Need help with image manipulation


I'm trying to find ways of manipulating images for constructing a splash page for a research summary. I have all of the component images that I want in the final image. Programs that I have include Gimp and Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Image manipulation that I can aready do include duplicating a layer for the image, applying a gaussian blur to one layer, and overlaying the images, then flattening the image to give it a "glow".

Manipulations that I would like to learn to do include applying gradient transparency to an image, then placing it on another image, blending two images together with partial transparency, inversing the colors (black to white and vice versa).

Any suggestions for tutorials or simple instructions for doing these manipulations?

Just do a search on google for photoshop tricks and tips, that sort of thing. If you are a book kind of person there are some good books out there as well.

Some of the things you want to do are pretty simple. Example, if you want to do a gradient transparency... take the image you wish to use, select it with an outline, then create a layer mask (reveal selection). Next, goto that items layer in the layer pallette and click on the mask portion of the later, its the part on the right of the little lock between the iamge and the black/white mask portion. THen select the gradient tool, pick the graident you want, I'll assume linear, and make it black to white (not transparent). The black portion will be the transparent part, the white will be the nontransparent part. Then make a gradient across the image in the direction you want.

It should then become transparent towards the black side.

With this method, you can leave the original image intact, change the gradient as needed, etc and move it around to the desired location.
sounds like you're talking about masking.

On the layers palette you'll notice at the bottom those little buttons? 2nd button from the left is a little circle inside of a box. select the layer you want to manipulate, and then click that button. you will notice another little thumbnail pops open in that layer.

What you have done is create a mask. basically it is a grayscale mask-- any area that is black will be knocked out of that layer's visibility, anything white is visible-- anything 50% gray is 50% trasnsparent. If you used a black brush on the mask, anywhere you apinted would be invisible.

This way, you can 'erase' parts of the layer withuot actually destroying the image itself. BUT you can also do what you want to do.

So now click on the new thumbnail on your layer, a little frame will appear around it. Select the gradient tool and choose the default White-to-Black gradient. do a gradient on your image and you'll see instaed of a black/white gradient, the image will fade away in whatever direction you moused. you'll have to play around a bit, but thats how you do it.

You can also use paint tools, lasso, marquee. just fill the mask with black for anyhing you want to chop out, or use a large soft-edge brush to paint away the edges of stuff.

hope that helps.. have fun
Thank you all for your suggestions.

A week and a half ago I sat down and "played hard" with Gimp and managed to create something along the lines that was intended. You can see it here:

A version of the web page background image is what I was trying to create for my graduate research summary. It's a little dark on a standard PC, and I cannot manipulate the image as of yet. I just purchased a Power Mac G5, Dual 2.7GH with 2.5 GB RAM and my LaCie external hard drive died (it did not crash); LaCie was unable to repair it. Now I have to send out the drive for data recovery to or, both which promise 95+% recovery if the heads didn't crash into the platters, for several THOUSAND dollars (it would have been much cheaper with an ordinary HD but the LaCie hard drive is a high performance RAID array). Yes, this is going to really hurt financially, but I need my masters thesis from the drive to graduate.

Any suggestions for the background image are welcome.