Photoshop Overlays

What are Photoshop Overlays?

Photoshop Overlays are basically images or textures that you can add on top of images for different purposes. They usually come in JPEG or PNG file format and they can be found all over the web for purchase.

…images or textures that you can add on top of images

Overlays are a great way to add extra things to your image that you may not be able to capture in camera. You can drastically change a scene in your image simply by applying one or more overlays.

Different Types Of Photoshop Overlays

There is a huge variety of overlays available to you on the market. These are just a few examples of the MANY types you can add to your collection for creative editing purposes:
Lens Flare
Light
Fog
Smoke
Haze
Skies
Moon
Flowers
Insects
Glitter
Bubbles
Grass
Fire/Fire
Rain
Textures
The list goes on and on..

How To Use Photoshop Overlays

Overlays are very easy to apply to your images. They are also easy to save, because they don’t need to be installed. Just save them in a folder on your computer and you are good to go.

Opening and overlay is as easy as opening any other image.

When you have an image open in Photoshop that you want to add an overlay too, simply open the overlay image in a new window, then either drag to your original image, or copy and paste to your original image.

You may need to resize the overlay before applying it to your image.

When you place an overlay over your image it will appear as a new layer in your layers panel. This means you can change the placement, size, and overall orientation of it. You can move it around, stretch it, rotate it, etc.

You can also make any adjustments to it that you could make on any other image. Just be sure you are making changes to the actual overlay layer and not the background or underlying layers.

Things like exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows can be changed. Basically any changes that you make to your original images can easily be applied to your overlay image. This means you can tweak the overlay to get it just the way you like so that it flows well with the rest of the original image.

You can also change the Blending Mode of the overlay. Different blending modes give different affects. So play around with them and see the different options. Some overlays are perfect “as is” and may not need any adjustments other than re-sizing. Others may need some changes applied to achieve the look you are going for.

Maybe the contrast is too strong compared to your original image? Or maybe the exposure needs to be bumped up or down a tad in order to blend well? Perhaps a sky overlay needs to have a little blur added to match the depth of field in the original photo? All of these things can be tweaked with an overlay so they appear more realistic in your image. The goal is to make them “not look” like an overlay.

You can also change the opacity of the layer to control how visible the overlay is. If it needs to be more transparent, changing the opacity can fix that for you.

Why Use Overlays?

Overlays can be great for in-depth digital composites. This is because you can add multiple elements that you may not be able to get in camera otherwise. You can create an entire image and scene using nothing but overlays. Maybe you just need to replace a blown out sky or just change a bland sky to fit the mood you are trying to achieve? Overlays are great for this.

Overlays are also great for simple tweaks to an image. Maybe all you need is a sun-beam, or some pretty flowers in the foreground to spruce up your image.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to Photoshop Overlays. And the ease and versatility of using them is an added plus. Keeping a collection of overlays at your finger tips is a good idea when you are looking for a fun easy way to add some creative extras to your photos.

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