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advanced photoshop
Jan
25

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

We take a look at a popular commercial style for adding paint effects to your studio portraits

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Download all the start files for this tutorial

Step 1

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Let’s begin by considering our image, as it is key to getting a great artwork. This effect works particularly well on contemporary models with a lot of energy and dynamism. When this paint effect is used commercially, it will usually be based around a model. You also want to make sure that it fits in with your concept for the rest of the image.

Step 2

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Let’s start by making our balloon disappear so we can replace it with paint. Activate the Polygon Lasso tool, make a selection around the balloon and then select the Patch tool, dragging from the centre of your selection up and diagonally to the left several times.

Step 3

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

You’ll notice that either the balloon has disappeared or mostly so, leaving a coloured blur. If so, select your Clone Stamp, activate a soft-edged brush and Cmd/Ctrl-click in corresponding clean areas, then erase this interference. Press Cmd/Ctrl+H to check on your selection’s edge. Attention to detail makes for the best effects.

Step 4

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Select the Polygonal Lasso tool and draw a selection around the model’s foreground arm up to the elbow. Copy and paste into a new layer and select the Move tool. Set the central cursor to the bottom central point then rotate clockwise by 22 degrees. You can blend the new arm position using masking in your arm layer and cloning in your model layer.

Step 5

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Create a fresh model layer and place this at the top of the layer stack, pressing Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E, to merge all the layers. Duplicate this layer and select Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise. Maximise all settings apart from Sharpen Details, setting this to 90%. Add a layer mask to this layer and erase any outer glow around your figure with a 50% Opacity soft-edged black brush.

Step 6

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Reduce the Opacity and Fill of this layer to 80%, then create a new layer and merge all as in Step 5. With this layer active, select Filter>Blur>Surface Blur, applying a Radius of five pixels and Threshold of ten pixels, consequently smoothing the skin. Create a new layer and select a soft-edged brush at 10% Opacity, set to Luminosity blending mode.

Step 7

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Pick out skin tones by holding Alt, activating the Color Picker and clicking on image areas, then releasing to apply your soft brush, smoothing image areas even more. Once more, create a new layer at the top of the layer stack, merge all, apply an Overlay blending mode. Select Filter>Other>High Pass. Apply a 2px Radius, sharpening all features.

Step 8

How to play with paint in your portrait images with Photoshop, part 1

Before proceeding, make any small adjustments necessary, like more retouching to the skin, hair and eye areas. Now it’s time to apply our paint effects, specifically creating the popped balloon effect. Open ‘A 16778 copy.jpg’ and select the Rectangle Marquee tool. Cmd/Ctrl-click the image and select Color Range from the options.