Overlapped Lighten Layers

Applying the Lighten blending mode to a layer means that the final image shows only those pixels from the blend that are lighter than those of the underlying image. You can use this behavior to overlay copies of an image and produce effects that range from viewing the image through patterned glass to simulating movement.

l In the Layers palette, duplicate the original image layer by dragging the background layer onto the "Create a new layer" icon, or use Ctrl/Cmd-J

2 Use the pull-down blending mode menu in the Layers palette to change the duplicate layer's blending mode to Lighten (alternatively, use the shortcut Alt/Opt-Shift-C) and rename it "Lighten."

3 Select the Move tool (M) and reposition the Lighten layer over the background image

Creating a Mask

Click the "Add layer mask" icon in the Layers palette and select the Brush tool (B). Check to be sure that the mask is active—you should see the mask icon to the left of the thumbnail. If not, click the white mask to the right of the thumbnail. Also ensure that the foreground color is set to black. Now, paint on the mask, and notice how the white thumbnail shows some black areas that correlate with now-transparent areas on the image layer.

Patterns of light

In this particular example, I used five Lighten blend layers; each layer was moved 6o pixels left, and 6o pixels up

Mirror image

This profile shot allowed me to produce a symmetrical composite with a single Lighten blend layer that was flipped horizontally

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Multiples

Seeing double

Creating movement

Not quite Mount Rushmore, but copying the original layer, then flipping and moving the duplicates, has created an interesting effect Notice too the use of masks to tidy up the composite (See Tip box "Creating a Mask," opposite )

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Here, I used Edit > Transform to resize the duplicate layer I also reduced the Lighten layer's opacity to 20% so that the giant wheel's whites were brighter than the duplicate's color and would therefore show through

A large amount of Motion Blur can be combined with masking to give the impression of moving past an object

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