Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash
Overlaying pictures simply means that you take one picture and then superimpose it over another picture. You can do this with multiple pictures, making a collage, or you can do it with just two pictures. There’s no real limit to how many pictures you overlay, except for what your imagination can come up with.
But how to overlay pictures? This is the big question. You’re going to need to pick out your photos, have a rough idea of what you want the final product to look like, and then download a photo editing tool to do the overlaying for you.
We will teach you how to overlay pictures in just a few simple steps. These steps work with pretty much all the different photo editing software, so it doesn’t matter which one you download!
What’s the Best Program for How to Overlay Pictures?
There are a few programs that work better than others for quality picture overlay. PhotoWorks is an excellent program that gives you loads of options for overlaying and enhancements.
Photoshop is a classic program for all your photo-editing needs. You can easily overlay pictures using Photoshop, plus it has loads of amazing editing tools to fulfill all your post-processing needs. The only issue is that it does cost a bit of money for a membership to get started.
GIMP is a great software tool for overlaying pictures on your Mac computer. If you’re strictly Mac and prefer programs tailored to you, GIMP is your best bet for how to overlay pictures quickly and easily.
Finally, you can overlay pictures on your phone for free with a whole heap of programs. Unfortunately, these programs don’t usually give you the more sophisticated options. To professionally overlay pictures, you’re better off with something like GIMP or Photoshop.
How to Prepare for Overlaying Pictures
Before you start overlaying your pictures, you should do a bit of preparation. It’s wise to move all the potential photographs that you’ll be using in your collage or overlay into a single folder. This will make it way quicker when you actually start the overlay process. You can also just copy the specific photos to the desktop or a blank folder for easy access.
Now you need to identify the size of the main picture. This will be the actual size that your finished project will be. Think of the main picture as your background, since it will be the primary photo all the other photos are laid over. Simply right-click on the photo and check the properties to see the dimensions. You’ll need this info for later.
Next, you need to do some cropping. You’re going to want to take all the images you’re thinking about using in the overlay and then crop them to the proper dimensions. Open a photo in your program, then find the transparency option, and finally add an alpha channel. This is so that when you save it, the cropped part will be clip art instead of cropped on a white background.
Crop the image using the free select tool. You can draw around the part of the photo to use in your overlay and then save it as a separate photo. Be sure that you cut the scraps before saving. And when you save, keep your cropped pictures in the same folder as the other pictures.
How to Overlay Pictures
The first step is to create a blank canvas that’s the exact dimensions of your base photo. To do this, enter whichever program you downloaded to overlay pictures and open a new project, then adjust the width and height fields to match your base picture.
Now you need to open your base photo in the blank canvas. Assuming you’re only overlaying two pictures, open the base picture and the other one both as “layers.” This will help to align the photos with one another. Now you should be able to drag the cropped picture over the base picture and adjust it, refit it, and get it perfectly in place.
Keep in mind that software work differently. For Photoshop, you’ll only need to open the main image, then add various layers by pressing the Ctrl key and J key at the same time. You’ll see your layers in the dropdown menu. This will allow you, if using more than one picture over the base, to shift the order that the pictures appear. For example, stacking overlaid pictures over one another in a specific order.
There are a lot more edits you can do now that your cropped image is laid over the base image. You can change the opacity to make it transparent. You can also complete all the normal edits that you would do normally – or get creative. Try crafting a composite image by overlaying and blending designs and pictures to create unique works of art.
How to Overlay Pictures to Make a Collage
Making a collage is just as easy as making an ordinary overlay picture. For a collage, you’re going to use a lot more layers. This window will be on the left side of the screen displaying each layer and the order they’re in.
Start with your base photo as the background. Now you can start stacking all the different cropped layers. Be sure to name all the separate layers as you add them one by one to the photo, so you don’t get confused. Lower each layer’s opacity so that it blends seamlessly with all the pictures below it. In general, an opacity of under 20 is recommended.
Since you’re doing a collage, you’ll need to flatten the layers to combine all the individual crops and pictures into one photograph. The flatten option is usually in the drop-down “image” menu. It’s necessary to flatten the image before you save the file and export the image.
How to Overlay Pictures for Free Online
If you don’t want to shovel out the cash for a premium piece of photo-editing software, you can always overlay pictures for free online. The best option for this is called Pine Tools. It’s a website that will overlay images for you without any hardware needing to be installed. Pine Tools also doesn’t have any complicated tools to make the average photo editor confused.
To use Pine Tools, simply visit the website and follow the instructions. You’ll need to choose your main image. Then you’ll need to choose your secondary images. You’re given basic options to center the picture horizontally or vertically, to rotate or resize, or to flip. Once you make your selection, your secondary image will appear over the base.
You can do this multiple times to overlay several photos over the base image. When you’re finished, you’ll need to check the transparency box and then set the percentage with the slider. You may need to push the slider over the 70% marker to get a seamless blending effect.
Finally, finish off by pressing the process button. This will join all your layers into a single image that you can then download. You can export your image as a PNG or JPG. Unfortunately, this is a free software and so you don’t get a lot of exporting file options.
How to Overlay Pictures with Paint
A final option is to use the Paint program to overlay your pictures. There are very few options and very few editing possibilities – but it can be done.
Firstly, open your main image. Next, open the picture you’re planning to lay over the first. In the second image, use the cropping tool to cut a frame around the part of the image that will be overlaid. Next, copy that image and paste it onto the main background.
This is honestly the more simplistic way to overlay a picture without using any of the fancy programs. Once the cropped part is pasted, you’re done. You can’t do much more editing than that, but it does work if you only need to join two pictures without changing opacity and transparency.
It doesn’t take a genius photo editor to overlay a picture. You can easily blend two photographs to create a visually stunning work of art in just a few minutes. All the major photo-editing software is capable of creating photo collages and overlays. Photoshop is great for all platforms, while GIMP is the best for Mac.
You can also quickly overlay pictures online without downloading any software by using Pine Tools. The instructions are easy to follow and you can download the finished product as a JPG. This is totally free and one of the easiest methods for overlaying photos.
While overlaying two pictures can make unique scenes, don’t be afraid to get more creative and blend various elements of photos, designs, and tones to make truly remarkable pictures.
At the end of the day, overlaying is just putting one image overtop of another. You can use the technique to change the scenery and to add interesting elements to existing photographs. With a bit of creativity, you can do pretty much anything by layering pictures.
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