Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create the “Hybrid Effect” Optical Illusion

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Create the “Hybrid Effect” Optical Illusion

September 2, 2019 24 By Peter Engel


Hi. This is Marty form Blue Lightning TV.
I’m going to show you how to create the optical illusion called, “Hybrid effect”. This effect can
be seen by anyone if we change the distance or size of the picture. If it’s far away,
you’re more likely to see Lucille Ball as our eyes only pick up broader strokes from
a distance, but as you come close to the image, you see the finer details of Frank Sinatra.
I thought it would be fun and interesting to try to replicate this effect after recently
watching an example of it on Wimp.com. The Hybrid effect is achieved by combining an
image that has a low-spatial frequency with a different image that has a high-spatial
frequency. Up close, we generally see fine details, but as the distance increases, your
ability to pick up details fades away. Take a second to walk a good distance away from
your computer and look at your screen. You should see Lucille Ball. Squinting your eyes
also enhances the effect. As you walk back to your computer, Frank Sinatra should become
more discernable. The best results will be achieved if you choose two photos of people
that have similar lighting and are facing in the same direction. They can be color or
black and white. For your convenience, I provided both of these images for you to download.
Their links are located in my video’s description. The photo that you’ll be using for the high-spatial
frequency should be focused and have a good amount of detail, whereas, the other photo
doesn’t necessarily have to have these attributes. Open the photos you’d like to use for this
effect. If they’re in color, desaturate them by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + U. Adjust
their brightness and contrast by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + L to invoke Autotone.
I’ll drag the Lucy image into the Sinatra document by pressing “v” to open my Move Tool
and dragging it onto the tab of Sinatra. Without releasing my mouse or pen, I’ll drag it down
onto the document and release. To resize and position it over your other photo, open your
Transform Tool by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + T. If your image is too large to see all of it,
press Ctrl or Cmd + 0. We need to see through it, so you can see your other photo, so we’ll
reduce it’s opacity. I’ll reduce it to 50%. To resize it, go to a corner and when you
see a diagonal, double arrow, press Alt or Option + Shift as you drag it in or out. To
reposition it, go inside the Transform and drag it. Position and size it, so the faces
are aligned as close as you can. To accept it, press Enter or Return. Increase its opacity back to 100%. If the size of the top image is smaller than the one under it, Ctrl-click or Cmd-click on the thumbnail of the top image to make a selection of its shape. Go to Image and Crop. To deselect it, press Ctrl or Cmd + D. To fit it back onto your canvas, press
Ctrl or Cmd + 0. Since we’ll be adding filters to the photos, we’ll convert them into Smart Objects, so we can modify the filters at a later time. Click the icon at the top, right corner of the Layers panel and click, “Convert to Smart Object”. Make your bottom photo acitve
and convert it into a Smart Object, as well. Temporarily hide your top photo and go to
Filter, Other and High Pass. I’ll make the Radius: 5 pixels, however, if you’re using a different photo than this one, you may want to adjust the Radius amount depending on its size, resolution and characteristics. If you want to adjust the High Pass filter later,
just double-click the High Pass smart filter and the filter will open again. You can adjust
it as often as you want and whenever you want because the layer that you applied the filter
to is a Smart Object. Hide the bottom layer and make your top layer visible and active.
Go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. I’ll make the Radius 12 pixels, but again, if you’re using a different photo, you may need to adjust
the amount to blur it approximately this much. Keep in mind, you can always change it later
since, it’s a Smart Filter. Reduce its opacity to 40% and make your bottom layer visible. Click the Adjustment layer icon and click, “Brightness / Contrast”. Slide the Contrast all the way to the right. Your Hybrid effect is now done. To see the effect, you can either
walk a good distance away from your screen and try squinting to enhance the effect or
use the Navigator to zoom out. If you don’t see your Navigator panel, go to Window and
click Navigator. Slide it to the left or right to zoom out or in. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks
for watching!