photoshop creative

Make art with layers (part 2)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 18, 2014

Part 2 of our beautiful layers tutorial!

11. Use more gradients

Duplicate the layer and go to Select>Load Selection to create a selection marquee. Choose black from the Swatches palette, Radial Gradient from the Gradient laette and set Opacity to 30%. Now click and drag from right to left.

12. Red shape

Make another shape in a new layer and rill it with red. Set this to 44% Opacity, then mask out the arm area and paint the right side of the arm with a soft black brush set to 20% Opacity to soften it. Now duplicate the layer and set the blend mode to Vivid Light.

13. Apply a white stroke

Duplicate the layer, go to Select>Load Selection. Now go to Edit>Stroke. Set the Width to 11px, Colour to White and Location to Inside. Change the blend mode to Screen, create a layer mask and then mask out the unwanted area.

14. Include more graphics

Experiment with different shapes and place them behind the subject. Don’t limit yourselves to the blend modes mentioned so far; explore the whole range. Also experiment with masks, lightly brushing out areas so the image doesn’t look flat.

15. Turn up the lights

Go back to the top layer and create a new layer. Paint a subtle white glow using the Radial Gradient tool (G) with 20% Opacity. Choose White to Transparent and put the glow at the bottom of the canvas.

16. Inject some sparkle

Make a new layer, and create sparkles with a soft brush, or load a downloaded sparkle brush. Change the Size of the brush for each sparkle to simulate the random, visual nature of sparkles. Scatter these around the canvas.

17. Get a colourful background

Create a new layer and grab a soft brush with 30% Opacity. Pick the colour you want to use and then paint where you like; we used magenta, white and yellow. Bring the layer’s Opacity down to 54%, then click and hold it to drag it down and place it above the background layer.

18. Use more colour

Now repeat step 17, this time placing the new layer below the white lights layer created in step 15. Paint in magenta and yellow, and then change the blend mode to Colour. You can add several different layers to build colour depth, if desired.

19. Brighten things up

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves and, to brighten up the entire image, experiment by pulling the curves point around to create a pleasing effect. If the image is a little too bright for your liking, just reduce the Curves’ Opacity.

20. Add a High Pass Filter

To duplicate the entire image to a new layer, click on the topmost layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E, go to Filter>Other>High Pass and set Radius to 2.8. Set the blend mode to Soft Light to sharpen the image.

21. More contrast

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E to duplicate the entire image to a new layer one more time, as in the previous step, but this time just change the blend mode to Soft Light and then set the Opacity to 30%… and you’re done!