Look beyond the surface and create intriguing X-ray images.

Capturing the inner beauty of an object with an X-ray is not an easy task. Only a handful of photographers combine photography as an art form with radiology -- which might have something to do with the fact that achieving the effect requires highly-specialized equipment, that bombards the subjects with potentially-lethal ionizing radiation.

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t come cheap, so in this tutorial, we save you some pennies by inviting Mark Mayers to show you how to achieve a similar effect in Photoshop.

You’ll discover how to re-assemble the inner workings of a computer mouse using a variety of blending modes to reveal hidden detail. Next we’ll add some distress layers to add interest to an otherwise clinical illustration. Finally, you’ll add some 3D renders to really finish off the effect.

This is a great technique that works with almost any technical appliance that can be dismantled – but don’t expect to be able to use them again afterwards.

Step 1
We’ll be working from the base of the mouse upwards; so download this tutorial's project files (registration required), open Mouse_1.jpg and select Image > Rotate Canvas > Flip Horizontal -- remember, you’re looking from above. Cmd/Ctrl + click ‘Clipping 1’ path (in the Paths palette) to generate a selection, then hit Cmd/ Ctrl + J to float a new layer and label it ‘Mouse back outer ’. Generate a selection from ‘Clipping 2’ and hit Delete, then fill the base layer with white. This will be your working file for the first part of the tutorial.

Step 2
Open Mouse_2.jpg and create a path-based selection, copy-and-paste it into a new layer and label it ‘Mouse back inner ’. Lower the layer’s opacity and scale and position it using the central hole as a guide. Now Cmd/Ctrl + click the first layer’s thumbnail to generate a selection. Invert it (Cmd/Ctrl + I), ensure your new layer is targeted, then use the Eraser tool in the circle. Set the opacity back to 100%.