Creating something out of nothing was a challenge faced when a friend asked Batista to create something for a college project, giving him only a rather flat-looking picture with which to work. Above, you can see how he transformed the image.

“I used the Smudge Tool to blur his face, which created a painterly effect,” says Batista. “This smoothed out the skin and achieved a cleaner texture.”

Next, he remedied the image’s flatness by separating the white tones, using the Channels bar. “I created a layer, duplicated it a couple of times and this lifted the whole image, so that it had properly balanced bright areas.”

Next, Batista gave the image a colder feel by using a bluish hue saturation layer, and used Free Transform to give the body and hat a cartoonish quality. He added some legs, changing the colour of the trousers using Color Overlay, before importing vector elements from Illustrator, which he fine-tuned in Photoshop using overlaid layers to achieve lustre and shine.

Batista then created his composite images in Illustrator, before using blurs to apply light and shadow effects in Photoshop. “I don’t like to use drop shadows,” he says. “I prefer to create a separate layer with a blurry shape and then multiply or overlay it.”

James Digby-Jones

James Digby-Jones is partner at retouching house Saddington & Baynes, and as director of the retouching department, has been setting industry standards in the use of Photoshop for years.

A Photoshop user since 1993, Digby-Jones learned the program while studying photography and visual communication at the Kent Institute of Art and Design.

“I started to experiment with Photoshop 3.0 – the first version to have layers. I later bought my own kit and made retouching an integral part of my photographic project work,” he explains.

This schooled him in the ability of Photoshop to “provide multiple tools for manipulation that could be combined in different ways to produce different, interesting results” – something that has served his career well.