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PHOTOSHOP CS2 - How to apply a fade that affects the opacity of a layer

Posted on 2007-03-31
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Last Modified: 2008-03-04
Dear Experts,
I want to put a picture of myself as a ghost on to a background photo.  I want my head and shoulders to be solid and for my body to gradually become more transparent as you look down to my feet.  I feel there must be some way to do it with a fade, however the fades that I have read about all have to do with colors fading into each other.  How can I make the level of opacity fade for a given layer?  I am using Photoshop CS2.
Best Wishes, Philip T.
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Question by:PTRUSCOTT
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sibgig earned 125 total points
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by:BongSoo
ID: 18838150
Philip,

I didn't read the above, so excuse me if this already says this. Here it is down and dirty, and I will assume you know how to use the Paths tools and Layers tools. If that and the above don't help, feel free to ask some more questions.

What you want to accomplish can be done using a layer mask.

First, a simple test to show you what I am talking about:

copy/paste your picture as a new layer above your background photo. Make sure this layer is selected in the layers paleete, and using the pen tool, create a path that outlines what you want your silo ette (don't ask me to spell that! LOL!) to be. In the paths palette, on the drop down menu, choose Make Selection, and just for fun feather it 20-30 pixels. (make sure New Selection is checked).

Now go to the Layer's menu, and scroll down to Layer Mask > Reveal Selection. Voila, a simple layer mask that shows your silo fading into the background photo.

Now, go to the layer's palette and look at that layer. You will see an icon with your photo, and next to it a Black and White icon that shows your layer mask. You can Alt-Click directly on it and it will show your layer mask exactly how it looks. What is it? A grayscale image and you can work directly on it if you want.

Knowing this, you can go back and create separate paths. One for your regular silo, and one for your fades, and combine the two (or more) on your layer mask to reveal and to hide what you want. Plus, you can always preview what the final art will look like by using the eyeballs on the layers menu and clicking on icons when necessary.

This is simple down and dirty, but hopefully this is easy enough you can pick it up and run with it.
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Expert Comment

by:bobubi
ID: 18874442
Select the erase tool, under the opacity, select the desired transparent level. Then at the top-right side, click on the 'Brushes' tab, select the Shape Dynamics and at the side, change the control to 'fade', and enter the amount which you want your brush to roughly end from your leg to your body. You have to try a few times to get the desired effect. In order to have a straighter or nicer erase effect, you can press on [Shift] and the start to erase. Happy erasing! :)
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