Make an eye catching illustration in Photoshop

In this lesson, you will learn how to use the simple elements of your choice and combine them to create an eye-catching illustration. We will work with light effects, clipping masks, shadows, etc. If you want to improve your skills in creating compositions and illustrations, then this lesson is for you.

Final result

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1. Download the Photoshop program and open the image of the girl, I used the image from the IstockPhoto site. Once you have opened the image of the girl, right-click on the layer and select Duplicate layer (duplicate layer) or just press CTRL + J. It is always convenient to have a copy of the original in your work.

Let’s make an image correction, let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient Map) and set the default gradient from Black to White (Black to White), reduce opacity (opacity) layer up to 52% and set the blending mode for this layer Glow (Luminosity).

Next, go Layer – New Fill-Gradient Layer (Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient) and click OK, choose a gradient from dark blue (# 0e272f) to light blue (# 5993a4). Set the blending mode for this layer toshine (Screen). You can erase any part of the gradient that you didn’t like.

Step 2. Select the C4D bubbles you like and upload to our image. Place them where you would like, change the blending mode for this layer to Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge). I place the C4D bubbles in the bottom of the image where the shoulders are.

Next, go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Brightness / Contrast (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Brightness and Contrast). Install Brightness (Brightness) at +27, and Contrast (Contrast) at +39 and click OK.

After the correction, create a new layer through Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) or just press CTRL + SHIFT + N. Fill the new layer with black (# 000000), set the blending mode for this layer Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and select tool Brush (Brush Tool). I used a 500px brush, set a bright orange color at the beginning (# ff6b00), and then a faded red (# 7f1618) to create two large colored circles. Then, I reduced the size of the brush and used a soft white brush to just add a bit of light to the circles and this is how it should be if you haven’t changed the blending mode yet.

Step 3. In this step, we will add a few more adjustment layers. In the beginning, we go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient Map) and set the gradient colors from violet (# 290a59) to orange (# ff7c00), set the blending mode Lightening (Screen) and Fill (Fill) 13%.

Further. we go Layer- New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves) bend the curve slightly down, you have to experiment with the curve yourself to get the desired shade depth on the image itself. Next, go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Levels (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Levels) and set levels 6 – 1.13 – 253.

After creating the adjustment layers, you should get the result as in the screenshot below:

Step 4. Next, we will create a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and select the tool Gradient (gradient tool), or Shift + G. Next, set the gradient colors: from orange (# ff7c00) to pink (# cc0033) and drag the gradient from the top diagonally downwards. Set the blending mode Soft shine(Soft Light), Opacity (Opacity) 30%. You can erase any part of the gradient that you didn’t like.

Further, I used an image with light abstractions, a set of which I downloaded from Barton Damer, unfortunately, he deleted the archive for download and I can not share with you guys, I apologize for that. What would I do – use photos with a long exposure or get somewhere. I inserted an image with light abstraction into our document, set the blending mode Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and installed opacity (opacity) 87%

Step 5. Now we will set up the spray brush, select the tool Brush (brush tool (B) and select a small enough brush size within 2px – 5px and stiffness (Hardness) 100% and then we go Window – Brushes (Window> Brushes) and apply the settings, as in the screenshot below.

After setting the brush, create a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer (Ctrl + Shift + N), select the front color – white and paint with a brush along the light abstraction. You should have something like this.

Step 6. In this step we are going to use part of the image itself to create a new element. First create a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and then create a merged layer on top of all layers. Image – External Channel (Image – apply image) or you can simply press hotkeys (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E), then select the tool Rectangular area (marquee tool) and draw a small rectangle on the face of the girl of your choice, but I chose a section of eyes and nose, then press (Ctrl + Shift + C). We will create a copy of the selection.

Now create a new layer. Layer – New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and then go Editing – Paste (Edit> Paste) paste the copied area onto the new layer. Next, apply the free transform. Editing – Free Transformation (Edit> Free Transform (Ctrl + T) and rotate the selection 45 degrees.

Set the blending mode Soft light (Soft Light) and move lower to the glare area. I copied the image twice and moved the copies over each other to give the image energy. Some places that I didn’t like very much, I also processed an eraser for a better combination.

Step 7. Next, create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and fill the new layer with black (# 000000), set the blending mode for this layer Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and select tool Brush (Brush Tool). I used a 500px brush, stiffness (hardness) 0%. Set the foreground color to dark yellow (# f38d30) and paint over the area in the bottom left corner. Do not forget that you need to paint on the layer that you filled with black color. Being on the same layer, we go Filter – Blur – Radial Blur (Filter> Blur> Radial Blur) and apply the value degrees (zoom) 100%, you should get something like this.

Next, I used the Smoke image from SXC.hu. Upload a smoke image to our document. Next, I set the blending mode Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and set the opacity to (Opacity) 27%. Next, I used the free transform. Editing – Free Transformation (Edit> Free Transform) to rotate the image slightly to the left and move it down to complete the light abstraction.

Next, create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and fill the new layer with black color (# 000000), then go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise) and set the amount to 33% uniform, monochrome and click OK. Next we go Image – Correction – Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels) and apply the following settings:

Set the blending mode for this layer. Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and install opacity (Opacity) 37%, you can erase the areas of the face, or other areas where you would not want to apply this effect. (Translator’s Note: before processing with an eraser, create a layer mask and on the layer mask it is possible to process facial areas, etc.). You should have something like this.

