Bring back memories and create dreamscapes by blending past vacation photos with new images. I’ll show you how I combined some of my travel pics with random inspiration to compose new scenes in Adobe Photoshop.
My name is Dean Dapkus and I’m a creative director at Adobe. I enjoy creating digital and traditional art and am happiest when I can combine the two in new ways.
Before You Start
Here is the Photoshop document with the images you’ll need to follow along. Of course, you’re welcome to use your own vacation photos. I can’t wait to see what you do with them.
Step 1: Journey Down Memory Lane
I had fun with my family as we searched through photos of our times at the lake and Bryce Canyon National Park. Then I saw this donut on Adobe Stock and I couldn’t resist adding it to the collection. Gather pictures from your own past trips and see how you can mix them with elements of whimsy.
Step 2: Select Two
Start with at least two photos you can blend together in a new way. I saw this picture of my daughter tubing on the lake and thought that traveling by donut would be a fun way to go.
Step 3: Rotate and Resize
Try this yourself. The donut is already the right shape; you just need to resize and position it. Reduce the Opacity of the donut so you can see through to the layer below. This helps you align the top donut with the tube. Finally, select Transform—Control+T (Windows) or Command+T (macOS)—and drag the donut into place. Hover just outside a corner handle and drag to rotate it. Finally, click the corner handles and drag to scale the image, and then drag the middle handles to stretch it.
Step 4: Hide the Background
To isolate the donuts, drag across them with the Object Selection tool. Click the mask icon to hide the blue background. After you apply the mask, change Opacity back to 100%.
Step 5: Wrap It Around
Masking is a key technique for blending photos. You can spend a lot of time on this step to get your new reality looking just right. Click the mask thumbnail on the layer and paint with a black brush to hide the bottom donut. Keep painting to reveal the bottom of the tube and the thin line of the rope. The great thing with layer masks is that the image is always there. So if you hide something by mistake, you can paint with white to show it again. Use the shortcut keys ([ ]) on your keyboard to adjust the brush size as you work.
Step 6: Get Ready to Switch
Ultimately, I wanted to switch the background of the trees with the photo of Bryce Canyon and isolate my daughter from the lake background. I selected the lake layer, grabbed the Object Selection tool, and dragged to select my daughter. I clicked Select and Mask so I could do some fine-tuning. Photoshop applied a red overlay to show the areas that would be hidden. I changed this to green because, for this image, it allowed me to see the selection more easily.
Step 7: Focus on the Details
Hair can be tricky. In this shot, parts of the background appear in the spaces between the hair. The Refine Edge brush in the Select and Mask workspace works great to select the finer details. Brush along the edges until it’s all selected. Output the selection to a New Layer with Layer Mask.
Step 8: Change Landscapes
To keep the lake and replace the mountains, make sure the original lake layer is visible by clicking the eye icon. Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to drag a selection from above the sliver of shoreline to the bottom of the photo. Set the feathering to soften the edges so there’s no sharp edge between photos when you blend them later. Click the mask icon to hide the area not included in the selection.
Step 9: Show the New Background
Finally, show the Bryce Canyon layer so it appears in the area hidden by the mask. Photoshop has a variety of filters you can use to apply effects to your photos. I used the Gaussian Blur on the canyon layer to make it appear slightly blurry as if it were far in the distance.
Trek Through Your Albums
I hope you feel inspired to reinvent your adventures through imagery. Be sure to tag @AdobeCreate so we can share in your journey.