Satori techniques for Photoshop Users
Page 1- Photoshop


Same Technique- Different Tools

This tutorial will show how to solve design problems often faced by designers in the computer graphics industry. As an added bonus, two design tools have been used, to demonstrate the differences between the main types of design packages on the market, this will also help show how the same effects can be achieved through different methods.

The Brief

The aim of the exercise is to transform the image below from a clear, still scene to a more moody image with heavy clouds and rain.

To achieve this you must replace the sky, add ripples to the water and add the ‘fake’ rain.

Using Photoshop

As with Satori, there are various ways to tackle problems in Photoshop and the more that you experiment with the program it becomes more obvious which methods suit your own personal working style. The examples below show one route that you could take to solve the design problem.

The images used in this tutorial are samples provided from various photo-libraries. It is not essential to have the exact images featured, as the tutorial is meant to show techniques which can be used on any image.

Load your first image into Photoshop. This base layer will be used as your document ‘Background’.

Duplicate this layer from the ‘Layer’ menu. This creates a second layer with the same image, that an Alpha channel can be added to.

Now find a suitable image that can be used for the replacement sky. Don’t worry about the contrast, brightness and aspect of this image as you can change this later.

Using the Image Size dialog (from the ‘Image’ menu), with the constrain properties box unchecked, you can alter the aspect to match your first image.

Back to your original image, use the Magic Wand tool and ‘Cut’ to remove the black sky on the top layer. For this image a small tolerance value was used as the sky was mostly black, with more detailed skies a higher value would be necessary, using a User Mask may give better results if the Wand cannot select all areas.

Now create a new layer and move it so that it lies directly below your sky-less image. Right-click over the ‘Sky’ image and select all. This image can now be cut and pasted to the empty second layer of the main canvas, and the composition (above) should be immediately visible.

Still on this layer, use the Brightness/ Contrast controls (Image/ Adjust) to darken the sky so that the images’ overall appearance blends seamlessly.

The original sky canvas can now be discarded, leaving your composited image. To create the rain add another layer filled with black to your canvas and use the Noise filter to add white specks.

You can now use another of Photoshop’s arsenal of filters, Motion Blur, to streak the ‘Rain-drops’ at an angle of about 30 degrees off the vertical, to simulate movement.

Set this top layer to ‘Screen’ on the Composition Option Menu from the Layer list to reveal the background to finish the project.

 See Page 2 of this tutorial to find out how to handle the same task in Satori…….