Students will investigate how various images can be manipulated using Adobe Photoshop to create interesting and postmodern interpretations.

In these lessons, students will develop their technical knowledge of digital photography following the video tutorial and associated image files on the technique (ZIP 7.3 MB). Once they have mastered the techniques using the supplied sample images, students are then encouraged to take their own photographic images then apply the same techniques to them. This is part of a lesson sequence that is designed to assist students in creating a folio of images.


  • 5.4 investigates and responds to the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter for visual design artworks.
  • 5.6 selects appropriate procedures and techniques to make and refine visual design artworks.
  • 5.7 applies their understanding of aspects of practice to critically and historically interpret visual design artworks.
  • 5.8 uses their understanding of the function of and relationships between artist - artwork - world - audience in critical and historical interpretations of visual design artworks.


2 weeks.

Driving question

How does manipulating an image change its original meaning?



  • Students will develop their skills and knowledge of photographic practice using still digital images and manipulate them through the Adobe Photoshop program. They will use a digital journal or art book to document their experiments.

Conceptual framework

  • Students will investigate the relationship between the artist, artwork, world and audience. They will explore the art agencies relating to their own art making as a digital artist and how it is connected to practicing photographers, audiences and the world.


  • Students will use the postmodern and structural frame to establish different points of view about their photographic practice.
  • Information and communication technology
  • Work, employment and enterprise
  • Numeracy.


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Process Diary

Students are to:

  • document the process and technical shortcuts through practical classes in a process diary. This should be a journal, exploring reflections of each practical lesson or section investigating the different techniques. This can be in their class workbooks, a photographic and digital media process diary, or an online blog through sites such as Class Notebook or Google classroom.

Teaching and learning activities

Students will need:

  • Adobe Photoshop software on a class set of laptops, or in a computer lab
  • Headphones for each student (optional)
  • Any device that can take a photograph.

Students will:

  • go through the examples on the Invisibility Pinterest board
  • discuss and analyse the images through leading questions such as:
    • what do you think the photographer has used to create this?
    • how does this work use post-modern techniques?
    • does anyone in the room know some of the Adobe Photoshop techniques the photographer used?
  • discuss the key techniques used
  • watch the Invisible woman tutorial (17:10).
Invisible woman tutorial

Anna McCauley

Welcome back everybody. My name is Anna McCauley and you're doing another tutorial on Adobe Photoshop and today we're going to be having a look at creating an invisible person.

Now this one's done a little bit rough but it's just a quick example just to show you and there's lots of other ways that you can do it but this is sort of what the one will just have a work on today and then you can kind of see and apply it to your own images as well.

So let's give it a go. It's the first thing you're gonna do is go file, scripts, load file, into stack. File, scripts, load file into stack. Then you press browse which brings you to your default my pictures and if you the most important thing is to try and download these images first so that you can work on it with the tutorial. It makes it much easier if you're working on it with the same image when you do any type of Technology tutorial.

So these images can be found on the curriculum Pinterest and you can download them from there alternatively, your teacher may have copied these pictures and put them on the network for you. So the first thing you're going to do is - so we've got we've just unload file into stack and you're going to highlight cells holding my mouse down highlighting the two, and going okay. So we've got those images here coming out and then you're going to go okay. I will try and rename those better for you.

So we've got the background image there and we've got the person coming as well so got the background on the first layer up sorry to stir the more we've got the background on the first layer and the person on the top layer.

That is what you need to have. How it was taken is obviously you take the background first, the reason why the background is so sharp is because what happens is if you don't have it on manual focus so you autofocus will try and focus on the closest object and so that was the background it's sharp but when I have when I had it on the person and I had the aperture down a little bit lower it made the background go blurry. But that's okay we actually want that.

So when you're taking your two photos you need to always think about making sure you don't move that you're on a tripod or something similar so that the images are pretty close to the same shot be at the background or with the person in it.

So this one's pretty easy really. We're just gonna use a layer mask once again to rub out the skin and I've had to play around with this and I think it's best to leave the hand in this one but let's have a go and then you can do what you like. Now the reason why I selected this image as well is because the Hat is tilted down enough so that I don't need to find the back half of the hat if she was her head was leaning up a little bit I would need to photograph the Hat separately so that I could see the internal part of the hat. And that's the same thing for shoes for jewellery you need to see the back end if you're rubbing the skin. So just consider that.

See each I mean that's not too hard you just really have to have someone holding the hat away so you can't see their hands, and then he cut and paste it in but that's a little bit more advanced.

