Create a convincing composite – N-Photo 149 video tutorial

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One of the best features of Affinity Photo is layers. They’re helpful for all kinds of image-editing tasks, from retouching to making tonal changes with adjustment layers. Best of all, we can use layers to bring different images together for all kinds of creative results. This is easier than it looks. All we need to do is copy one image on top of another, so that they each occupy a different layer, then we can position the top layer so that it works in harmony with the layer below, and add a layer mask to hide the parts of the layer we don’t want, thereby creating a seamless blend between the two images.

The key to success is in knowing how layer masks work. They perform a simple yet highly useful function by allowing us to hide parts of our layer, which in turn reveals parts of the layer below. To hide areas, we can either paint black, or we can first make a selection then transfer the selection into a mask. The great thing is, the hidden parts are not gone for good, we can reveal them again at any point. This is just one example of the non-linear, non-destructive workflow we benefit from when using layers. 

We’ll walk you through the process here by creating our nightmarish teddy bear composite. But these skills are endlessly transferable. Once you know how layers and masks work, you can let your imagination run wild for all kinds of creative effects.

Please note: This project does not contain any start files

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James Paterson

The lead technique writer on Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, James is a fantastic general practice photographer with an enviable array of skills across every genre of photography. 

Whether it's flash photography techniques like stroboscopic portraits, astrophotography projects like photographing the Northern Lights, or turning sound into art by making paint dance on a set of speakers, James' tutorials and projects are as creative as they are enjoyable. 

As the editor of Practical Photoshop magazine, he's also a wizard at the dark arts of Photoshop, Lightroom and Affinity, and is capable of some genuine black magic in the digital darkroom, making him one of the leading authorities on photo editing software and techniques.