Creating a superplastic effect with color lines – Part I

Today, colored lines are one of the most malleable effects that you can easily create in Photoshop. They are easily adaptable, anywhere, and they look great.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create these fantastic multi-colored effects using only Photoshop. I will show you how to draw an illustration with these effects. So let’s get started!

Preview of the final result

Let’s take a look at the image that we will create.

You can see the final image in a larger version here.

Materials for the lesson:

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Step 1. First, open the image with the girl, then take the tool Pen (Pen) and begin to allocate it. When you are finished creating the outline, right-click and select Make a selection. Then use the command Ctrl / Command + C to copy the selected area.
While selecting, pay attention to the arrows pointing to the shadows. Make sure you do not select them with the girl. We will create our own shadow depending on the background color.

Step 2. Create a new 1200×950 pxls document with a resolution of 300px / inch. Create a new layer and name it. “Background” (Background), change foreground color on # f0ce46 and Background Color on # f78414. Take the tool Gradient (Gradient) (G), then in the top bar, set the gradient parameter to Radial (Radial). Now draw a gradient from the upper left corner. Use the ctrl / command + v command to insert our cut out girl. Name this layer “Girl”, go to menu Image> Adjustment> Selective color (Image> Adjustments> Selective Color) and experiment with the parameters Red and Yellow. I tried to adjust the color of the girl so that it fits better with the orange environment.

Note: Set the background colors to your taste. I’ll show you the way to create this illustration, but if you choose other colors (for example, blue tones), then you better adjust the girl’s color to cooler tones than to warm ones.

Step 3. Now take the tool Dimmer (Burn) (O), then change range (range) on Midtones (Mid Tones) and Exposure (Exposure) by 30%. Make sure that the “Girl” layer is active and paint a bit of contrast on her hair. And if other parts of her silhouette seem a little dull, you can repeat this process again.

Step 4. So, we made a small correction of light and contrast. But that is not all. Now let’s get to the very important part, because we need to revive the girl and create shadows under her. Below I give a quick guide in three steps. Let’s think about what we need to do with the image of a girl and how.

First we need to make a shadow. So look at point 1 below. This is the original image that we use. Bring the shadow under the girl, and as you can see, this is a very simple example. This image already shows us how the shadows were actually located. Therefore, all you need now is to restore the same shadow effect (as shown by 3 illustrations). Use point 1 as a guide to these actions.
Once you complete these steps, go to the next step.

Step 5. Before moving on, create a new layer above the “Background” layer. Call it “Ground.” Change the foreground color to # ffe07c, take the tool Gradient (Gradient) (G), then in the top panel set the setting Radial (Radial). Draw a gradient to the middle of the screen. Now you should have a big yellow dot. Then go to menu Editing> Transformation> Offset (Edit> Transform> Distort) and give the point a little perspective to give it the appearance of a base (second image below).

Create a new layer under the “Girl” layer. Call it “Shadow.” (Shadow). Change the color to any type # 8f4121 (brown). Take the brush tool (Brush) (B), set Hardness by 0% Push about 10%, also set Diameter (Master Diameter) by a fairly small amount. Then start painting under the girl where the shadows should go. Change the size of the diameter to get different variations of the shadow. Help yourself with a tool Eraser (Erase) (E), installing it Hardness by 0% and Push by 50%.

As I noted in the previous step, use the original image to understand what the shadows look like and create them in the same manner. You don’t have to do everything perfectly, give the girl at least a little shade so that she looks more realistic. Also, if necessary, change the color to a darker and lighter brown. Creating shadows is the hardest part of the job, but it’s worth it! During the work you need to be patient.

Remember, each individual color depends on the overall environment. I create everything in warm colors, so I carefully mix the yellow and orange tones. As for the shadows, I darken the yellow tone (the tone of our base) and turn it brown. I did this because the color of the shadow of each object depends on the surface (base) on which it is located.

Step 6. Now select the “Girl” layer. Go to menu Image> Adjustment> Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels) and add some contrast. Then go to menu Image> Adjustment> Hue / Saturation (Image> Adjustments> Hue / Saturation) and reduce the level Saturation (Saturation). You don’t need a girl to be too bright. Then move on to the balance of the image and set some depth to color. Duplicate (Command / Ctrl + J) the layer “Girl” (Girl) and name it “Color depth.” (Depth of color). Change blending mode (blending mode) layer on soft light and then go to Image> Adjustment> Gradient Map (Image> Adjustments> Gradient Map). Set the gradient from # 1b130c to # 969696.
Depending on what you want to achieve, the colors in the gradient map may be different. I recommend you experiment with these colors. You can get a lot of interesting results. However, if you have no idea how to carefully configure the gradient map, just set it to Black, White (Black, White) and lower it a little opacity (opacity) layer. This technique always works well.
The last image below shows what the girl should look like (along with the adjusted background).

