Fuse texture and brushes to create an artistic monochrome portrait effect!
1. New file, gradient effect
Create a new file and grab the Gradient tool (G), choose the black-and-white preset from the Options bar and set the tool to Radial (the second box along the top). Tick Reverse and lower the Opacity to 80%. Once you have done this, drag a gradient outwards to form the background.
2. Apply textures
Find a grunge texture, by looking online on stock and free image sites. Place your texture over the background you’ve just created using File>Place and resize it to fit the background. Change the blend mode of this layer to Overlay. Lower the Opacity to 40%. The texture should now fuse with the background. Grab a paper texture and resize it a large size. Paste or place it into your picture, and change the blend mode of its layer to Vivid Light. Decrease the Opacity of this layer to 70%.
3. Control with masks
On the paper texture’s layer, add a layer mask by going to the bottom of the Layers palette and clicking Add Layer Mask. Select a soft brush (B) at 1,200px, 40% Opacity and remove part of the texture in the centre.
4. Wet media brushes
Add a new layer between the gradient’s layer and the grunge texture layer. Choose one of Photoshop’s Wet Media Brushes, set to 40% Opacity and 50% Flow, and paint over the background with white.
5. Use monochrome adjustments
To convert the entire image to monochrome, choose the Black & White adjustment (Layer>New Adjustment Layer). Set the following sliders: Reds 117; Yellows 25; Greens; Cyans 187; Blues 43; Magentas 248.
6. Insert a face and dodge highlights
It’s time to upload a face into the grungy composition we’ve just made. Place this image in the centre and move its layer between the paper and grunge textures. Pick up the Dodge tool (O) and set it up with a soft brush set to Midtones and 18% Exposure in the Options bar. Also paint over the lighter side of the face to bring highlights out.
7. Burn shadows and extra detail
Use the Burn tool (O) set to Midtones and 30% Exposure to accentuate the shadowy side of the face. Look to give the features more contrast. Duplicate the face layer (Ctrl/right-click on the layer and select Duplicate Layer). On the duplicate layer go to the Filter menu and select Other>High Pass. Set Radius to 38% and click OK.
8. Two become one
Change the blend mode of the duplicate layer to Linear Light and set the Opacity to 15%. After this process more details will appear in the face. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge the two faces layers together.
9. Hide elements
Stay on the face layer and go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. Select a preset brush from the Brushes palette, such as the Azalea from the Special Effect Brushes. Make sure your Foreground colour is white and paint over the edges of the face to complete the effect.