Photobash is a fast way of producing concept art by combining images to create entirely new artwork. Photobashing is an easy to learn technique for any skill level and is often used for its faster than normal workflow in which everything is made from scratch.
If you have to make a concept art set in a real-life location, like Los Angeles, it's much faster to manipulate a photograph to represent an intended event.
Some may think photobash is cheating, but it's actually a valuable tool to fasten the workflow when you need to produce highly detailed concept art fast by combining realistic environment assets and crowds for example to create a busy street.
However, using photobashing technique doesn't allow ignoring fundamentals when the purpose is to make believable looking concept art. Artists should learn how composition, lighting, and forms work among other fundamentals. With this knowledge, it's easier to create great-looking concept art.
Photobashing doesn't limit itself to only merge and blend of photographs, 3D assets are also used in various ways. Ready-made 3D assets are available throughout the Internet, and setting them up for a scene and rendering the image can be done with free 3D software like Blender.
Artists finalize their art by digitally painting over where necessary fixes are needed. This way the art will have more realistic looking blending and things like lighting are easier to change.
Environment art isn't the only thing that photobashing can be used in. The image on the left with a robot has been done from industrial components. The components were combined and cut into pieces in different ways, and the artist has digitally painted parts of the image.
The first place to find photobash material is your own camera or smartphone. When photobashing, go through your own images and assets first, even if the photo isn't something that you would post to social media, it could still work as a part of a whole. The advantage of working with your own resources is that they are your own materials, and you don't have to worry about the license.
Images can be found on free and paid websites. Here is a list of some site you can check out:
When using images taken by someone else, check out the licenses on them before using them. Some licenses allow free usage of images even for commercial work, but some require a fee before using them.
Below are few images from a personal album to be used in a photobashed image that you can see further down this lesson.
Fortunately, photobashing can be done on any software that the artist is comfortable with, Photoshop or Krita for example, just as long as you can cut images and add them to different layers and manipulate them. Especially Photoshop's tools like color balances and level adjustments are great additions for photobashers. But luckily other software has started to gain the tools to achieve the same, so nowadays it depends more on the user's skill than software tools.
As you can see, photobash is a simple and quick way to create concept art for the environment and widely used especially in the videogame industry where things are needed to be done fast.
Photobashing is a flexible and fast technique to create concept art. It takes a bit of time to get hang of it but is a useful skill for any artist to learn.