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Creating Fog in Photoshop


Steve Bingham

In the real world of commercial photography fog is often a desired element. That's why they make fog machines. In addition, some landscapes can be enhanced by adding fog, overall or just in spots.

The biggest problem in creating fog is to create "depth cuing". As we see further away the fog becomes denser. Here is a very easy technique to master. (After clicking on the thumbnails, be sure to expand the image.)

1_Open your image. Using the Layer Menu Box (Window, Show Layer) create a duplicate layer. This preserves your original and allows you to keep experimenting without losing any original information.

Duplicate-Layer.jpg (118937 bytes)

2_ Now go to the bottom of the Tool Menu and select white as the Foreground color.

Select-Foreground-Color.jpg (95549 bytes)

3_ Use the Gradient Tool from the Tool Menu. Choose Foreground to transparent _ the second box which is shown when you click on the Gradient down arrow on the top left of the page. Click on something in the distance. Drag the tool from back to front to produce a clear area in the foreground. Choose your degree of transparency. Use Normal as your mixing choice on the duplicate layer. If the fog is not dense enough, simply repeat the gradient. In this example it was done 3 times. Flatten and there it is. Save as a tiff or JPEG.

Select-Gradient-Tool.jpg (121383 bytes)Select-Foreground-to-Transp.jpg (126457 bytes)Gradient-Applied.jpg (96788 bytes)


4_ For greater realism you can create a duplicate layer and use the dodge and burn lesson to create darker and lighter areas in the fog (patchy fog). The fog can then be swirled to simulate smoke. But that's another lesson.

Again, this lesson has many other applications other than creating fog. Experiment and have fun.



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