Notice anything similar between the smaller image and today's "finished" image? They're both the same flag. I saw the "original" shot on a cloudy, blustery day when the breeze was snapping the flag at a pretty good pace. It was a great day for getting rich, vibrant colors in the flag, but a dud of a day for anything to do with the sky. The background shot in the "finished" image was taken on a day when the clouds looked great, but there was no interesting subject. If you were to flip back through the posts on this blog you'd find that same flag in a couple of images. The shot of the farm scene has it up on the silo. How it would have been hoisted I haven't the foggiest idea, but people have accepted it as being okay. Another shot, with the flag tipped on a fairly steep angle, is that of the fireman's hat and clouds. It's an element that can be used over and over again. Same with the clouds. They can be popped in where ever needed. Getting the images to combine is the topic of today's post. To find out how easy it is, hit the "read more".
The "trick" is an old chestnut that I keep using. There's no Magic Wand, or Quick Selection Tool, or Channels Masking chicanery. It's simply a Blending Mode. Put the sky over the flag and change the Blending Mode to Darker Color. Once that's done you'd notice that the clouds show through the white strips of the flag. Probably not a good thing. Now's when a mask comes in. Put a layer mask on the sky layer. Use a black brush and "paint" over the flag. You'll see the white stripes of the flag show up rather than the clouds.
Darker Color or Lighter Color Blend Modes are very useful for doing this type of compositing. Today's image is an example of touching up the areas where the "darker color" is on the wrong layer. Not every image will work directly with the magic of these Blending Modes, but a Layer Mask can smooth out the rough spots.