Note: Before use gradient maps make sure you changeblending mode layer on Soft Light. As a result, you will get the following image after applying the specified gradient map.

Step 7. I made the orange background visible again, after which I thought that it should be made brighter. So let’s work on it. We start with adding contours that will become our plastic colored lines.
Create a new layer above the background layer and name it “Back colors”. Change the color to efd8a5 (nice bright yellow color). Take the tool Brush (Brush) (B), set Stiffness (hardness) by 0% Push (Flow) about 20-40% and draw one or more large dots for the girl. Switch to the tool Pen (Pen) (P). Then create some neat outlines surrounding the girl.
If you have problems using the Pen tool, you can go to the articles “How to work with a pen?” By Zinaida Lukyanova, “A cunning pen. Figures – learn to draw “and” Insidious pen – 2 “Flowers and letters” by Natalia Vasilyeva, in order to understand the principle of the tool and fix it in practice.

Step 8. Create a new group above the “Girl” layer. Call it the “Blue line” and create a layer in it called “b_line” (line). Then go back to the tool. Brush (Brush) (B), change settings to Stiffness (Hardness) 100%, push (flow) 100% and Diameter (MasterDiameter) up to 7-10 px (depending on the size of your image). Then go to brush settings (brushsettings) and install The minimum diameter (MinimumRoundness) by 25%. Then switch to tool Feather (Pen) (P). Right click and select Outline the contour (StrokePath).
Make sure you have checked. simulate pressure (Simulatepressure). We will use it throughout the entire lesson during the creation of each contour (check it every time), from now on I will not mention it anymore.
It doesn’t matter what color you stroke the outline, since we’ll color it by blending options (blendingoptions). So, if you do not want to get confused, you can set the white color as the color for the outline.

Now hold Command / Ctrl + right-click on the Girl ’Girl’ ’(Girl) layer icon to load the selection. Then add layer mask (LayerMask) go to the “b_line” layer (c_line) and select this mask. Take the tool Brush (Brush) (B) black, set all the brush settings to 100% to make it hard. Then paint over the areas shown in the second image below. We need to create an effect, as if the line goes around the girl.

Note: I do not know what the Minimum Diameter parameter depends on (MinimumRoundness) in the brush settings, but sometimes it is impossible to turn it on. If you encounter this problem, simply restart Photoshop. The next thing we need to do is open the brush options and make sure that this setting is set to 25%.

Step 9. Now let’s play with Overlay Parameters (BlendingOptions). Standard settings Overlay Parameters (BlendingOptions) make everything completely flat without any sense of depth. Although I’ve seen people use the default settings, they still have problems giving volume. Therefore, be extremely careful with them.

Depending on what color you want to create lines, layer styles (layerstyles) will be different. If you decide to paint them in blue, you will need to play with different shades of blue.
Also, a very important thing is the parameter. Gloss contour (GlossContour) in settings Stamping (BevelandEmboss) (second image below). I created my own contour to suit my requirements. If you play with these points, you catch the principle of their work. Make sure you have checked. View (Preview), then you can apply effects in real time.
Another important thing is Angle (Angle) and Shadow Mode (AttitudeofShading) (parameter under Gloss contour (GlossContour) – second image below). Spend some time using this small option. It allows you to more accurately adjust the light.

Step 10. Now take the tool Brush (Brush) (B), set Stiffness (Hardness) by 0% Diameter (MasterDiameter) vary from 1-2 px, thus creating new contours, turning them into lines. We need to make a few strokes to make the blue line complete.
To do this, create a new layer above the “b_line” layer (line) and name it “b_line fills” (line fill), create contours. Create a lot of contours, starting and ending at different points. See the images below. On the 3rd and 4th images below, the arrows indicate the points where I located pivot points (anchors). I created them with different settings and different brush sizes (from 1 to 2px).
If you don’t like certain sections of lines, just erase them using the tool. Eraser (Eraser) (E) 0% Stiffness (Hardness) and 50% Push (Flow).

