Artists are also becoming more experienced with bringing in CAD models for realistic representations of products, and with using CG created by 3D artists – for example, taking multi-layered renders where elements such as lighting exist separately, and using these to integrate 2D art elements more accurately. With more artists using these techniques, we’re set to see some very exciting new uses of 3D in Photoshop art.

The Photoshop experts we spoke to have some ideas of their own as to what’s going to be big in 2010. They agree that the abstract and futuristic trends are here to stay, along with light and neon effects.

“Expect much more mixed-media art, with 3D-generated content and matte paintings mixed with photographic elements,” says illustrator Murilo Maciel.

“More artists will mix their Photoshop talents with real paintings and drawings,” says graphic designer Bram Vanhaeren. “Making images with just Photoshop brushes and stock is over.”

Photoshop guru Neil Duerden agrees: “The fashion is towards more photographic compositions held together with illustration.”

Over to you
So what can you do to further your own Photoshop art in 2010? The trends we’ve outlined are just the start: you can learn as much from bad art as you can from good. Luckily, for every piece of Photoshop brilliance, there are a dozen horrible compositions for your edification.

These fall into two broad categories: the clumsy, and the clichéd. And the biggest cliché of them all is the ‘girl with swirly lights’ variety. It’s not hard to see why these are so popular – pictures of pretty girls are both easy to embellish and generally widely appreciated. However, an endless stream of such pictures, without context or message, becomes meaningless, and the images are often little more than eye-candy.