I didn’t really know what to call this 🙂 Probably aimed at portraits, but you could try it on other things to see how it turns out.

The image is brought to us by Orbán Ferenc over at the
Stock Exchange site.


All the settings used are relevant to this file 800 X 600@72dpi, they will change if you are using a higher res image …. and the technique probably works better on a higher res.

Here we go. Open the start image, or one of your own, and duplicate it then close the original. Duplicate the image by dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette or press Ctrl + J on the keyboard. Change the blend mode to Overlay and then go to Filter>Other>High Pass. You can see that I have chosen a radius of 4 for this image. You are going to do another High Pass later on, but this should do for now. Remember, if you are working on a higher res image the numbers will have to be larger.


Now you are going to add a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Before you do that, check that your f/ground and b/ground colours are set to their defaults i.e. black and white. Once you have the colours to their default, click on the Create New Adjustment Layer at the bottom of the layers palette and choose Gradient Map. Click on the Gradient (see image) to get the dialogue box.


You should now have the dialogue box visible and you can start to make some adjustments. Usin the bottom Color Stops drag the black triangle in till the Location reads 15% – drag the white stop in till it reads 95% and move the Color Midpoint till it reads 55%. These are just the settings I chose, you can change them if you like.


Once you have it as you like, click OK in the Gradient Editor and then OK in the Gradient Map to accept.

Now you are going to do a Stamp Visible. There are several ways that you can do this – making sure that you have the Gradient Adjustment layer active you can hit the Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E keys and the 3 layers will be merged into one. Or you can create a new blank layer above the Gradient Map Layer, hold down the Alt key go to the little downward facing triangle at top of the layers palette and select Merge Visible – don’t let go of the Alt key until it has merged. Change the blend mode of this layer to Overlay. Go to Filter>Other>High Pass and you can punch in the number I have, or choose one of your own.


If you hold down the Alt key and click on the eyeball next to the background layer, you can see the changes you have made so far. With the Alt key still held down click on the eyeball again to view all of the layers.

You could stop there if you wanted to, but you can also do a couple of other things. Making sure that you are working on the top most layer, go to the new adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette and choose Solid Color. I chose a blue colour (see image below) and then change the blend mode to colour and you’ll probably have to take the opacity down as well. I took the opacity down to 15%.



To further enhance this, you could then create a new blank layer at the top of the layer stack, grab your Elliptical Marquee Tool, hold down the Shift Key to get a circle shape, go to Select>Inverse and then fill the selection with black (or some other colour). Press Ctrl + D to deselect and then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and give it a really high blur. I did about 60 on this image. Go back to Filter> and choose Gaussian Blur from the top to repeat the filter, or you could press Ctrl + F on the keyboard. I then took the opacity of the layer down to 50% – and here is the final image and then a comparison image.