What do you get when you mix a picture of something really dirty, a snapshot of orange juice swirling in a pool of teriyaki marinade, a texture shot of a broken plastic bin, and an HDR image of a guy in a gas mask?….One hell of a crazy looking photo from a childlike imagination, that’s what! In preparation for some training at work I tried on ye old gas mask before the fantastic Chemical Attack training, it has a much longer name than that in military lingo, but I’ll save you the acronyms and bull crap. Some people hate the gas mask, but I find it kinda fun, especially when this is what I am imagining!
With images like these it is all about the build up of many layers to achieve a textured background. I would love to do a tutorial for an image like this, but to teach it step by step would take hours! Hours of my life that I don’t necessarily have to offer right now. However, I can show you my work flow in Photoshop. Everything…. yes, everything I have done in this image I have already shown you in my plethora of tutorials. All you have to do is apply them individually and over time they will build up to this!
One thing I am horrible at, is labeling my layers, I never do it, even on images I have done 75+ layers of work on. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Printmaking, and I have been known for my layering work. I once did a 16 layer silkscreen print in a beginning silkscreen class that only required 4 layers, but 4 just wasn’t enough 🙂 Remember that when you are post processing your work, sometimes 5 just isn’t enough! Push it to the next level, and layer away. The great difference between silkscreen printing and digitally printmaking is you lose nothing if you make a mistake in digital work!
What I suggest, before you say, “I can’t do that!” Try it, make mistakes, and then magically press ctrl+z (undo). Also, do not stop until the image is truly done. Continue breaking the mold, I guarantee that trying something extra on a whim, will equate to many more layers that will add unprecedented depth to an otherwise bland image.