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Blend the Image

The next step in creating the poster is to blend our bass player smoothly from the photo to the black area. You have a few ways to do this, but let’s use a nondestructive method. When erasing parts of an image, the nondestructive method is to use a mask. You create a mask on a layer, and then paint black on the mask to hide the layer contents or paint white to reveal the contents.

Create a Layer Mask

  • star.jpg ACA Objective 3.6

Let’s create a mask on the layer containing your image so that you can fade the image into the black area. Then you’ll add some text to the document.

  1. Click the layer on which you want to add a mask. In this case, click the layer with the bass player.
  2. In the Layers panel, click the Mask button layermaskbuttonicon.jpg.

    The Mask is added to the layer (Figure 4.12).

    Figure 4.12

    Figure 4.12 Creating a layer mask

A mask displays as a thumbnail to the right of the image thumbnail in the Layers panel.

Because there was no active selection, the mask is initially all white, thereby revealing the entire layer. If a selection is active when you create a mask, the new mask will reveal only the active selection.

Fade the Image Using a Mask

  • star.jpg ACA Objective 3.6
  • star.jpg ACA Objective 4.5

Now you will fade out the image using the mask. For this task, you will create a gradient on the mask that goes from black to white. As the gradient moves from black to white, the image will move from hidden to visible.

Gradients in Photoshop can be fairly complex, but let’s start with a simple preset gradient.

  1. Select the Gradient tool toolgradient.jpg.
  2. Click the layer mask thumbnail to activate the mask.

    When the layer mask is active, white corners display around the thumbnail of the mask, but not the layer (Figure 4.13).

    Figure 4.13

    Figure 4.13 An active layer mask

  3. In the Options bar, select the gradient that is white to black (Figure 4.14). If the first option in the gradient selector is not white to black, press the D key to return to the default colors.

    Figure 4.14

    Figure 4.14 The preset white to black gradient selected in the Options bar

  4. Drag a gradient on your image to fade the image from visible to hidden. You can Shift-drag to constrain the gradient’s angle, dragging from the arm to the image edge.

    The image should fade from visible to transparent, fading away into the black background layer.

  5. Save your work by pressing Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS).

    This effect gives a nice transition to your image rather than a hard edge, thereby making the image feel less separated from the rest of the document and providing a little more freedom for the text.

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