8 Obscure Yet Awesome Photoshop Techniques which will help you create stand out and attention grabbing design work. Let's get cracking! 

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If you are not too familiar with Smart Objects they are layers which contain image data from raster or vector files. They preserve an image's source content with all its original characteristics and this means you can make nondestructive adjustments to the layer. 

They were introduced to Photoshop 15 years ago in CS2 but still remain a bit of a mystery to a lot of Designers who work in Photoshop everyday.  

Watch this tutorial to discover the 5 most useful ways to make the most of Smart Objects . These methods help to take your skills to the next level! Ready to find out more?

2. Out of Bounds Effect 

This technique takes 'thinking outside the box' to a whole new level. Learn how you can make images look as if they are escaping the screen. We have seen this effect popping up in advertising campaigns and branding projects. 

It's the perrrrfect (pardon the pun) way to add personality, depth and new layers of meaning to a composition. The best kind of creative work is the kind that makes you double-take and this certainly has that effect.


Work by:  Fedde Souverein 
Managing Director for Luminous Creative Imaging.

Work by: Lightfarm Studios
Content for Campaign Creation.

3. Color Pop Effect

This Photoshop technique will help you draw attention to the focal point/main subject of your images. It's kind of similar to using shallow depth of field but with the color in an image instead of the focus range.

It's handy to use when you want an object or person to 'stand out from the crowd' and appear more exciting, animated, expensive, luxury, etc in comparison to the background of the image. 

This technique uses the On-Image Editing Tool in Photoshop. This tool means you can change the colour of individual sections of a photograph, while the rest of the image remains unchanged! We love it..


Work by:

Sebastian Schmitz | Lead Retouch Artist

Wolfgang Kluyken | Art Post Production

4. Mixer Brush

This has to be my personal favourite of these obscure but awesome techniques! Get ready to create some outta this world Typography in Photoshop using the Mixer Brush (another utterly brilliant but underused tool!)

No need to be amazing at drawing letterforms you can start off with an existing typeface so literally anyone with Photoshop can learn and use this skill! Or any of the others in this list.

Why not try creating your own type composition using the phrase 'Mixer Brush'?

If you decide to take up this challenge don't forget to post it up to FB, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #yesimadesigner so we can find your new creative work! 

5. Concentric Prism

A concentric prism effect...promise it's a lot less complicated than it sounds and it can help bring an air of intrigue and mystery to your creative work.

It's kind of similar to the Color Pop Effect we looked at earlier. It can also be used to draw attention to the main subject in your image, however instead of making something look cool or expensive it will look more mysterious, think...Stranger Things vibes! 


Work by Sébastien Del Grosso | Senior Designer & Visual Artist


All of these techniques are useful to have in your creative tool kit BUT they wont all work for every project. Think about the creative problem you are solving. If you're manipulating an image to help sell stationary products you probably don't want them looking mysterious. Use appropriate techniques and you wont go far wrong.

6. Style Animation

Moving image is all-the-rage and if you don't fancy learning After Effects don't worry we have your back with this Photoshop technique. 

Did you know Photoshop has a Timeline panel which allows a user to animate layer styles? It works using keyframes and is a simple technique but can create complex looking effects. We highly recommend you give it a go to see what you can come up with! 


Check out some interesting styles animation to help you get inspired and think of ways you could innovate and push this technique even further.

MadeByStudioJQ | Branding, Illustration, 3D & Art Direction.

Grzegorz Kemona | Senior Graphic Designer. Space Lover.

7. Reflection on Water

You may not always be thinking about the finishing touches when working in Photoshop. The key to effective image retouching is to ground your ideas in reality otherwise something will feel 'a little off'. This is the difference between good and awesome editing. 

Learning this technique will allow you to create believable reflections on all kinds of glossy and reflective surfaces. Perhaps start with water then try with a different image. To find the perfect photographs to practise with click here


Here's a few creative examples to help get your ideas flowing.

Work by Jim Lind | Freelance Creative Retoucher

Work by Xavier Portela | Creative Director + Photographer 

8. Perspective Retouching

Retouching in perspective? Yup that's right! 

Learn to use the The Vanishing Point filter which has its own Clone Stamp Tool. This means you can repeat details in perspective. Would you believe it if I said two of the buildings in the image above were not there to start with?

It's a clever filter, but you have to learn to use it effectively to truly create a seamless final result.

If you love this technique check out another of our recent tutorials on creating perspective patterns in Photoshop.

Thanks for reading we hope you enjoyed this list of Photoshop Techniques. If you have any obscure yet awesome techniques of your own we would love to hear about them in the comment section below.


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About the author 

Emily Melling

Emily Melling studied a degree in Visual Communication, after graduating she became a freelance graphic designer, specialising in Branding & Identity. She enjoys developing working relationships with clients and other creatives who are open to exploring new and innovative ideas.

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