Create stunning portraits in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a bias effect for portraits. You will learn how to create your own displacement maps and distort images the way you like, and also use brushes to create one interesting effect. Let’s get started.

Final result:

Note: The author used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the images to perform the lesson.

Step 1

Create a new document sized 700 * 700 pixels and fill it with white. Open the texture image and drag it to our newly created document using the tool Move (Move Tool) (V).

Step 2

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to darken our background texture. To do this, go to Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves).

Step 3

Next, use the adjustment layer Levels (Levels) in order to further darken our background.

On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to display bright areas in the middle of the image.

Step 4

Create a new adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) and change the settings in the tabs Mid tones (Midtones) and Sveta (Highlights).

Step 5

Open the image of a man. Separate it from the background using the Tool. Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool) (L), well, or any other tool that you own better.

Now convert the selected man layer to Smart object (Smart Object). Duplicate this layer and then go to Filter – Appearance – Crystallization (Filter> Pixelate> Crystallize).

At the moment, we have this result, and we will use it later as our first custom offset map. Save this file in .PSD format and name it. “offset 1” (“Displace 1”) or whatever you want.

Step 6

Move the original image of the man (the image without processing of the Crystallization filter) on our dark background. Duplicate this layer three times and number the layer names with numbers from 1 to 4.

Disable temporarily duplicate layers (2,3,4). Add a mask to the layer 1. Selecting different paint brushes, mask the edges of the image of the man.

Step 7

Turn layer 2 on. Scale the image of the man and rotate it as shown below:

Next, go to Filter – Distortion – Offset (Filter> Distort> Displace) and open the file “offset 1” (“Displace 1”), created in step 5.

Add a mask to this layer and use the brush strokes to achieve the same result as shown below.

Step 8

Turn layer 3 on and slightly enlarge the image of the man using Free Transform (Ctrl + T):

Next, apply the Offset filter with the settings shown below:

Use a layer mask and paint brushes to get a result like the screenshots below.

Step 9

Now we will create a new custom offset map. Open the image with the abstractions. Use the tool Frame (Crop Tool (C)) to select only the abstraction we need and delete the rest:

Save this file in .PSD format and name it. “offset 2” (“Displace 2”).

Step 10

Now let’s go back to our main file and turn on layer 4. Move the image of the man to the left and make it a bit larger:

Apply filter Bias (Displace) to our file “offset 2” (“Displace 2”) with settings as shown below.

Add a mask to this layer and, using several brushes to paint, mask the image of the man. Create a slight grunge effect for the face and body of the man, as well as the background:

Step 11

Duplicate this layer and move the image of the man up and to the right (without the layer mask)

Now add a mask to this layer and try to experiment with brush strokes.

Step 12

Duplicate this layer again and flip it horizontally. Editing – Transform – Flip Horizontally (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal)

Next, work on smear brushes on the layer mask:

Step 13

Create a new layer and set the foreground color to black. Use the brush stroke and draw on the layer as shown in the screenshot below:

Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of this layer to load its selection:

Next, select layer 3, right-click on the selection and in the drop-down menu select Copy to new layer (Layer via Copy). Now we have a selected part on a new transparent layer. Move this layer in the layers palette above all existing ones.

Step 14

Move this part over the man’s head and reduce the size of this part.

Achieve a similar result at the bottom with brushes.

Step 15

Use the same method to enhance the effects of grunge and decay.

Step 16

Select all the layers with the image of a man and those that were processed with brushes. Press Ctrl + G to group them, and change the mode for this group with Skip (Pass through) on Normal (Normal) 100%. Next, create an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) within this group to slightly discolor the image of the man and the created effect:

Step 17

Now create an adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance), and adjust the settings Medium tones (Midtones):

Step 18

Next, apply the adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) and using it to lower the brightness level

On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to make the light in the face area visible.

