Best Composite Image Technique to Match Tones

Matching the tones is the most challenging part of creating composite images. You may find numerous tutorials on the Internet about matching tones and smooth blending of the composite elements, however this technique by Antti Karppinen is the best I’ve seen so far as it even helps with blending images that are shot under different lights.

Karppinen is an award-winning international photographer and retoucher from Finland. He has been creating visual stories for a long time, and recently he started to share his tips and techniques on YouTube. In his latest video, he explains the color matching technique which he uses: hue and saturation maps.

He uses a 50 percent gray filled layer with luminosity blend mode for creating the hue and saturation map over the layers to see the tonal difference between the colors. Then, he boosts the saturation on the gray layer to make the color transitions and differences more visible, and then the second part of his technique starts. He uses selective color to finely adjust and match the tones of the front and background elements.

What do you think of Karppinen’s technique? If you have your own tips and techniques about matching tones in composite imaging, please share in the comments section below.

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11 Comments

excellent tip !!! thanks

jonas y's picture

Thank you for sharing!

Helper layers are fantastic. I use them but this one is new to me. Excellent tip even for non composite images.

Alexander Meier's picture

Very helpful.

Peter Timmer's picture

Great tip! thnx

Motti Bembaron's picture

An excellent tip. Thank you, well done.

Thierry Querette's picture

Starting up on photoshop with that nice tip!

Jorge Cevallos's picture

This is certainly the best technique I've seen. It is so simple yet effective.

Joe Giacomet's picture

Brilliant technique. Thanks for sharing.

Eric Robinson's picture

Wow...I have a new hero. This is such a great tip, massive thanks for sharing .