5 Concepts for 1 Image

Five Concepts for One Image is a way for you to get to know our founders and artists. PixeLobby is a place to educate and inspire the Digital Artist, Graphic Designer, and Photographer. We do our best to bring you Artists in the industries, Educational material, and Product that makes life that much more convenient. We have some amazing artists on our site, so we thought we would start by helping you get to know our own founders first via their work. We start the challenge by giving all 5 founders (Micah Burke – Micah Brannon Burke Graphic Design, Brian Mundy – Octane Media, Jesus Ramirez – The Photoshop Training Channel, Ed Ward – Mental Ward Design, Cindy Wilkerson – CJ Wilkes Photography) one RAW image to design however they envision it to become. Each artist is given the same rules:

They must use the image (provided by Cindy Wilkerson – CJ Wilkes Photography)

They cannot discuss or view each others creation until it is shared here on the site.

They need to share basic tips for how what they did to create the image

They can be as creative as they like while keeping it for the PG-PG13 audience



Starter Image for Challenge "5 concepts for 1 image"

Starter Image for Challenge
“5 concepts for 1 image”


Micah Burke


I  immediately saw potential in the draped skirt and the girl, but realized that a lot needed to change.  I grabbed some stock from Adobe Stock, where I have a subscription, to create the misty forest scene.  I also wanted the girl’s eyes to be closed, so I grabbed some closed-eyes from Adobe Stock and composited them in.


Adobe Stock


The water was created using Flaming Pear’s Flood plugin. It creates realistic water effects. There’s also an excellent iPad/iPhone app that does an equally good job called Reflect by BrainFever Media.


Using various adjustment layers and the Adobe Camera Raw extension, I was able to get the foggy feel I was after and change the girl’s clothes to a suitable color.



Finally, i wanted to add some additional elements to the image, and grabbed some 3D objects from PixelSquid, an amazing Photoshop extension which allows you to add 3D objects to images in Photoshop and then rotate them as needed.

Brian Mundy



For me this project seemed to be right up my alley I’ve been working for the last year and a half combining multiple images to create a very surreal look feel an mood.  I knew after seeing the primary image we were working with the young lady lying on the beach that it would be compositing her lying down on something else perhaps something like stones at Stonehenge. I knew I’d be working in monochrome, this actually gives you a distinct advantage when creating composites eliminating the need of having to match up Colors and hues. In monochrome you worry about the lighting in contrast. Using Adobe stock I went on the search for the base image. I was searching for something like “table in room”  “grungy room”  and found the image that I ultimately used Family grungy room with a short table almost looking like a coffee table.


With Photoshop I started out by setting up my canvas size it was roughly 10” by 17” at 300 dpi using SRGB color space knowing that this would be displayed on the computer.  What are the first things I do is that an adjustment layer to the top which converts everything to black-and-white. I imported him the room with the table which is really more of a square format. So I would select the section just above the table and use free transform to stretch it to the top I then did the same thing for below the table. Using the same method I selected the right then the left side in did the same pulling the image out to the edge of the campus. There was some distortion that took place here but I wasn’t concern knowing that I would be compositing other elements over the top of those distorted areas.


Opening up the image the young lady lying on the beach are you some quick masking techniques and created a mask to drop the background out. Viewing both campuses side-by-side I was able to drag the lady on the beach with its channel mask and drop it right on top of my project seen.  Once again, because it was below the adjustment layer which was converting things to black-and-white, the image, and instantly appeared in monochrome. Almost right off the bat it looked natural and as if she was lying on the table. Just a few minor tweaks in sizing and positioning and she was now in our new scene.


Next up for me it was to bring in the clouds. I have an extensive library of clouds I shoot them off and just because I know I can use them as elements of the composite. Found one that I thought would work for me and added that as a new layer. Using blend modes layer mask in a bit of free distortion I positioned a vignette in the clouds in the position.


Ahhhhh the devil is in the details the image had somewhat of a dark field to me but I wondered what it would look like if I can put a devilish twist on it. I found an image that I thought could possibly be perceived either way dropping it in on top of the background but just behind the young lady I’ve created a layer mask hiding all aspects of the image. Then by using a very soft low opacity brush I slowly painted in the image of the dark Angel.


What of the final steps before leaving Photoshop was to add in a grungy multicolored canvas look. I added this to the very top layer and played around with the opacity and blend modes to come up with my desired effect.


In the last step or use another application called reflect.  I’ve had this application on my iPhone for year and I believe recently as been made available to download and use on your desktop. Is the name suggest this is what I used to create the Ripley water effect on the bottom third of the image.

Jesus Ramirez


This image was created using only two photos. The original RAW file, and one Adobe Stock Image.

Heare’s an animated GIF that shows the process of how this image was created.


Ed Ward


When I first saw the image Cindy provided, my initial idea was to create a big happening around the subject, without losing her as the focal point. I new that whatever I came up with, changing the color of the dress to a vibrant red would help pull this off. To do so I switched to the LAB color mode and using curves, made the necessary adjustments. If you’d like to know how to do this check out our own Jesus Ramirez’s tutorial on the subject in is PTC (Photoshop Training Channel) blog. Here’s where you’ll find it.

Color of the dress changed using LAB color mode.

Color of the dress changed using LAB color mode.

