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This effect has recently become very popular due to the intro to the hit TV show, True Detective. On the intro its done with video, but it has spawned a resurgence of double exposure art. Here is my method to create this effect. I have used the actual art from True Detective as inspiration and we will closely recreate it with different images, but the same style.

How to take double exposure pictures in your camera

I have used 2 images from Adobe Stock and have included the links to the original images. You can use you own images or the watermarked versions to follow along. I started with 2 photographs. I needed a headshot with a suit jacket, loose tie and strong chin to match the True Detective style. The second Photograph, I needed something industrial, with tall vertical structures, so I chose this factory image.

I also knew I could have fun with the smoke. First thing, is to separate the man from the background. Grab the quick selection brush. You should see the man cut out on his own layer with a layer mask as shown. If not, return to step 2 and see what you missed. Without releasing, drag the image into the middle of the man image and release.

It should be on a new layer as shown. For the art that we are creating, we only need the top of the shoulders visible. Choose the crop tool. This will preserve the pixel and allow us to reposition things later. Right now we have a lot of color in the photo. No need to convert to black and white, I have a better method for you here.

Choose a new foreground color similar to what I have here. You can choose your own color or change this later. Change the blending mode to Color and now everything will take on this new color while preserving the luminosity. Choose the Industrial image layer layer 1. Change the blending mode to Lighten. Extra info for nerds: This simulates 2 projectors pointing at the same screen.


How to Make a Double Exposure in Photoshop + Downloadable Action

This is the actual double exposure, like you would see in camera. If this is all you wanted, you can stop here. Because the top layer layer 1 is a clipping group, we can drag it around and reposition it and it will stay within the boundaries of the face cutout. Slide the white slider over to make the shadow area disappear. You may also need to move the mid tone slider over a bit like I did here. The goal is to make the overlapping areas invisible, it will take a little tweaking with the levels to get it exact.

This is part of the magic of blending modes. Now that we have matched the layers, we can bring back part of the bottom of the face and also smoothly blend it into the shape on top. Magic Wand will help you to do it, if you have forgotten how to do it. Magic Tool is great but it is not all. You should work with edge detection in order to change the mode of image viewing.

It gives you an opportunity to choose such a mode that it would be convenient for you to work. Big advantage of it is that it makes more visible the portrait itself and in your turn you find a big advantage here. If you make the edge too precise it will be seen and even detected by separate hairs cut. To avoid this mistake adjust the edge at 1,5. Step 6. In order to be sure about the monochrome of the background, I created a new layer and toned it grey.

As you see, we have edited the image itself in order to prepare it to double exposure creation. Further, we are going to create the double exposure in Photoshop uniting two images into one. Use these Professional Double Exposure Photoshop Actions to make surreal and magical portraits in several clicks. This is the fastest and easiest way of making a double exposure effect if you've never used Photoshop.

Step 7. As it usually happens, I also picked up the second image in a photo stock. There is a tendency to create such an effect in combination of a portrait with landscape trees, lakes or mountains even city suburbs images are pretty good for creation of surrealistic vision. My choice is simple and not very extravagant.

It is landscape of a forest with a lake. The image is black and white. Step 8. Now, you should add the image of the forest into your document.

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This one should be above the layer mask in order to have a contour of silhouette seen. In such a way you can easily continue editing.

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I believe this step was a piece of cake for you. Step 9. After you have opened up the pop up window levels once again you should create a vector mask. It will make only that part of the landscape remain which corresponds to areas inside silhouette. All the rest will be eliminated since we do not need it.

Be careful and notice those chains between the miniatures of levels. It means that when breaking it you can turn the forest upside down and in any side you like. What is more important, all these movements in no way influence the layer.

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It remains to be stable. I believe it would be better that the associates tell everyone to place roots that is the black part of the image into the head of the portrait. Step Next step demands from us making a copy of a thumbnail layer. You should paste the copy above the forest. Going on, I turn the image into a black and white one corresponding to the pellet of forest itself to eliminate the discrepancies.

Double Exposure Effect Photoshop Tutorial

We need to darken the portrait steel more. To do this you open a quite familiar window levels.

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  4. You make the photo dark at level After it you work with hue and saturation. Play with buttons and make the image seem a bit blue. I want to make the image more surrealistic. On this purpose, I will edit the head of the portrait.