advanced photoshop
Nov
19

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

A tutorial on how to apply some simple yet effective techniques to add depth to portrait images

Photo effect tutorial

Download the tutorial files here

Step 1

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Open up your image of the model and hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to make a copy of the image. Next, go to Select>Color Range. Keep all the settings as default and select the grey background colour of the image itself. In the Preview box, make sure the model herself looks as much like a silhouette as possible and hit OK.

Step 2

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Now you will see that a portion of the model’s dress and face are selected. Remove these selections using the Quick Selection tool (W) at 250-300 and set to Negative (left side of upper toolbar). Once the model herself is no longer selected, press Cmd/Ctrl+X to erase a large portion of the background. Remove the remaining background using the Pen tool or Eraser tool.

Step 3

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Open the paper texture link found on the CD and place the image behind the extracted image of the girl. Desaturate the paper by going to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. Now select a light grey colour from the paper. Fill a new layer behind the paper layer with this and, with a soft Eraser set to 2,500, erase the centre of the paper layer and drop the Opacity to 35%.

Step 4

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

On a new layer with the Marquee Selection tool (M), draw a large horizontal rectangle across the image. Take a large soft brush and, with the Foreground Color set to white, colour in the top edge of the marquee rectangle. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, set the Angle to 0, Distance to 333 and hit OK. Set the blending mode to Soft Light, duplicate the slash layer and place the slashes both in front of and behind the girl.

Step 5

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Set the Foreground Color to a light pink and on a new layer, with a soft brush set to 900px, add some pink colour effects. At this point it doesn’t have to look perfect, we just want to add quick splashes of colour. Refine this colour by using a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>
Gaussian Blur) set to 250. Repeat this one more time, but hitting Cmd/Ctrl+F.

Step 6

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Using the Ellipse tool, hold the Shift key and add your circles as one layer. In the blending option of the circles layer, select Add Gradient and have the gradient fade from pink to black. Open the ‘Pieces.jpg’ image located on the cover disc, set its blending mode to Exclusion and place the particle effects near the circles. Move the direction of the light slashes to better complement the image.

Step 7

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Open the crystal ball image from the link on the CD. With the Lasso tool, cut out small pieces from the crystal ball and place these below the girl and then delete the leftover ball. Duplicate the girl and, using a clipping mask, cover the broken pieces with her. With the Lasso tool, go back and add detailed disintegration to the original girl.

Step 8

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Using the Lasso tool, select a pearl from the girl’s necklace and copy it to a new layer (Layer via Copy). Duplicate and add pearls around the girl. For some pearls, increase their size to 2 or 3 and 400%. This will give the appearance of depth to the image. Don’t worry about resolution on larger pearls. We want the larger pearls to be blurred.

Step 9

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Using the Lines tool, we are going to hold Shift to add all the lines to one layer so we can add the same gradient we used for our circles. This technique is a little trickier with lines. Press Shift when you are starting each new line, but release it when stretching out that line to avoid getting stuck with 45- and 90-degree angles.

Step 10

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Open the teardrop link found on the CD. With the Lasso tool, select a small area of the bubbles and delete the rest. Desaturate the bubbles, set the layer to Screen and place these bubbles on her right eye. To add a shadow on her cheek, duplicate the layer then add a black Color Overlay blending mode and drop the Opacity of the entire layer to 12%.

Step 11

How to create a stunning portrait composition in Photoshop, part 1

Duplicate the Background layer and size it down to 75% or 80%. Add a Radial Blur (Filter>Blur>
Radial Blur). Set the Blur Method to Zoom with a Strength of 250 and set the Quality to Best. Hit OK. Now set the blending mode to Exclusion and you have your 3D box.

Continue to part 2 of this tutorial…