Create in Photoshop an abstract portrait of a girl with character

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create an abstract portrait of a woman with stones and lava.

At the beginning of the lesson we will create a background using landscapes and several abstract textures. After that, we will edit the model, add a mountain and several textures with cracks on its head. Then insert the stones with lava and draw a few lines. At the end we will add another abstract texture and refine the result using the tools Dodge / Burn Tool(O) (Brightener / Dimmer) and several adjustment layers.

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

1. Create a background

Step 1

Create a new document (Ctrl + N) 3000 x 1790 pixels in size with the following settings:

Step 2

Open the photo Landscape 1. With Move Tool (V) (Move) move it to the working canvas.

At the bottom of the layers panel, click on the second button on the left to add a mask to the layer with the landscape. Take a soft round brush (B) in black and remove part of the landscape to create a smooth transition to a white photo and get the effect of thick fog.

Step 3

Above we create a new adjustment layer. Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue/ Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation) and turn it into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G). Install Saturation (Saturation) at -100.

Step 4

Now we insert on the working document a photo Landscape 2 and create a mask for it. With a soft black brush we delete the bottom part of the landscape, leaving barely visible only the mountains and the central part of the photo.

Step 5

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) (transform it into a clipping mask) and bleach Landscape 2.

Step 6

Download the set with abstract textures. Open the folder with multi-colored backgrounds, find the first group and select any image you like. We put it on the working canvas.

Using the mask we can hide almost the entire texture, leaving some details on the sides of the canvas.

Step 7

Add an adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map) and choose a standard black and white gradient to discolor the texture.

Step 8

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and increase the brightness to reduce the sharpness of the effect.

Step 9

Again, back to the set with abstract textures. Open the folder with the grunge images and from the fourth group choose any texture. We put it on the working canvas. Using the mask, we remove the lower part, leaving the effect mainly in the upper part of the canvas.

Step 10

Create an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and decrease the parameter Saturation (Saturation) to a minimum.

Step 11

Add an adjustment layer Invert (Invert) to make the result softer.

2. Edit the model

Step 1

Open the picture with the model. Cut the woman to the left and place her in the center of the working canvas.

Step 2

Add a mask on the layer with the model and select a brush from the “Watercolor” set. I used the brush number 2494. Press the F5 key to open the panel with the brush settings.

With this brush, we run through the hair and add details on the shoulders.

Step 3

Add an adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map) with a black and white gradient to discolor the model.

Step 4

To lighten the model a little, especially on the shoulders, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves). Edit the mask of the adjustment layer and remove the effect in the shaded areas and on the face.

Step 5

Above we create a new layer and a soft brush with Opacity (Opacity) and Flow (Press) approximately 50% remove the shadow on the model’s shoulder.

Step 6

Create a new layer and use a soft brush (B) with color # 808080 to reduce the brightness of the lips and teeth.

Step 7

Add a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N), switch its blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) with opacity 100% and fill with 50% gray.

Activate Dodge/ Burn Tool (O) (Brightener / Dimmer) and modify the light and shade on the model. The result is shown in the overlay mode. Normal (Normal) and Overlay (Overlap).

3. Add a mountain

Step 1

Open the photo with the mountain. Cut the largest mountain on the right. Activate the transformation Edit – Transform – warp (Edit – Transform – Warp) and transform the mountain according to the size and shape of the head.

Step 2

Add a mask and with a stiff brush of black color we modify the contour of the mountain.

Step 3

Using the adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) discolor mountain.

Step 4

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and increase the contrast of the mountain.

Step 5

Using another layer Curves (Curves) increase the brightness of the mountain. With a soft black brush (B) with low opacity (approximately 20-50%), edit the mask of the adjustment layer and reduce the amount of effect in order to return the contrast and at the same time preserve the texture.

4. Add abstract textures.

Step 1

Open the set with abstract textures. We find a folder with grunge textures and in the fifth group select any image. Add it to the bottom of the working canvas. Select any brush from the Watercolor set and edit the texture mask to remove the upper part and get a jagged edge on the model’s body and in the lower corners of the canvas. During operation, adjust the opacity of the brush to make the result more natural.

Step 2

Apply adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to discolor the effect.

Step 3

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) increase the saturation of the effect. Use the brush from the Watercolor set to edit the mask to reduce the number of dark shades in the lower right corner.

Step 4

Duplicate (Ctrl + J) the grunge texture and move the copy to the very top of the layers panel. We add a mask and a brush from the “Watercolor” set; we delete most of the image, leaving subtle abstract effects around the model’s head and in the lower part of the mountain.

Step 5

Using the adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) bleach effect.

