Brilliantly Blended

with 10 Comments

Brilliantly Blended
by Syndee Rogers-Nuckles

Love the look of blended photos? Learn how to quickly blend a photo or paper into the background using the Gradient tool.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new 12×12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
  • Open a background paper (File > Open) of your choice. I’m using Paper-Ocean from my Summer Passport kit. If you’d like use this paper, download it here.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Holding down the shift key, click and drag the paper onto the blank document.
  • Close the original paper.
  • Open a photo (File > Open) to blend into the background.

Note: I’m using a photo with a lot of sky because it will blend well with the paper I’ve chosen.

  • Click and drag the photo onto the document.
  • In the Layers panel, if the photo layer is not the top layer, click and drag it above the paper layer.
  • Close the original photo.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options. Click and drag from the corner handles of the bounding box so that the photo fills the document. (PS: Add the Shift key while dragging.)
  • Click the checkmark to commit the changes.


Step Two: Add a Gradient

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • Get the Gradient tool.
  • In the Tool Options, choose Foreground to Transparent. If you don’t see Foreground to Transparent, open the Menu and choose Default. (Photoshop: Open the menu and choose Neutral Density. Click OK.)
  • Set the Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 100%. Check Transparency and Dither. Click on the Linear Gradient icon.
  • On the document, hold down the Shift key and click and drag from the bottom middle to about a half inch to an inch from the top of your photo or the area you want to blend. This will blend the photo from the bottom towards the top of the page.


Step Three: Clip the Photo to the Gradient

  • In the Layers panel, click on the photo layer and drag it above the gradient layer.
  • In the Menu bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask to clip the photo to the gradient layer.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • On the document, click on the photo and move it until you are happy with it’s position.
  • If necessary, transform the photo as instructed earlier.


Here’s my completed layout using the gradient photo mask.


Here is a sample using a different photo with the same background paper and a shorter gradient.


In this sample, I used the white background as my base and created a gradient from the left side towards the middle of the page. This is a great way to blend large photos and achieve a real clean and graphic look.


Play around with the Gradient tool to clip your photos and papers for a wide variety of effects. I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery.

Page & Photos: Syndee Rogers-Nuckles, Altanaka, BlueOrange Studio, The Morgue Files
Kit: Summer Passport kit by Syndee Rogers-Nuckles
Software: Photoshop Elements 14, Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


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Syndee Rogers-NucklesAuthor: Syndee Rogers-Nuckles | Contact Us
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10 Responses

  1. Woodie Sprague
    | Reply

    Help cannot download tut on Brilliant Blending

    • Charlie
      | Reply

      Should be working now. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Woodie Sprague
    | Reply

    keep getting error when I click on the instant access download button for Brilliant Blending Any ideas?

    • Charlie
      | Reply

      The download should be working now. Thanks for the heads-up!

  3. Marie
    | Reply

    Thank you for the tutorial. Still trying to understand how to use the gradient tool well, so I do appreciate your help!

  4. Pam K
    | Reply

    I’ve used the gradient tool to blend papers together, but never thought to use it with a photo. I love this look … thanks for the tutorial & the background paper!

  5. Kasuku
    | Reply

    Thanks for this tutorial, Syndee!
    I’m almost always shy about using the gradient tool and I’m not sure why that is☺️. However, I recently started learning how to make Custom Shadows using Linda’s Custom Shadow Mastery Class and wondering “where have I been all this time”?
    I’m so glad for this your tutorial….it’ll help me make more interesting page using the gradient tool.

    • Syndee Rogers-Nuckles
      | Reply

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  6. Jo
    | Reply

    Thank you so much. Wonderful tutorial

    • Syndee Rogers-Nuckles
      | Reply

      So glad you like it!

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