An excellent project to test your skills in Photoshop is to create an optical illusion. Optical illusion creates an effect that makes you see what is not, or what you see, is different from what it should look like in reality.
In this lesson you will learn how to create a composition of the illusion of an endless picture. Using simple manipulation methods, images from the GraphicRiver website and much more, you can try to create this effect!
Note: The author used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the images to perform the lesson.
1. How to set up a document for an illusion
One of the things that I like before I get to work is picking a photo that I enjoy. Before work, I appreciate everything that can be done with it to create a composition.
I initially fell in love with this photo of a redhead girl, so I will consider it as a common basis for the scene. However, there are a few things that I need to decide before I can continue.
- Overall body position: I like this photo because of its strong direct look at the camera. But, unfortunately, her body is angled and her arms are pointing down, so I need to find a way to fix it.
- Hand position: To make this work, the model must hold the picture frame. If you could not find the desired stock image when the model is already holding the frame, then think about how to build body language from scratch. To do this, we need to examine the images with the positions of the hands that are suitable for us, then to create the look we need.
- Background: The last thing we need is a good background. The original composition works as a separate photo, but to create this illusion we need to focus everything in the center and create more depth of field for better impact.
To see how these items relate to creating illusions, let’s quickly look at the “before” and “after” to compare the original photo and the final version.
Now we can proceed to create the document. Open the stock image with the redhead model in Photoshop. Double click on the background layer to change it to Layer 0 (Layer 0).
Using tool Crop tool (Frame) (C) enlarge the right part of the image to get more space. We do this to create a more balanced scene. Then slightly enlarge the image from above. After you finish, the dimensions should change from 1920 x 1280 pixels to 2226 x 1412 pixels.
Now let’s fill the empty space. Create a new layer under the original photo and fill it with black using the tool Paint bucket tool (Fill) (G). Then select the layer with the photo and double-click Control-J to create a duplicate layer. Name one of the duplicates “Right” for the right side of the composition. Then hide the visibility of another copy for the next step.
Select the “Right” layer and go to Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally). Make sure that on the layers panel this layer is located under the original photo layer. Next, move it in the right direction to fill the gap.
2. How to combine background images together
Copy and paste the image with the forest into the document as a separate layer and place it over the black background layer. Change it to match the background with Free transform tool (Free Transformation) (Control-T). Make sure that the image is positioned so that the top of the bushes from the original photo fits the trees.
Let’s adjust the color of the forest layer to match the original photo. Go to menu Image> Adjustments> Hue and Saturation (Image> Correction> Hue / Saturation). Adjust the settings as follows:
- Hue (Color tone): -3
- Saturation (Saturation): -64
- Lightness (Brightness): -15
We need to change the color a little more so that the images merge. Create a new adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance) with the following settings for Shadows (Shadows) and Mid tones (Medium tones):
Then add a new adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) and place it higher to enhance and balance the lighting. Adjust the curve for the RGB channel as shown below.
Now create a depth of field, slightly blurring the background. Select the forest layer and go to Filter > Blur > GaussianBlur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Set the value Radius (Radius) at 7.7, then click OK.
Now that we have all our background elements, we need to combine them to get rid of the edges that are now visible. To do this, add a layer mask by clicking on the icon, which is located at the bottom of the layers panel, on the original photo and both duplicates.
Take BrushTool (Brush) (B) and set Hardness (Hardness) at 0%. Next, paint over black on the layer-masks in those areas where you see clear lines between the layers. So you hide the unnecessary part and get a smooth transition. You will notice that the “Right” layer also has a clear edge, to remove it, go to the layer mask of the original photo and make a smooth transition with a black soft brush.
This is the result you should have.
3. How to change the body position of the model
We have finished with the background and now we can focus on the model. Remember that we hid the layer earlier? Turn on the visibility of this layer.
Use the tool Magnetic Lasso Tool (Magnetic lasso) (M) to create a selection around the model. Then, without removing the selection, click on the icon for creating a layer mask, thus you will hide the entire background, except for the girl.
