Benjamin Simon of Foreal created this illustration in Photoshop.

Photoshop Skills That Are for Real

By Terri Stone

In 2013, Benjamin Simon and Dirk Schuster got together to start a design studio. They named it “Foreal,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to masterful digital painting and compositing skills that made even their most outrageous illustration and motion work look real. Watch the screen-capture videos below to see Benjamin Simon combine Adobe Stock assets and Adobe Photoshop CC wizardry to conjure a scene with its own bizarre truth.

To try compositing photos yourself, download 10 images from Adobe Stock for free.


In the video screen-capture above, Simon begins his composite by selecting Adobe Stock assets. To find images that mesh well, he right-clicks on a selected image and chooses Show similar.

Using the Adobe Stock Library inside Photoshop, Simon searches for a marble texture, places it, and alters its perspective with the Transform tool.

Now Simon spends time on the lighting setup so that individual elements better match the scene. He adds and changes highlights and shadows with non-destructive Adjustment layers and the Brush tool. He also uses the Layer Blend mode to add a concrete texture to the pillars.

In this screen-capture, Simon duplicates and manipulates columns to create reflections in the shiny marble floor, employing the Transform tool, gradient fades, and more.

See what it takes to create a realistic-looking shadow. You may be surprised by some of Simon’s choices, but the results speak for themselves.

This part of the process is a good example of the studio’s painstaking attention to detail; in this case, while adding a capital from another Adobe Stock image to an existing column. Although the Photoshop techniques here aren’t groundbreaking—it’s mostly the Quick Selection tool and masks—every move of the mouse counts.

Watch Simon apply dripping “paint” with a black brush, cleaning up spills with the Eraser tool.

Now Simon changes the brush color to a light gray to paint in “highlights” on the black drips, enhancing their dimensionality. Note that he deliberately chooses not to make the lighting of all of the elements completely consistent—this is a surreal fantasy scene, after all.

In this stage of the photo-compositing process, Simon performs finishing touches, including changing the color cast the scene with a filter, increasing the overall contrast with the Curves panel, and adding a layer of noise to soften too-perfect edges.

To see more by this German design studio, follow them on Behance.

December 14, 2017