|Tim Ashton digitally simulated traditional camera
accidents to achieve a surreal mood for a self-promotion.
“This image was experimental,”
says Ashton. “I wanted
to achieve a look somewhere
between a tinted black-and-white
photographic print and
something that is obviously
digital.” First, he composited
black-and-white photos using
layer masks. To give the digital
photos an analog feel, Ashton
chose Filter > Texture > Grain
with Grain Type set to Soft.
||For the background, Ashton started with a
scanned texture he created in a darkroom. He
applied gradients on Curves adjustment layers to
lighten the texture, then used the Dodge and Burn
tools with a large brush size and low Flow for a
more hand-crafted feel. Mimicking the look of making
a photogram through crumpled paper, Ashton
duplicated the texture, applied a Gaussian Blur with
a 5-pixel Radius, added a mask, and brushed areas of
the mask to reveal them. “By blurring areas in a mask,
I could go back at any stage and change the sharp and
soft areas,” he explains.
||Ashton typed numbers and symbols
with the Text tool on separate layers,
made duplicates of the text in white, and
chose Layer > Rasterize > Type. Using
the Rectangular Marquee tool on each
layer, he selected a symbol and applied
the Wave, Twirl, or Shear filters from
the Distort menu. To create shadows, he
merged all the text layers, then duplicated
the layer. He filled the numbers with black
and chose Edit > Transform > Distort. He
set the blending mode to Multiply at 50%
Opacity, then applied a Gaussian Blur.
||Ashton created a layer set
with a series of Curves adjustment
layers to give the image
a golden tone with subtle highlights
of red and green, setting
some blending modes to Hard
Light. “A single color correction
would have resulted in a
more overall monochromatic
feel, which I wanted to avoid,”
||“I wanted a flare effect, but I wanted it to look
more accidental than a standard stock flare filter with
rings,” Ashton explains. He filled several layers with
black and chose Filter > Render > Lens Flare at varying
settings. He then combined elements from each
layer by erasing, then merging the layers. To apply the
finished flare effect to the image, he duplicated the
merged flare’s Green channel, loaded the duplicate
as a selection, created a new layer set in the Layers
palette, and clicked the Add a mask icon. He set the
blending mode to Hard Light. To pass color through
this mask, he added a layer to the set and filled it gold.
He then turned off the visibility of the flare layer.
||Ashton added a camera lens image on
the right side for an impression the image
was shot with something accidentally obscuring
the frame, and applied a Gaussian
Blur to it so it would be out of focus. As a
final touch to create seamless compositing
and an illustrative feel for the entire
image, Ashton again applied a Gaussian
Blur within a layer mask and revealed
certain areas of the image using a brush.
The final image is shown at left (click to enlarge).
Don't miss the next Photoshop tip on Graphics.com. Get the free Graphics.com newsletter in your mailbox each week. Click here to subscribe.
Based in London, England, Tim Ashton creates his strong style of illustration using photographic and digital techniques.