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What is Photobashing and Why is it a Useful Skill for Photographers? 

What is Photobashing and Why is it a Useful Skill for Photographers? 

Photobashing is a fun way to level up your photomanipulation skills by blending multiple art assets together. In a sense, you get the best of all worlds in one place.

Photography is one of the most flexible mediums in how easily you can use photos in other art forms. Some photographers like to snap reference photos to supplement their traditional paintings. Others will clip their photos out to create journal collages. As you can see by the featured image, photobashing is also wonderful for creating new worlds entirely.

Becoming a photographer automatically opens the door to many similar skills. Photobashing is one way you can use your photos to enhance other artistic skillsets, but how does it work, exactly?

Source Image: Pixabay

Table Of Contents

  1. Introduction 
  2. What Is Photobashing?
  3. What Skills and Tools Do You Need for Photobashing?
  4. What Industries is Photobashing Commonly Found?
  5. Conclusion: Photobashing is a Useful Tool for Creating Fantastical Works of Art

a black sketchbook and black pair of glasses on a white desk next to a photomanipulation session on a computer screen

Source Image: Pixabay

What is Photobashing?

Photobashing is a type of photomanipulation that essentially works as an advanced collage. You combine two or more photos with 3D assets and/or drawings to create an original work.

It’s important to note that photobashing often includes photomanipulation staples like color correction. Below is a brief list of a few combinations a photobashing session can take.

Blending Two or More Photographs Together

The most obvious kind of photobashing is blending two or more photographs together to create an original work. This result is technically not just photomanipulation since you’re going beyond simple touch-ups.

For example, you can take a portrait photo of a man, then merge it with an environmental shot of the ocean to create a surreal result. This is different than, say, just enhancing the man’s skintone with a filter.

Blending Photographs and Digital Paintings Together

When you have a knack for digital illustration, you can overlay them onto a photo to broaden your artistic horizons. You can also paint original subjects, then edit in photograph assets separately.

For example, you can take a photo of a forest, then paint a new subject over it to change the composition. You can also paint directly over the trees to add new details.

Blending Photographs and 3D Models Together

Last but not least, blending photographs and 3D models is another fun way of crafting entirely new results. These 3D models can be as realistic as the photograph or more stylized like a cartoon – your choice.

What’s the Difference Between Photobashing and Photomanipulation?

Photobashing is a type of photomanipulation, but not all photomanipulation is photobashing. It’s easier to think of photomanipulation as an umbrella term for any method of adjusting a photo.

Where the line tends to be drawn is the end result. If you’re combining multiple types of art to create an entirely new work, that’s photobashing. If you’re just making minor adjustments to a photo while keeping most of it in-tact, that’s photomanipulation.

Is There a Difference Between Photobashing and a Photo Montage? 

Photobashing creates a seamless blend between all the different mediums used, while a photo montage you can still tell different pieces are cobbled together. When you level up your skill, even the most trained eye will have a hard time telling where a photobash begins and ends.

Is Photobashing Legal? 

Photobashing is legal when using original photography, original illustration or 3D assets, and free stock photography or free 3D assets labeled for use with modification. Just like with any work of art, it’s vital to maintain boundaries around other people’s intellectual property – the last thing you want is getting in trouble. 

There’s a certain level of integrity to maintain when creating art. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, lying about a photobashed work is a bad look. If you blended a few photos together with free 3D assets, then say so! Likewise, if you painted and collaged over a photo, make that clear. 

an open notebook with a pen on a white desk next to headphones and a laptop

Source Image: Pixabay

What Skills and Tools Do You Need for Photobashing?

Since photobashing is a type of photomanipulation, most photographers will already have the base set of tools like a DSLR camera or camera lens filters. However, effective photobashing also requires you to nurture other sets of skills.

A Photo Editing Program to Edit and Paint

If you don’t already have a photo editing program, now’s a great time to get acquainted. Photobashing isn’t possible unless you have a program to piece all your different art assets together.

