In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a modern portrait using war paint. You will learn about the technique of combining images. We will add a war paint that fits the face of the model, and in conclusion we will create a delicate color effect.
Today we will get acquainted with the basic tools and techniques for creating photo manipulations that you can apply in your work. We will also consider working with various textures. To complete this tutorial, you will need Photoshop CS3 or higher.
Let’s first create a new document in Photoshop. Let’s go File – New(File> New). Install the following sizes 11 x 17 inches, Resolution (Resolution) 300 pixels / inch (px / inch). But do not forget that these are my settings, and you can set the settings as you please! Next, add a concrete texture (or any other similar texture as you like). Rasterize the texture layer (right-click on the layer and in the window that appears, select the option Rasterize layer (Rasterize layer), and then we blur the texture to create a beautiful soft background with little dynamics. Let’s go Filter – Blur – Blur at shallow depth of field (Filter> Blur> Lens Blur).
Apply the settings that are shown in the screenshot below, but if you used a different background, the settings may change. Create a new layer on top of the blurred concrete layer. Next, select the tool Gradient (Gradient) gradient type Radial (Radial), gradient color black and white. While on a new layer, drag the gradient upwards. Change the blending mode for the gradient layer to Overlap (overlay). So, we have created a beautiful and gentle background. Now group the layers we created by holding down the (Shift) key + select the layers and then go Layer- Group Layers (Layer> Group Layers). Name the new group. When working with large documents with multiple layers, it is very convenient that the layer palette is well organized.
In this part of the lesson we will work on the selection of objects. First, let’s start by selecting the model. Separating an image from the background can be done in various ways, but in this lesson we will look at the way I prefer to work, because It helps to control the selection process. First we add a layer mask to our model layer, let’s go Layer- Layer Mask – Show All (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All). Working with a mask is a very useful technique, since we keep the original image.
Next, select the tool Pen (pen tool), this tool is used to create a contour around the selected object, using a combination of curves and anchor points to get a beautiful clear outline, working with the pen can seem tedious, but if you don’t rush and do everything correctly, then the result will impress you.
Now that you have created a work path around the object, right-click on the selection area and in the window that appears, select the option To form a selected area (make selection), then switch to the tool Magic wand (wand tool (W), and then click Refine edge (refine edge). This is a simple tool and very useful, which allows for the correction of selected edges, using the settings and brush, this tool is usually used when selecting hair. The best way to understand how this works is to try it!
In the screenshot below, you can see the tool settings window. Refine edge (Refine Edge) when highlighting a model as an example of how this might look. This process is the basis of any photo manipulation, therefore, it is very important to experiment with all the tools in order to understand which tools you like and which do not.
Once you are satisfied with the selected edges, click OK, thus creating an active selection. You can paint the selected area on the layer mask using a black brush (but before you start painting, invert the selected area, go Selection – Inversion (Select> Inverse), so we will select the image of the model!
Next, on top of the model layer, add an adjustment layer. Black and white (Black White) as a clipping mask, it will come in handy later. Clipping masks affect only the layers to which they are attached. Next, create a new layer between the adjustment layer. Black and white (Black White) and a layer with a model, do not forget to convert this layer into a clipping mask to the layer with a model.
Now, being on a new layer, using a black brush with an opacity of 10% -20%, draw shadows on the right side of the model’s face. Adding shadows is a good way to add realism to an image, shadows can be created on one layer or on several layers with different blending modes, experiment and see what you get!
Next, we turn to the image of a lion. First, we will select all the objects, arrange all the elements of the composition, and then we will work on lighting or additional effects. So, let’s separate the image of the lion from the background. We use the same selection technique that we used earlier when selecting a model, the only thing is, we will create a freer selection around the lion’s head, since further, we use the technique to clarify the edge for the correction of the selected edges. In settings Refine edge (refine edge), paint over the edge of the lion’s mane. Next, repeat the entire process that you applied to the model image to separate the image of the lion.
Now with the head of a lion, we need to do a little trick, because we need the lion to be behind the model, but the lion’s mouth must be on top of the model’s head, as in the final image. So, what we will do is apply the same technique that we used earlier in selecting the lion, but instead of the lion, we will process the mask of the layer with the model, hiding a separate section of the model’s head. Once you have separated the image of the lion from the background, go to the mask layer with the model, brush the model’s head with a brush so that the lion’s mouth is visible. Do not forget that the lion layer must be located below the model layer.
So, the lion’s head sits neatly on the head of the model, next, add adjustment layers Black and white (Black White) (default settings) and Levels (Levels) (also default settings). Transform these adjustment layers into clipping masks to the lion layer. Next, create a new layer on top of the layer with the lion (Note the layer 8 (layer in the screenshot below). On this layer, we will create shadows around the contour of the lion’s head, so the lion’s head will create a soft shading in the background. We can also use this layer to add shadows to the right side of the lion’s head to match the shadow on the model’s head. In the screenshot below, you can see that I added a new layer 4 (Layer 4) to draw the shadows on the model’s head (because the lion’s head creates a shadow that falls on the model’s head). Next, we turn to the wings, which we can use to hide the edges of the shaggy mane of a lion.
For the wings we use the same technique that we used earlier, the only thing is that the base of the wings will be hidden, therefore, there is no need to create a perfect selection in this part of the wings. Cut out the right wing, duplicate the wing layer, and then flip the duplicate wing layer horizontally with the tool Free transformation (Free Transform).
