The following images were designed and created specifically for a class I teach called Fashion Presentation using Adobe Photoshop CS2. Every technical and design idea explored in this class was demonstrated by re-creating the images below step by step, layer by layer. The students in turn created their own pieces, using their own style combined with the same techniques demonstrated in class.
click on any image for a full size view
Layers are the foundation for creating images in Photoshop. Layers can best be explained by imagining each component of a composition in its correct position on its own seperate square piece of plastic. When all the layers of plastic are stacked up the entire image is visible but each component can be altered individually without affecting others.
The following image "tailoring" is made up ofthree layers: background layer, people layer, and text layer
Layers are made up of selections of components, learning to choose the appropriate Photoshop tools for making certain kinds of selections or extractions from an image is key to building good and believable compositions.
In this image the cyclist was selected from another image and dragged onto the new composed background layer and manipulated seperatly
I believe that teaching this class with its focus on art, design, graphics, and composition is a moreeffective environment to learn Adobe software techniques.
Although this is a junior level university class we still spend considerable time talking about "new" concepts of composition and the changing design and graphics environment in the computer age.
We re-discover the raw basicsof composition in a new contemporary way!
It is always a scary idea to redefine the basics, but this is the foundation for "new" art.
One of the most amazing and completely simple tasks of the Adobe software is the ability to adjust the opacity(or sheerness) of a specific layer. This concept has easily added a once very difficult technique to the mainstream graphics palette
In the image below you can see the effect of controlled opacity changes. It is best used to blend different components and to set a "soft" mood.
Often times while manipulating images in Photoshop it is necessary to select or choosethe opposite or inverse of a selection, this is an invaluable selection technique. This is a purely a technical tool and has no notable visual effect.
Feathering a selection is one of the most useful tools to blend images together.By combining opacity changes with this tool several images can be composed together and realistically look like one.
In the image below several images were feathered and the opacitywas manipulated so as to blend softly together into a composition.
Photoshop has built in shadow filtering that enhances a composition even more by anchoring the selection to the background rather than appearing like it is floating above it.The software is so advanced that you can create shadows that resemble times of day with direction of light source. You can even change the color of a shadow for different effects.
In the simple image below the gray shadow below the ball anchors it to the otherwise very plain background.The reflection is another technique that helps this illusion as well.
Color Gradients (seamlessly blending from one color to another, or through several colors) are a great way to provide added depth to an image. The image below is a simple black to white gradient originating from the bottom left hand corner.Gradients can originate from anywhere on the canvas, even in a circular configuration. Also filling shape and text with gradient is a commonly used graphic tool as illustrated in the "tennis" text above.
Below you can see the background in this piece was given depth and the illusion of shine by filling itwith a black to white gradient. Also note the shadow.
Adding the illusion of a reflection is a task easily achieved in Photoshop. Thistechnique also adds to the believability of an image. The example above illustrates the reflection technique using the car.
A stroke, or line, is simply that. Any selection can be outlined with a variety of styles of stroke, feathered, inside the line, outside the line, on the line, any width, color, or texture.
In the following image a simple square was selected and stroked with black and the partsthat were intersected by the shoe were erased to give the illusion of perspective and depth.
Text is one of the most graphic elements that one can add to an image. Text adds such a strong statement that it must be used very sparingly and with thought. Text, not to be confused by font, does not necessarily need to say anything or even be legible to do the graphic job it is intended todo. Fonts on the other hand say so much beyond what the word is spelling out. A particular font style can instantly add a mood, a setting, a time period, etc.. to a piece.
In the piece below the added text across the boys face adds a wonderful graphic element. In this case it is not what it is saying but what it is doing.Also worthy of note, the "hair" was made up of brushes that I created in Photoshop from feathers, and grass images.
In the "poster" below the text is written in a font that says a lot about the feel of the image.The font that spells "quirky" is actually just that, and the other fonts "say" 1950's. It is engrained in our brains the meanings of many font styles and if asked how we know what we know we would have a very hard time defining it.
Pattern is a very useful graphic tool and is easily achieved in the Photoshop environment. Patterns are readily available on the internet and usually come in sets of color variations.The scale of a pattern is controllable from within the software. If by chance what you are looking for is not found on the web, making your own custom patterns and saving them is a snap,this is especially useful for fashion designers. Filling shapes and/or text adds an extra depth to a piece. In the example above the background was flooded with a plaid pattern found on the internet.
In the example below the legs were flooded with the pattern and instead of leaving it at 100 percent opacity the blending mode was changed so that the pattern was screened onto the legs giving the appearance of a legging or tight.This technique can be used for any clothing, object, etc... The screen blending mode gives the appearance that the pattern is wrapping around the legs because this mode maintains the original highlights, lowlights, shadows, and contrast as in the original image.
Lighting is very manageable in Photoshop. There are many ways to add artificial lightand create lighting "tricks".
This entire image from the background to the dress forms metallic finish, stars, glints, and lens flare, were manufacturedin Photoshop using some of the many lighting techniques available.
One of the most versatile uses for a layer mask is to blend two images togetherin a way that looks like one element is transforming into or revealing another.
When a layer mask is applied the use of black reveals and the use of white stays the same. In the case of this image the original layer was copied and then had a pixelated filter applied. The second unaltered layer had a layer mask applied to it then the bottom layer was "revealed" by dragging a black to white gradation over it.