Alright so here we go. So what we're going to do is we're going to use a layer mask it's the third one along, click on your layer mask, you know that you've clicked on that when a white box comes up and it's the same size of that box so this is your we're gonna work. Make sure you're clicking on the white box not on the picture, because if you click on the picture it means you're not really working on the layer mask.

Allright, so we're on our layer mask and as you may have done before layer mask works with black and white, I can toggle between those two and what we're going to do is make sure first is we're going to work in black. And make sure that your on your brush tool or you can press B.

Now you need to just right click once you've got your brush tool and you bring it over right click and have to look at it. So there you can adjust the size of it or the hardness of it. So it really depends on what you're going around so I might just stay on the hardness factor for a moment but just keep my size relatively small.

And then I'm going to go ctrl + and that will blow it up so if I hold ctrl and go ctrl + time so I'm pressing + twice that brings it up - because I can get a bit more detail in the face there. Now I'm going to use on my layer mask and I'm going to start rubbing it out.

So now I'm on my layer mask and I'm gonna start rubbing it out while I'm on black. So I'm just gonna carefully go around this neckline with my eraser and around here. You can choose to leave the lips in or not that's really entirely up to you.

So what we're gonna do is just using our mask tool is to rub it out really. Now if you're going along and you happen to make a mistake like that oh yeah the best thing about a mask tool were you sitting on that white box over there is that you can rub out with white.

So you just flick it back to white, and see how it brings the picture back that is the best thing about this. So now look because so that's so use your black and whites a flick back to black when you want to rub out more, if you don't want to rub out flicked white, and you can rub out more things that you don't want or you want in it.

Now you can choose to leave the eyes or the lips or whatever on your invisible person that's entirely up to you. So go back to black and you can make your brush bigger if you just want to do a big chunky sweep you can do short shapes and patterns and things like that if you want.

So we're just rubbing so we can see the background but try and be careful when you're doing this to see how I'm not going close to the edges yet. Ctrl + again twice I pressed I hold CTRL down I press the plus button twice, now my brush looks too big for these details

I'm right-clicking on the brush on my mouse to get my brush details. Right click again bit smaller so now I'm gonna start going in here, in these details. So just be careful with that see how I'm quite blown up and you want to know do that.

The alternative to doing it this way is that you could you you can so you can just also alternatively use a lasso. What this does is you can neatly go around things but make sure when you're doing that that your feather and if you have it on feather what it does is it creates a blurry line or a blurry line in between.

So what we want to do is make it sharp, so I might just make that like a 2 instead of a 35 and I'll explain that later you could look that up. But just make sure that you feather isn't on a high number. And we're going to go just go around neatly around so we'll just do a little bit for now and I'm just gonna neatly go around the whole camera and of course if I stuff up I can always go to white as well. And I just have to let it go and join up. Now that looks great now all I have to do is fill that with black so that's on black just press on my fill tool. If you can't find the fill paint sorry if I call a fill tool paint bucket tool, it's under your gradient tool so you see where your gradient is it's under there so you're going to paint bucket tool and you just click on it.

So you go to paint bucket tool you just click on it and it should work so now see how it's cut that out? Then I go ctrl D which is to deselect or you can go select deselect there? So you want to deselect that holds your hand down so if you want to go back to brush tool you can, so you can just go to use using your brush tool again if you don't want to do that. Hold your spacebar down to move it up so I can just use my brush tool. I'm feeling confidence.

Right click make it bigger see how it goes with using leaving those lips or just make it a bit smaller so I can go around those, I might just go to white and because we're doing this a little bit of detailing here I might just get my lasso tool and go around that with a little bit more care. So you get the idea in terms of what we're doing.

So just work along and you alter alternating between your brush tool and your paint bucket tool which is your sort of filling that in. Control D or you could just use your brush tool and go from smaller to bigger brush if you don't want to use your lasso tool. And just stuffed that up. I just press ctrl Z to undo that quickly.

So you're just going to be keeping going with all those details. Try not to miss any so if you, want to get into something that area control plus it see how I go quite close, can then just nicely draw around with my lasso tool. Nicely draw around there so

I'm rushing it too much got my paint bucket tool, fill that in beautiful control D, D selects it so I can sort of just check out what bits of missed. Oh sorry that's not good. Just control back to that lasso tool just checking out that I'm making sure that I've got all that nice.

Again, paint bucket tool, click on it to/click in it, control D deselect holding my spacebar down. Whenever you see the hand it means I'm holding the spacebar down and I am just going to do some of those details. I think I'll just use the brush this stage as it's getting a bit boring. So go close up with brush, all right.

