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.

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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