Step 19

Now turn off the background layers (white background and texture layer). Press Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to merge all visible layers (meaning the group of layers with the image of a man) into one new layer. Name this layer “Effect 1” (“Effect 1”).

Turn on background layers. On the layer “Effect 1” (“Effect 1”) using the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool), highlight a small fragment of the cheek:

Right click on this layer and select Copy to new layer (Layer via Copy). To make this part more visible and create a peeling effect, create a new layer below the existing one, but above the layer “Effect 1” (“Effect 1”). Use soft black brush with level opacity (Opacity) about 40% to draw a shadow under it.

Step 20

Apply the same method to create even more areas on the face with peeling skin.

Step 21

Group the layer “Effect 1” (“Effect 1”) and all layers on which we reproduced the peeling effect. Merge the layers of this group together in the same way as we did in step 19. Increase what happened, as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 22

Apply adjustment layer Channel Mixing (Channel Mixer) and put it in Clipping Mask mode. Change the red channel settings (value: -67)

Step 23

Change color by applying adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Step 24

Let’s go back to the effect layer and use the mask of the layer with the brush strokes to remove the part covering the man in the image and leave the effect visible only around him.

Step 25

Now we will create even more custom offset cards. Create a new document in Photoshop with a transparent background. Use the tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool) to create some rectangular selections and fill them with black color:

Next, go to Filter – Distortion – Ripples (Go to Filter> Distort> Ripple)

Then, apply Filter – Distortion – Wave (Filter> Distort> Wave)

Save this file in .PSD format and name it. “offset 3” (“Displace 3).

Step 26

Create another document in Photoshop. Create a new layer and press D to set the default foreground and background colors (i.e. black and white respectively). Next, go to Filters – Rendering – Clouds (Filter> Render> Clouds)

Then, go to Filters – Rendering – Fibers (Filter> Render> Fiber)

Now apply the filter Crystallization (Crystallize)

Save this file in .PSD format and name it. “offset 4” (“Displace 4”).

Step 27

Add a layer with the original image of the man on top of all layers. Duplicate this layer twice. Hide these two duplicate layers. Rename the layers in order of numbers from 1 to 3.

On layer 1, work with brush strokes to partially cover the body.

Step 28

Turn on layer 2 and apply filter Bias (Displace) using file “offset 3” (“Displace 3).

Add a mask to this layer and with the help of brush strokes visualize the effect around the image of a man, especially his face.

Step 29

Make the layer 3 visible. Apply a filter Bias (Displace) using file “offset 4” (“Displace 4”).

Next, apply a layer mask to achieve the same result as in the screenshot below:

Step 30

Add a layer with the original image of the man on top of all layers and apply a filter Bias (Displace) using file “offset 2” (“Displace 2”), just as it was done in the tenth step. Then duplicate it and flip horizontally.

Step 31

Create a separate group for all layers created in steps 27 through 30. Press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to merge all these layers into one. Mask the image with a brush so that it looks like the bottom screenshots:

Step 32

Next, create an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), (put it in clipping mask mode) to discolor the created effect:

Step 33

Now, create an adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance) and change the settings Medium tones (Midtones):

Step 34

Use corrective layer Curves (Curves) and lower the brightness:

Step 35

Next, create a correction layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map) on top of all layers and select the following colors for the gradient: # 64649f and # 85f982. Now, change the mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light) 100%.

Step 36

Create an adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo Filter) and select the color # ec8a00:

Step 37

Next, change the color by applying an adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance):

Step 38

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and increase the brightness level:

On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to mask the edges and keep the shadow there, and make sure the light is focused on the man’s face.

Step 39

Create a new layer and, using a soft brush with color # 020b2d, work it around the male ear.

Change the mode for this layer to Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) 100%:

Step 40

Create a new layer, change the color of the brush to # 8df0f6 and paint over the ear area again. For this layer select mode Overlap (Overlay) 100%.

Your image is finally ready! If you have successfully completed all the steps, you will most likely have acquired truly useful skills along the way!

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