Creating an ‘Arty’ Look

I gave a talk at a camera club recently and I was asked how I created the look of some images that I shared. I explained how simple it was to do this with a couple of textures and the original image; a process using just four layers in Photoshop. A downloadable factsheet is available here. The three elements of the finished image are…

The first task is to open the dancer image then make a selection in Photoshop using the ‘Select Subject’ and ‘Select & Mask’ buttons to create a new layer from that selection. Rename the new layer as ‘Dancer Cutout’ and your layers should now look like this…

Next we need to open the texture files and place them in the new image. You can do this by loading the dark texture, select all (Ctrl-A) then copy it (Ctrl-C). Move back to the Dancer file and paste the layer in (Ctrl-V). Repeat this for the light texture image. Move the two texture layers in between the Background and Dancer Cutout layers. You should now have four layers in the Dancer image, looking like this…

Now make sure that the top three layers are all set with a Blend Mode = Normal and Opacity = 50%.
Select the Dark Texture layer then Edit -> Free Transform (Ctrl-T). Hold down the shift key and drag down the top centre handle until the top of the layer is just below the dancer’s knee and press the tick.

Now it’s the finishing touches. Select the Eraser tool, set its hardness to the minimum, its size to mid-size and opacity to 5%. With the Dark Texture layer selected carefully erase the top of the sharp edge to blend it into the lighter texture to create a more realistic join. Then carefully erase the texture where it overlies the dancer’s legs if you feel it’s necessary. Finally move the opacity sliders for each layer to get the look that you desire and Crop the image to suit. Now flatten and save the image. Job Done…

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