Vector and photo mashup

Mix and match gritty photography with crazy vector splurges created in Photoshop for a riotous, cartoonish effect.


Juxtaposing serious images and light-hearted elements can be a highly effective technique — look at the clever way Banksy replaces of guns with flowers in many of his artworks.

Photoshop offers you a way to achieve a comparable effect, in a polished fashion that’s considerably easier to achieve with pixels than spray paint. One way to give a fun twist to serious photos is by using vector elements, giving the finished piece a dose of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? styling.

While Illustrator is Adobe’s best-known vector program, Photoshop also has vector tools, which you’ll get familiar with in this tutorial. Rather than simply adding in flat layers for the blobs, we show you how to get the best from your vector art, starting with the drawing itself.

You’ll learn how to use layer blending options such as Bevel and Emboss, Inner Glow and Satin to lift your flat, lifeless shape layers into a 3D environment.

Finally, you’ll add motion blur and real-world effects to tie the vector elements into the final image. You can download the source images for free from; they are at for the mortar cannon and for the clouds.

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James Davies

Digital Arts Magazine
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