To create this crystal-like design, I’ll be working in Photoshop and using a few basic tools
of picture manipulation: layering, blending modes and filters. I’m going to guide you through the steps to achieve a crystal, glass or metallic effect on a regular image.
The first, and perhaps the most important thing, is to find a good quality picture suitable for this method.
In order to get good results, the image you choose needs to meet a few requirements: it should be constituted of clearly defined elements with sharp edges, preferably against a solid or smooth background, and in contrasting tones. Colours aren’t important, so long as there’s a lot of contrast within the composition. The technique explained in this workshop won’t be as effective – or will give very different results – on fuzzy shapes, blurry contours, busy backgrounds, or on low-contrast pictures using mostly soft, neutral tones. The nature of the final effect (crystal, glass or metallic) will mostly depend on these aspects of your starting image.
The picture I chose for this workshop is a fractal pattern generated in Fractal Explorer (a free program, a demo of which is on the DVD). The image is particularly well-suited to yield good results since it meets all of the required conditions; moreover, the intrinsic beauty of its sophisticated pattern makes it an ideal candidate for a crystal-like design. For the purpose of this workshop, I won’t go into further detail about fractal images and their creation process, but will focus instead on the method used to turn the picture into a crystal-like design.
From issue 17.