Silky Effect Without ND Filter
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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.

 

 

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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

In the video I explain an alternative way for this step. Please watch the video to know why.
Open Photoshop and go to File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack. Check the two boxes in order to align all the images and convert them into a smart object once Photoshop aligns them.

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.

1-silky-effect-load-files-into-stack

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.

silky effect waterfall in photoshop