One of the things I like to do with photography is create artistic effects for gallery or illustrative purposes.
I just created everything you see here by “messing” with features that are already a part of Photoshop, by using Pre-sets in Lightroom, or by using third-party filters. Any combination of the types of techniques you see here could be used to give a unifying “effect” to a collection of photos for an exhibit or for a series of ads.
I often create several of these effects on different layers, then mix them by a combination of masking the layers, changing their blend modes, and choosing different layer effects.
I’m going to show you the “before and after” of a couple of examples. I will describe for you the “process” I used on each of them. Once you “get the idea” there will be no end to the variations you can make.
The picture on the left is straight out of the camera and Lightroom 3. I wanted it to have a bit more “pop and style” on its own, so the first thing I did in Lightroom 3 was to just click on the Direct Positive preset to give the base image a lot more “color pop.” There are hundreds of these presets available on the Web and quite a few more that come with the OnOne filter set.
Then, in Photoshop CS5, I duplicated the image as a layer, made a Freehand Lasso selection to put a loose frame around the image, then used the Refine Edge command to show me a preview of how much feathering I wanted to use to blend the effects I was going to create on the new layer with the original image below. When I liked what I saw, I just clicked OK.
Next, I choose Filter > Artistic > Plastic Wrap. There was enough distortion in the bubbles that I though it would be fun to just stretch parts of that same layer using the Filters > Liquify filter. See if you can guess at what I did to get this next effect:
Hint: It’s all Alien Skin’s Color Efex fault.