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How To Resize, Combine, & Merge Layers In Photoshop

One of the many simple modifications to Photoshop images is the use of layers, which make it easy to adjust, remove, and merge image elements.

Layers in Photoshop are like individual flat pieces of glass stacked on top of each other. Each contains a separate piece of content.

How to resize an image layer in Photoshop

You can resize, reorder, and merge image layers in Photoshop to get the effect you want. Start by loading your image into Photoshop. Select the layer you want to resize in the lower right corner of the screen.

If the Layers panel is not visible, go to Windows on the top navigation bar and click Layers to open it.

Go to the “Edit” section on the top bar and click “Free Transform”.

You will see a resizing frame around the edited image.

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To resize a layer, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and drag the image to the desired size. Holding down the Shift key resizes the image without distorting its proportions.

Resize images in percentages

Instead of using a border around the image to resize it, you can use the percentage height and width measurements in the top bar.

As before, select the image layer in the lower right corner of the screen.

Use the top navigation bar under Edit to select Free Transform. Look at the bar just below the top navigation bar.

You can change the width and height in the menu, rather than dragging the border around the image to resize it. To keep the aspect ratio, click the icon in the yellow box above to avoid distorting the image.

To save your changes, press Enter on your keyboard or click the checkmark in the navigation pane.

How to combine layers in Photoshop by blending modes

In this example, we want to combine two images into one. Let’s start with photographs of a snowy landscape and a bison.

Click the Move tool in the toolbar in the left navigation pane. Then drag the landscape to the right to cover the bison.

In the Layers panel on the right-hand side, click the drop-down menu next to Normal. Try different blend modes to see which one is best.

Below are a few examples of how Soft Light, Blend and Screen blend modes appear in the merged image.

Soft light

Soft Light





To save the image, click “Save As From File” on the top navigation bar. Save it in Photoshop format. Leave the Layers checkbox unchecked to keep the edited layers in the working version of the file.

If you would like to share a copy of your image, please save another one in .jpg format.

How to merge layers into one image

In this example we will be using three layers: an image, a logo, and a dimmable layer.

To merge them all together, first make sure all three layers are visible. See Icon circled in yellow below.

Right-click any of the layers and choose Merge Visibles.

Then save the image in any of the available formats. Don’t forget to keep the version of Photoshop with the Layers checked if you want to return to your project.

To merge specific layers rather than all of them, hold down the Control key on Windows or the Command key on a Mac. To select the layers you want to merge, click each one. Right-click any of the selected images, choose Merge Layers and save the image.

Combine Layers to Create Textured Image

Blend Modes in Photoshop are a quick way to combine two images together for a textured look.

Start by opening a photo. Go to File> Open> Select the image you want to use> click Open.

The next step is to add an image by choosing File> Place Embedded, select the image on your computer, and click Place.

Let’s select an image with texture. To save the placement, click the checkmark on the top navigation bar.

Look at the layers panel on the right. Since we added the second image using Place Inline, Photoshop automatically created a new layer for the textured image.

Be sure to select a new textured layer like in the screenshot above. To apply the blending mode of layers, open the drop-down menu at the top of the Layers panel. You will see several blend modes to choose from.

Click any of the options to see how each filter will look in the background in Photoshop.

Photoshop blends the color and tones of the textured layer with those at the background level below it. See an example of what the Multiply option looks like in the screenshot below.

Click each blend mode in the drop-down menu until you find the combination you want. Or you can try a faster method or shortcut to try different blend modes.

Highlight texture mode. Cycle through the options by choosing the Move tool from the toolbar. Hold down the Shift key and press the Plus key. Each time you press and release the plus button, the next blend mode in the menu is applied to your image.

While you scroll through the options using the shortcut, the names in blender mode also change. Below are some examples of the different blender modes.

To return to the menu options, hold down the Shift key and press the Minus key.

We will be using the Overlay option. If you need a different look, you can change the opacity of the textured layer by adjusting the slider. It’s located on the right side of the blend mode menu.

If you like the look of the mixed results, go to File> Save As. Save the image as a Photoshop file, PSD file, or any other format. Don’t forget to save layers if you want to be able to edit this project in the future.

How to combine two image layers

You can also use layer blending modes to blend or merge the contents of any two images together. Go back to File> Open, navigate to the image on your computer, and click Open.

Let’s add another image to the one above. Go to File> Place Embedded. Select the image and click “Place”.

Click the checkmark at the top of the navigation to save the embedded photo. Now apply a Blending Mode to the top layer.

Scroll through the menu or use the shortcut described above to find the blend mode you like. The screenshot below shows what the image looks like with the Lighten blend mode.

To save the image, choose File> Save As> Photoshop File or another file type of your choice.

Combine two images together

Let’s start by creating a new document. Open Photoshop, choose File> New> Choose Document Type, set Background Content to Transparent, and click New.

Drag the image from your computer into Photoshop. Resize the image to fit the window by clicking and grabbing the handles at the edges. This will preserve the aspect ratio of the image and will not distort it.

Press Enter to continue. Drag another image into the Photoshop window. Take a look at the Layers panel on the right to see that each image is now a separate layer.

You can move images forward or backward by dragging a layer up or down in the Layers panel. To show or hide images, click the eye icon next to a layer to hide it. Click it again to make it visible.

We will combine the two images to make it look like the car is driving up a mountain. Start by selecting the Quick Select tool from the left navigation bar.

Hold down the Quick Select tool and drag it across the top of where the car is driving in the original image.

Now click Inverse under Selection in the top bar. With this area selected, we’re going to create a mask by clicking the icon located at the bottom of the right sidebar.

Now the car looks like it is going to the mountains.

A powerful feature of Photoshop is the ability to resize, merge and combine images to create creative compositions.

We’ve just scratched the surface of Photoshop’s robust features and how you can use them to create stunning images.

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