If you’ve ever mixed a can of paint with a screwdriver, you know there’s something innately satisfying about using the wrong tool for the job. Perhaps this illogical feeling of satisfaction harkens back to our days as primitive beings, when a thighbone could both kill our prey and stir the succeeding meal. This gratifying rebellion can be claimed in Photoshop too. I found that there were multiple tools we could misuse in our quest for image control and creative discovery.
One of my more recent discoveries is that HDR processing can be used creatively. I’ll also cover using the Stacks feature in CS4 here, again in a not-so-usual way. Call it creative freedom or call it fun, but, whatever moniker you choose, I think you’ll enjoy how we can playfully misuse some of Photoshop’s most powerful tools to create images with a charm and intrigue all their own.
In the classic darkroom, we’d mix exotic concoctions that changed the development characteristics of film or paper, toned our prints in new and seductive fashion, or simply reduced our wash time with a home-brewed hypo-clearing potion. There was an element of joy as we mixed our chemistry to get better (or different) photographic results. We’re now striving for that same digital moonshine in Photoshop. For example, in a recent issue of PHOTO Techniques, I outlined how we could use Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask filter to enhance local contrast in our images.