Image composite is a great way to create unique images, it involves combining multiple images which may have different tone and color which will be a challenging task to match the overall tone of the composite to get realistic look. In this tutorial we are going to learn one of the best image composite techniques to match tones.

Final Image:



The Joker


Step 1

Open the background image in photoshop.

Cut out theJoker from its original image using layer mask and place it on top of the background like this…

We have successfully done basic compositing.

From the above composite we can see. A) There is saturation difference between the joker and the back ground. B) Tones difference and finally C) lighting difference.

Fix Saturation Difference

The Joker seems to be saturated than the background, that’s why we are going to desaturate it enough to match the background using the following technique.

Step 2

Create a new layer at the top and fill it with green color (you can use any color).

Set blending mode to “Hue”.

This will allow you to see more saturated areas  with more green and less saturated areas with less green like this….


Make selection of the Joker.

Create a “Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer above green color layer.

The selection will create a layer mask to affect only the Joker.

In the “Hue/Saturation” panel  decrease saturation to match the background….

Delete the green color layer and see the difference now…

Match Tones

Step 3

To balance the tones between the two images, we need to create a color map which allows us to see the color difference between the images and help us to match tones perfectly.

For this, we need to create a new layer just below the “Hue/Saturation” layer , fill it with 50% gray color (#808080) and set blending mode to “Luminosity”

This is how the color map looks like but we can’t see much details in the image. So,  let’s boost the saturation levels using “Hue/Saturation” adjustment layer to see more colors and see the color contrast between the Joker and the background.

Step 4

Now, add “Selective Color” just  above the Joker layer and add clipping mask (right click on the layer and select “Create Clipping Mask”) to affect only the Joker layer.

In the Selective Color Panel, there is “Colors ” preset which contains a list of colors, among them we are going to use only Whites, Neutrals and Blacks which represents highlights, mid tones and shadows respectively.


There is a screaming difference between the Joker and the background; the Joker has more blue and the background has more green. We need to tweak the settings in the “Selective color” panel  in the following way to bring down blue values and blend in with the background.

Step 5


Delete the 50% gray layer and Hue/Saturation layer which we used to boost the saturation levels.

The result should be something like this….

Fix Lighting

Add “Exposure” adjustment layer  with mask to affect only the Joker.

Decrease exposure with following properties.

Finally, create a new layer at the top, set blending mode to “soft light”, make selection of the joker and using a soft brush pick color from the background at the edges and brush along the edges of the joker, repeat this process along the edges. This technique helps to blend softly the edges of the Joker into the background.


I hope that you find this tutorial helpful.


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Category: Photoshop

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