Next I adjusted skin tones using curves. I also brightened the eyes, lips etc and did some dodging and burning using curves as well. Then I smoothed the skin using a technique I really love. To be honest it gets lost at the final image size of this contest, and the original image itself doesn’t really have the kind of skin detail that calls for it, but since it’s such a great technique I figured I’d share it anyway right here.

Beauty retouch before and after.

Beauty retouch before and after.

I illustrated the spaceship from scratch in Photoshop. First I created the basic shapes. Then I used Alien Skin’s Eye Candy filter to give the elements a slight brushed metal texture. From there I simply experimented with color overlays, layer blending modes and the outer glow layer effect until I reached what I felt was a pleasing outcome. For the light rays emanating from the bottom of the craft I followed a simple tutorial created by Glyn Dewis. You can find that one right here.

Beginning stages of spaceship before experimenting with color and effects.

Beginning stages of spaceship before experimenting with color and effects.

The rest of the image is compositing 101. I used two images for the sky, two for the trees (forground and background), and one for the cliff face. I primarily used curves to tie the images together into the same color palette. Oh, almost forgot. As a final step I used NIK’s Color Efex Pro plug in to grit it up just a tad. I started with Graduated Neutral Density , and added a smidge of Bleach Bypass on a layer above with reduced opacity and plenty of masking in certain areas.


Happy creating, have fun!

Cindy Wilkerson




I often shoot details or objects that inspire me. I save all my shots in hopes that I will be able to create something fun with them. If I go to the beach and see neat clouds or if it is raining and there are drops in puddles, etc I will shoot it and save it for day like today. Here are the images used to produce my final product.



The key to combining all the images is to blend it to appear as if they were taken in one shot. That comes down to details. Details matter.

When making a composition I try to match tones, if possible, in LR. I use Lightroom easily access my photos. I can do basic edits in there.

I export my images into Photoshop to complete the composition.


Starting image with translucent background. I usually make the starter image layer 0 and then create a blank layer (translucent). That layer is Layer one. I enlarge the back layer giving me space to add other images to the composition.




Adding a sky




I use my masks to start blending the images into one. I will often duplicate the starter image, use the magic select and refine selection tool then create a new layer with mask for it. I then refine even further until the image is as I like. I will then drop it into place and turn off the below duplicate images.






At some point in all my pieces, I open the image into Alien Skin Exposure. I use it as a third party plugin to PS. I am able to play with many things that give my image that extra oomph I love.





When I see an image I envision the end product immediately. I often see in my mind what it will become even before shooting the image. It can be something as simple as a cool setting, like the road she is lying on. One practice I give to those I mentor, is to look at your surroundings – wherever you are – and picture it as a moment in time with some event. Which brings us to this location. We were going to this beach as one of the selected places for the session we had. The ocean had washed away a HUGE chunk of ground since I was last there. Before, the sand came to the top and now there was a semi cliff feel to it. Instantly, I knew I had to shoot my niece – Gabriella – in this spot.  The mood, in my mind, screamed moody!

The next step I had was to determine what was in the scene. I love water and many of my images will have water in one way or another. This one has it in rain and below. The setting made it so easy for me to switch out the sand for water. I have a ditch at the bottom of my driveway that is about 6 feet or more deep. There was a very rainy morning one day when I had my camera with me. So, while waiting for my children’s bus to come, I laid down on the asphalt and took pictures at different angles of the drops as they created all sizes of rings. I took pictures of the brush that built up the side of the ditch, the road, the puddles. Those are still with all my files and came in use for this project.

The sky! The sky can make or break an image, if you ask me. If it was bright and sunny, the dark feel might not have worked so well. I looked through my thousands of beach images for a daunting cloudy sky. One that can be stormy and dark. I found it from a folder where my family and I were on a walk on the beach. The clouds were doing all sorts of fun things. It was a gorgeous days, but the different sizes and feel of the clouds worked in my favor. I found the one that I knew I could convert to a darker cloud and still feel natural.

I wanted this moment to be about the girl. I wanted to let you decide why she was there. I could set the mood, but your imagination is what will take over in the end. Sometimes, simplicity will add more mystery than anything else. Because of this particular image I have begun a series. The day I took Gabriella’s pictures, I also took her sister’s as well. A series has been born! But not really just a series, but one image has inspired several looks and feels. One image allowed 5 artists to create amazing pieces. They may decide they like that feel and go on to create more like it OR they may say, “Hey, That was fun!” Either way, we have been able to share with you 5 unique takes on one image. Please share with us your impressions or thoughts. Let us know which you really enjoyed and why. Let us know what you would have done had you been the one to be given the assignment.


Don’t forget to look at what we have in store for you with the upcoming contest.



We have a contest for each of you. The contest will be announced on Monday October 24th, 2016. The contest is tied to this particular post. We are giving you time to look and study each of the different plays by each artist. If you have questions or want more information you have that time to ask us. Choose your favorite play. Look through your own images or attempt to shoot an image that you can edit in the style of any of these 5 styles.

This is part one to the contest. The remaining details will be shared with you on Monday along with the amazing prizes we have from our sponsors, Alien SkinKCC ActionsPage KeupperThe Photoshop Training Channel – and CJ Wilkes Photography

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About The Author

Photographer all her life - professionally since 2006. Dabbled in Digital Art & Graphic Design since 2006. Founder and co owner of pixeLobby Owner of CJ Wilkes Photography Co owner of Wilkerson Art Co owner of Medeek Design & Engineering Wife to Nathaniel P Wilkerson and Mother to 5 children.