advanced photoshop

Photoshop Tutorial: Create graphical portrait effects, part 1

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

In the following Photoshop tutorial we explore what goes into a hi-end, photo-real portrait effect – part 2 arrives tomorrow!

Download all the start files here (select ‘Graphical art’)

Step 1

Open the portrait image and select the Channels palette. Duplicate the Blue channel and apply Levels to this duplicate layer until shadows and highlights define hard edges. Invert your layer and paint out the model in white. Cmd/Ctrl-click this layer’s thumbnail, reactivate the Layers palette and copy and paste into a new document, 23.5 x 30.2cm, 300dpi.

Step 2

With a light grey background, add a black to transparent gradient on a new layer, with Opacity at 4%. Add a layer mask and create a vignette effect at the foot of your image. Hide your model layer and merge the background layers together. Then reveal your model layer and use a 30% Burn tool, set to Midtones, to create shadow beneath your model.

Step 3

Activate the Channels palette, duplicate your Blue channel once more and tweak this using Levels to create heightened exposure. Select this duplicate layer with the Marquee tool, activate your Layers palette and copy and paste it into your layers stack. Set a Multiply blending mode, with Opacity at 50% and Fill at 80%.

Step 4

Apply a Black & White adjustment from the Layers palette New Adjustment drop options. Tweak your Red and Yellow sliders before applying a 75% Fill. Paste in the ‘iStock_000002075106.jpg’ image and reposition it across your image. Duplicate, resize and edit the space layers using layer masks, applying Hard Light blending modes (see thumbnails). Download ‘1249801.jpg’ from www.sxc.hu and paste it in.

Step 5

Place a Ripple layer beneath your model layer. Apply a Soft Light blending mode at 60% Opacity, using a layer mask to integrate the edges. Duplicate this layer.  Apply a Hue/Saturation  adjustment layer, activating Colorize. Set Hue at 0, Saturation at 57, layer blending mode to Multiply and 40% Opacity. Use layer masks to isolate the colour effect to space layers. Merge all into a single layer.

Step 6

Download ‘464536.jpg’ from www.sxc.hu and create a displacement shape with this. To do this, unlock the layer, activate the Marquee tool and Cmd/Ctrl-click the layer, selecting Color Range. Select Highlights then hit Cmd/Ctrl+X. Desaturate and apply Filter>Artistic>Cutout, with the number of Levels at 8, Edge Simplicity at 7 and Edge Fidelity at 3. You can edit this shape before copy and pasting it into your image file.

Step 7

Cmd/Ctrl-click this displacement shape layer thumbnail and copy and paste it from your merged layer. You can do this several times, moving and resizing duplicate displacement layers and creating displacement effects (see thumbnail). Hide your merged layer. Select a white Ellipse tool and draw a large circle behind your model layer. Select Gradient Overlay from the Layers palette fx drop options.

Step 8

Apply a black to white gradient at a 151-degree angle. From the same options select Drop Shadow, setting the blend bode to Color Burn, Opacity to 64% and Angle at 104 degrees. Set Distance at 85px, Spread at 10% and Size at 25px. Now apply a layer mask and paint away the top of this shape with a soft black brush.

Continue to part 2 of this tutorial…

  • Dinky

    This tutorial is poorly written and very confusing to read! I can usually follow tutorials of this level no problem. I cannot even get passed step 1! It’s a shame because I was really excited to do this

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  • Adam Smith

    Seems pretty simple – Activate and duplicate the Blue Channel layer, add Levels then invert. Paint the model in white then copy>paste her into a new layer into a new document. Hope that helps 🙂

  • Charlie O’Brien

    What is a “Ripple” layer? Is that a PS filter?

  • Alan

    Em busca da verdade de como se faz isso!