Blend Modes & Solid Backgrounds in Composites

Layer blending modes are always worthy of some experimentation when glamour compositing. An image of my friend Anne was given a layer mask and then a separate layer of just Anne (with no layer mask) was created above the layer with the mask. Notice the shadows on the grey seamless: 

Original image.

Original image.

Between these two layers I created a new blank layer, and filled it with a color sampled from a light area of her dress:

Now there is a solid color background between the two layers of Anne.

Now there is a solid color background between the two layers of Anne.

Changing the blending model of this color layer from Normal to Soft Light not only darkens it but also allows the original shadow to show through:

The background in the Soft Light blending mode.

The background in the Soft Light blending mode.

Since the right side of the image is brighter, I wanted to place a brighter color in that area. I created a new blank layer, drew a large circle with the Elliptical Marquee Tool, and filled it with orange, and deselected it:

Now we have a source for that brightness on the right side of the image.

Now we have a source for that brightness on the right side of the image.

Now let us give the circle the mandatory 1,000 pixel Gaussian Blur:

The blurred orange circle now blends nicely with the layer below.

The blurred orange circle now blends nicely with the layer below.

Just for fun, I tried changing the blend mode of this orange layer. The easy way to cycle through these layer blending modes is to select the Move Tool (V) and repeatedly press the "+" key. I liked the Divide blending mode. Here is the result:

The orange layer is now in the Divide layer blending mode.

The orange layer is now in the Divide layer blending mode.

I like this version the best. The orange changed into a violet color that is also in the color palette of the dress and the solid background. It is always worth testing these blending modes. Sometimes the effects are quite artistic!