I'm trying to find tutorials for certain types of photoshop image modifications, but I don't know what words to search for. Things like "touching up" and "photo manipulation" aren't specific enough. Searching for "applying textures" results in a lot of subtle stuff that's not really what I'm after. I'm not asking for references to specific tutorials necessarily. I'm trying to figure out how to search for these types of photo modifications. What words should I google for? I'm interested specifically in things like:

  • taking a photo of a real person and making half their face be made of fire (like this one: example)
  • taking a photo of a sword and making it look like the sword is all frosty like it was just taken from a freezer
  • taking a photo of a wolf and making the face more angry and leathery.
  • taking a photo of a book and making it look ancient and worn out.


Searching for "digital illustration" gave me a lot of good results. In particular it helped me find the following which is exactly what I was looking for: http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/photo-effects-tutorials/apply-textures-uneven-surfaces/

I've also been watching Deke's tutorials. They've helped a lot as well. Thanks!

  • 1
    those examples all sound like 'digital illustration' to me. Not really something you can just pick up from a tutorial.
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 19:05
  • Good point. Tutorials will teach individual techniques, not the, um, broader picture. (Awful pun, too tired to think of another way to put it.) Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 9:07

2 Answers 2


"Photoshop effects", "image special effects" and "Photoshop special effects" would be good starting points. The last two subsume under that category, but you're also likely to find those kinds of things if you search "photo retouching."

"Advanced photoshop" would be another search term likely to produce results.

An alternate approach would be to start at a site such as Deke McLelland's. Deke has the deep skills and quirky sense of humor that lend themselves to this kind of project, and he has dozens of excellent and entertaining tutorials showing how to create effects like the ones you describe.

  • 2
    I would like to add "Photo manipulation" cause thats basically the general group that these all more or less belong to. And this is worth checking out worth1000.com/tutorials - The biggest photo manipulation website out there.. Should have at least something you need.
    – Joonas
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 6:29

The first example, and possibly the others, could be described as "compositing".

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