Step 8. In this step, we will smooth out the light a bit. First create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and select a medium size brush, set the blending mode Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and using light colors such as yellow or white, to fill areas with gaps of light on the left side of the image, experiment with the hardness of the brush to determine how brightly you want to fill with light.

Next, create another new layer and set the blending mode. Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) with the same brush, select a pale green tint (# c1b568) and brush around the eye with your brush over your cheek.

Next, create another new layer and set the blending mode. Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge), select a slightly larger brush with a shade of pink (# c03369) and process the bottom of the image. You should have something like this.

Step 9.Create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and select a brush with fine sprays. Spray from the side of the neck in the direction away from the girl. Turn off the visibility of this layer and create a new layer. Now we go Image – External Channel (Image – apply image), create a merged layer, next, turn on the visibility of the spray layer that we previously turned off while standing on the merged layer, press Alt + Ctrl + G or right-click on the layer and select Create clipping mask (Create Clipping mask). Choose a tool Move (Move tool (V) and shift the image, you will see an offset in the spray, shift the image to your discretion.

Translator’s Note: creating a clipping mask and using the Move tool, shift the “attached” layer with light effects until you are comfortable with the look.

Create a new layer. Layer– New – Layer(Layer> New> Layer) and select a brush, but the usual large soft brush is about 900px, select a pale blue tint (# 00acec) and paint over the bottom of the image on the right side. Next, select a pink tint (# c03369) and paint it on the left side, then set the blending mode for this layer Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge).

Next we go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black and White (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Black and White) and click OK. Install opacity (Opacity) 53% and further, using the eraser tool, erase the part that covers the head and the colors at the bottom. You should have something like this.

Step ten. Go ahead. Create a new adjustment layer Layer – New adjustment layer – gradient map (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient Map) and apply the gradient to the default black and white gradient, set the blending mode Multiplication (Multiply), you can delete the areas where you didn’t like the effect gradient map (gradient map).
Next, select the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (Shift + L) and make a selection in the upper part of the image at an angle of 45 degrees, as in the screenshot below.

Create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer) and select the gradient tool, set the gradient from white to transparent. Left-click in the upper right corner and drag the gradient line to the lower left corner. Deselect Selection – Deselect Selection (Select> Deselect (Ctrl + D). Set the blending mode for this layer Overlap (Overlay) and install opacity (Opacity) layer 58%. Next, repeat the step two more times, choose the location where you want and where it will harmonize with your image.

Step 11. Further. use the same brush technique with splashes that you used in STEP 5. Create a new layer, fill it with black color and set the blending mode for this layer Lightening basics (Color Dodge) and opacity (opacity) layer 82%. Next, select a brush with white splashes, a bit bigger size than you used before. And draw the spray along the abstract luminous lines, where you do not really like the spray, delete them with an eraser.

Create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer), set the hard brush to 19px and select the tool Pen (pen tool (P) and draw lines along previously copied face rectangles, select stroke (stroke) and tick Simulate pressure (simulate pressure), slightly displace. Set the blending mode for this layer. Overlap (Overlay). Repeat this process for the other sides of our rectangle.

You should have something like this:

Step 12. Create a new layer and fill it with black. Set the blending mode for this layer. Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge) and opacity (Opacity) 60%, select a large soft brush and set the color (# 00acec) and paint in the lower right part of the image, then apply a soft pink brush (# ff74d1) and paint in the middle part on the right side. You can use your own color shades that are more suitable for your image if you decide not to repeat exactly each step of the lesson.

Create a new layer, then go Image – External Channel (Image – apply image) create a merged layer on top of all layers and apply Filter – Plastic (Filter> Liquify) using the tool Twisting (Twirl Brush) create arbitrary twists and movements. Click OK and set the blending mode for this layer (Lighter) Lighter Color and some places where you do not really like the effect, process the eraser.

Next, create another new layer, set the blending mode Lightening basics (Color Dodge), select a large soft brush and set the color (# 3b2d82) to brighten the top near the head on the right side. You should have something like this.

Step 13. Create a Gradient Map Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient Map) and apply the default gradient from black to white. Set the blending mode Glow(Luminosity) and opacity(Opacity) 44%. Next, create a new layer and apply a soft pink brush (# ff4dd7) and walk your cheek to add some shine.

Create a new layer. Layer- New – Layer (Layer> New> Layer), set the brush size to 10px and select the tool Pen (pen tool). Draw a small line with the tool. Pen (pen tool), then right-click on the line and perform a stroke, when the window pops up, check the box simulate pressure (Simulate Pressure), remove the contour by right-clicking on the line. Delete contour (Delete Path). Standing on a layer, press Ctrl + J or right-click on the layer to duplicate layer (Duplicate Layer). Next, apply the tool Free transformation (Free Transform (Ctrl + T), rotate one line 90 degrees.

On the same layer, select a soft brush and draw a point at the center of the intersection of our lines. Merge the layer with the lines and the layer with the point. You can put our star in any place you want. Duplicate the layer with an asterisk and position the stars over the entire image. You can experiment with the size and number of stars. You should get something like the screenshot below.

Step 14. Last on the list, but not unimportant. Create a gradient map Layer – New Adjustment Layer (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient map) and set the gradient colors from blue (# 0a00b2) to red (# ff0000) to yellow (# fffc00), click OK. Set the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light) and opacity (Opacity) 18% and we finished the lesson.

Thank you for reading the lesson.

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