To make it appear that the model is standing right towards us, we need to make sure that both of her shoulders are facing forward. Select the “Model” layer and go to Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally) to flip it.
Now use BrushTool (Brush) (B) and with the help of black hide the part of the girl’s body. The only thing that needs to be left is her right shoulder and the bottom of the sweater. Keep in mind that later everything will be closed frame.
Note: So, step by step, the whole process of changing the body position of the girl is shown. Notice how we can easily achieve this using a mirror image.
Now add a picture frame to our work. This image already has a transparent background, so you do not need to cut it out. Copy and paste the frame into the composition by resizing it and turning it with the tool Free transform (Free Transform) (Control-T).
Create a selection for the inside of the frame with the tool Rectangular marquee tool (Rectangular area) (M) and fill the selection with black color with the tool Paint bucket tool (Fill) (G).
Adjust the color of the frame. Create a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask for a layer with a frame. Set the settings as follows:
- Hue (Color tone): +42
- Saturation (Saturation): -72
- Lightness (Brightness): -53
Create a new layer with overlay mode. Linear Dodge (Add) (Linear clarifier) above the layer with the frame. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B) and with olive color # 68573d start painting on the frame. This blending mode will create bright golden highlights, so be sure to make a beautiful shiny finish. Feel free to add more highlights on the same layer to highlight the pattern and balance the lighting.
We can not make it so that you can not see the hands that should hold the picture! First, select one hand from the image with the advertising model using the tool Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L), copy and paste it on a new layer above the frame. Rotate and resize it with the tool Free transform tool (Free Transformation) (Control-T). Add a layer mask to the layer with your hand. Use black brush to hide unwanted parts.
Now the hand looks too bright. Add a new adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask for a layer with a hand. Set the settings as follows:
- Hue (Color tone): 0
- Saturation (Saturation): -36
- Lightness (Brightness): -12
As soon as you finish the job with the first hand, duplicate it to make it the second. Select a layer with the second hand and go to the menu Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally).
Just do not do everything perfect! Place your left hand a little lower to show the change in body weight when the model, by means of movement, changes its position.
4. How to create the illusion of an image inside an image
Now create the illusion! The process is quite simple, but first of all let’s add a cold filter to the image. Add a new adjustment layer Color lookup (Color search) with the following parameters:
- 3DLUT File: Fuji F125 Kodak 2395
Choose a tool Zoom tool (Magnifier) (Z) and click Fit screen (Show full screen) to fit the image completely into the window. Now make a screen screen by pressing Print Screen on keyboard.
Create a new document and insert a screen screen. Use the tool Rectangular marquee tool (Rectangular area) (M) to select an image, then copy and paste it into our work.
Resize image using tool Free transform tool (Free Transform) (Control-T) and position it so that it is centered within the frame. If you have an image beyond the frame, simply use the tool Rectangular marquee tool (Rectangular area) (M) to select the unwanted part and delete it.
Now repeat this process to create the illusion of infinity. Simply duplicate (Control-J) the screen with the screen several times, resize each of them and place them inside the frames.
I used four layers to create this endless effect. If you still see a black square even in the smallest frame, then select it with the tool Rectangular marquee tool (Rectangular area) and remove the black part. This should solve this problem.
5. Final Illusion Editing
Are you ready to finish the job of creating this illusion? We have only a few steps left. First, let’s fix and enhance the color. Add a new adjustment layer Levels (Levels) with the following settings:
Then add a new adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance) with the following settings:
Here is the composition with these two settings:
To finish the job, we will clarify the details for more intensity. First create a new group and place all the layers in it. Duplicate the group and merge all the layers inside it.
Select the “Merged” layer and duplicate it (Control-J). Set the layer blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and go to Filter> Other> High Pass (Filter> Other> Color Contrast). Set a radius of 10 pixels and click OK. Then reduce Opacity (opacity) up to 29%.
That’s all! The final result you will see below.
One of my favorite things about working with photography is that you can take an already beautiful image and make it even more dramatic with a few additional elements.
I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial.