Photoshop Secrets of the Pros: The Photoshop Tennis Book, by Mark Clarkson

What is Photoshop Tennis?

The idea is simple. I send an image to you. You change it and send it back to me. Repeat until done.

The idea is simple but, when talented artists play the game, the results are spectacular.

And, as a Photoshop users ourselves, we'd like to know: how’d they do that? How did they build those great photo collages? How did they composite those photos so seamlessly? Where did they get the ideas? Do professional designers use Photoshop the same way as the rest of us? Or do they know of special techniques, accessible only by the initiated? That, my friends, is what Photoshop Secrets of the Pros is all about.

Photoshop Secrets of the Pros uses Photoshop Tennis as a vehicle for peering inside of designers’ intricate little heads. What better way to gain insight into their creative processes than to accelerate them to near light speed, slam them into each other, and watch the pixels fly off? Metaphorically at least.

See an excerpt of the results at right, and below.

Got a hankerin' to try it for yourself? You can watch and play Photoshop Tennis and related sports at these fine sites:



Coudal Partners

Creative Fight Club



Flashkit Arena

Graphic Forums


We're Here



Excerpt from Chapter 5, Volley #9:

To give the boy on the bridge the look of a hand-tinted photo, Mantey used Photoshop’s paintbrush tool and her iBook’s touchpad to paint colors on layers above him. She set the resulting layers in Hard Light mode.

The composition at this point is clearly divided into two halves. “Rather than simply blend the halves of the picture,” says Mantey, “I went with the idea of a zipper to connect the areas.” The zipper is actually built from an architectural detail, scavenged from a photo of a building. Mantey duplicated the existing detail to make a long strip, and rotated the results 90 degrees to create her vertical zipper.

She used a shear filter (Filter / Distort / Shear) to bend the zipper at the top, opening it to reveal a bit of blue sky behind. She duplicated the zipper half and flipped it horizontally to create the other half. The zipper layer on the left, where the zipper is over dark colors, is set to Difference mode. The right half, where the zipper is over lighter colors, is set to Multiply mode.

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