Steps for the Layer Mask Technique
Step 1: Open both images in PS. Make a duplicate copy of each file then close your
originals. With both images onscreen at the same time select the darker one and
CTRL-A. Then press CTRL-C to copy it. Close or minimize that file as you will
no longer need it. Select the lighter image and press
CTRL-V to paste the darker
one onto it. Look at the Layers palette (Figure A) and you will see two layers. The
darker image is
Layer 1 and the lighter image as the Background Layer.
Figure A
Step 2: Next click the second icon on the lower left of the Layers palette to add a
Layer Mask. A white rectangle will appear next to Layer 1. (See Figure B).
Figure B
Step 3: Click on the background layer on the Layers palette and then press CTRL-A.
CTRL-C to copy the whole image. Now hold down the ALT key and click on
the white rectangle next to the Layer 1 palette. The whole image will turn white. Now
CTRL-V.  You will see a black and white (B&W) mask image. (See Figure C).
Figure C
Next go to top menu selections and click on Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur and set
the Radius to about 40 pixels. (See Figure D)
Figure D
Click on the Background Layer. Now you have a new blended image. At this point you
can fine-tune the brightness/contrast, colour saturation and any other editing before
saving the file. Note: the size of the resulting file will be larger than the originals due
to the saved layers. It's a good idea to save a copy as a TIFF(uncompressed) for later
editing if needed. For web viewing save as a JPEG.
Blended Image
Click here for another example
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