Photoshop 7 Alchemy: Apply Image

MonkeyLek · March 10, 2003 10:19 am

This week I would like to cover a few items, so I'll be short on the introduction. Photoshop 7 has a few new commands and blending modes that I've been playing with, and as I already told my buddy Colin Smith about it, I thought I'd better write on the subject before he beat me to it! Photoshop 7 has a very cool feature (heavy on the C-Double O- L) that has blown my socks off. Literally...I can't find my socks. The command is called Apply Image, which let's you take a layer and channel from one image and blend it into another. Why is that cool? We shall see. You need a source image and destination image open in Photoshop with the same dimensions; once this is set up it is time to fire up the test tubes and start mixing chemicals. Today's little experiment will let us take a human skull and turn it into solid gold! First, allow me to introduce my images. I have a sheet metal image and a human skull photo just waiting to be grafted together. Graphic606.jpg Graphic607.jpg Both images are set to 4 inches wide, 5 inches high, and 72 DPI. Before we get to the gold, let's first look at using the sheet metal as our destination image, and the skull as the source. First, create a copy of both images in new layers respectively. This just helps us delete any less than par effects quickly and easily, leaving us with the original image. Graphic608.jpg Graphic609.jpg By selecting the steel image, I'm effectively telling Photoshop that this is my destination image as this is the one the effects will be applied to. The source image is that which we will borrow from. With the destination image selected, we borrow from the source by going to Image>Apply Image. Graphic610.jpg We can now choose exactly what image we want to use to affect our destination image, as well as which channel, the blending mode that should be applied, opacity, and we can even tell it to work on a mask. Here is where playing with the Blending modes comes into play, as these are what give fire to the hearth. Graphic611.jpg To apply the skull to the image, just select the skull photo as your source. I want it to effect the background copy only, so I set that up in the Layer Box. For now I am content to effect all of the Channels, so RGB is fine. We'll take a look at 'Invert' in a second for now I'll leave it unchecked. When we apply the skull image to the destination image in Normal Blending Mode set to 100%, we effectively replace the layer information with the skull image. This isn't really what we want. But when we start stepping through the various layer blending modes, the newly blended image comes to life. Here are a few examples: Lighten: Graphic612.jpg Overlay: Graphic613.jpg Pin Light: Graphic614.jpg Overlay with Invert Selected: Graphic615.jpg A lot of you may be going 'so?' but for those of you into creating collages or hi-tech image blends, this new feature takes away hours of time with just a few clicks. Let's change gears a little bit. I told you I'd turn that skull into gold, so let's get to it! I've set up my images again, but this time I want to set my Skull image as the destination so I'll make that active. In order to pull this off, we need to apply the source image to the destination image twice, both times affecting a different area (darks/shadows first, lights/reflections second). For the first Apply Image, my settings are thus: Graphic616.jpg Here is the result: Graphic617.jpg We have effectively cast a color burn on the darkened areas of the skull, using the source image to draw out the dark areas with a metallic cast. Graphic617.jpg Now I'll go to Apply Image again, using the exact same settings but un-checking Invert so that only the lightened areas of the skull are effected. Graphic619.jpg Now we can adjust the Hue/Saturation to add a bit of red to the color- Graphic620.jpg -and a small curve adjustment to add to the metallic cast- Graphic621.jpg - and we are left with a human skull made entirely of 14 Karat wallet-stuffing love! Graphic622.jpg There is a lot of power in this little command, and I'll cover it more as I become familiar with it. Come see me at Take care!
Special thanks to for allowing us to reprint their Photoshop tutorials here at Renderosity. You can e-mail Al Ward, the author of this article, at

Article Comments

garcia ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 10 March 2003

Great tutorial,would like to see it in PDF or a printable form.. Robert..

BluesPadawan ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 10 March 2003

I think it's great a great tutorial, and a real time saver. I've created a PDF file for this, and have sent it to Al Ward, where he can put it then host it.

PilotHigh ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 10 March 2003

I.E. has a feature that will save this whole page 'WYSIWYG' to disk. Just save as html source.

RaysOfLight ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 10 March 2003

looks awesome. it's a shame i can't do it though :( i'm banned from the internet at home which is where i have my photoshop, so i don't know when i'll get a chance to try this out. it looks really awesome. if you put it in pdf format it would be aweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesome heheheh that way i could download it from here (cafe) and take it home!

Tanialmeida ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 11 March 2003

this is a kick ass tutorial! thankz so much for sharing ;0] tania

Renderbrant ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 11 March 2003

Nice tutorial, Thanks :o)

Siren ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 13 March 2003

Actually, it is very simple, in Photoshop all you need to know is where your tools are, as in any graphics program (whether it be 2D-3D or whatever) and your imagination is limitless believe me.....I've done alot of his tutorials, and hands on is a great way to learn anything new.....

Nora ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 13 March 2003

That's great I've saved the tut... in Word.

mysnapz ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 16 March 2003

This apply image is well strange. I have no idea why you would use it over having both layers in your file and using the blend modes. In fact its harder to use, you cannot adjust the position of the layers as you blend them. Sorry this one has completely passed me by, perhaps you would like to point out what Im missing. :0 )

JanS ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 09 May 2003

well, in photoshop 2.0 when nobody knows what is layers and tricks like this was made in chanels you must have any knowledge for thi job. and now..... anyone can do it.

Privacy Notice

This site uses cookies to deliver the best experience. Our own cookies make user accounts and other features possible. Third-party cookies are used to display relevant ads and to analyze how Renderosity is used. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy and our Privacy Policy.