photoshop creative
Jun
15

Create an inky portrait

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
June 15, 2016

Create a seductive siren by manipulating cloud-like ink textures and mastering colourful blending modes

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1. Begin cutting out

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Find your subject and cut their entire figure out from the background. Using the Pen tool, create a vector shape that you can refer to in the future if anything goes awry. Once your cutout is complete, Cmd/Ctrl-click the vector shape to select and apply a mask on a duplicate (Cmd/Ctrl+J) of the Model (Original) layer.

2. Get particle smoke brushes

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Now that she’s cut out, create a group with that layer selected and name it ‘Face’. This group will act as the main source for the model’s face detail in the image. Before moving on to the next step, you’ll need Particle brushes. Head to www.photoshoptutorials.ws and download the Particle Smoke Photoshop Brushes set.

3. Cut out the face

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Once you’ve got the Particle Smoke brushes loaded into Photoshop, it’s time to put them to use. Within the Face group, apply an inverted (black) mask to the model cut-out layer by Opt/Alt-clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon. Select a Particle Smoke brush and click once on the black mask, so that you start painting it white over the model’s face.

4. Transform unlinked masks

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This step involves a very tedious and monotonous technique that will need to be repeated to carve the flowing shape to frame the face. On your Model (Original) layer, unlink the mask from the layer by clicking the chain link between them. With the mask selected, use Cmd/Ctrl+T to rotate and move the mask to illuminate a part of the model’s face and neck you want visible. Relink when placed. Repeat this step as many times as necessary in the Face group until you’ve revealed as much as you want.

5. Displaced arm and hand

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Make another vector cutout of your model’s arm and hand. Create another group below your Face group with a copy of your Model (Original) layer and name it ‘Arm’. Apply a mask of the arm cutout to the layer, so that there’s nothing but the arm on that layer. Repeat step 4, as you did within the Face group, to the layers within the Arm group. Leave the edges fading away, such as the tips of her fingers. Paint her skin colour in the areas that her arm does not reach under your masks.

6. Blend the displacement

 

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Create a new group between your Arm and Face groups and title it ‘Hair Hint’, with another copy of your Model (Original) layer accompanied by an inverted mask. Use a Particle brush and paint in a hint of the model’s hairline close to her face and above her ear, and change the blending mode to Darken. Duplicate that layer and change the blending mode of the duplicate layer to Luminosity. Feel free to repaint the luminosity mask with a differing Particle brush for a more blended effect.

7. Fingertip displacement

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Create a new group between your Arm and Face groups and title it ‘Hair Hint’, with another copy of your Model (Original) layer accompanied by an inverted mask. Use a Particle brush and paint in a hint of the model’s hairline close to her face and above her ear, and change the blending mode to Darken. Duplicate that layer and change the blending mode of the duplicate layer to Luminosity. Feel free to repaint the luminosity mask with a differing Particle brush for a more blended effect.

8. Compress without compromise

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Once you’re satisfied with the initial displaced model you’ve created, feel free to simplify your layers within each group by compressing them. Depending on the machine you’re working on, you might want to save space by flattening each group with the Cmd/Ctrl+E function, depending on how may layers you have within them. Alternatively, turn each group into a Smart Object, which enables you to revisit your initial displacement layers for revision. You’ll still want to keep each group separate from each other, as you’ll want to edit layers in between.

9. Download the texture

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In order to keep the stock cost down, try to use only one image for the ink texture. This may be a more difficult and much more intricate process, but it can be done effectively. Go to www.shutterstock.com and download image 89277448. Open it in Photoshop in its own window. Go to Select>Color Range and click somewhere in the white space, then hit OK. Invert your selection (Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I) and add a new mask over the top.

10. Introduce the ink

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Now that you’ve got a mask, feel free to use Mask Edge or Refine Edge with your selection still active to adjust the mask’s edge around the ink cloud if it’s not currently to your liking. The main thing is to avoid a white edge around the ink in order for the multiple layers blend to go smoothly. Apply a mask to the Ink layer and name it. Go to Window>Arrange>Tile Vertically and with the Move tool, click and drag the Ink layer over to the main composition.

11. Make multiple duplicates

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Create a new group with the Ink layer selected and place it under your model groups, naming it ‘Ink/Cloud’. This will be the home of all your ink textures that reside behind the model’s face and arm. Within this new group, duplicate your Ink layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and leave the initial Ink layer’s visibility turned off and in a place you may continually draw from so you don’t have to keep going back to the initial cutout. To quickly duplicate, Opt/Alt+click on the layer in the layer window and drag to its destination.

12. Transform the ink layers

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In preparation for the next phase, it’s a good idea to create an individual group for each Ink layer duplicate that has been created. As a lot of clipping masks are going to be used, having groups set for each main layer will make for easy organisation. Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) a duplicate of the Ink layer that has just been pulled over and scale it up a bit (not so big that you lose resolution). Place the up-scaled Ink layer flowing into or out of the model’s neck. Pay attention to direction and attempt to simulate a flow.

13. Experiment with ink

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This is the point in which this tutorial requires you to be experimental with you placement of ink flow and splotches. Repeat step 12 multiple times, varying the Ink layer size and orientation. Keep an eye out for repeating lines and shapes as you will be using the same Ink layer for the whole composition (or feel free to purchase more from ShutterStock). Use masks to blend and combine multiple Ink layers together to create new shapes and paths and to vary the flow of the entire image.

14. Use clipping masks

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At this point you should have a decent spread of ink surrounding and emanating from your model. Now it’s time to pull the whole composition together. Based on where your colour lies in the shape you’ve created, add a new blank layer directly above an Ink layer that needs colour adjusting. Set the blending mode of your blank layer to Color and clip that layer to the Ink layer it rests above by Ctrl/right-clicking>Clipping Mask or Opt/Alt-click the dividing line between the layers in the layer window.

15. Add colour casts

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With a soft, round brush selected and your ideal colour chosen, begin brushing at 50% Opacity on the newly created Color layer, now clipped to your Ink layer. The goal is to match or transition colour and tones evenly between each Ink layer around the model. Create a new layer and drag the layer to again rest above the Ink layer you’ll want to transition your tones on. To lighten, set the blending mode to Screen and paint in the same colour used to transition. To darken the tones, set it to Multiply.

16. Work on the transition

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With a soft, round brush selected and your ideal colour chosen, begin brushing at 50% Opacity on the newly created Color layer, now clipped to your Ink layer. The goal is to match or transition colour and tones evenly between each Ink layer around the model. Create a new layer and drag the layer to again rest above the Ink layer you’ll want to transition your tones on. To lighten, set the blending mode to Screen and paint in the same colour used to transition. To darken the tones, set it to Multiply.

17. Non-destructive adjustments

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The last and one of the most important final steps in any composition is to blend everything together with global adjustment layers. Create a group above every other group and title it ‘Adjustments’. This final step will also task you with being experimental and creative. Use combinations of varying adjustment layers to alter colour, contrast and tone value. Take advantage of your masks to control where the adjustments are visible. If you’re not sure what a specific adjustment layer’s effect is, play around – this is one of the beauties of non-destructive editing.