The Harris Shutter Effect is a process discovered in the days of film photography. It’s achieved by taking a sequence of three exposures on the same frame, with a red, green and blue filter used for each.
The resulting effect means static objects in the scene appear in full colour, whereas any elements that moved appear as the colour of the filter used while taking that exposure.
The ability to shoot multiple exposures on one frame is possible with some modern DSLR bodies, but not all, and the process itself can be tricky to get right.
However, with Photoshop Elements it’s possible to get the same results using three standard colour images shot in sequence. In our latest Photoshop Elements tutorial we’ll look at how to use Elements to apply colour fills and blending modes to filter the three shots into their component channels.
The first will display only the red colour information, the second green, and the third blue. After the three images have been filtered and prepared we’ll combine them into a new image.
As the layers are overlaid and combined using blending modes, the static objects, in this case the glass, will appear in full colour, while the water will display the colourful Harris Shutter Effect. So with your images ready, let’s give it a go.
Step-by-step how to recreate the Harris Shutter Effect
01 Create the red channel
Open your start image. Right-click the image layer and from the drop-down menu select Duplicate Layer. Click the half moon icon at the base of the Layers palette and create a new Solid Color layer. We want this first layer to be red so set the values of the layer to R: 255, G: 0 and B: 0.
02 Create green and blue layers
Change the blending mode of the layer to Multiply then select Layer>Merge Down. Duplicate the background layer copy, choose Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation and increase the Hue to 120. Duplicate the green layer, open Hue/Saturation and increase to 120 to create a blue layer.
03 Remove green and blue
Change the blending modes of both the green and blue layers to Screen and then flatten the image. Click the half moon icon in the Layers palette and create a new Solid Colour Adjustment Layer. Set it to R: 255, G: 0 and B: 0. Choose Multiply from the Blending modes drop-down menu.
04 Create the other channels
From the Layers menu select Flatten Image. Repeat 1-3 with the other two images, replacing values of the Solid Color layer in steps 1 and 3 with R: 0, G: 255 and B:0 for the green channel and R:0, G: 0 and B: 255 for the blue. Press Ctrl A, Ctrl C and Ctrl V to paste the green and blue images into the red one.
05 Blend the images
Change the blending modes for the green and blue layers to Lighten then flatten the image. From Tools select the Burn tool. Select Shadows with exposure set to 50%; use this on the black background to remove any highlights. Reduce the Exposure to 5% and use on the glass to improve the contrast.
06 Apply finishing touches
Open Levels with Ctrl L. Move the Shadows and Highlight sliders to meet the edges of the histogram. From the Layer options, select Flatten Image. Open Hue/Saturation. Increase Saturation to +20. Choose Enhance>Smart Sharpen, increase the amount to 50%, set the radius to 1.6 and click OK.