How to create a multiplicity image / photo in Photoshop

Step 1.

First of all you will need some fancy camera work. To get a good finished multiplicity photo it will be important to take the photos in relatively quick succesion, especially if shooting a photo sequence outdoors. This will ensure that the lighting and shadow in the photos will be coming from the same direction across all shots.

multiplicity photoshop

multiplicity photo and main post photo by ne

Step 2.

You will need to set up a camera which will be able to take in the full background of all the photos you wish to take. Here you should test the lighting and get all the camera settings correct.

Once you are ready to take the initial picture do not change any of the settings until you have taken all the images in sequence.

Step 3.

The first image should just be the background.

Then take the exact same photo for all the different shots.

Step 4.

After exporting the photos onto your computer, open up the plain background in photoshop.

Step 5.

Open up one of the sequences and using the arrow tool from the toobar click on the canvas of the new photo and drag this image until your mouse pointer is posistioned over the background document. (To do this you should have your document in standard screen mode.)

The photos should be exactly the same size so simply line them up. To make sure this is exact, use the transform option. With the new photo selected in the layers palette Ctrl T or Apple T to display the transorm controls, select the top left point in the transform application tool bar and type 0, 0 into theĀ  X & Y fields. The image should move to perfect alignment. Hit the return or enter key to deselect the controls.

Step 6.

Repeat step 5 with the other photos you have until each photo sequence in displayed on top of one another on top of the background layer.

Step 7.

Save the document at this point so you can go back to this point if you need to.

Step 8.

Toggle the eye tool in the layers palette to hide the different layers until there is just the first photo in the sequence left on. Turn off the background also.

Step 9.

Select the eraser tool and right click on the canvas to set the eraser size and hardness. If you mouse over the canvas you will see a circular shape to show how big the brush size is currently set to. (If this is not showing, and only showing a cross hair, it may be that you have caps lock on, press caps lock to revert to the circular shape) Set the brush to a suitable size in comparison to your photo.

For the hardness I would recommend around 60%

Press return or enter to exit the brush size panel

Using the eraser delete all parts of the photo except for the object you want to use for that sequence. Leave a border of blended background around the object.

Step 10.

Turn on the background and check that the edge of the top layer is seemless with the background. Continue to erase more of the edge with a soft eraser and turn down the opacity of the eraser too if needs be.

Step 11.

Repeat this process with the other object layers. Switch on all the object layers at the end to see the full effect.

Step 12.

Save as a psd file so you can make future alterations accross all layers if needs be.

Flaten and save as a jpeg.

Multiplicity examples, some of my favourites found on flickr:

Multiplicity Photoshop

Multiplicity Photo by Rachel Sian

multiplicity photo

multiplicity photo by laures73

multiplicity photo

multiplicity photo by alsuvi

hannah

Author: hannah

Hannah works as a website designer for a digital agency based in the UK. She has over 15 years experience using Photoshop and has been using it daily since 2005. Google+

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9 Comments

  1. it is very use to do multiplying images.in one image good work

  2. hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work

  3. hannah

    Hi Patrick, that’s great. Thanks for sharing your final image :)

  4. u use which photoshop? is it photoshop cs5?

  5. what else in photoshop can make multiplicity? or only can do in photoshop cs5?

  6. hannah

    Hi Ezza, yes I use CS5. There is nothing CS5 specific in this tutorial though, you should be able to follow the tutorial and create the same effect with any version of Photoshop.

  7. I was wondering if you could tell me how to do the sort of multiplicity shot where 2 of me could be physically touching. I saw one where a guy was grabbing the arm of another version of himself. I hope that makes sense? Thanks.

  8. hannah

    Hi Rebecca, having 2 photographs of yourself touching would be slightly more difficult to do. If it was just for example the soles of your feet or the palm of your hands then you could position something in the scene to line up yourself in each photo – you would still need to take a plain picture of just the background first. Grabbing arms would involve much more photoshop work. This could be done by taking a photo of 2 people together (ideally someone who would have the same size arms as you!) taking the second photo of yourself in their position and then editing them out of the photo. Hope that helps.

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