How to Combine Multiple Photographs in Photoshop CS5

I had a picture of a globe made up of puzzle pieces that was chosen for an invitation. It was an effective image for the subject but was a bit dull on its own. I decided that to reinforce the message, I would add a few pictures to the puzzle. This was very easy to do, using Adobe Photoshop CS5 and my Wacom Intous 4 pen tablet.

The photo of the globe was purchased from iStock.photo.

The original photo
The original photo

1. Open up the picture you are using as the base, in this case, the globe puzzle.

Bring in your first image. Scale it down to the size you want, as shown.

Adjust the layer transparency to a level where you can see the background image of the puzzle. Use the lasso tool to select the parts of the image that need to be removed. Once those areas are highlighted, I hit the delete key to erase it. You could use the eraser tool to do this step, as well.

Use the eraser tool to fine tune that edge.

Once that is done, go to Layers/Layer Style and choose Inner Bevel. Add just enough to make it look like there is depth. It does not take much and only is done to give the image a bit more realism. The image in the puzzle is set at about 80% transparency to let the metal of the globe show through.

The next image needs to be adjusted for perspective, as shown. Use the Edit/Transform/Distort selection to adjust the image as shown. Repeat the lasso, erasing and beveling steps above.

The first two images are now in place.

The third image is done the same way as the others. Resize the picture to the size that you feel works best to fit in the puzzle. Adjust the opacity of the image when you do this so you can see how the image will fit into the puzzle piece.

I am distorting the image to come as close as I can to mimic the curve of the globe.

Once the third photo is in place, add a bit of bevel and adjust the opacity to let the metal of the globe show through.

This was as far as I wanted to go with this. The end result, combined with our logo and text, worked well on the printed piece, although I did use different images in the puzzle than this example.

This basic technique could be used for any number of image manipulations and combinations.

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