Okay and control minus. So check out see how that's looking much neater now around there, so we're doing quite a good job. All right. So just continue with that so continue using brush and I'll show you the end result.

So there you have it so I've got a layer mask there which is showing that black and so now let's cut out. Now you can have a little bit of fun so we can play around with our background and make it a little bit different or blurry or pixelated or use a filter with it or whatever you want to do. So you can play around with that. So let me just show you. So we could, for example, just go control U and I could push the saturation up a bit so that's going to change the actual picture underneath in comparison to the background. If you like you can do that.

So see how that sort of similar or whatever? So I'm just gonna push it up a little bit. You can push your saturation up so that part's really bright. In comparison or you can desaturate it, make it less. So let's just have some fun and push that up to that, and go okay. Then you could, for example, so the other thing you can do, is get a filter if you wanted to maybe you know you could blur it if you wanted, so equation blur. You know see you might like you could make that really blurry if you wished. See how you're sort of making it look more sort of pop arty or posta like in some way. Or you can just blur it a little bit.

You could match your background if you wanted to so that kind of blurriness. It's really up to you in terms of what you want to do there. I'll just keep it about that. And there you have it! So see how you can just keep playing around with different versions of that. You can also play with the colour of the original picture too if you wish. So now that that masks done and cut its invisible there so what we're going to do you're just going to once you're happy with that, I might just tweak that background a little bit more. I probably will just leave it natural, but I might pump the saturation up a little bit so it is close to the background but not too different. But again, you know you can do whatever you like. I might just click on my original - and I'm just gonna control u. I'm going I'm just going to pump that up a little bit - just to give a little bit more. And there you have it. So that's invisible person so remember the tricks. Carefully use your brush tool to use a layer mask, and all you're doing is really rubbing out, but remember you can flick between black and white.

At the moment it's not on that because use two different colours, flick between black and white to undo any mask mistakes, then you can't go wrong. All you have to do is have two layers so when you come to take your own image, you do so by taking the background and then with the person in it and it's as simple as that. If you want to take things like shoes they've got shorts and then you paint you do the shoes again, just remember to take the shoes without the person standing in it so you've got the back end of the shoe, or the inside part of the shoe. All those little things if you have a look at enough online you'll sort of get to see what I mean. Another cool version is where I've had the person standing there with the shoes and that's just got the shadow without the person and that looks really cool as well. So maybe we can have a look at doing that at some other time.

All right well I hope you enjoy that. Again, show us anything that you've got in terms of if you'd have a practice of this give me a look and see what your originals turned out like I'd love to see them share them with me on Pinterest, or let me know under the YouTube channel there and happy photoshopping until next time, it's Anna bye bye.

[End of transcript]

Students are to complete the tutorial using Adobe Photoshop and save the image for the teacher to assess. Once completed, students will photograph two of their own images.

Students will:

  • use a tripod or sturdy surface to take two images, this makes it much easier to edit in Adobe Photoshop later
  • take an image of a background
  • keeping the camera in the same position using a tripod, take a shot with the student standing in the camera frame.
  • transfer the images from the camera. This can be done using a card reader, email or Bluetooth
  • follow the video tutorial again using their images as a step by step guide
  • flatten the layers through the Adobe Photoshop command before finishing
  • save the image as a PNG file or JPEG, not a PSD.

Students are to complete a digital or hard copy journal to document their ideas and processes required. This can be completed through one-note.

Teachers are encouraged to communicate online developing their google site or google classroom.



Teachers are encouraged to provide students with acceleration activities if required.

Students could:

  • create changes in perspective using AdobePhotoshop techniques such as transform to modify the person and or the environment around them.
  • develop a more elaborate composition which could include multiple people.

Life skills


  • LS 1 experiences a variety of artmaking activities.
  • LS 2 explores a variety of materials, techniques and processes.
  • LS 9 uses a range of materials, techniques and processes to make artworks.

Students will:

  • watch the video tutorial
  • use example files provided and attempt the Adobe Photoshop tutorial. Teachers should give students extra time and support where required.
  • research a range of photographic images from the internet that use similar techniques, cutting and pasting into OneNote.


Formative assessment can be used to determine learning progress throughout the lesson sequences. Teachers should informally assess a student's level of understanding and adapt accordingly.

Summative assessment can be used at the end of the lesson sequences. Students could hand in a folio of finished images, either on google classroom or printed out. This could be marked as against a benchmark. Students could also hand in their journal for marking as well.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Photographic and Digital Media 7–10 Syllabus (2004) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.

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