Beginners Guide to Compositing 10 Videos (4:43h)
  • 01 - The Beginners Guide to Compositing
  • 02 - Introduction to Compositing in Photoshop, Planning the Floating Books Photo
  • 03 - Floating Books: How to Composite Books from Multiple Images into One Photo
  • 04 - Floating Books: How to Color and Retouch a Fantasy Portrait
  • 05 - Introduction to Compositing in Photoshop, Planning the Going Home Photo
  • 06 - Going Home: How to Composite a Person Underground in Photoshop
  • 07 - Going Home: How to Color Match a Composite and Change a Sky in Photoshop
  • 08 - Going Home: How to Color and Retouch a Fantasy Composite Photo
  • 09 - How to Light Multiple Photos Consistently for a Seamless Composite
  • 10 - Ultimate Guide to Cutting Things Out with the Pen Tool
Home > PRO Tutorials > PRO Compositing > Photoshop Compositing for Special Effects

Photoshop Compositing for Special Effects


Learn necessary techniques to compositing images together at the professional level with step-by-step, start-to-finish instruction for 2 amazing image tutorials.

What’s Included

15 Sample Images   |   10 Video Tutorials

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Blend and Composite

Learn the secrets to compositing and blending multiple photos together to create seamless, stunning effects. From start to finish, you will see how each image is adjusted and combined using Photoshop.

Align Layers

Use Photoshop’s auto Align Layers tool to make sure that all of the images line up well. This is an essential tool to know when combining images for a strong composite.

Composite with Color

Take pieces from different images and bring them together to create amazing effects. Add more details to your image and then color them so they fit within your new color palette.

Sharpen the Details

Learn how to selectively sharpen different areas of the image to draw attention to where it’s needed. Usually, the subject of the photo should be a bit sharper than the rest of the image to catch the viewer’s eye. The most subtle details can make the greatest impact.

Plan Your Vision

Every Photoshop project should start by creating a plan of action. Understanding your goals for retouching will help you to outline your editing process and ensure you don’t miss anything.

Make Advanced Selections

Sometimes the best way to create advanced selections is on your own using the Pen Tool. This Phlearn PRO Tutorial includes a Bonus Pen Tool Video with in-depth instructions.

Start to Finish

Take pieces from different images and bring them together to create amazing effects. Add more details to your image and then color them so they fit within your new color palette.

Liquify Tool Best Practices

Make your subject look their best without looking unnatural using the liquify tool properly. Use what you learn to dramatically alter the shape of the model’s clothing, hair and body bringing attention to the right places.

Custom Photoshop Brushes

Create your own Photoshop brushes so you’ll always have the right brush for the job. Custom brushes are excellent for advanced retouching and adding special effects to your images.

3D Lighting Diagram Video

Go behind the scenes to see how and why each image was lit. The included 3D Lighting Diagram Video explains all of the lighting and camera angles in detail so you can recreate this look easily.

Replace Any Sky

Use advanced selection techniques to add a new sky to any of your images using Photoshop. Learn how to cut your subject out from their original background and composite in a new sky on any image.

Advanced Layer Masks

Learn how to mask out vital areas of each image to make the composite appear realistic. Capture perfect detail in your layer masks, allowing you to keep the original hair even when replacing the background.

Show Off Your Work


  1. Excellent tips for subtle tricks to make compositing effects to look more realistic or believable. Phlearn is helping to train my creative eye. Thanks Aaron.

  2. I learned soooo much during the going home tutorial, I have over 7 years of experience in photoshop but I have never got this far. It was tricky, and you definitely should know photoshop basics before starting on this. But it’s so much fun. I spend hours just painting in the grass and flowers (my image is in student images). At the end it was just me and Aaron, everyone left in the studio and my husband fell asleep on the couch. So it really felt like I was hanging out and photoshopping together lol. In the beginning you are trying to see what layers he is working on, but it’s not that important. Aaron adds a lot of his own thought in to it and you can add your own imagination. Don’t be afraid to play around !

  3. Great tutorial! It is very beginner friendly, but evened a seasoned photoshopper can still appreciate his tips and tricks!

  4. (verified owner)

    Like everything on Phlearn the tutorial is very professional and of the highest quality. The pace is neither too fast nor too slow and everything is explained clearly. My only complaint would be with the image file names. The ones you get with the download are named differently than the ones shown on the video. With so many of the compositing images being similar to the others and all of them piled on top of eachother, it was sometimes a little confusing as to which image was being edited. I guess I could rename all of the files when starting the tutorial but, If possible, please match the file names.

  5. So what a weekend, i have been unable to walk away from the MAC with these tutorials! The description on this tutorial is incorrect, you get SO MUCH MORE! Aaron explains the concepts behind each of the images and how the images where produced also shares some extremely valuable knowledge on photoshoot set ups and the difference between frame compositing and element compositing and how things to think about when producing these yourself.

    The tutorial has really given me not only some fantastic techniques on how to get certain effects from photoshop, but some real insight into the thinking and understanding of what runs through Aarons head (scary! I Joke)

    This tutorial takes your from little understanding to full understanding by the time your done with both images, i really can’t wait to execute my own images my creative juices are going mad!

