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How to Fade an Image in Photoshop

With the power of Adobe Photoshop's layering tools, it's easy to create a natural blend between images. Below, we've outlined how to fade an image in Photoshop, whether you'd like to blend it into the background, use a gradient effect to blend two images, or just make one image a bit more transparent.

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Fading One Section of an Image

  1. First, open your image in Photoshop. Using the Lasso or Quick Selection tool in the main toolbar, you're going to draw around the section of the image you'd like to fade. The Lasso allows you to draw this section entirely freehand, while the Quick Selection tool (which looks like a paintbrush and a dotted line) will attempt to match the image's nearby edges. Click on the tool that you prefer, and then start drawing around your image.  

  2. Once you've finished drawing, go to the main Layers menu, select "New", and then "Layer Via Cut". This will create a new layer for the selected area. Next, go to the Layers panel (it should be located in the bottom right corner of Photoshop) and make sure "Screen" is enabled as a Layer Mode. This option can be found in a drop-down menu near the top of the panel.  

  3. Next to the Layer Mode option, there should be an Opacity slider. Increasing the Opacity percentage will start to make the selected area more transparent. However, if you want more of a gradient-style fade, you can also use a Gaussian Blur. To access it, go to the main Filter menu, select "Blur", and then "Gaussian Blur". In the new dialog box, you can increase the Radius value to make your selection more blurry. When you're happy with the results, click "OK".

Fading an Image into the Background

  1. After loading an image into Photoshop, it should appear as a "Background" layer within the Layers panel. As a precaution, Photoshop will not let you move an image in this layer, but it's easy to override this. Just create another layer by clicking the "New Layer" icon at the bottom of the panel (it looks like a tiny, dogeared piece of paper). Then, copy the image in the Background layer and paste it on "Layer 1".

  2. Next, click on the "New Adjustment Layer" icon (it looks like a half-filled circle) at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then select the "Solid Color" fill type. This layer will serve as your new background, so choose a color that blends well with the existing image.

  3. Finally, to fade your image into the background, select the Gradient tool (on the black-and-white setting), hold down Shift, and drag across the entire area you wish to fade.

Fading Two Images Together

  1. Just like blending one image into a background layer, it's easy to blend two image layers together. Open your first image in Photoshop, and then click the "New Layer" icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Here, you'll paste in the second image. 

  2. Next, create a Layer Mask on the second image by clicking the "Add Layer Mask" icon on the same panel (it looks like a tiny square with a circle inside). Select the Gradient tool on the main toolbar, hold down Shift, and draw a line across the area you want to fade. Drawing a longer line will create a more gradual effect. 

  3. Finally, you can reposition either of the two images, even after you've applied a gradient. If you want to move the first image and it's still located in the Background layer, just hold the Alt key and double-click on the work "Background" to change it. For more control over the fade, you can also adjust the Opacity slider within the Layer panel. However, this will make your entire layer more transparent, so keep that in mind. 

  4. When you're happy with the gradient, opacity, and composition, go to the main File menu and choose "Save As" to save a new copy of your project. Remember, you can always go back and change any of these settings. 

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