Guest Post: Visualization In Photoshop

The following in a guest post by Villian, from Villian Conception. You can also follow Villian on Twitter and Facebook – thanks for your guest article, Villian!

Visualizing in Photoshop is a skill that very few learn, it is something that pros do daily.  You must see before you can reveal to your audience.  Visualization in Photoshop is the process of planning your shot with overlay drawings and grids to get the most out of your project.  It is a pivotal step in making your project pop and in giving it a real jolt from your imagination into reality.

I wanted to introduce visualization to those who are not familiar with it’s process so, I will take you step by step so that you can understand what the purpose is and how to use it.  There are many ways to visualize in Photoshop but I will show you my method it is neither wrong or right it is just one way.  I will hope to find your own way as your journey into the visualization process.

Plan Your Shot

Before anything goes onto paper you must plan your idea even in it’s vague form a general idea is extremely important because this will reveal how you will actually shoot the piece.  For this shot I knew far in advance that I wanted him to be a warrior – somewhat like the Aztec warriors aggressive but really valiant in their traits.

The Outline

When starting to visualize it always starts in your head, the first step is getting it down on paper.  I generally jot down things that hit my mind like so.  Using action words and presence words that really give me a good image are the best way to go.

  1. warrior
  2. rough
  3. tribal
  4. conquering
  5. defiant
  6. honour

Writing down the outline is usually the most important part of visualization.   Ironically it’s words that will help you see your image more clearly.  I commonly go back and look at them to see if my picture symbolizes the words that I originally wrote down.  I have never been disappointed in my work that matches it’s original intent, without the outline my thoughts sometimes slip away from it’s true purpose.


The Skeleton

After writing down my outline for the picture, I do what I call a skeleton.  The skeleton is the basic building blocks of the actual visual things I plan on being in the picture.   In the Skeleton I plan out things such as light source, atmosphere, colours, particles, and digital makeup.  The skeleton literally is my road map to my final destination.  The purpose of the skeleton is not to confine but to refine your detail in a thought out way.   I find myself going outside of it from time to time, but usually not much.  Look below at the skeleton.

How to make a Skeleton in Photoshop-
-Make a new layer on top of your photo
-Always save a second copy of your psd.
-On the new layer use your favourite paint brush or pencil
-You can write with a tablet or use type words like me
-Using colours to represent your skeleton features is a good idea
-Repeat and Rinse add layers as necessary.

After you have your road map developed you can begin to actually build layers onto your photo and actually put in the puzzle pieces that will make your image complete.  Just remember to always visualize, it will make you more observant of the possibilities.  Keep in mind you may find your own method of visualization – there are plenty and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t, you can and you will.  Good Day.


Thanks again to Villian, from Villian Conception, for this article. You can also follow Villian on Twitter and Facebook.

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