve having to paint around the subject really carefully.

If you do notice that the colours / brightness of the image are different and don’t match up then you will need to adjust the individual layer to make it fit with the base layer. If you have almost matched it but the edge is still visible then you can use either the clone stamp or spot healing brush to try and blend it in.

Once this part has been done I merge all the layers together and remove any areas I don’t like. In this case I used content-aware fill to remove the lampshade and the book shelf.

Then I open it in the camera raw plugin filter to make all the adjustments and colour corrections.

Then you can resize it and save, you’re done!

Here is my finished image. It’s not my best work as it was just for fun but it definitely represents what my life feels like right now!

layering images together photoshop tutorial

Here is another one that I did of myself for my crochet account using exactly the same process…

layer masks tutorial photoshop

It’s something you can be as creative as you like with once you know the basic method of how to do it so hopefully this will inspire you to give it a go. If you prefer to learn using a video tutorial to learn, as I do, then this one by Peter Mckinnon covers how to do it in Photoshop and Premiere Pro 🙂

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