Make in Photoshop an epic photo manipulation in the style of the 80s

What You Will Create

This illustration is nothing more than an ode to the costumes of the 80s and stunning powerful women. In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an epic photo manipulation inspired by the 80s of the last century in Adobe Photoshop.

Today I will explain how to create a model style from scratch, and then how to add images of cityscapes to create a stunning double exposure effect.

Note: The source of the lesson is missing some images. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the materials for the lesson.

Looking for retro inspiration

Let’s take a look at the effect before / after. I love this part!

This manipulation combines several of my favorite last year’s trends – the effect of double exposure with the mood of the 80s, creating a cool movie poster effect.

Pictures always form the result! So make sure they match the mood you want to create. I was inspired by this stock photo of a business woman, reminding me of Jennifer Beals from the movie Dance of the Flash.

Plus, I picked up photos of urban landscapes, suitable for the mood of the 80s because of its bright neon colors. You can always pick up several images – this will add variability.

Let’s begin our lesson!

1. How to change the style and process the model photo

Step 1

Our model looks slightly distracted, so we have to change the style of the photo a little to create a cool image. To begin with, create a new document sized 1780 by 2800 pixels with a resolution of 100 dpi.

Please note: these parameters are by no means traditional poster options (although the illustration will look like a poster), so if you decide to change the numbers, change them accordingly.

Use the tool Magnetic lasso (Magnetic Lasso) (L) to separate the model from the background. Copy and paste it into your document, and using the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Control-T) straighten her body a little.

Step 2

Next, we want to change her body so that it is all his appearance said that we have a lady boss. Let’s lift her shoulders slightly!

  1. With the tool Polygonal lasso (Rectilinear Lasso) (L) Select the area in the area of ​​the right shoulder of the model. Since this part is the most direct, we will use it to create a strong body language.
  2. Copy and paste the right side of the costume onto a new layer. Next, press Control-J to duplicate this layer. Flip a copy by clicking Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally).

Here’s how at this stage looks like a model with “new” shoulders.

Step 3

We continue to edit her costume and style.

  1. Use the tool Rectangular marquee (Rectangular area) (M) to select and remove the upper body of the model, especially the area above the collar. We will insert a necklace here soon.
  2. Because of this blouse, the model looks too “office”, so let’s make it even more cool by adding this lady of Grace Jones style !. Create a new layer under the layers with the costume and use a stiff round brush to draw the tan under her neck with the color # be9b84. With the tool Eraser (Eraser) (E) with low opacity (10-20%) gently erase the color to get a skin-like gradient.

Step 4

Let’s add a necklace!

Select, copy and paste the image of the necklace (you can find it in the lesson materials) in our document.

Place it on a new layer above the skin layer before adding a layer mask. Next, drawing on a layer mask, hide all the details of the photo from which we cut the necklace so that only it remains.

Do not worry – we will correct all the shortcomings later!

Step 5

Time to do a haircut!

In this step, you can act on your own – this will make the illustration more characteristic.

Select the model’s hair with the tool Polygonal lasso (Polygonal Lasso) (L). Copy and paste this area onto a new layer. Change the size of hairstyle using the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Control-T).

Stretch your hairstyle horizontally and vertically to create the effect of a volumetric hairstyle in the style of the 80s!

To add even more volume to your hair, you can use a filter. Liquify (Plastic). Select the hairstyle layer and click Filter> Liquify (Filter> Liquify). With the tool Forward warp (Deformation) (W) you can stretch the hair and individual strands of hair, until it looks luxuriously and playfully.

This is the result at this stage. Epic haircut from the 80s!

Optionally, you can use a layer mask to trim the edges.

Step 6

The next step can be done as desired. To begin, I will clarify: her face is all right! I just want to add a bit of symmetry.

To do this, we first copy and paste the selection with the left side of the model’s face onto the new layer. Then this area will need to reflect. To do this, click Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally). With the tool Eraser (Eraser) (E) you can get rid of hard edges.

2. How to correct skin color

Step 1

Before we get into the double exposure effect, let’s adjust the colors.

Create a new layer and change its blending mode to Saturation (Saturation). Using a brush, paint in golden color # b37f1a on top of the model’s skin. It will make her more tanned. Lower Opacity (opacity) up to 38%.

Step 2

On another new layer above the model layer, we will align its skin with a soft round brush.

Paint with # dd9364 over the skin of the model to loosen the shadows on her face.

For best results, the brush opacity should be around 15-30%, and the rigidity should be 0%.

3. How to add graphic elements

Step 1

Let’s start collecting the illustration!

Create a new layer under the model layer.

Use the tool Rectangular marquee (Rectangular area) (M) to highlight the area in the shape of a narrow rectangle above the model’s head. Fill the area with a light gray gradient from # 959aa1 to medium gray # 8b909a with the tool Gradient (Gradient) (G).

This bar at the top will draw more attention to the model and add drama to the illustration..

Step 2

Do the same thing, but this time from below and using a gradient from medium gray # 383938 to dark gray # 1c1e1d.

4. How to create a double exposure effect

Step 1

All the magic of this photo manipulation is the effect of double exposure. We will create it by mixing 2 photos together.

