1,000 Photoshop layers went into this Adobe ad

by Liam McCabe

posted Monday, March 31, 2014 at 12:11 PM EST

Photo: Josh Rossi

It’s fitting that Adobe would commission an image that pushes Photoshop to a surreal extreme, stacking layer upon tweaked layer, with a depth of field, richness of color, and level of detail that makes it look more like a digital rendering than anything a camera would really capture.

Photographer and graphic artist Josh Rossi specializes in those intense composite images. Adobe hired him to create “Whimsical New York,” built from more than 50 photos that he shot and stacked into 1,000 layers, all taking over 300 hours of work. Rossi captured the shots in locations across New York, each one by holding a tripod over his head with the camera on a timer at a high shutter speed, taking pains to match the light in each photo. Then he went to work stacking the shots in Photoshop.

Whimsical New York is a composite image made from 1,000 layers. Photo: Josh Rossi

And it makes sense that Adobe is using the shot in an advertisement—for Adobe Marketing Services, to be exact. It's not quite the "Creative Cloud" that most of us photographers use, but it's part of the empire, at least. The small version of the image is impressive enough, but check it out on a large screen if you can—there’s an amazing amount of detail.

Whimsical New York as it starts to come together. Photo: Josh Rossi.
All of the buildings, none of the people—yet. Photo: Josh Rossi

Rossi is based in Salt Lake City and runs Composite Planet, which is stuffed with tutorials about how to create these images, including a behind-the-scenes post about how this composite came together. Check out more of his work there—you're sure to pick up a few tips.

(Via SLR Lounge