Group these layers with wings. Place this group below the model layer, but above the ‘Lev’ group layer. To create a second set of wings, simply duplicate the newly created group with the wings, and then use the tool Free transformation (Free Transform), reduce the size of these wings, placing below the first two wings.
Experiment with the location and size of the wings at its discretion. Create a new layer on top of the wings to add shadows to the bottom base of the wings, and also add an adjustment layer. Black and white (black and white) on top of the layer with the “Wings” group as a clipping mask. I also added an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) to enhance contrast (See my settings in the screenshot below).
The picture starts to clear up! It remains to hold a small correction. In case you did not add adjustment layers Black and white (black and white), we will add another adjustment layer Black and white (black and white) on top of all layers (See screenshot below) with default settings, as well as an adjustment layer Levels (levels) below the previous adjustment layer, the settings for this adjustment layer are shown in the screenshot below on the left. At this stage, your picture should look like the screenshot below on the right. In the screenshot below, you can also see a layer with small particles, as well as a layer with Group 3 (Group 3), which we will create later to create light depth. In this screenshot, I have listed all the layers for clarity to help you understand the layout of the layers.
This step – we just stop and look at the result obtained at the moment of the lesson. Now is a great moment to clean up the layers palette, so that all layers are correctly marked and arranged. Once I made a mistake when I started to deal with a lot of layers, having no idea where the layers are located, therefore, to name layers is a good practice as soon as you start creating a picture. Next, we turn to the battle red coloring, to additional effects as the final mastering of our image.
Moving on to war paint, I hope you know how to load brushes, and if not, Google search is your best friend! Create a new layer. Using a brush with a dry brush, draw a transverse strip of red. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay). Now you can see that the drawn strip is a straight line, but if you imagine a drawn strip on a person’s face, then it will not be a straight line, but on the contrary, the drawn strip will have bumps and curved lines.
To fix this, we use a tool called Puppet Warp (puppet warp), let’s go Editing – Puppet Warp (Edit> Puppet warp). This tool has many possibilities and can be very useful, but in this case, we use this tool to create a smooth bulge on the nose bridge. Selecting this tool, add anchor points, then you can shift these anchor points. See the screenshot below to see where to place the control points. Experiment with the tool – this is the best way to understand how it works. Blend mode Overlap (Overlay) will create a beautiful overlay, but you can go further by experimenting with additional layers of paint and different blending modes.
Let’s continue further, add a texture with small particles, this part of the lesson is very light, because all that is needed is to add a texture. The trick is to change the blend mode for layers with texture to Lightening (Screen). This mode will hide dark areas except white small particles, it is much easier than trying to cut them out! (This mode also works great with a fire texture!). With the help of the textures of small particles, we add a sense of the atmosphere to our picture. Next, group all the texture layers. I also added a layer with the texture of small particles to the background, placing this layer with the texture below the layer with the “Model” group to add a shallow depth of field, although this step is selective.
Congratulations! The composition is ready! If you feel that this is enough, then you can stop at this stage, but I suggest mastering the image, including; adding Sharpness (Sharpening), Blur at shallow depth of field (Lens Blurs), and application Gradient maps (Gradiant Mapping).
When conducting mastering, each designer uses his technique, today I will show you my mastering technique of the image so that you can choose for yourself what suits you best. First, I save my working document in JPG format, so we will merge the layers, which will avoid any fatal damage that can sometimes occur when combining different layers. Next, I open the file that we saved in the .jpg format in a new document that we will work with.
In the screenshot below, you can see the location of all adjustment layers, as well as the settings for each adjustment layer. Here you can definitely experiment, you can also change the whole mood of your picture, using other colors and textures, if you want it! At this stage, I also prefer to use the filter Smart Sharpen (Smart Sharpen) to highlight the details a bit, be careful here, do not overdo it with the settings of this filter.
Most of the techniques from my mastering technique were created through experimentation with various adjustment layers and settings, selecting every detail that I liked in the process of creating pictures (during experimentation, many successful techniques are obtained!). Just immerse yourself in it!
Once you have applied the adjustment layers, next, we will apply the final effect, which I like to use to combine everything together, this is a filter. Blur at shallow depth of field (lens blur). This filter will help add a little depth, as well as combine all the elements of the composition. But we cannot just take and apply a filter, and then hide certain parts of the filter, it will be wrong. I like to use the tool Quick mask (quick mask) to paint over the areas that I want to blur, and then when I apply the blur, the blur will be smooth, with varying degrees of blurring on different areas depending on the degree of opacity of the brush.
Press the “Q” key to activate the mode. Quick masks (Quick Mask). Reduce the brush opacity to about 20%, and now start painting the edges of your image. Do not forget that if you brush more than once, the blur will be larger than in other areas. Try not to brush the middle part of the image, as well as the head of a lion. The brush processing area will be colored red, so you can see the density, as well as the areas of processing.
Press the “Q” key once more to create a selection, then go Filter – Blur – Blur at shallow depth of field (Filter> Blur> Lens Blur). Set the preferences you prefer. In the settings window of this filter, do not forget to enable the option View (Preveiw) so that you can see the result of applying the filter, you can see my result in the screenshot below, your result may be about the same. Click OK and done!
We have completed the lesson! I advise you to experiment with these tools so that you can better understand how they work. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.