I'm trying to obtain this effect, but Photoshop is failing me (more like the other way around).

What I'm trying to pull off is a superimposition of a second image or pattern of colours on all the dark tones of a picture (e.g. shirt, hair, shadows on the skin), varying according to the shades of black, from a lighter to a more pregnant img superimposition.

Can you guys help me out with this?

Example effect

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of How do I make this image in image effect?
    – Cai
    Aug 15, 2016 at 13:03
  • @Cai hmm the result is similar (possibly but not necessarily identical) but the question is completely different. How to do double exposure isn't really the same as how to superimpose an image on the dark areas of another image.
    – Ryan
    Aug 15, 2016 at 19:15
  • @Ryan huh? The example image is exactly the same effect and the accepted answer is doing exactly this
    – Cai
    Aug 15, 2016 at 19:22
  • Right but the other question is asking "What is the name for this effect and how can I do it," this question is asking "How can I make an image only visible on the darker tones of another image" - those are two different questions IMO. The Accepted Answer is one solution for this question as well, but its not the only or necessarily best. @Cai
    – Ryan
    Aug 15, 2016 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


I believe what you're referring to is popularly known as a double exposure style image.

To achieve this effect you'll first need to play around with exposure (image>image adjustment>exposure) so only the details/shadows you'd like to colorize are visible. Next create a layer on top of your image with a Blend Mode of "Screen" and add your colors.

  • There's no real reason to desaturate the image
    – Ryan
    Aug 15, 2016 at 19:33

Within Photoshop there's a feature called Blend If. Its the closest Photoshop has to allowing manipulation based on Alpha Transparency. You can use this feature in any of the color modes to tell Photoshop to only reveal this layer based on the Darkness of the layer under it.

I just made a video on this topic that can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6IhXVxBSQM

For example using this photo of a man, and this photo of flowers both from Unsplash we can tell Photoshop, "If the underlying layer is this light, don't show" like so:

enter image description here

While Double Exposure techniques will perhaps work for your desired result in this case, this solution will work whether its light, dark, or any value in between that you want to tell Photoshop to not reveal your image over.

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