Let’s start with the first photo.

  1. Copy and paste the stock photo City # 1 on a new layer on top of all other layers.
  2. Change the blending mode of this layer to Lighten (Replacing light). Add a layer mask to hide the top of the photo by painting on it with a soft round brush.

Step 2

From this layer, press Control-J to duplicate it. Change its blending mode to Lighten (Replacing light).

Now the photo needs to be turned upside down. Click Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertically).

Place this copy layer (after renaming it to “flip”) above the other. Try to position it so that the light in the windows of some buildings can be seen in the strands of her hair. Adjust the layer mask accordingly.

Step 3

Now add a second city.

In fact, all we need to take from this photo is bright red buildings.

Copy and paste the City # 2 photo onto a new layer above all other layers. Align it with the first photo of the city.

Change the blending mode of this layer to Color dodge (Brighten the base), and then add a layer mask to hide everything except the red buildings.

Continue to experiment with this method, adding sparkling city lights on the model’s face and the strip above her head.

5. How to mix all the colors together

I tried to arrange all the steps of this lesson in the order most convenient for achieving this effect.

Some parts may look a bit strange at first, but in the following steps we will put all the colors of the composition together.

A lot of work. But you will like it, I promise!

Step 1

Let’s start with the background.

  1. Create a new layer above the white background layer. With the tool Gradient (Gradient) (G) create an ascending linear gradient from gray # 484847 to transparent.
  2. Create a new layer above the gradient layer. Using a soft round brush, draw a blue # 5674ae circle behind the model.

Step 2

Adjustment layers are the best way to achieve great results!

Add a new adjustment layer Color lookup (Search for color) above all other layers.

Change the 3DLUT file to FoggyNight.3DL:

Step 3

Create two new layers above the layer. Color lookup (Search color).

First blend mode change to Overlay (Overlap). Create a downward linear gradient from white to transparent (opacity 30-50%).

Fill the layer above with purple # 362f58 using the tool Paint bucket (Fill) (G). Change the opacity of the layer to 74% and the blend mode to Lighten (Replacing light).

Step 4

Time to make adjustments!

Add a new adjustment layer Curves (Curves). Change the position of the curved RGB channels, Blue (Blue), and Green (Green) to get a cool color effect. Change the layer’s overlay mode to Saturation (Saturation).

Step 5

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves). This time, change the curves of the RGB and Blue (Blue) as shown in the image below.

Next, create an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels).

Enter the following values ​​for the RGB and Blue (Blue):

Channel Blue (Blue):

  • 0, 0.76, 162
  • 0, 255

RGB channel:

  • 26, 0.84, 204
  • 21, 255

Here’s what happens:

6. How to add final touches

Step 1

Ready to finish? I’m ready now!

Create a new layer on top of all the others. Change its blending mode to Hue (Color tone), and paint in purple # 1c083b at the top of the illustration to recolor the yellow areas.

This layer will also add shadow to the strip, so you can play around with the stiffness of the brush to enhance the depth effect.

Step 2

Add colors and costume! To do this, we will use layer styles.

Remember that some elements should be kept on separate layers. Right-click on the suit layer and go to Blending options (Overlay options). Add style Color overlay (Overlay color) and select yellow # ffbb35 and style Satin Effect (Gloss) with the following settings:

And now we can easily copy and paste these styles of the layer on the layer with the left part of the suit – to do this, right-click on the layer with the right part of the suit and select Copy Layer Style (Copy layer styles). Next, paste the styles on the layer with the left side of the suit.

Below you see the result:

Step 3

Take the time to add bright, clear white highlights along the edges of the model and the top rectangle.

Use a cone-shaped rigid round brush to create a highlight, and then add a few vertical lines of different opacity to create a surreal effect.

Step 4

Continue to paint highlights on the hair and costume of the model.

I love to add texture! Using a brush with stars, create tiny patches with a grainy white texture that fit well into the composition.

Turn on the creative! Draw a few stars – get a cool graphic effect!

Step 5

Almost all!

Add a beautiful glow.

Create a new layer and change its blending mode to Overlay (Overlap). Using a soft round brush, paint with yellow color # e6d98f on the hair and costume of the model. Also paint this color on the background – the effect will be very beautiful!

Complete the process by creating a new adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient map).

Use the built-in gradient Gold copper (Gold-Copper) (Translator’s Note: if when choosing a gradient you don’t see the one you need, download gradients from the Photographic Toning Kit. Change the layer’s overlay mode to Luminosity (Brightness), and its Opacity (opacity) – 40%.

You can see the finished illustration below!

7. How to quickly add text effect in the style of the 80s

Turn your illustration into a movie poster from the 80s with a simple text effect! In this case, I used the third file from the 80s Text Effect Volume 1 set (paid).

  • Editor’s Note: You can use free add-ons from our site.

Merge only the layers with text before you copy and paste it into your illustration.

Below you can see its alternative version!

Done, Great Job!

Creating such photo manipulations helps us to better understand the program Photoshop and learn something new. Keep creating beautiful effects inspired by your favorite retro styles!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Feel free to share your work below :)

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