Add two images as separate layers to a Photoshop document. Feel free to use our practice files, or use your own. For this composition, we added a photo of smoke with a black background as the top layer and will blend it with the photo of a dark alley on the bottom layer.
When you set a blend mode, Photoshop mixes pixels from the selected layer with the layer below it. The way the pixels are mixed differs depending on the mode you choose. Select the smoke layer and mouse over blend modes in the Layers panel to preview the effects and find the one you like.
We like the Lighten blend mode for this composition because it hides the black background of the smoke layer to blend it into the scene. To fine-tune the effect, we lowered the opacity of the smoke layer.
The outer edge of the smoke looked a bit too sharp in some areas of the composition, so we added a layer mask to the smoke layer and used a soft-edged brush to paint with black to blend it into the scene.
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