AdobeGenPro Digital Imaging Workshop: Digital Anachronism

Our assignment this week was to create a “digital anachronism”: a composite image combining elements from two different time periods. I decided to put a typist and typewriter in the midst of a group of computer users.


Students_taking_computerized_examBase photo: The base photo shows a group of students taking a computerized exam in 2001. I was hoping for something newer, but even though this was barely into the 21st century, it had an appropriate Creative Commons license and at least one of the pictured people was in the correct position for my purposes.


Typistes_op_het_ministerie_van_Sociale_Zaken_in_Den_Haag._-_SFA001004393Insert photo: The insert photo shows a group of typists at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands. I’m not sure what year it was taken, but it’s available only in black and white and all of the typewriters are manual.



firstdraftI decided to replace the top right computer student with the lower left typist. First, I resized the larger base photo to the same width as the insert photo. Next, I selected the lower left typist and her typewriter and pasted her into a separate layer. I used Free Transform to scale her down and rotate her slightly clockwise. Now to remove the computer student and her computer, reconstruct the wood panel background, and paste the lower right computer student in place over the inserted typist.

toplayerI took the quickest way possible to prepare the top layer by using the Polygonal Lasso Tool and selecting the entire top right hand corner of the photo for deletion.




woodI used various selection tools, Clone Stamp tool, and Smudge tool to remove the computer student, her computer, the plant, and create some wood paneling from the existing background. Since this would be covered up by the typist, I did not dwell on the details. I left the original computer student’s leg in the photo, but converted it to greyscale to match the typist. I also had to paint over a fragment of the computer student’s blue skirt by cloning the carpet.

I was not ambitious enough to switch out another typist. It would have been quite a challenge to replace either of the foreground computer students due to the background that would need to be fabricated.

(Base photo credit: By Michael Surran (Students taking a computerized exam) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons / Insert photo credit: Collectie SPAARNESTAD PHOTO/Wilko A.G.M. Bergmans [CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl (], via Wikimedia Commons)


  1. Jim Stauffer says

    Thank you for supplying the step-by-step process you used. Rebuilding the wainscoting seems like a challenge. Have to know it was done to find any trace of it. Blending elements of the old and new by desaturating the new down to greyscale is a trick I’ll have to remember.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge