Select the Pen Path tool and activate Rubber Band from the tool options. Trace around the model (dreamstime_xl_10869704.jp) and activate the Paths panel. Cmd/Ctrl-click the new Path layer, making an active selection. Reactivate the model layer and apply a layer mask, set Feather to 2px in the Properties>Masks panel. Set a solid black layer behind our model.
Duplicate the model copy layer and select Image>Adjustments>Shadows/Highlights. Set Shadows>Amounts at 35%, Tonal Width at 50% and Radius at 30px. Apply all Highlights option values at 0. Add a Curves adjustment layer, applying an upward curve, setting Input at 105, Output at 135. Click and invert (Cmd/Ctrl+I) the layer mask, then paint highlights back into the centre of the model’s face, using a 50% Opacity soft black brush.
Follow this and the next step carefully and continue to follow the technique throughout our workflow. It may seem convoluted but it will save you time when making edits later. Start by merging the model and lighting layers into one whole layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E), setting layer Opacity at 20%, then duplicate this.
Select the Pen Path tool once more and use this to draw out a section of the model’s face, including lips, eyes and nose. Apply flowing edges. Active the Path panel and Cmd/Ctrl-click the new Path layer, making an active selection. Now add a layer mask to the model, merge the copy layer and set Opacity at 100%. We now have our first displaced element. The low-opacity model merge layer lies beneath, acting as a reference for further selections and displaced elements.
Continue to duplicate the model layer, make selections with the Pen Path tool and apply layer masks to create displacement effects. Carefully layer these, creating depth of field through applied layer styles. We’ve added black to transparent Gradient Overlay, set to either Overlay or Linear Burn. Hit Apply Angle and Opacity settings and then position accordingly. We can eye in these effects. To save us time we can select Layer Style>Styles and save initial settings as a New Style, which can be instantly applied to any layer and adjusted any time.
…to be continued