advanced photoshop
Feb
27

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

Create an abstract composition using shapes from 3D renders and stock photos, blended together seamlessly in Photoshop

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

Download all the tutorial files to begin (includes info for iStockphoto stock)

Step 01

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

Open any of the ‘Platonic.tif’ renders. Under the Channels tab, select Alpha and de-select all the others. Your shape should now look like the image shown here. To extract it, simply use Select>Color Range, select the black around the image, press OK and hit Cmd/Ctrl+X.

Step 02

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

To start we will add a white-to-grey Radial Gradient Overlay to the background image. After this, open up the ‘Background Texture.jpg’ file and change the blending mode to Soft Light with an Opacity of about 50%. Now erase the centre of the texture in order to allow the white to show through.

Step 03

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

Select the Custom shape (U) that is a triangle outline and add to it Bevel and Emboss, Contour and Texture. There are no set rules to follow here so experiment. A few hints to get an image similar to what you see, use an Outer Bevel, Chisel Hard with a high Depth. Try creating your own Contour setting and, finally, under Texture use a Depth of -10% to -20%.

Step 04

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

To create the circle go through the same process as for the triangle in Step 3, but instead use the Custom shape circle outline. A few more tips to help you along the way. This time we use a Smooth Bevel and set the Direction to up. The Contour setting we select is the fourth standard setting and the Texture Scale is tweaked to 575%.

Step 05

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

Choose a stock image of a model (see the link to this iStockphoto photo on the disc, or choose your own) and add a Layer Mask (Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All). Paint black onto the layer mask to hide portions of the model’s face using the fifth 3D brush found in Photoshop CS5. If you do not have CS5, simply create a custom brush with a shape similar to the one you see stamped at the top left of the image.

Step 06

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

Using the same brush you used in the previous step, colour grab two tones from the model’s original hair. You can colour grab by pressing the Opt/Alt key when you have your brush selected. Start by painting the darker area of the hair and then move on to the lighter blue highlights.

Step 07

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

The eye highlights are painted on with a round brush that has the Size and Opacity Jitter set to Pen Pressure. You will need a Pen tool in order to select these options in the Brush Preset menu. Follow the natural contours of the model’s eyes in order to achieve a more natural result. Use Outer Glows set to Color and Linear Dodge to give your lines luminescence.

Step 08

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

In this step we will place the triangle and circle that we created in Steps 3/4. For the triangle, we slice off a portion of the left side and size it down. We also remove the lower side of the triangle entirely to add negative space. For the circle, we set the blending mode to Screen, duplicate it and set the duplicate layer to Exclusion.

Step 09

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

The lines you see here are made using the Line tool (U). We select Black and White and try to place these lines along planes that have already been established by our triangle and the general placement of the model’s face. The thicker lines are created using the Pen tool and are given the same grey-to-white gradient that our background has. We also add black triangles to the corners at a low opacity.

Step 10

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

The pyramids are based on two basic pyramid renders that are included with the files. To create the wooden texture on the pyramids, open the ‘Wood Texture.jpg’ file and create a clipping mask over the pyramid. Play with different blending modes and levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L) to get the varying shades. Also feel free to elongate or shrink the pyramids using the Warp tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T).

Step 11

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

The Liquify tool in Photoshop is one of the few filters that can still produce interesting results. In order to get the shape you see here, open the ‘Torus.tif’ shape and run it through the Liquify filter (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+X). Select the Mirror tool (M) and take your time until the element is morphed to your taste.

Step 12

How to create art with shapes in Photoshop, part 1

We add two red dots. The model’s lips act as the third red shape and form a ‘triangle’. Next we add six light grey triangles (from custom shapes) to the top of the model’s head. Two of them are given a light inner shadow. Finally, we add a small circle shape and tiny triangles coming out of the large black triangle sliver for a breaking-apart effect.

Continue to part 2