Tutorial: Create a Double Exposure without Photoshop

Have you seen the new popular effect? Those awesome double exposures that perfectly integrate two photos together in a creative way. Maybe you have even looked up a tutorial on how they are created to soon be disappointed that they require complicated masking, photo clipping, and Photoshop knowhow. With the use of two Topaz Labs plugins, ReMask and Texture Effects, you can create a double exposure without Photoshop in minutes.

If you don’t own ReMask or Texture Effects, don’t worry! You can get a 30 day free trial. No payment or credit card info required! To get ReMask, click here. To get Texture Effects, click here.

Today, we’ll discover how the newly released Texture Effects and ReMask can be used to beautifully integrate two photos to create double exposures. This tutorial will show how Texture Effects is able to easily unleash your creative ability without all those complicated workflows. During this tutorial, we will also highlight some of the new features of Texture Effects 2 such as: PNG support, integrated masking, various blending modes, and how to import your own assets into Texture Effects 2.

Learn how to accomplish the following in this tutorial:

  • Using ReMask to mask out a background
  • Getting started with Texture Effects
  • Importing assets
  • How to apply a double exposure
  • Using the integrated masking feature

In this tutorial, I will be using an image of a woman and a mountain. Just click here to download the image of the woman and click here to download the image of the mountain. Now let’s get creating an amazing double exposure!

Step 1: ReMask

The purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate how to create a double exposure without Photoshop. If you wish to use one of the compatible host editor that supports layers, like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or PaintShop Pro, feel free to!

ReMask can run as a stand alone application or as a plug-in. For this tutorial, we will be using ReMask as a stand alone. So, start by opening your image in ReMask.

Step 1: Start out with opening the image in ReMask. This is done by clicking File> Open Image… in the menu bar of ReMask.

Once your image is open, it will be completely green. If you are following along using the images provided, it should appear just like this:

ReMask can be utilized a few different ways. The technique I am going to use allows for quicker masking and is also better for getting small details, such as loose hairs and eyelashes. The model has some loose hairs that I would love to include in the final image.

Step 2: Use the Flood Fill to COMPUTE brush (blue raindrop) to fill the entire image blue.

Step 3: Use the red CUT brush (red paintbrush) to cut away the background and the green KEEP brush (green paintbrush) to keep the subject in the photo. If you are following along using the image of the woman, it should look something like this.

Step 4: After you are satisfied, click the COMPUTE MASK button (red box).

Step 5: Let’s double check our mask. Click on the Keep and Cut views (the apples on top right-hand side of the screen).

Here’s what’s being kept:

Here’s what’s being cut:

As you can see, we have an almost perfect mask of the woman, but there are a few areas to clean up, such as around her nose and the right shoulder. To do this, all you have to do is go back to the Trimap (top right-hand corner of your screen) and add a few more brush lines like so:

The new mask will automatically compute, so there is no need to keep clicking the COMPUTE MASK button. Once you are satisfied with your mask, save it!

Here’s the finished mask:

Step 5: Click the Save As button (bottom left-hand side) and save the image as a JPEG. Leave all settings to default.

Step 2: Opening your Image in Texture Effects 2

Step 1: Now that you have your image properly ReMasked, open it in Texture Effects 2. This can be done by clicking: File> Open Image… in the menu bar of Texture Effects 2.

Here’s what your image should now look like in Texture Effects 2:

Step 3: Basic Adjustment

Now that you’ve gotten your image open in Texture Effects 2, you are going to add a Basic Adjustment layer.

Step 1: Click on the Add Adjustment button (red box).

Step 2: Add a Basic Adjustment layer (Shift A).

Step 3: Let’s make some basic adjustments to the image. This may not be as appealing right now, but an image with more clarity and contrast will make for a better double exposure later. Here are the values I used for the Basic Adjustment layer:

  • Brightness: -0.40
  • Shadow: -0.20
  • Highlight: 0.40
  • Clarity: 0.55

Hint: If you are using your own image, strive to have some very light areas and some very dark areas. Darker areas allow for a clearer view of the image we will add in later steps.

If you are following along using the image of the woman, it should look like this:

Step 4: Double Exposure

Step 1: Again, click on the Add Adjustment button.

Step 2: Add a Double Exposure layer (Shift X).

