Create an abstract portrait in Photoshop

Double exposure – a cool effect that has existed for a long time. When shooting on a film camera, this effect was created by showing negative twice in different scenes. Now this effect can be easily created and decorated with a few simple Photoshop tricks. Below, I will show you how, in this simple lesson.

Step 1. Collecting photos

For a start, we need good shots to create our double exposure effect. For the portrait, I selected an image from deviantArt, by TwiggXStock, a link to which you can find in the archive to the lesson.

For the image of the landscape, I chose the beautiful photo of the northern lights with UnSplash.

Step 2. Separating the portrait from the background

Create a new document in Photoshop. My document is 1970 by 2680 pixels. Both selected images paste into the document on separate layers. For now you should hide the layer with the photo of the landscape. Using any method you like, separate the portrait from the background. I used QuickMaskMode (Q) (Quick Mask Mode) to “draw” a selection area. I also turned the portrait into black and white by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + U.

Step 3. Create a double exposure effect.

Switch to the panel Channels (Channels) and then clamp Shift and click on the channel Rgb. This will highlight the area with the portrait.

Switch back to the panel with layers and turn off the visibility of the portrait layer. Now select the layer with the landscape and return its visibility. With the portrait area still selected, click on the button. Mask (Add mask) at the bottom of the panel with layers.

Finally, select the mask in the layers panel, and click Ctrl/Cmd+I, to invert it.

Step 4. Decorating effect

This is my favorite part. In this step, I used a free set of brushes with WeGraphics called Mixed Media. You can find a link to it at the beginning of the lesson.

Select a brush from this set. Make sure that the foreground color (primary color) is white. Start clicking on the layer mask to hide parts of the portrait. Change the foreground color to black and continue to add spray pieces.

Use different brushes, resize them and rotate them to create an effect similar to mine.

Step 5. Adding texture and lighting

To complete this work, I added a gradient map on top of all layers and changed its blending mode to Overlay (Overlap). For purple I used # 290a59, and for light orange I used # e1be9d.

Finally, I added the texture from the Recycled Paper Textures package from MediaLoot. I placed the texture on the bottom layer.

That’s all! This effect looks very complicated, but in fact it is quite light. There are an unlimited number of ways to use it to obtain different images. Dare, create!

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