In this tutorial we will create a silky waterfall effect using Smart Objects and Stack Modes in Photoshop. I will show you how to create a long exposure effect without using an ND filter or a tripod. The photo sequence used in this tutorial was made with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone without the use of a tripod.
You can create silky effects for waterfalls without an expensive DSLR equipment and without an Neutral Density filter using Smart Objects and stack modes in Photoshop.
Create the silky effect in Photoshop
Step by Step
In order to create a silky smooth waterfall you need a sequence of at least 20 images or more. The more images you have the better the effect will be but the more time Photoshop will need to process the images.
Using the Stack mode you can create this long exposure effect without the use of an ND filter or tripod
Step 1 – Open photos as sequence
Note: if you took the photos with a tripod and you are sure that the tripod did not move between shots, do not check the box o auto-align the images, you will save a few minutes of waiting.
Step 2 – Stack mode
Once the images have been aligned and converted into smart object, go to Layer>Smart Objects>Stack Mode and choose Mean or Median. You will have to wait a bit until photoshop analises the images and creates the silky effect.