The default double exposure will automatically be applied. You can see the thumbnails on the right-hand side that show previews of all the available double exposures. If you are following along with this tutorial and wish to use the mountain image as your double exposure, you will have to import this asset into Texture Effects 2. If you are using your own image, feel free to choose one of the already provided double exposures or import your own!

Step 3: Import the mountain as a double exposure asset. To do this, click on the Open Texture/Category Manager (red box). You can upload to a category or make a new category for your uploaded images.

Step 4: Select the image you wish to import. It will automatically be placed in your double exposures assets panel at the bottom of the list and to the category you selected in Step 3.

Step 5: After you select the image and apply it as a double exposure, it should be laid over your entire image. If you are following along, it should look like this:

Step 6: Move the double exposure. You may have gotten lucky and the double exposure you chose is perfectly placed on top of your image. In my case, I want it moved over a little bit. You can move the double exposure using the move tool (red box).

Hint: You want the most important part of your second image to be in the darkest part of your original image. The darkest areas will appear the clearest!

Tip: Double exposures look best when you accentuate features, such as hair, fur, or a body curve. See how the mountain follows the natural curve of the model’s jawline? Maybe choose a woman with curly hair and combine it with an image of clouds or plants that mimic the texture of her hair. The possibilities are endless with Texture Effects 2!

Step 7: Change the blending mode of the double exposure. Scroll down in the double exposure layer panel to see the blending mode. The default is normal. Change the blending mode to Lighten. I slightly adjusted the opacity to 0.42. Feel free to play around! I would suggest only using Lighten or Screen as your blending modes, but any opacity can be done. Just do what you feel looks best with your image.

If you are satisfied with your image and wish to keep the white background and the image colored, skip down to Step 7. If you wish to reduce the saturation or change the background to a gradient, continue to Step 5.

Step 5: Basic Adjustment

Now that you have your double exposure on your original image, you are going to add another Basic Adjustment layer.

Step 1: Again, click on the Add Adjustment button.

Step 2: Add another Basic Adjustment (Shift A).

Step 3: I made some more basic adjustments to the image of the woman and mountain, as well as turned down the Saturation. Here are the values I used for the second Basic Adjustment:

  • Brightness: -0.23
  • Shadow: -0.24
  • Highlight: -0.02
  • Clarity: 0.46
  • Saturation: -1.00
  • Temperature: 0.64
  • Tint: -1.00

If you are following along, this is what your image should look like so far. If you are using your own image, there is no right or wrong way to do this! Create what you’re striving for. Maybe it’s a more dramatic look or maybe a soft and subtle one.

Step 6: Color Overlay

If you like the white background, you are done! Skip down to Step 7. If you are like me, a white background is a little too simple.

Step 1: Again, click on the Add Adjustment button.

Step 2: Add a Color Overlay layer (Shift O). The default is white. Double click on the white rectangle to change the color of the color overlay.

Step 3: Change the overlay color to a dark grey (or whatever color you see fit). If you wish to have a dark grey, this can be done by simply moving the slider to the right. Click OK to change the color overlay to the color you selected.

Step 4: Enable masking. If you scroll down further in the Color Overlay layer, you will see an option to enable masking. The default is no. Toggle that to Yes. You can change the shape of the mask by dragging the small squares located around the perimeter of the circle that defines where the mask is. You can also switch what type of mask it is, you can change to color, luminosity, or brush if you see fit.

I chose to keep the mask as a spot mask and changed the shape to an oval that is just big enough to encompass the subject. This gives a nice gradient background and creates a focal point around our subject.

Step 7: Saving your Double Exposure

Save your double exposure!

Step 1: Click File> Save As… and choose the appropriate file format!

Step 2: Leave all settings to the default, unless you have a specific purpose that require an alternate setting.

The final result:

Wrapping It Up:

Texture Effects 2 allows you to unleash your creativity and not be limited by software knowhow. And now you know how to create perfectly integrate double exposures in minutes without ever opening Photoshop. Pretty cool, right? You can choose how drastic or subtle this effect can be. Try using different blending modes, reduced opacities, or even multiple assets like textures or light leaks to make the image even more interesting. If you followed this tutorial, we want to see your photos! Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter or by emailing the image to gallery@topazlabs.com.

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