The Superimpose app offers a great set of tools for combining two iPhone photos together in a variety of ways. You can change the background around your subject, add an artistic texture overlay, or create a unique double exposure that blends two images together. Superimpose also offers basic editing options including preset filters and color and exposure adjustments. In this tutorial you’ll discover how to use the Superimpose app to replace the background in your iPhone photos and create a stunning double exposure effect.
In the first section of this tutorial you’ll learn how to use the masking tools to replace the background of an image.
In the second section you’ll discover how to create incredible double exposure iPhone photos that will really get your creativity flowing.
1. Replace The Background Of An Image
While you can potentially replace the background in any iPhone photo, this technique works best with images that have a simple composition and a strong color contrast between the subject and the background.
Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to replace the background in your own iPhone photos.
1.1 Import Your Photos
When you open the Superimpose app, you’ll notice there are four main sections shown at the bottom of the screen: Home, Transform, Mask and Filter. The app opens in the Home section so that you can import your photos:
When working in Superimpose, you must open both a background and a foreground image. For the purposes of replacing a background, the background image is the image that will become the new background. The foreground image is the photo with your primary subject matter.
To import your images, ensure you’re in the Home section of Superimpose, then tap the Import icon (top left of screen). A section titled Import Background will appear near the top of the screen:
In the Import Background section, tap Photos to access your iPhone’s photo library, then select the photo you want to use as your background image.
When you pull in the background photo you’ll see its dimensions. If you wish to change the dimensions, tap Constraints for a variety of different dimension options, or simply crop the photo as you wish. If your background dimensions don’t need any adjustment, tap Choose:
Next, you need to import your foreground image. Tap the Import icon again (top left of screen) and you’ll see a section titled Import Foreground near the top of the screen:
In the Import Foreground section, tap Photos, then select the photo you want to use as your foreground image.
Again, you can crop the photo, resize it using the Constraints option, or tap Choose to select:
Now, you’ll see that your foreground photo is superimposed on top of your background photo:
1.2 Reposition Foreground Photo
The next step is to resize and/or reposition the foreground photo, so that you have it in the correct position over the background image. To access the resizing and repositioning tools, tap the Transform option at the bottom of the screen:
You’ll notice that the foreground photo now has handles on the corners (for resizing) and the sides (for rotating). To move the foreground photo around, simply drag the image with your finger. The image can also be resized by pinching in and out on the photo.
Across the top of the Transform screen, you’ll find seven icons. From left to right these icons are:
Undo: to undo your last action.
Redo: to redo your last action.
Merge: to merge the background and foreground images together which will allow you to load another foreground image on top. This is useful if you wish to add more layers to your photo.
Swap: to flip the foreground image horizontally or vertically, as well as swap the background and foreground images.
Place At Center: positions the foreground image in the middle of the background image.
Fit To Background: scales the foreground image to the same size as the background.
Settings: adjusts the transparency and blend mode which are required for creating double exposure images.
1.3 Create A Mask
The next step is masking. Masking allows you to control the transparency of different parts of the foreground image.
When you make part of the foreground image transparent, the background image underneath will be revealed. In other words, masking allows you to remove unwanted portions of the foreground image.
Tap the Mask option at the bottom of the screen, then tap the Magic Wand icon near the bottom right to access the masking tools:
There are six basic masking tools (the top six tools shown in the pop up menu below):
Below is a brief description of these six masking tools:
Eraser: erases any errors you’ve made in masking.
Magic Wand: masks all the similar color pixels surrounding any point you touch. You can drag or tap to use this tool.
Brush: covers the entire area just like a brush. It doesn’t recognize edges so it’s better for masking broad areas.
Smart Brush: Like the Brush tool, but it recognizes the edges of the areas you’re masking. It can help you select detailed areas and minimizes accidental brush strokes.
Color Range: similar to the Magic Wand, but instead of just the surrounding pixels, it selects all pixels in the photo that match the color of the pixel you touch.
Lasso: allows you to draw a freehand lasso and mask anything inside or outside the lasso loop.
Each tool has its own settings as well. Once you’ve chosen the masking tool you want to use, tap the Settings icon (top right of screen). The settings for that tool will appear near the bottom of the screen:
For example, you’ll be able to adjust the Brush Size, Strength and Smoothness, as well as the Threshold and Mask Edge. Threshold determines the strength of the mask, and Mask Edge allows you to select a sharp or smooth edge.
To select an area of the foreground image that you want to make transparent, simply tap or drag your finger across the areas you wish to mask. A red dot appears to show you where you’re working:
You’ll also notice a pop-up circle showing a magnified area of where you’re working. For small areas, pinch out to zoom in so you can get a closer view and fill in the area with more accuracy. Pinch in to zoom back out to see your entire image.
To view the areas you’ve masked more clearly, tap the View Mask icon (second from top right):
There are four View Mask options which display different colored backgrounds as shown below (checkerboard, red, green or blue). Depending on the colors in your foreground image, certain colored backgrounds will show up your selections more clearly:
You can continue to work on masking your image while using one of these colored mask views, or you can switch back to normal view where you can see the background image again by tapping the View Mask icon at the top of the screen.
1.4 Save Your Mask
Once you’ve used the mask tools to make certain areas of your foreground image transparent, leaving only the part of the image that you want to superimpose on the background, it’s a good idea to save your mask in the Mask Library.
This allows you to use that mask in another session on another image. So if you’re planning to superimpose the same part of the foreground image onto different background images, you’ll only need to mask the foreground image once.
You can then simply import it onto any background image whenever you want, saving you from having to mask the same areas of an image each time.
The Mask Library is found in the Home section of the app, so tap the Home option at the bottom of the screen. To save your mask, tap the Save Mask icon (middle icon at top of screen), then tap Save:
When you’re ready to use that mask again on a different background image, simply tap the Load Mask icon (third icon from top left) in the Home section of the app:
You’ll now see all of the masks that you saved:
Simply tap the mask you want to use to place it onto your background photo:
1.5 Save Your Photo
When you’re ready to save your final image, tap the Export icon (second icon from top left) in the Home section of the app. Under Export Destination, select Photos to save the image to your iPhone’s photo library:
1.6 Delete Your Session
If you decide that you want to start the entire session over, tap the Trash icon at the top of the screen to delete your project and start again:
2. Create A Double Exposure Image
With Superimpose, you can also create wonderful double exposure effects. This requires you to blend two photos together instead of masking one of them.
It’s easy to create incredible portraits with double exposure silhouettes like the one below:
It’s also a helpful technique for adding a texture overlay to your photo, allowing you to create a grunge appearance or textured painterly style:
2.1 Import Your Photos
In the Home section of the Superimpose app, use the Import icon (top left) to import your background and foreground photos exactly as you did with the first technique.
When both photos are imported, the foreground image will appear on top of the background image as shown below:
2.2 Blend Photos Together
Next, tap the Transform option at the bottom of the screen. Not only does this section allow you to reposition and resize your foreground photo, but it also enables you to adjust its transparency and blend mode.
To access Blend Mode, tap the Settings icon at the top right corner of the screen:
Blend Mode presents different ways that the two photos may combine together through the adjustment of elements like contrast and brightness.
The Blend Mode is set to Normal by default. One option is to keep the Blend Mode set to Normal, and simply use the Opacity slider to adjust the transparency of the foreground photo.
For example, in the screenshot below I’ve set the Opacity slider at 52.1 so that you can see a blend of both the foreground and background photos.
Another way to see different blends of the two photos is to use some of the other Blend Mode options, such as Multiply, Screen, Overlay, etc.
Tap on a few different Blend Modes to see how they affect your final image. In the examples below I used Overlay, Color and Difference. Each one creates a completely unique blend of both photos:
2.3 Change The Filter
Tapping the Filter option at the bottom of the screen allows you to apply a variety of preset filter effects to enhance the image. There are also adjustment tools for color hue, saturation, exposure, brightness, contrast, color balance and blur:
You can apply these effects to both the foreground and background images. This step isn’t always necessary, but it’s a great option to have.
At the top of the screen, select whether you want to work on the Foreground or Background image. Now tap the Settings icon at the top right corner of the screen, and you’ll see a variety of adjustment settings:
Within the Filter section, tap on the fx icon to access 33 different preset filters:
You can easily change the filter on one or both images, creating unlimited blend possibilities. Below are some examples of my double exposure image with different filters applied:
When you’ve completed editing your photo, return to the Home section to save your image.
Superimpose App: Conclusion
Superimpose is a really great app for replacing backgrounds in your photos, as well as creating unique double exposure images.
All you need is a foreground image and a background image, and then you can use the Superimpose tools to mask and blend the two photos as you wish.
Once you’ve got the perfect blend, don’t forget to try out the filters and adjustments to see if you can further enhance your image with different effects.
Once you’ve mastered using the Superimpose app, you may find that you’d like to try more advanced layer masking techniques. If so, be sure to check out the Leonardo app which is made by the same company. Leonardo supports multiple layers, a large set of image adjustments, as well as other editing tools.