Photoshop Techniques

A collection of techniques used to enhance photographs or create effects.


Task was to create a montage as a poster advertising “Triathlon”. This involved selecting suitable images to illustrate the various disciplines – running, swimming and cycling. This then involved using a variety of masking techniques to combine the images into a suitable whole. I selected a swimming image to be the main focus, used a photograph of a high tech bicycle, masked to be just an outline with reduced opacity and then applied a scaled and cut image of a runner appearing to shout at the swimmer to complete the image. Completed image below, click to enlarge.









Spray Paint on Wall

College_010old American brick wall

This was an exercise to generate a photo realistic effect of spray paint being applied to a textured surface. This is achieved by using a “displacement map” filter and varying the layer blending mode/opacity. A displacement map has to be grey scale and saved in photoshop format. This is easily achieved by converting the original image to grey scale, high contrast helps the effect so the contrast in the b&w image was increased and then saved as .psd file. The original image is re-opened then the text layer inserted. A bold / chunky font is best as gives the best opportunity to see the textured effect. The 2nd images was an exercise undertaken for further research and refinement as self study. A graffiti style font zit graffiti was downloaded from and then the displacement map technique applied with some further advanced blending techniques following a youtube tutorial from Iceflow Studios.


Heart1_001Heart-2Heart Shaped Splash

Another example of photoshop composite images that relies on blending techniques to succeed. In “multiply” mode anything white becomes transparent, so by photographing the liquid splashes against an over exposed white background its easy to position the images in relation to each other. Its made up of 4 images, 2 of the splashes using a relatively low flash setting in order to ensure relatively crisp images as its the flash duration rather than shutter speed which determines the exposure and the lower the power the shorted duration. On a Canon 580EX about 1/8th power was correct. Paste the images into a new photoshop file with a white background, one of the splashes is flipped horizontally and then positioned relative to the first image. The impression of the glasses being thrown in the air is completed by pasting a separate photograph of the bottom glass (photographed from the same distance as the splashes) and then rotated into place to align with the splash images. The second paste should also be flipped to ensure the lighting matches on the second glass. The image is completed by using a layer mask on each of the splash images to blend in the glass stems.

Numerous attempts are required to capture the splashes effectively and it a messy business with water everywhere ! Good fun though.

The first image effectively demonstrates the photoshop technique but the background wasn’t totally white and is somewhat muddy as the blending isn’t totally effective. The 2nd attempt is much cleaner.

Infinity Candle (For Fire Digital Task).

03 Infinity_Candle_Steve Edwards P

An infinity candle is created by placing a light source between some a sheet of smoked reflective glass and a mirror. The candle is meant to be viewed through the glass so that the reflections can be seen in the mirror at the rear. Accordingly it was hot through the smoked glass with camera tripod mounted and a relatively long exposure to create blur in the flame. In order to minimise refection of the camera in the front glass it was shot in total darkness nonetheless it was necessary to edit some reflections in the black area of the image by completely painting them out.

Apart from this post processing was straight forward consisting of adjusting levels and contrast, cropping to suit the format of the illuminated area as else there was a lot of empty space in the image. The images was then re-sized and a narrow border added for presentation purposes. Perhaps not the most creative of images but pleasing nonetheless.


This entry was posted in Digital Imaging.

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