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Dreamcatcher photomontage

What you'll learn:

There is a handful of photo editing techniques that PVII makes clever use of, and about which many of our forum visitors have asked questions. These techniques are:

  • Retouching
  • Masking
  • Fading
  • Blending

Rather than approach each technique in a separate tutorial, I thought it might be fun to include them in an introductory tutorial on Photomontage. When you've finished this tutorial you should be comfortable with simple digital photo retouching techniques like patching, smudging, and color correction. You'll also learn to make marquee selections, use the Rubber Stamp tool, and create quick masks and brushed masks. First, some background.


"The juxtaposition of two primary stimuli leads to a powerful secondary response" __Sergei M. Eisenstein.

A photomontage is a single pictorial composition made by superimposing two or more picture elements. In real world examples, source material can include cutouts from magazines, newspapers, and other ingredients that enhance and extend the meaning of the original image. Photomontage as screen art is mainly focused on photographic images.

The beginnings

Although photos have been manipulated since Victorian times, Photomontage wasn't fully developed as an art form until just after W.W.I. At the center of this new art movement was a group of artists in Berlin that called themselves Dada. Dada artists were looking for a means of saying more about reality than figurative painting could express. They used photographs and other types of images to produce works that were visceral, erotic, playful, emotive, intuitive, and often mystical. Photomontage was a new way of making the invisible visible.

Dada, and its child art form, Surrealism, have experienced revivals in the '60s and '80s. Photomontage is enjoying a revival in the form of images for the Internet.

Note: Dada means things in several languages. It's French for "hobbyhorse" and Slavic for "yes yes."

Before we move on to building the Dreamcatcher image you'll need to download a zip file containg the images. Unzip the file to the Studio VII folder on your hard drive. A subfolder named Dreamcatcher is created, containing the three images needed for the tutorial.

The beach and dome images are courtesy the good folks at the Inertia Stock Exchange. Inertia is an excellent source of royalty free and copyright free images.

Next: Preparing the destination image