There are plenty of freeware photo editing programs to try out if you’re not ready to commit, such as GIMP. If you have a little money to spend, the Adobe Suite and Da Vinci Resolve are incredibly flexible options.

Photobashing and digital illustration go together like chips and guacamole. Fortunately, photo editing programs frequently come with digital painting tools – a win-win across the board.

A Tablet for Easier Drawing and Editing Sessions

While you can certainly do photobashing sessions with a mouse and mousepad, it won’t be kind to your wrist. A tablet will make your drawing and editing sessions much easier by replicating a pen and paper. 

A 3D Modeling Program for More Art Assets

Do you want to get back in touch with your sculpting skills? A 3D modeling program will supplement your photobashing sessions nicely by providing art assets.

You can create these assets by hand or download stock assets online. Keep in mind that 3D modeling programs are incredibly memory hungry, so you’ll need a high level of RAM and a lot of memory for them to run smoothly.

Speaking of which…

Extra Memory to Save Large Volumes of Work

Not only do you need memory to keep your programs running smoothly, you also need them to keep from losing your work. Since photobashing is incredibly fun and often experimental, you’ll likely create a ton of work.

There are several ways to increase your memory for a PC. You can either manually upgrade the amount of RAM (which takes a little computer building knowledge) or use cloud storage. The latter is the faster and cheaper option, as many cloud storage companies have affordable monthly subscriptions. 

a large painting palette with many tubes of paint, painting knives and brushes

Source Image: Pixabay

What Industries is Photobashing Commonly Found?

Photobashing is incredibly useful in many artistic industries. Photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers alike blend their skills together to create dazzling results in less time.


Films frequently rely on photobashing to create quick concept art and storyboards. This useful skill allows concept artists to create highly polished works of art in a short amount of time.

Deadlines in the film industry are notoriously tight, so the flexible art of photobashing gives hardworking artists wiggle room when creating. When one artistic skill isn’t delivering the results they need, other skills can fill in the gap. Artists will also save and reuse assets for later, such as a row of painted mountains or a model of a leather jacket.

For example, inserting a 3D model of a horse into an environment photo could save time finding a subject. However, another artist may choose to simply paint the horse into the environment. No option is better or worse – flexibility is one of the main appeals of photobashing.

Game Design

Another industry that regularly benefits from photobashing is game design (indeed, both film and game industries overlap heavily). Designing a videogame requires a high level of manpower to create everything from characters to environments to items.

Game design concept art frequently mixes 3D models, original illustration, and original photography.

Commercial Illustration and Design

Illustration and design skills frequently emerge from a foundation of sketching and painting. However, some commercial artists use photobashing to save on precious time during the busy workweek.

Photobashing is a fantastic way of generating new ideas with already existing work. For example, a commercial illustrator could take two or three photos and overlay them in Photoshop. This blend could give them fresh new ideas for a new piece of art.

Personal Artistic Experimentation

At the end of the day, photobashing is just plain fun. It’s a creative playground for artists to mix and match all their different skillsets together to see what comes out of it. 

an example of photobashing showing a burrowing owl blended into a spider to create a mythical creature

Source Image: Pixabay

Conclusion: Photobashing is a Useful Tool for Creating Fantastical Works of Art 

Photography may be a powerful tool, but it is still just one tool. Photobashing allows you to mix in your digital painting expertise or your budding 3D modeling skills.

Photobashing is a type of photomanipulation that involves blending multiple art assets together to create a new result. While photomanipulation generally keeps the original photo in-tact in favor of light touch-ups, photobashing is often fantastical. The goal usually revolves around creating entirely new subjects or scenes.

What separates photobashing from a simple collage is how seamless the final result is. A collage will still make it clear different elements are stitched together, while photobashing is more seamless. Sometimes it takes a very trained eye to tell whether an image is photobashed or not. However, you should never lie about photobashing – it’s not just dishonest, it suggests a lack of confidence in your skills.

When you want to get real experimental with all your different art skills, gather up some individual works of art and try a photobashing session. You’ll have the time of your life!


Curious to pick up more beginner photographer skills? Check out the following posts: