Creating an Eye-Catching Image

December 7, 2009

Photo Tips

Rick here before Paul gets going. I found this dude quite by accident on twitter, after reading an interesting tweet, clicking on his avatar, and then by going to his web site. This image was on his homepage and caught my eye immediately. I guess it pays to tweet about cool stuff. Take it away Paul.

Rest of post by Paul Brace

Sometimes photographs are just the beginning! Graphics are like recipes; they are guidelines that should be “cooked” to suit the palette.


Here is the info on the image.

I started with a black background. The model photograph is from used as is but with a blend mode (Layers window) of hard light and an opacity of 78%. This brought out the moodiness of the look and punched up the reds.

I also created a duplicate of the layer and used a blend mode of overlay at opacity of about 20% to add some extra contrast.

The wolf photograph is also from istockphotocom. I used a soft light blend on him with a quick layer mask and with a soft-sided brush, painted in the area I wanted.

I then duplicated the layer and added an overlay blend of about 55%.

The light beams are a series of filled layers created using the polygonal lasso then colored, motion blurred and using free transform (ctr+t) under the edit menu.

I used the shift ctrl and alt keys in various combinations to create the shapes I wanted. These have various blend modes of screened and overlays with various opacities to get the stronger and weaker light effects.

Duplicate copies were blended together then a layer masked added for variations of tone and refraction.

The eclipse is a white circle and a black circle blended together and then cut out, I duplicated the layer and add a blend mode of dissolve opacity of 28%.

The lens flare is an old Corel KPT6 plug-in (originally Kai’s Power Tools).

Basic tips:

When you start experimenting in Photoshop, turn on your history log (edit/preferences/general). This will record everything you do. When you have an effect you like, save it, you may find it useful point in the future.

Did I do that? No! When Rick and Juan asked me to do this article, I had to rebuild the image so I could tell you how I did it.

I didn’t mention the nebula or the bar codes. The bar codes, I figure you can work out. The nebula was not on the original it was after all a background for my twitter page and could not be seen. I did the nebula effect playing with an article from Photoshop user. Put it in to fill the blank.

If you have questions you can send DM me where Rick found me. Thanks, Rick!

Paul Brace
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This post was written by:

- who has written 171 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon has published 36 books, including Exploring the Light and Digital Photography Secrets.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, “My specialty is not specializing.”

You can follow Rick on twitter at and visit his website at

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