While there are plenty of instances where Photoshop goes too far, sometimes it’s exactly what’s needed to bring out perfection in a photograph. Or in other cases, completely transform them into something magical and otherworldly. Indeed, it’s not all airbrushing models or placing celebrities in funny situations. These wondrous images will open your eyes to what’s possible when you take Photoshop seriously.
20. Skyscraper leap
Capturing a photo like this in real life would be pretty dangerous. Of course, you could always harness yourself up and Photoshop it out later – but if you’re going to use the graphics editor anyway, this seems like a much better solution.
19. Window skyline
Is the view from your bedroom window not interesting enough? You may want to give Photoshop a whirl. For this young girl, that means converting a dull afternoon into a twilight, picturesque cityscape, with muted colors to truly sell the transformation.
18. Mystical levitation
Photoshop doesn’t always have to be overly complex. And it’s not just the simple removal of the stool that gives this image a wonderfully ethereal presence. Indeed, the desaturation and darkening of the entire shot really brings out the effect of the subjects’ spooky pose.
17. Book magic
The use of multiple layers here has worked wonders for the finished picture: from cutting out the woman holding up books to adding in extra tomes. And the end result is truly a thing of magic that looks like it’s come straight from the next Harry Potter movie.
16. Forest maiden
This is a trickier game of “spot the difference” than you may first assume. Not only has the artist added in the otherworldly lighting and colorful butterflies, but the hallmarks of modernity – like the weathered post and pink metal strip – have been removed. Indeed, the attention to detail is remarkable.
The original picture here already looks pretty magical. But there’s no denying just how much cooler it looks after going under the Photoshop brush. Yes, the blue hue really brings out the sense of a winter wonderland. In fact, the girl almost looks like she’s come straight from a Disney film…
14. Medieval docks
It’s amazing how convincing Photoshop can make things seem. Indeed, if you didn’t know any better, you’d probably assume the picture on the right was taken by a time-traveling sailor with a camera, pulling up to the docks at dusk. The orange flame and blue light contrast perfectly to create the mood.
13. Red Riding Hood
We dread to think how long this must have taken. Indeed, the only thing really remaining from the original shot is Red Riding Hood herself. But the execution is so superb that no matter how much time was dedicated to it, the end result is absolutely worth it.
12. Modern warfare
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were part of an action movie, then Photoshop will be your new best friend. Of course, it’ll definitely take a lot of practice to pull off something as masterful as this. But there’s no denying just how awesome the transformation is.
11. Lighting the way
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe some of the things you can achieve with Photoshop. This portrait, for instance, is deceptively simple; while the subject remains pretty much the same, everything else about the picture has changed thanks to the dramatic new lighting.
10. Floating photography
If you’d only seen the “after” shot of this duo, you’d be forgiven for thinking the bird was there all along. In fact, even that is a touch of Photoshop wizardry, alongside the removal of the chair that makes it look like the photographer is mimicking the bird’s flight for a perfect shot.
9. The raven
Even with the knowledge that Photoshop has worked its magic on this picture, it still seems unbelievable that one could become the other. The dramatic clouds and moody lighting lend the finished work a haunting atmosphere that’s completely removed from the dull original.
8. Neon barfly
This dapper fellow almost looks like he’s been painted straight into this bar scene. Indeed, the attention to detail is truly incredible – right down to the neon reflections outlining his jacket. If you’re ever after an awesomely unique profile shot, then, Photoshop could be the answer.
7. Remote wastelands
While the original shot of this red-haired young woman is fantastically haunting enough on its own, adding a slice of Photoshop magic really takes it to the next level. The sunset in the background contrasts sublimely with the dark sky overhead to create a wonderfully visceral mood.
6. Casualty of war
Perhaps the most striking thing about this picture is the reflection in the lens of the goggles. Indeed, it succinctly immerses you into the world it’s created, even when the majority of the frame is taken up by the guy’s face. If you didn’t know better, you might think it was a painting.
It can be hard to imagine what the world your great-grandparents lived in looked like – after all, these were the days before color photography. Injecting that color into an old photo through the magic of Photoshop, then, is the perfect way to bring a decades-old scene to life.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to fly using only your body – well, you’re still out of luck, unfortunately. But you can at least look the part thanks to Photoshop. All you need is a stool and a whole lot of balance.
This fiery redhead has taken her roots to the max, and the transformation is truly incredible. The shadows on her golden skin have been created with the utmost attention to detail, but it’s the flaming reflection in the glasses that really steals the show.
2. Doorway to hell
It turns out Photoshop can even save out-of-focus pictures, if this wonderful work of art is anything to go by. While the final result may not mean much without context (why is she holding a bear? Why is that room on fire?), it’s certainly an impressively striking visual.
1. Illuminated faerie ball
Of course, Photoshop doesn’t always have to be about taking photos to the absolute extreme. Something as simple as lighting up a faerie ball, for instance, can make a world of difference to an image, and truly bring out the wonder in the world.