photoshop creative

Conquer layers and masks (part 2)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 9, 2014

Part 2 of our amazing layer and mask tutorial!

13. A bed of shadow

Select the top layer. Create a new Colour Fill Layer, choose black. Fill the mask with black, then use a soft brush at 30% Opacity to paint white in the mask to add shadows ready for the next shapes.

14. Fun with blobs

Select the Custom Shape tool and choose the Blob 1 preset under the Shapes category. Using turquoises and purples, create multiple blob shapes. Apply drop shadows, and move/transform if needed.

15. Crazy shapes and particles

Duplicate a Colour Fill/subject pair (see step 7), move them to the top, then reset (see step 8). Create some wilder model pieces along with smaller particles. Remember to set up the clipping mask, max the subject layer’s Opacity and add drop shadows.

16. Main model pieces

Continue to make model pieces as in the previous step, but now focus on making these more prominent. Take your time and make sure the fragments interlock well with each other and mesh with the pieces below. You can even use blob shapes as masks.

17. A bit of housekeeping

Now that the main subject pieces are in place, revisit the layers below to ensure everything is arranged well. Move/transform shapes and smooth out masks. Don’t be afraid to add new pieces or delete elements that aren’t jiving with the mix.

18. A touch of brushwork

Above the blob shapes, create a Colour Fill layer, choose white. Fill the mask with black. Select the Brush tool, choose a rough brush. Set brush Opacity to 30%. Paint white in the mask to add textural accents throughout.

19. Eerie glow

Create a Colour Fill layer, pick #00ffcc. Fill mask with black. Select the Gradient tool at 100% Opacity, choose the Foreground to Transparent preset. Now click and drag to add a glow. Set the blend mode to Lighten.

20. More glows

Create multiple glows across several Colour Fill layers, using both #0fffc and #9f17a7 with the Lighten blend mode. You can add one glow or multiple glows per Colour Fill layer. Lower opacities if need. Select the topmost layer to prepare for the next step.

21. Colour Balance

Click the Create New Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Colour Balance. For Midtones, drag the middle slider to -100. Paint black in the mask with a soft, round brush at 80% Opacity to remove some of the adjustment.

22. Envelope texture

Add an envelope or light grunge texture. Set the blend mode to Linear Light and lower the Opacity to 50%. Apply a layer mask and paint black in the areas surrounding the fragmented subject.

23. Colour Fill

Create a Colour Fill layer, pick #804c3b. Set the blend mode to Overlay and lower Opacity to 50%. Paint black in the mask around the facial area and any other spots that don’t seem to benefit from the adjustment.

24. Lighten up

Click the Create New Fill/Adjustment Layer button in the Layers palette, choose Levels. Drag the mid and light sliders inward to brighten, then paint black in the mask to lessen in areas. You can add another Levels adjustment to target other areas.