Using the Apply Image Command

A considerable number of Photoshop users shy away from the Apply Image command because they fail to see its usage. It's actually a very powerful command (Figure 6-12) for applying blends between two documents. You can use it to blend not only layers but also channels between the source document and the target document. Furthermore, you can apply the blending through a channel, selection, or mask; the channel can be a color channel or an alpha channel.

Figure 6-12: The Apply Image dialog box being used to blend a layer into itself using an alpha channel to mask areas.

To use Apply Image, open the two documents that you want to blend. Make sure that they both have the same pixel dimensions (Image ^ Image Size) and then take the following steps:

1. Select the document that you want as the target (the blending will be applied to this document).

2. Choose Image ^ Apply Image.

3. In the Apply Image dialog box, select the source file from the Source pop-up menu.

4. Next, select a layer and channel from the Layer and Channel pop-ups.

5. In the Blending section, select a blend mode from the pop-up and specify an opacity level, or leave it at 100%.

At this stage, you can click OK and exit or continue if you want to apply the blend through a mask.

1. Check the Mask box.

2. Select the document that you want to use as the source for the mask from the Image pop-up.

3. Choose a layer as the source for the mask from the Layer pop-up, or leave it on Merged.

4. Choose a channel or alpha channel from the Channel pop-up, or leave it on Gray for default composite channel. If you selected an alpha channel, you can invert the mask by checking the Invert box. You are not restricted to inverting only the alpha channel; you can invert the single channels or the composite channels.

5. Click the OK button to apply the blend.

NOTE If you're using another image as the source, the pixel dimensions of the source and the target images must match. If the color modes of the source and target images differ, you can blend single channels but not the composite channels. For example, if you like the detail on the black plate of a CMYK file, you can blend the Black channel from the CMYK (source) image into the composite of the RGB (target) image, or the L channel from a document in Lab mode.

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