Deke’s Techniques: Creating a dual-focus hybrid image in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Today’s technique shows how to create a dual-focus hybrid image. In human speak, that means Deke documents how to create an optical illusion that makes a photo looks like one thing from a distance (an adult lion) and another close up (a lion cub). The trick is to create an image that contains both high-frequency (close up) and low-frequency (far away) data, so that the image changes based on your visual distance.

When I suggested to Deke that we call this movie, “How to make an optical illusion,” Deke’s response was, “Everything about Photoshop is an optical illusion.

You may be familiar with this effect if you’ve encountered the Albert Einstein Marilyn Monroe image in your Internet wandering. In Deke’s lion example, he applies Photoshop’s High Pass filter to a photo of a lion cub, ensuring that the high-frequency data sears that particular image in your mind, but he also applies the Gaussian Blur filter to the adult lion, so that if you back up (or squint), you’ll see the image of an adult lion in the same photo. In the below images, the high frequency is shown above and the low frequency is shown below, but these are actually different optical distances of the very same image:

Hybrid Image example: High Frequency

Hybrid Image example: Low Frequency

If you’re intrigued by the mysteries of hybrid images, Deke has another member-exclusive technique this week where he explains how to add text to a hybrid composition.

See you back next Tuesday with another technique from Deke!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection on
• Courses by Deke McClelland on
• All Photoshop courses on

Suggested courses to watch next:
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop for Designers: Textures
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

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One Response to “Deke’s Techniques: Creating a dual-focus hybrid image in Photoshop”

  1. Awesome! Will have to try this one out!


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