As the driver drove us from the Las Vegas airport to our hotel, I saw a billboard promoting a comedian’s act for one of the hotels. That got me thinking of my comedian buddy Frankie Paul. We joked about him performing in Vegas. I thought how cool will it be when I see Frankie’s act promoted on a billboard here. This gave me an idea. I can add Frankie to the billboard! By the time my camera photo was ready, I missed my opportunity. I waited for another billboard and quickly took a shot.

To add Frankie to the billboard is actually really easy using Photoshop. Here are the steps.

Step 1: Create the fake billboard ad

Create a new document by clicking File from the menu bar then select New. Apply the setting below then click OK. This size or any rectangle size for that matter will fit perfect with the billboard. For higher resolution images use a larger pixel count.Design the ad then save the image as a PSD. Close the new document. You’ll understand later why we applied it as a smart object.

Step 2: Adding the fake billboard to the scene

Open the the main photo with the Las Vegas billboard. Next, place the new ad we created in step 1 by clicking File then select Place Embedded. Navigate to the folder where you saved the ad and click Place.

The ad will appear in the middle of the image. Press enter to place the image. Time to skew the image. Using keyboard shortcut Ctrl – T to transform the ad. Move the ad into place. To skew the ad, press and hold the Ctrl key as you move the corners into place. When finished with all four corners, press enter to lock the changes in place.


Step 3: Finishing touch

The fake billboard is looking good but looks a little fake. The ordinal image was shot from a moving vehicle so we need to add a little motion blur to the ad to match the scene. With the ad layer selected, hold the Ctrl key as you click the layer. A selection box will appear around the ad. Select Filter – Blur then click Motion Blur. Apply the setting below then click OK.

Last we need to slightly color balance the scene. From the layers palette click on the adjustment layer and select Photo Filter. The default Warming Filer (85) is good.

By placing the ad as a smart object, we can double click on the ad layer and change it. When we save the change, it will appear on the billboard. Try out this technique and share your results on the Photofocus Facebook page.