How to Create a Picture Mirage

by Filonia LeChat

Novice photographers and graphic designers can enhance their artwork in a variety of ways through computer programs. Little touchups to remove dust specks, change an object's color or turn an image to black and white can be performed with a few clicks in most graphics programs, including free ones available with your computer such as Microsoft Paint. When you're interested in more in-depth imagery such as mirages, which give a fuzzy, dream-like appearance, Adobe Photoshop's palettes, tools and filters may assist you in creating the look you want


Open Adobe Photoshop and click "File," then click "Open." Navigate to where your digital landscape or other image is, then double-click it to open it in your workspace.


Click the "New Layer" icon, which looks like a flipped-up post-it note, in the "Layers" palette on the right side of your screen. A new Layer 1 appears in the palette; right-click it, select "Layer Properties" and change its name to "Haze."


Click back onto the "Background" layer to give it focus. Click the "Lasso" tool in the "Tools" palette on the left side of the screen. Click and hold down your mouse button and draw a line around the object you want to make look like a mirage, such as a cactus, small gas station in the distance or a road sign. A dotted blinking line appears in the shape of what you just circled. Press the "Ctrl-C" to copy this area.


Click the "Haze" layer, then press the "Ctrl-V" on your keyboard. The area pastes into place, but nothing looks like it has changed yet.


Click the "Smudge" tool on the "Tools" palette; it looks like a hand pointing a finger. A new toolbar opens at the top of your screen.


Choose a "Smudge Brush;" if your item is close up in the picture and large, choose a solid, round large dot. If it is further away, choose a smaller brush with a scattered focus.


Move the "Pressure" slider bar to 25 percent. Hover your cursor over the blinking area and notice it changes to the shape of the brush you chose. Hold down your mouse key and drag your cursor over the area within the dotted lines, going back and forth to create a haze.


Use the "Pressure" slider bar to vary the weight of your haze. If you want a thick, smog-like mirage, move the slider bar to an increased number. For thin, almost dreamlike mirage, keep the slider bar on the lower numbers.


Click the right-pointing triangle in a circle at the top of the "Layers" palette. Choose "Flatten Image." Save your image by clicking "File," then choose "Save As." Rename the image; don't save it on top of the original.

Items you will need

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.