Step 6

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to increase the saturation of the effect on the mountain and reduce the background.

5. Create the effect of cracks.

Step 1

Paste the image with cracks to the working document and switch its blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) with opacity 100%.

Add a mask on this layer and brush “Watercolor” delete everything except the part of the texture that covers the model.

Step 2

Via Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso) select a part of the cracks and transfer the selected area to the model’s face. Activate the transformation (Ctrl + T) and scale down the texture. After that, using the mask, remove the excess.

Step 3

Select the layers with cracks and press Ctrl + G to group them. Switch the group’s blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) with an opacity of 100%, then apply a correction layer to this group. Curves (Curves). Reduce the brightness to make the cracks more noticeable. After that, use a soft black brush to edit the mask to hide the effect in places where it is too dark.

Step 4

Using another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) lighten the effect, especially along the contour of the body and face. Then remove the effect in the shaded areas.

6. Add stones and lava effect

Step 1

Download a set of pictures with stones and open the folder meteor_11. Select the appropriate image. Place it on the mountain and rotate it using the free transformation (Ctrl + T), as shown below.

Using the mask, we modify the edges of the stone and combine it with the mountain.

Step 2

Using other stones from the set, add more lava on the mountain and model’s body.

Step 3

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) lighten the effect of the lava on the cheek and shoulder of the model, as in these places it turned out too dark.

Step 4

In the folder meteor_11 we find a photo with a stone and paste it into the working document. Move on Filter – Liquify (Filter – Plastic). Choosing a tool Twirl Clockwise Tool (C) (Twist clockwise) and deform the stone so that it is different from the original.

Using transformation (Ctrl + T) we reduce the size of the stone and place it at the base of the mountain.

Step 5

In the same way we deform more stones and give them a different shape. Place the result in the ears and on the forehead.

Using a mask, we modify the stone on the forehead to make it look like part of a mountain (this element consists of two stones – a small top and a large bottom).

Step 6

Increase the brightness of the stone on the forehead with the help of a correction layer Curves (Curves). Edit the mask and remove the effect in the shaded areas of the stone.

Step 7

Using filter Liquify (Plastic) add a few small twisted stones in the eyes and forehead. If necessary, using Curves (Curves) adjust the brightness of the details.

Step 8

We continue to deform the stones and add details on the model’s shoulder. Duplicate (Ctrl + J) the result, reflect the copy horizontally and transfer it to the second shoulder.

We add an additional stone so that the shoulders do not look identical. Each of the three layers is editable with a mask and merged with the shoulders.

Step 9

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and adjust the brightness of these layers to match the brightness of the background. If the result is too bright at the bottom of the stones, edit the effect with a mask.

Step 10

In the same way we add stones on the background. Using mode Warp (Deformation) (Ctrl + T) give them different shapes and sizes. Place the result in the form of vertical lines on both sides of the model.

Step 11

Group all layers with stones and apply an adjustment layer to the group. Curves (Curves) to lighten them slightly. The screenshot below highlights the areas in which we remove the effect effect.

7. Draw lines

Step 1

Above all previous layers add a new layer and activate Line Tool (U) (Line). On the background stones draw five black lines with a width of 1 pixel. To make them perfectly straight, hold down the Shift key during creation.

Step 2

Using the mask, we delete some details of the lines.

8. Final Correction

Step 1

Above all previous layers, we insert the texture that was used in section 4. Using the mask, we remove most of the image, leaving the effect only on the lower part of the model’s body, especially on the stones that are on the shoulders, so that the body harmoniously combines with the background.

Step 2

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to discolor the effect.

Step 3

Apply a correction layer to the effect. Curves (Curves) so that its brightness matches the brightness of the whole composition.

Step 4

I want to reduce the saturation of some areas with lava, so that the effect is softer. Via Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso) select the area on the neck (or any other) and turn Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue/ Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation). Decrease color saturation Reds (Red) and Yellows (Yellow)

Use a soft black brush with a slight opacity to edit the mask of the adjustment layer to restore some yellow details.

Step 5

Create a new layer in overlay mode. Overlay (Overlap) with 100% opacity and fill it with 50% gray. Via Burn Tool (O) (Dimmer) draw shadows under the cracks on the model’s face to increase their contrast. Then take Dodge Tool (O) (Clarifier) ​​and lighten the outline of the model.

Step 6

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and increase the overall contrast of the entire composition. At the edges of the canvas and in shaded places we hide the effect.

Step 7

Create another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to lighten the central part of the composition. The selection below shows the areas in which we hide the effect effect.

Step 8

Using the third adjustment layer Curves (Curves) darken the edges to make the composition look more contrast.

Congratulations, we are done!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new. Share your results and leave comments below.

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