Plugin Artists-Part 1: Stefan Gesell

The first in a series showing how artists and photographers use Photoshop plugins to enhance their work.

By Harald Heim of The Plugin Site

Dateline: May 18, 2006

Click to enlarge

More of Stefan Gesell's work can be seen at

Harald Heim: Can you please tell us something about yourself?
Stefan Gesell: I was born in 1959 in Markschorgast near Kulmbach, Germany and visited the "Gymnasium." In 1977 I passed the entrance exam of the police. Since 2003 I have dedicated myself to photography.

What do you think makes your photos different from those of other photographers? What makes your photos so appealing?
I think it is the different approach and stage-managing that makes my pictures look different. For me the impact of my images is of high importance. I want to make them memorable to the viewer. That's why I experiment a lot with light and the resulting mood.

Which artists and photographers inspired your work?
I was and am still inspired by H.R.Giger, Helnwein and Jan Saudek.

How do you get ideas for new photos?
My ideas come to me while sleeping, so to speak. I dream of them and try to translate the memory of the dream into photos.

Which Photoshop plugins do you use for enhancing your images?
My pictures partially live on their colors, which I refine and amplify in Photoshop with the help of layers. Concerning plugins, I use the nik filters and 55mm. For sharpening the end results I discovered FocalBlade.

Photo Enhancement Example
This is the original photo taken with a Canon 20 in raw format. A studio flash with an octo softbox was positioned frontally at the top left side of the model.
The shadow effect comes from a layer with a layer mask.
The wall texture was fitted into the image on a layer which was set to Overlay blend mode.

The image was adjusted with two plugins from the 55mm plugin collection. First, the colors were improved with the 55mm Mist plugin, then a slight glow, which increased brightness, was added with the 55mm Glow plugin.
The strip that separates the floor and wall was placed on a new layer. The contrast was adjusted with another layer and additionally the color of the flowers were improved.
The gleam of light was produced with Photoshop's Clouds filter.
Finally, the flattened image was sharpened with FocalBlade by reducing the sharpening in the highlight and surface areas and minimizing white halos.

This article was originally published on The Plugin Site in April, 2006. Copyright Harald Heim.

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