I wish to map the brightness and contrast of an image into another image.

I have a grayscale photo of a face and an image full of glowing particles. I want to embed the face photo to the particle image so that together they look like the face is made of those particles.

This is an example of the wanted result:

enter image description here

The face photo I wish to use is a front view.

All simple layering attempts fail, the result is only a face photo and particles combined to the same image, but they still are a separate face and particles. How the embedding should be done so that the result is like the face is made of glowing particles?

  • Not really a clearly stated question, but have you tried setting a layer as a luminosity mask?
    – Wildcard
    Apr 14, 2019 at 8:23
  • What i want is to make a grayscale image control the brightness of another image while hiding the grayscale image
    – ElementX
    Apr 14, 2019 at 12:28
  • I edited your question to contain the new data you gave as an answer. Please revert, if it's now wrong and confirm, if it's now right.
    – user82991
    Apr 17, 2019 at 0:18
  • I suspect that effect requires some kind of 3D software, since the particles are not simply brightness mapped, or even depth mapped, but follow the contour of a 3D model. Photoshop does have some 3D capabilities, but I don't think the image you added is possible with Photoshop alone.
    – 13ruce
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:50
  • @Mikael Carlsson gave an answer that is about as close as I would expect Photoshop could come to the effect in your image. A true depth map might show a better result, but creating a depth map from a 2D photo requires skilled 3D modeling.
    – 13ruce
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:56

3 Answers 3


If I understand your goal correctly, it's simple. Just copy your face layer and paste it into the particle layer's mask, then invert the mask.

enter image description here

Here is the mask without inverting: enter image description here

Here is the image with no masking. The face layer is set to "multiply" over the star background.enter image description here

  • Sir i can see through the star layer your image what i want is to hide the face image and use the face image as a map for the stars such that the more black areas of the face imparts less brightness to the corresponding part of the image and vice versa
    – ElementX
    Apr 16, 2019 at 13:31
  • I see. (I think). The most difficult part of this is determining just what you're asking. I've included a couple more options that I think may answer your question. Please let me know if we're getting closer.
    – 13ruce
    Apr 16, 2019 at 13:59

Your example is a textured 3D model or someone who has respectable 2D graphic software skills has warped an image to look out like it's a 3D model.

You already have got an answer which shows how to modulate the brightness of a cloud of dots with a photo of a face. If the face image has deep contrasts and the dot cloud has irregular distribution, some 3D -like effect really can be seen altough closer look reveals that the dots still are in the same plane. Careful warping could fix it, but it's not easy. I skip it and suggest something else:

There's a totally different way to build the face like it's made of glowing dots. All dots are as bright, but their density varies along the local brightness of the face image. That's called halftoning. It's used in printing and in many drawing and engraving styles to simulate grayshades.

Photoshop has several high quality halftoning methods. One of them is Diffuse Dithering. To use it the photo must at first be converted to grayscale.

A good contrast is generally a must to avoid grey or washed appearance. Just in your case high contrast is bad because you want to keep white dots separated, large contiguous white areas are not wanted. Here's the original BW photo and and the low contrast grayscale version (it was desaturated RGB image, but the mode is changed to grayscale):

enter image description here

The low contrast version has got full black background and it's max. brightness is about 40% of full white.

After applying Image > Mode > Bitmap > Diffuse dithering the result is this:

enter image description here

It looks out grey, but the dots are full white on black. Zoom in to see it.

You wanted glow. If it's colored, it will not melt white dots together, the image is still made of dots and looks out substantially less grey:

enter image description here

Inserting the glow needs a little work:

  • convert image back to grayscale and then to RGB
  • convert the background to layer (=double click it in the layers panel)
  • select all black with the magic wand
  • press DEL, white dots remain
  • insert a new bottom layer, fill it with black
  • insert Layer style "Outer Glow" to the white dots layer.
  • Sir i need to use the face image as a map for the stars such that the more black areas of the face imparts less brightness to the corresponding part of the image and vice versa,like the dark area of the eyes the pixels of stars there should be darker here every noise looks the exact same brightness
    – ElementX
    Apr 16, 2019 at 13:33

You can try adding an exposure adjustment layer with a mask. Then copy that to get more contrast. For best result you probably need a photo with good contrast between shadows and highlights.

enter image description here enter image description here I added a Color balance adjustment but that is not necessary.

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