Photo ideas: how to turn a mundane cityscape into an abstract urban scene

Photo ideas: how to turn a mundane cityscape into an abstract urban scene

We show you how to turn an average city scene into an intriguing urban abstract using this fast photo editing technique.

Photo ideas: how to turn a mundane cityscape into an abstract urban scene

An overcast sky over a vacant city can look rather dull, and makes for a boring, ordinary photograph. This can be amended with ease using a fast Photoshop technique.

The idea is to take multiple images, changing the angle of view slightly for each one. You then bring them together in Photoshop.

This method will produce an angular, very patterned image, with repeated straight lines, reminiscent of the early cubist style.

Though the technique is different, the effect of the repeating lines is also reminiscent of Michael Wesely’s remarkable photographs of construction sites, captured in one exposure over three years!

When picking what to photograph, avoid overly complex areas. Straight lines work best, so look for plain buildings. Trees will be difficult, as they usually look blurred when merged.

Grid-style architecture, such as blocks of apartments 
and offices, will replicate effectively.
So, here’s how give your city a makeover…

SEE MORE: How to get your photo mojo back!

How to create your abstract architectural shot

How to create your abstract architectural shot: step 1

01 Scout your location
Pick a suitable location. Getting up high enables you to look down on the buildings. Make use of angular structures; something with lots of straight lines such as a tower block or car park might not seem like an exciting subject, but will be perfectly suited for this project.

SEE MORE: 34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try

How to create your abstract architectural shot: step 2

02 Shoot your sequence
Take a sequence of shots while moving the camera. Capture the images close together and try to keep your motion even. Moving diagonally is best as it shows the variation in angles both horizontally and vertically, and it is better to move the camera rather than step to the side.

SEE MORE: Non-destructive editing: how to use adjustment layers to fine-tune images

How to create your abstract architectural shot: step 3

03 Load your layers
Back at your computer, download your images, select them in Bridge and then go to Tools> Photoshop>Load File into Photoshop Layers 
to place all your images into one work space. If you’d like to make any adjustments in ACR, do it beforehand, then select Done rather than Open.

 SEE MORE: 55 Photo editing tips and tricks to live by

How to create your abstract architectural shot: step 4

04 Reveal all
Select your images in the Layers panel by clicking the top frame, holding down shift, and then clicking the frame second from the bottom. Next, adjust the ‘fill’ and ‘opacity’ sliders at the top of the Layers panel. The more you do this, the more drastic the edit.

 SEE MORE: Time stack photography – how to shoot a sequence and composite the frame

How to create your abstract architectural shot: step 5

05 S for success
As the layers are piled up, details can become blended together and look too bright. Create a curves layer on the top by selecting the curves icon above the Layers tab. Pull the line into more of an S-shape to increase the contrast in the image and bring out more detail.

 SEE MORE: How to make a collage from a single image

How to create your abstract architectural shot: step 6

06 Final tweaks
If you want to make further adjustments, select the top layer, than press Shift+Alt+Cmd+E to merge your exisiting layers into a new layer at the top of the layer stack. This enables you to make any further adjustments to this layer, while preserving the original layers.

Quick Tip
In step 4, a slight movement of the sliders will result in subtle changes, while more drastic alterations will create a much stronger image.

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