    Thank you much much Aaron and the team and really can’t wait to get stuck into the next set of pro tutorials!

  6. (verified owner)

    This beginners tutorial pack is a very useful guide on how to use Photoshop for learning how to composite images. I have found the video on the pen tool to be most useful (particularly for converting into selections!) and I really have enjoyed learning *how* to use photoshop in ways I might not have intuitively understood by following Aaron’s instructions but also experimenting a little with them and seeing for myself what I can achieve.

  7. (verified owner)

    Outstanding!! I’ve just completed my Going Home tutorial and I’m telling every one i know how great Phlearn tutorials are. Free advertising for ya. My brain is fried after this last one…lol I even changed the colors a little in my version and added a headstone.

  8. (verified owner)

    I’ve just completed the Floating Books tutorial and it was excellent! Aaron’s explanation of how the photo shoot took place, lighting and all the other aspects of the tutorial were outstanding and very informative. Plus he’s a great teacher. The Pen Tool video was great too. Starting on the Going Home tutorial today.

  9. (verified owner)

    Here is a condensed version of my full review (found here: – that’s not a shameless attempt at self promotion [well not entirely 😉 ], just I think it’s a bit too long for here).

    “Value for money? Pretty darn tooting good. I’m not a fan of people / companies wanting hundreds of dollars for video tutorials – no matter how famous in New York they are. I much prefer the high quality, moderately priced, easily accessible products…I think the Phlearn products fall into this category…considering their length and how much information is packed in.

    How good is it? Pretty darn tooting, once again. I went into this knowing very little about compositing…I find myself quite surprised by the amount I have picked up so far, having only done the pen tool tutorial and the frame compositing section (the Floating Books image)…Considering I still have the final stage to work through, I find this quite startling.

    Any other points people need to know? Yes. The pen tool tutorial is very close to being worth the price alone. If, like me, you have always struggled with this tool, then I highly recommend this tutorial. In a very short time I went from a confused user to being quite capable with the pen tool. Also, both image tutorials contain retouching sections, which was an unexpected surprise…This is a compositing tutorial and the folks at Phlearn didn’t need to add this information, and the fact that they did shows both how complete and how generous their approach is.”

    So, thanks for all the good work. Really helpful.


  10. (verified owner)

    First of all, Ignore what mark9 says about this tutorial. Included with the pro tutorial is a separate video in which Aaron explains about compositing – it is a beginners tutorial after all. Aaron explains how much easier your composite will be if you get your photos right in camera. He doesn’t repeat this for 45 minutes at all. Aaron merely states if you want a good composite make it easier on yourself and get it right in camera. That said, the separate pen tool tutorial alone, to me, is worth the money. I’ve watched loads of free videos on this tool, including Phlearn’s free one, but still struggled, however after watching the tutorial with this tutorial, I get it! Phlearn and Aaron have put together a great tutorial for beginners on compositing and by watching, practicing and re watching and more practice, I’m sure I will become more confident with my photoshop skills. Mr Nace, you are a complete Pixel Wizard!

  11. Wow really nice tutorial i love it ,,,,, thanks you are my roll model ///////

  12. I consider myself an intermediate in photoshop, but I think there is a lot I can learn from this. I found this tutorial insanely inspirational, awakening and truly helpful.Thanks for sharing..

  13. Thanks for this fantastic tutorial Aaron!!!

  14. (verified owner)

    Just starting out learning how to composite photographs, and have found Phlearn’s youtube channel to be very helpful in developing skills in Photoshop, and progressing onto the pro tutorials is for me the next step in putting in some practice. And I cannot think of anyone I’d rather have tutor me than Aaron Nace.

  15. Thank you for this amazing tutorial !!!! My first try…

  16. Great tutorials. Easy to follow – Aaron is such a fantastic teacher. From a complete novice i’ve learnt so much. Itching now to try out these techniques on some of my own photos. Aaron – thanks!

  17. (verified owner)

    Have only done the first tutorial so far, but i managed to pull off a bit more than I was expecting.

  18. I’d actually watched this lesson a few times over the past few months to let it all just kinda seep in before I finally took the dive into making it happen. Safe to say you’re an amazing teacher Professor Nace. Keep on keepin on.

  19. Great Stuff

  20. This is such an amazing tutorial. Aaron is a little faster moving than I am right now, but that is what the pause button is for. He explains every step and even adds in some jokes. I know mine didn’t come out as good as his, but I do really like how they came out.

    The is a MUST for anyone that wants to learn how to composite. It opens a whole new world of being able to CREATE images and not just take them.

    (I don’t think I can figure out how to add two photos at a time. I will try to upload my other finished one in a separate comment.)

  21. Always wanted to learn how to make things float, and now i do.

  22. As always Aaron guides you precisely and with phun trough raw images to a beautiful composition. so many hints so many techniques.
    After watching this, and phlerning what i could do, my mind started wandering beyond my previous limits and create new ideas
    and now I’m off to work on my first project!
    thanks Aaron and all the Phlearn team


This tutorial includes 15 sample images and 10 video tutorials. Download the sample images and assets at the top of the page.

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