photoshop creative

Become a mixed media maestro (part 1)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
February 21, 2015

Create this beautiful mixed media picture!

1. Setting the stage

Go to File>New>Blank File, setting resolution to 300 pixels/inch and making sure the canvas is big enough to place your files onto. Now that the stage is set, let’s start adding our photo textures!

2. Opening act

Go to File>Place and add a paint splatter. Choose one similar to the one we’ve chosen; this one makes a good foundation for the piece, as it contains both nice texture and bright colours.

3. Add spiral form

Go to File>Place and add a spiral, similar to the one we have. To blend it with the previous layer, set the blend mode to Difference. This mode is not used very often for everyday editing, but it can really add a unique look.

4. The main act

Go to File>Place and add your guitar picture. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to open the Free Transform tools. Hold Opt/Alt+Shift, then click and drag a corner handle inwards to scale down. Now hit Return to apply and then set the blend mode to Hard Light.

5. Mask guitar

Use the icon in the Layers palette to add a layer mask. With a soft, round brush at 100% Opacity, fade the edges. Zoom around to make sure it’s a clean fade.

6. Guitar duo

The guitar is the star, but it’s fading too much into the background. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to make a quick duplicate of the guitar and set the copy’s blend mode to Normal. Paint black in the mask to reveal some of the first guitar.

7. Levels adjustment

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels and click OK. Drag the two outer sliders inwards, then fine-tune with the central Midtones slider. Focus on the guitar while making these adjustments.

8. Clipped adjustment

Adjustment layers affect all layers below them, so our Levels layer affects not just the guitar duplicate but everything else too. To limit it , Opt/Alt+click between the Levels and Guitar copy layers.

9. Jagged cutout

Go to File>Place and add some sheet music. Select the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) and create a jagged selection. Convert it to a mask by clicking on the layer mask icon in the Layers palette. Add a soft Drop Shadow via the fx button.

10. Free Transform

Press Cmd/Ctrl+T for Free Transform. Hold Opt/Alt+Shift, then click and drag a corner handle inwards to scale down. Now hover outside the bounding box, then click and drag to rotate. Position above the guitar then hit Return to apply.

Come back tomorrow for part 2!