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Composites, montages, whatever you call them—they're simply combinations of two or more images, carefully merged. Use your own pictures or stock photos from collections, or create images by combining techniques and filters. It's fun, and it's effective. It's one of the things Photoshop does exceptionally well. Be sure to spend some time playing with compositing.


Q1: Can I apply a filter to a gradient?
A1: Certainly. It's easiest if the gradient is on a separate layer. Just make the gradient the active layer and apply any filter or combination you like. The results often make an interesting background for other pictures, too. Start by trying the Texture filters and some of the Brushstroke ones. These are generally successful.
Q2:I tried importing a building into another photo, but it just doesn't look right. Why not?
A2: There could be a dozen different reasons, but the three most obvious are scale, perspective, and lighting. The import might be too big or too small for where you put it. It might need to be skewed into a different perspective. You might also be trying to put a shadowless, noon-time picture into a late afternoon background. When you select pictures to combine, try to match sizes, orientation, and time of day. If that's not possible, you can still make it work, but you will have to do more correcting.
Q3:There's usually a difference in sharpness between the object I want to add and the background. It makes the object stand out like a sore thumb. Any ideas?
A3: If you don't want to blur the sharper image, try feathering the edges of the object. As little as four pixels should be plenty.
Q4:This is fun, but my files get so big that they take forever to save or apply a filter to. Any ideas?
A4: Be sure to merge down layers when you're done with them. Save frequently. Save different stages if you think you might want to go back further than the History palette can take you.



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