Home Art What is Photobashing ? The Art & The Controversy

What is Photobashing ? The Art & The Controversy

There are some paintings or images that appear to be extremely realistic. When observed from a far, these images have the tendency to appear more apt, as they are usually so detailed it can seem like an actual picture captured under high resolution. This often makes one wonder the amount of time and effort that must have been invested in creating such artistic pieces. The possibility of even achieving such detailed work is only made possible by a painting technique called Photobashing.

What is Photobashing? This is a technique that has to do with the careful overlapping of photos and images till they align and form a perfect blend. It typically involves expertly merging multiple numbers of photos and painting them meticulously till they give off the desired photo-texture. It is ultimately achieved by effectively overpainting and manipulating the photo-textures of several images to become one illustration.

What Is Photobashing Used For ?

Art by wojciech-wilk

This photoshop technique although different from the basic concept of photoshop itself is used to speed up the creation of realistic illustrations. It is rigorously time-consuming, not to mention how Herculean the task of painting real-life images can be. Such a realistic concept art is widely employed in the entertainment industry.

Makers of video games engage in the use of photobashing in order to speed up the process of creating landscapes and even human characters. Video games can be quite graphic and artists and creators are very careful in paying attention to detail. This means that a lot of time is put into creating the digital make up of the game. With the help of photobashing, that time is significantly reduced, sometimes even cut in half. It is visual art in motion and hence video game studios ensure the images in a photobash illustration, are merged and blended such that they’re properly composited.

Movie studios are ardent users of photobashing. In this current dispensation, the movie industry and its use of graphically orchestrated images in filmmaking cannot be overstated. In order to maintain a sense of originality, the skillful use of photobashing comes to play. In a movie involving visual artistry, it is important that the images in said movie are properly aligned to appear as realistic as possible. You do not want to have a motion picture production where some of the images look real and some others look fake or substandard. Photobashing solves this problem and puts everything in one fine blend, one image, one character, and one background at a time.

Photobashing is also used in other ventures linked to concept arts. It can be used to design costumes, creatures, backgrounds, backdrops, and realistic-looking objects. The speed of the painting process and the accuracy that is achieved solely by skillful mastery enables studios involved in graphic motion pictures to do more in less time. It also serves as a handy alternative to sketching from scratch. Instead of painting a figure and then proceeding to sketch it, you can easily take pictures of it or find stock images of good quality and merge them together. It will be a lot quicker and the final output will come out looking a lot better.

Photobashing Tools

Art by Toni Justamante Jacobs


In successfully creating the best concept arts and illustrations, there are a few photobashing tools that can be employed by an artist to ease his/her workload. A concept artist can use software applications that have specifically been engineered for photographic editing and image composition. These tools are essential in getting the desired output when engaging in photobashing.


Photoshop is unarguably the most popular software used by artists when engaging in photobashing. This, however, comes as no surprise, as it is uniquely created to afford the necessary equipment needed to alter and paint graphic images. If you find the appropriate pictures that meet the standard for high-quality or high-resolution images, you can rest assured that the photoshop software will get the job done. It is loaded with customized brushes required to paint over images. This particular technique, a subset of photobashing, is attained by what is commonly referred to as overpainting.


The Krita is more or less a painting program used by artists in search of the required tools for photobashing. Krita uses an open source software and hence provides artists with a lot of flexibility. It is built in such a way that it caters to everything you need to create digital art. It is certainly a digital studio of sorts as it exposes the artist to a number of graphic applications located even within Krita itself.


The GIMP software is a photo manipulation program possessing tools capable of exploiting images very expertly. The GIMP is literally “GNU Image Manipulation Program” and just as it is interpreted, it is perfect for photobashing. Photobashing involves a lot of image compositions with photos being merged and mashed into one to create great output. The GIMP is proficient in retouching images, so no matter the number of pictures you are dealing with, it is safe to say it is a program that is not only suitable, but that is also up to the task.

While it is one thing to have an incredible software program to use for photobashing, another set of tools such as high-quality photos, are just as important. In getting images needed to photobash, taking actual pictures depending on the specificity of the project can work. However, in cases where you can easily get these images online, some popular and not so popular websites might come in handy.


An example of such a site is textures.com which offers 15 free images per day and that is a lot for an artist especially if you’re not into commercial work. They have high-resolution pictures to 3D scanned materials.


This site, on the other hand, offers far more images. It is a semi-curated bank of almost a million photos. What makes the Pixabay unique is it’s latest stock video addition. This automatically makes it perfect for the concept artist.


Unsplash is such a magnificent site as it is home to professionally shot images. It is the best possible location for well-shot pictures of a variety of objects. It also happens to be totally free.


This portal opens up to a huge archive of 3D images. It is essentially one of the best places any concept artist will find refuge when in search of 3D content.

Without dwelling too much on it, one can resolve that painting obviously involves the use of colors. When it comes to colors, some tools are rather proficient in this area.

Adobe Color CC.

Easy to use, the Adobe Color CC is a one-stop shop for mixing colors. All sorts of palettes exist on there and it saves time for the concept artist looking to explore a wide range of colors.

Is Photobashing Cheating?

The answer to this frequently asked question is NO! Photobashing is merely a form of art commonly used in concept arts and illustrations for games and movies as earlier stated. It takes more than just piling up photos on top each other to photobash an image.

Photobashing is not the same as photoshopping as there is a huge distinction between the two. Even digital art lords over the basic concept of photoshopping. Whereas photoshopping is simply photo manipulation and perhaps merging a few photos, photobashing entails a lot more than that. It boasts of the incorporation of way more photos which are then painted over. Digital art, on the other hand, takes a lot more effort as it is a procedure that begins from scratch. Digital artists convey their art without using photos or merging any form of image. It is widely accepted as true graphic art. However, photobashing cannot be disregarded as art, as a majority of the art world have come to agree that it takes a huge chunk of artistic smarts combined with a sufficient skill set to create a good piece of art.

Concept artists who make use of photobashing still need to possess a more-than-decent understanding of lighting, color, image textures, and the likes. It is still a great deal of work and requires extreme precision to attain commendable results. Even when you cut down the total amount of time used in creating the work, it doesn’t eliminate the necessary knowledge and the skill set needed by an artist. The absence of such artistic understanding will not only elongate the time required to complete a photobashing, but will eventually give rise to a job or painting that is subpar at best. There will be an obvious mismatch in merging the photos or the work will be plagued by very inadequate photo-textures throughout the image.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that the photobashing technique is a modern day lifesaver for the concept artist. It ultimately redefines what it means to create realistic images and objects that are closer than ever to actuality. The photobashing technique which was initially utilized by video gaming studios has quickly risen in popularity in other parts of the entertainment industry. The advantage of the technique which is impossible to overemphasize is its ability to save time and yet still produce top-notch output.

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