Step 11. I am sure you have a lot of ideas on how to create these lines. Therefore, create more lines, apply them as you see fit.
Now let’s take care of the color of these little lines. I simply copy the layer style of the “b_line” layer (c_line) and paste it into the b_line fills layer (c_line fill). Then i turn to blending options layer “b_line fills” (c_line fill) and change only the color Inner Glow on bright blue blue # c1dbff. You can also change gloss color (Satincolor) on some other shade of blue. For this option, I chose the color # 54abbb. I did not change anything else. The changes made are barely perceptible, but now these lines are of different colors.
I didn’t play with the b_line fills layer styles (line fill), since these lines are very small and all the effects will be hard to see. It is enough that you change color Inner Glow (and, if you wish, color gloss (satin)) as I said earlier.

Step 12. Repeat the same process as in step 9. The new line will intersect with the blue line, and we will fill it with green. So, create a new group above the group “Blue lines” (Blue lines), name it “Green line” (Green line). Create a new layer in it and name it “g_line” (3_line). Take the tool Brush (Brush) (B) and change it diameter (MasterDiameter) up to 6-8px, set stiffness (hardness) and push (flow) at 100%. Then take the tool Feather (Pen) (P), draw a neat outline crossing the blue line, then right-click and select Circle Outline (Strokepath). After that, apply the same effect as before and play with Shadow (Shading) at Embossed (BevelandEmboss). And this time use green color for all parameters.
As soon as you finish, take the tool Eraser (Eraser) (E) and make sure that the “g_line” layer (active) is active. Then erase some areas in which both lines intersect to give a certain depth. You can also do it freely using Layer mask (LayerMask). Good any way.

Step 13. Now we just repeat steps 10 and 11, only for the green line. So, create a new layer in the group “Green line” (Green line), name it “g_line fills” (bottom line fill). Now take the tool Brush (Brush) (B), set Stiffness (Hardness) and Push (Flow) by 0%, change Diameter (MasterDiameter) dynamically between 1px and 2px and create many contours. Then circle them. After that, copy the styles of the g_line layer (3 lines) and paste them into the g_line fills layer (3 lines fill) in the same way as we did before.
And now you do not need to adjust the brightness of the colors at the “g_line fills” layer (the fill line), since they already look good. But if you want them to be brighter, make sure that the color Internal luminescence (InnerGlow) set to brighter. If any unwanted lines annoy you, just erase them using the tool. Eraser (Eraser) (E) with Stiffness (Hardness), set to 0% and 50% Push (Flow).

Step 14. So it looks good. Now create the next line a little more interesting. To do this, create a new group above the others and name it “Pink line”. Create a new layer and name it “p_ring” (p_ring). Take the tool Pen (Pen) (P) and draw a curved contour around the girl’s foot Ellipse / Oval (Ellipse) (U) and create a circle). Then right-click and select Circle Outline (Strokepath). Then apply several layer styles as before. You can apply my settings or experiment at your discretion.

Step 15. If your ring requires a small adjustment, select the “p_ring” layer (p_ring), duplicate this layer (Command / Ctrl + J), go to the menu Editing> Transformation> Flip Vertical (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical) and apply it to make an ellipse. Then take the tool Eraser (Eraser) (E) and erase the excess areas to make it appear as if it passes around the girl’s leg.
Once you are done, select the “p_ring” layer again (p_ring), duplicate it (Command / Ctrl + J) 3-4 times and go to the menu Editing> Free Transform (Edit> Free Transform), to fit those rings to the girl’s leg.

Step 16. Create a new layer and name it “p_line” (p_line), take the tool Pen (Pen) and draw a twisted contour. This will be our third line.
Switch to Blending Options and apply the same effects as before. In this case, you need to play with the settings Emboss> Shade (Bevel and Emboss> Shading). Make sure that Angle and Altitude customized as you want. Depending on the direction of your line and its shape, the direction of the shadow will be different. You need to adjust the values ​​until the result suits you.

Step 17. Another recurring process. Use the same tricks as in step 10 and 11, but for the pink line. In short: create a new layer called “p_line fills” (p_line fill), draw outlines around the main line using the tool Pen (Pen) (P) and paint them with a soft 1-2px brush. Then copy the layer style from the “p_line” layer (p_line) and paste into the “p_line fills” layer (p_line fill).

Find the continuation of the lesson here.

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