Create a colorful effect for a portrait in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the process of creating a colorful artistic effect for a portrait in Photoshop. We will use brushes and textures to get the desired effect. This lesson is very simple, basically, we will use layer masks and a variety of brushes, so even a beginner can do this work by following this guide.

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

Note: The source of the lesson is missing some images. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the materials for the lesson.

Step 1

First create a new document in Photoshop. Go to menu File> New (File> New) and set the following settings:

Step 2

Fill the created document with gray. For this, I chose the color # b9b9b9. So, first set the foreground color to gray, and then press the ALT + Backspace key combination to gray out our document.

Press CTRL + SHIFT + N to create a new layer. Take a white soft brush and draw it in the center of the document.

Step 3

Use adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change the document color from gray to yellow.

To create an adjustment layer, you need to select on the top panel Layer > NewAdjustmentLayer (Layers> New Adjustment Layer).

This is how the background should change:

Step 4. Add a girl

Now add a portrait of a girl using the command File > PlaceEmbedded (File> Place embedded). You can also use another portrait.

Step 5. Copy and hide the model

The trick to achieving the desired effect is the use of brushes and textures. We need to hide a copy of each layer with the model using a layer mask, and then on the layer-masks we will show the portrait of the girl using a set of brushes.

Now press CTRL + J to duplicate the model layer several times. Add a layer mask HideAll (Hide all) to each layer with the model by going to Layer > LayerMask > HideAll (Layers> Mask Layer> Hide All).

Once done, hide the visibility of all layers with the model by clicking on the “eyes” icon. For now, leave only the original layer with the model visible.

Step 6. Use the brush set.

Load a set of brushes in Photoshop, and then use any brush to make our model visible. To do this, you will need to choose a white color, and then use the selected brush to start drawing over the layer mask of the model layer.

Here you can see how I used the brush:

Step 7

You need to continue working with different brushes in order to develop a model. There are 13 brushes in the set, so choose different brushes each time, and then paint them on a layer mask and use a different model layer each time, since we have a lot of them.

Step 8

Now I started working on the third duplicate of the model layer:

Here I used the fourth duplicate of the model layer:

Step 9. Use texture

This step is important as it adds color to the portrait. Therefore you must use a colorful texture. I found this image on Google, since there was no such colored texture on other free sites.

That way, you can find any texture on Google or you can download my low-quality texture drawing I used. Sorry, but I can not give you a link to download it.

Place the texture in the main document and use the tool FreeTransformTool (Free Transform) (CTRL + T) to resize and rotate it. It will all depend on which parts of the texture you want to use.

After placing the texture, add a layer mask to it. Hide all (Hide all) and then use white brushes to reveal it. The process is exactly the same as we worked with the girl.

Step 10

I duplicated the texture layer and then displayed the texture on other parts.

Finally, I displayed the texture in the upper left part:

That’s how I mixed the texture with the portrait of a girl.

Step 11

Now I will use a bunch of adjustment layers. First, I used a correction layer. Color balance (Color balance) to add blue tones to the portrait. Remember to place this layer on top of all layers.

I used an adjustment layer ColorLookup (Search color) to balance the contrast.

This is what our portrait looks like after creating two adjustment layers:

Step 12

You may have noticed that at this stage the image looks blurry. Perhaps this is due to the fact that we are working on a document with a very low resolution.

But adding sharpness to the image will fix this. Merge all layers into one layer by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + E, then go to Filter > Other > Custom (Filter> Other> Custom).

Use the following settings for this filter:

After applying the filter, you will get the following result. Note that this filter not only added sharpness to the image, but also added a paper effect. I also reduced Opacity (opacity) of the merged layer to 62% to soften the effect of this filter.

Step 13

Create an adjustment layer Solid color (Color) and select dark blue color.

Set the blending mode to Exclusion (Exception), opacity 70%.

Step 14

Using an adjustment layer Color balance (Color balance), I added yellow tones.


Step 15

Finally I used an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) to add colors by increasing the brightness.

Here i used Blue (Blue) and Green (Green) channels to adjust color:

I reduced the opacity of the adjustment layer Levels (Levels) up to 40%.

And here is the result:

Here you can see how the layers are arranged:

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