photoshop creative

How to transform images into art with Photoshop Gradients, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
January 18, 2014

In this tutorial learn how to turn the Statue of Liberty into an illustrative piece of art using Photoshop Gradients and colour schemes – part 2 goes up tomorrow

Download all the files for this tutorial here



Create a new document about 2,700px wide by 2,300px high. Fill the background with a light blue (#76abd0), grab the ‘LadyLiberty.jpg’ starter image and deposit it onto the canvas.


Open the Color Picker and enter 318fb5 into the # field. This blue colour will be used for the majority of the project, so go ahead and hit the Add to Swatches button. We called it LibertyBlue.


Add a Gradient Fill Layer (Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient). Use the Foreground to Transparent gradient preset, keeping the style as Linear set to 90 degrees. Click the new Dither checkbox to prevent the gradient from banding.


On the Lady Liberty layer, run the Smart Blur filter with a Radius of 30 and Threshold of 20. Then run a Hue/Saturation adjustment with the Colorize option checked. Set the Hue to 205, Saturation to 25 and Lightness to 19. Reduce the layer Opacity to 30%


Keep the reference layer at the top to use as a guide for drawing. Use the Pen tool (P) to trace the round headpiece. Set the Pen’s mode to Combine Shapes and draw the spiked elements.


Add a Bevel and Emboss layer style using the LibertyBlue swatch for the highlights and shadows. Add an inner shadow set to screen and also use the LibertyBlue colour. This method can be used to create intricate shading using a single colour but different blend modes.


Use the Ellipse tool (U) to create a circle slightly lower than the headgear shape to form the rim. Add a similar Bevel and Emboss and Inner Shadow layer style by double-clicking on its layer, but now also add a Gradient Overly style, with Style set to Reflected and Blend Mode to Screen for a central highlight. Notice there’s now a Dither box here too.


Duplicate the ellipse, move it downward and clip it to the original by pressing Opt/Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+G. Now add a combination of Inner Shadow and Drop Shadow layer styles both set to Screen and using the LibertyBlue colour. This should give a nice faded highlight, creating the appearance of an inset curve.


Create a rounded rectangle shape and use the Perspective Transform to squeeze one end. Now duplicate and rotate that shape several times (see the tip on the starburst technique). Use an Inner Shadow style still using LibertyBlue.


Use the Pen tool to trace along the shape of the face. Use the Inner Shadow and Inner Glow styles, both set to Multiply to provide edge shading. Now use a Gradient Overlay set to Screen and Radial to give a highlight near the top of the face.

Continue to part 2…