photoshop creative

How to transform images into art with Photoshop Gradients, part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
January 19, 2014

Continued… In this tutorial learn how to turn the Statue of Liberty into an illustrative piece of art using Photoshop Gradients and colour schemes

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


The face elements are simple shapes using the same blue colour. Dark areas are set to Multiply, light areas to Screen. Further control of shading is accomplished through adjusting the opacity and assigning the Gradient Overlay style.


The hair shape uses a similar Bevel and Emboss layer style as the headgear to create a curved appearance. The crevices are accomplished with simple brushstrokes on one layer set to Multiply. That layer is then duplicated, set to Screen and moved slightly left.


For the arms, book and torch, use the same technique of tracing basic shapes and applying layer styles such as Inner Shadow and Gradient Overlay. Then use additional shapes with blend modes for detailed shading.


Each finger should be an individual layer. Create the highlight along the top by using an Inner Shadow layer style set to Screen. You may find it helpful to group the fingers together (select the layers and hit Cmd/Ctrl+G) and use a layer mask on the group to better blend them into the hand shapes.


To create a single fold of the robe cloth, draw out the shape and add an Inner Glow set to Multiply. Then check the tip at the bottom of this post about using warped gradients. Use one gradient set to Multiply for the shadow, and another set to Screen for the highlight.


Use the technique from step 15 for the major shapes of the rest of the robe. Now create the detailed wrinkles by using traced shapes with layer styles and blend modes.


Draw out a flame shape using a bright orange colour and add a Gradient Overlay style for shading. Now create a new layer above the Background and use the Gradient tool set to Radial using white to create the glow effect. Be sure to check the Dither box.


See tip at the bottom of this post on how to create the starburst effect. Use the starburst as a vector mask on a layer with a large, yellow, radial gradient emanating from the torch. In the Properties Panel for the mask, set Feather to 4px.


Use the LibertyBlue colour again and add two blank layers just above the background. Use one layer set to Multiply and draw gradients to create darkened corners and another set to Screen to lighten the centre.


Set the statue’s layer at the top to Overlay and add a full layer mask to hide it. Then use white radial gradients along with a soft brush on the mask to reveal the details of the statue where you want them.

How to create a starburst effect in Photoshop

Begin with a very long triangular shape created with the Shape (U) or Pen tools.

Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform the shape. Set the transform pivot point at the tip of the triangle and rotate the shape the same distance you want between the rays of the starburst to go.

Commit the transform then press Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+T for Transform Again. Keep pressing this shortcut until copies of the triangle go all the way around.

How to create warped Gradients

As versatile as the layer styles are for creating shaded elements, they’re not so great when you need to fit it around a particular shape. In those cases, the warped gradient technique is a life saver!

Start by creating a rectangular selection on a blank layer. Fill the selection with a reflected gradient. Then go to Edit> Transform> Warp to activate the bounding box. Adjust the handles until the gradient fits the shape you need.