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This work, excepting where specified otherwise, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License. The header image was clicked by Tray Ratcliffe and modified in Photoshop by me.. Source Image here. Thanks a bunch Tray!
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial – Give a surreal/dreamy effect to your photos in 4 steps

Welcome, one and all, to the first tutorial by the author of Stuck In Frames. It’s involves a series of rather simple steps, well not quite but I’ll make it that way, which can give a rather stunning surreal/dreamy effect to your photos. Before we begin I’d like to make a list of the things that you are going to need oh and by the way, here are the resultant images that we will be obtaining!

Shanghai Black & White

Shanghai: Black & White; original by Trey Ratcliffe (here).

Dreamy/surreal Shanghai
Shanghai: Surreal; original by Trey Ratcliffe (here).

Shanghai - non edited, original by Trey Ratcliffe
This is the source image which will be treated to Photoshop, by Trey Ratcliffe (here).

Now, a list of things that you are going to need before you can starting ‘awesomifying’ your photos! Did I just create a word ? Nah, someone’s already invented it before. Anyways, here is a list of stuff you are going to need.

  • Adobe Photoshop (CS and above, I use CS4).

  • An image to be ‘awesomifyied’.

  • Enough hand-eye co-ordination to control the mouse or your finger on the trackpad.

  • Properly functioning eyes are a must, blindness is a major hindrance!

  • Some time on your hands (there might be a ton of tweaking to be done to get the perfect level that you desire).

  • Some ice-cream! Why? Well I like to think of my readers following this tutorial while having ice-cream. :P

    Now fire up Photoshop and load the image and get ready for some awesomifying goodness. If you don’t have an image right now, then you can use the same image here. Although remember to give credit to Trey, it’s basic ethics.

    You need some basic Photoshop knowledge like duplicating layers etc. A word of caution, there might be a ton of confusing options in the process. Don’t get lost! So now, first thing to do is open up Photoshop and load the base image in Photoshop. Then you just have to follow the steps!
    1. If the image loaded is a .jpg file then it will open as a locked layer. The first thing you have to do is rename the base layer. The process unlocks the layer and makes it more accessible to manipulation.Layers Pallete
      The layers pallette shows a locked layer called background
      Photoshop renaming
      Rename the layer, make sure you do this
    2. Now after renaming the layer, make a duplicate of it. duplicate-layer
    3. Then change the layer value of the top layer to 'Overlay' overlay
    4. Now take a good look at what you've obtained. It's a more 'dramatic' image than before with very strong color and contrast. Now although this might be an interesting image, we are not quite there yet. With the top layer selected, go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Apply a blur of 4.0 pixels and then look at the achieved effect. It will look like this. Look at the way, the color seems to be flowing out of the light sources! Feel free to experiment with various blurs and blur strengths. Dreamy/surreal Shanghai
    5. This is the fastest way to achieve a dreamy/surreal effect and it gives the best effect in portraits. Now, how to fine tune this image? The result I wanted was a surreal, black and white image of Shanghai, but you might want something different. You can choose from tons of filters, apply some photo filters, put some color balance, paint on the image. This is the first and basic step to achieve surrealism. I’ll deal with more advanced techniques in my next tutorial. For now, let’s continue to more black and white awesomeness.
    6. Now, click on the ‘Adjustment Layer’ icon at the bottom of the layer pallette and select Black and White (only in CS3 and above)Black and White
    7. Now see those funky sliders, go on and play with them till you get the effect that you like. photoshop sliders
      OMG! Funky sliders. I wants to playz!
    8. And the finally, take a good look at the picture you've obtained. Take a deep breath and try to see if a photo filter makes it look better still. If not then save it and share it and be famous!! shanghai-b&w

    If you have any doubts, comments or suggestions then do feel free to leave a word behind, savvy?! Oh and btw, here's another result along with the source image!dumb bride

    Source Image

    a prettier bride
    After a little effects

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    About This Blog

    I had been wanting to start a photolog for quite some time, but I guess couldn't find the time or probably a decent camera. But then in August, 2008 I bought a 2 MP, Nokia 6233.

    It was an all-in-one phone and the camera wasn't that bad. So then I went on a picture taking spree and finally decided to make this blog! The years went by and the Nokia 6233 became obsolete. Then I had the bright idea of buying a Nokia Asha 302. It had a 3.2 MP camera which I shall now pit against the almighty 6233.

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