In this tutorial, you will learn how, using gradient maps and drawing, to create an unusual neon poster with a tiger in a psychedelic style.
Step 1. Create a new document in Photoshop with a size of 5100×3300 pixels with a resolution of 300 dpi. This size will be ideal for working on the details.
Unlock the background layer by double clicking on it in the layers panel. We use Paint bucket tool(Fill) (G) to fill the layer with black.
Step 2. We import the image with a tiger on the working paper. We use Pen tool(Feather) (P) to cut the animal. Create a contour around the tiger’s face. You do not need to create a too precise contour, throughout the lesson we will still draw the wool.
After completing the contour, click on it with the right mouse button and select Make selection (Create selection). Feather (Feather) set to 10 pixels.
Step 3. Now we will work with the head, give it a symmetrical look and create a double face that will emphasize the psychedelic atmosphere of the illustration. Select the layer with the head and duplicate it (CTRL + J). Then go Edit – Transform – Flip Horizontal (Editing – Transformation – Flip Horizontally).
Add a layer mask on the duplicated layer, take a soft brush (B) black color of 300 pixels and paint over the left side of the muzzle so that both layers look like one piece.
Step 4. Select both layers and merge them together (CTRL + E). Before we add a gradient map, we will make several adjustments to the tiger’s face. Move on Filter – Sharpen – Sharpen (Filter – Sharpness – Sharpness) and apply the filter three times (CTRL + F) to get rid of the blurred areas.
Now add contrast Image – Adjustments – Brightness and Contrast (Image – Correction – Brightness and Contrast) with such parameters:
The contrast of the head has become better, but it still needs to be made a little darker. Move on Image – Adjustments – Levels (Image – Correction – Levels) (CTRL + L) and apply the following parameters:
I advise you to play with the settings to get the best result before adding the gradient layer, since how it will affect the image depends on the brightness and contrast.
Step 5. Create a new adjustment layer Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map) above the layer with the tiger head. Click on the gradient bar in the settings window to go to the gradient editor.
I chose a palette with cool colors: black for shadows (# 000000), dark blue for medium tones (# 04225e) and bright green for light areas (# 62e121). Experiment using very contrasting colors.
We must apply a clipping mask to the gradient layer so that it acts only on the tiger’s head. To do this, hold down the key Alt and click between two layers on the layers panel:
This is how a tiger’s head should look after applying a clipping mask:
Step 6. Now we begin to draw the details on the tiger’s face. But first we need to adjust the brush. I will use a graphic tablet for this part of the lesson, because it allows you to adjust the pressure of the brush.
But you can achieve the same result by using Pen tool(Pen) (P): create a contour, click on it with the right mouse button and execute Stroke path (Run contour stroke), in the appeared window choose Brush(Brush) (Before performing the stroke, adjust the diameter and stiffness of the brush).
The second method will take more time, but the final result will be the same.
Create a new layer and take Brush tool(Brush) (B) round shape with hardness (hardness) 100% and 4 pixels in size. Go to the brush parameters window (F5), then Shape dynamics (Dynamics of the form) and install Control (Control) at Pen Pressure (pen pressure) (this option must also be activated if you use a pen instead of a tablet).
When working with a brush, try to change its diameter in order to get a more interesting and varied result. With active Brush tool(Brush) (B) hold Alt in order to switch to the pipette mode, and take a sample of the required color in the image. Choose four different shades of primary colors (two green and two blue).
We begin to draw on the edges of the head, making short quick strokes with a brush, guided by the color and direction of the tiger’s hair.
Reduce the size of the brush to draw more details. Working in no hurry. The more you draw the hair, the better the result will be.
If you use Pen tool(Pen) (P) In this step, I advise you to create strokes in one part of the image, then duplicate (CTRL + J) layer and slightly move it to create a tuft of wool, which in turn you copy and place around the tiger’s head.
Step 7. Having filled the edges of the tiger’s head with wool, we will move on to drawing the muzzle. First we detail it with the same colors to add accents. Create a new layer, take a sample of bright green color and begin to draw short strokes.
Now select the blue color and fill in the areas that need more detail.
For convenience, you can create a new layer for each color or area of the muzzle. Slowly, fill the face with short strokes, but be careful and do not overdo it! (We only need to add more details).
Pay attention to the direction of the wool, it will help to arrange the strokes.
Step 8. Now we need to choose a brighter color to add a few details on the face.
Create a new layer. Begin to paint in light green on darker green areas to create accents.
I want the main element of the composition were the eyes, so in these places I will add more details.
We continue to draw more details on the face, changing the shades of the primary colors:
Use white color to paint highlights on the eyes and nose.
Increase the brush size by a couple of pixels and draw a mustache.
To add the final touches, I used a light blue color.
Step 9. In this step we will create a melting effect. To do this, we set up the brush. Select the round big brush (B) and in the parameters (F5) activate Shape dynamics (Dynamics of form). Make sure that Control (Control) is set to Pen pressure (Pen pressure).
Now we activate Color Dynamics (Dynamics of color) and apply these values:
Do the same with Transfer (Broadcast):
Select the first shade of green (# 62e121) as the foreground color and white as the background color. The size and color of the brush will now vary depending on the pressure of the pen. This means that the more you push, drawing strokes, the wider and greener the line will turn out; If you press lightly, then the line will be thinner and whiter.
We draw on a new layer, which should be located above all layers with details of the tiger’s face. While drawing, hold Shift, to get a straight line. We start at the bottom of the muzzle, first pressing down with a brush, and then slowly releasing it.
Change the size of the brush to add more details on the stains. Reduce its diameter until you get the appropriate dripping drops.
If you used several layers in this step, then merge them into one (CTRL + E). Drag the paper texture onto the working paper and place it on the layer with the drips we just drew. Then we change the blending mode of the texture layer to Overlay (Overlap) and add a clipping mask.
Add more details near the mustache and nose. Use a small round brush, dark blue as the foreground color and black as the background.
Step 10. Load brushes Inc and bleach (or any similar). Create a new layer under the tiger layer and draw several blots near the head.
When finished, duplicate (CTRL + J) layer and flip horizontally. Align both layers to the center.
Now add the drips on the blots. We use the same brush parameters as in the previous step, but reduce the opacity to about 30%. I used dark blue as the foreground and blue as the background.
Step 11. For the final touches, add fireworks to brighten the composition. Drag the stock image on the working paper and take Lasso Tool(Lasso) (L). Create a selection and copy (CTRL + J) the selected area to the new layer.
Move on Image – Adjustments – Hue and Saturation (Image – Correction – Hue and saturation).
Set the blending mode of this layer to Screen (Lightening). Now duplicate (CTRL + J) it several times, change the size and place it on the canvas.