photoshop creative

Take control of selections

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
June 1, 2016

Use selections, masks and more to retouch a portrait and add an explosive effect


1. Smoothen skin01

Open your subject image. On new layers above the model, paint with a soft-edged brush at low opacity, using the Eyedropper tool to select approximate colours, hold Option/Alt while using the Brush tool for spring-loaded access to the Eyedropper.

2. Boost lips and eyes


Add a Color Fill layer and choose Solid Color. Pick #f861b0. Set to Color blend mode. Click the mask and invert it (Cmd/Ctrl+I). Paint with white to colour lips. Repeat for the eyes using #f861b0, #f433ab, and #fab2ea. Set these to Overlay. Lower opacity to reduce if needed.

3. Enhance eyebrows


On a new layer, zoom in on the eyebrows. Go to Select>Color Range. On canvas, Shift+click on hairs. Option/Alt+ click to remove. Adjust selection range with Fuzziness. Using the Lasso tool, hold Option/ Alt+Shift, click and drag, encircling the eyebrow. Add a Color Fill (#f861b0).

4. Select hair


Create a new layer at the top. With the Quick Selection tool – tick Sample All Layers in the options bar – make a rough selection of the hair. Use [ and ] to decrease or increase the brush size. Start with a larger brush size for the initial pass-through, then use smaller sizes as you get down to the details. Zoom in and out to get a good look.

5. Refine Edge


Continue to work on the selection. doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s a good idea to get as decent a selection as you can get before continuing on to Refine Edge. Go to Select>Refine Edge (Cmd/Ctrl+Option/ Alt+R). Use the Refine Radius tool to paint around the edges. Zoom in and out as needed and size brush with [ and ].

6. Colour hair


For Output To, choose Selection. Add a Color Fill layer. Pick #f861b0. Set to Color blend mode. Refine the mask. Duplicate the Color Fill layer twice. Double- clicking on the first set to a darker colour (#861657). Set the other to a paler one (#fab2ea). Edit each mask to blend the colours throughout the hair. Save Model.psd.

7. Place model and make holes


Add a layer mask and paint black. To create the holes, use the Polygonal Lasso tool to plot the jagged shapes then fill with black on new layers. You can also use the Pen tool. Add Inner Glow layer styles using #f810c4. Adjust the glows’ Opacity, Noise, Choke and Size.

8. Create pieces


Click on the model thumbnail. Use the Lasso tool to create a freeform selection of a bit of the face. Press Cmd/ Ctrl+J to duplicate and move above the holes. Go back to the model layer and repeat. Use the Polygonal Lasso to create shards. Also, create coloured shape layers with the Pen tool. Continue to build up.

9. Finalise dispersion


Adorn pieces with layer styles like Bevel & Emboss and Outer Glow. If desired, place other images for variety. Use masks and experiment with blend modes to mix in. Duplicate groups and arrange the duplicates. Free Transform whole groups or individual pieces.

10. Use Radial Blur and Colour Lookup


Duplicate everything to a new layer. Go Filter> Blur>Radial Blur. Set Amount: 60, Blur Method: Zoom, Quality: Good. Set to Linear Dodge (Add). Drop Opacity to 30%. Using Free Transform, rotate counter-clockwise. Option/Alt+click the ‘Add layer mask’ button and paint back with white. Click ‘Create new fill or adjustment’ button, choose Color Lookup. Pick ‘filmstock_50.3dl’. Paint black in the mask to reduce.

11. Add some stars


Place some stars and set to Overlay. Move it around until you can visualise some of the stars overlaid upon an area within the flying shards. After confirming the place, Option/Alt+click the ‘Add layer mask’ button to hide it, then paint back with white to add the stars. Place more stars and repeat the process, or duplicate, move, and edit each mask.

12. Continue tweaking colour


Now darken things a bit. Click on the ‘Create new fill’ or Adjustment button again and choose Color Lookup. Pick ‘3Strip. look.’ Optionally, use a lowered opacity to reduce. Duplicate with Cmd/Ctrl+J. Set the duplicate adjustment layer’s blend mode to Multiply. Click the mask and invert (Cmd/ Ctrl+I). Paint back with white to darken.

13. Refine composition


Select the top layer and press Cmd/ Ctrl+Option/Alt+Shift+E. Ctrl/right-click and choose Convert to Smart Object. Filters applied to the smart object will be applied as non-destructively. Go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. In the Lens Flare dialog, click in the preview to place the lens flare. Choose from the four lenses, then adjust Brightness.

14. Add more lens flares


Smart objects can have multiple smart filters applied to them. Add more lens flares by repeatedly going to Filter>Render>Lens Flare (Cmd/Ctrl+F). Vary the placement of the lens flares and experiment with the different types. To edit a lens flare, double-click on it underneath the layer. Toggle visibility with the eye icon.

15. Use Camera Raw


Merge layers again and convert to a smart object. Go to Filter>Camera Raw Filter. This filter has loads of settings on the right to fine-tune your image. To produce a dreamy feel, slide Clarity leftward to -50. Explore the other settings if desired. Click OK when done. Paint black in the Smart Filters mask to peel off the dreamy aura in areas.

16. Sharpen up


Merge layers and convert to a smart object. Apply a Camera Raw Filter. Increase Clarity to +30. Under the Detail tab, increase Amount to 90 and Luminance to 30. Click OK. Paint black in the Smart Filters mask to reduce. Alternatively, you can paint on the sharpness. Invert the Smart Filters mask, then paint white to sharpen areas.

17. Dodge and burn


On a new layer go to Edit>Fill and choose 50% Gray for Contents. Set to Overlay. To dodge, paint with white. Start at a low brush opacity and work your way up. To burn, paint with black. You can work in stages across multiple layers. If you need to remove black or white and restore to 50% Grey, paint with #808080.

18. Finalise


If part of the face looks too wan, apply a Color Fill layer (#e8947a) set to Linear Burn. Drop to a low opacity. Invert the mask. Paint with white at low opacity to add. To amp up the supernatural vibe, add a Color Fill (#e26ee6) and set to Soft Light. Invert the mask. To apply a slight cast, add a Color Fill (#be0bde) and lower Opacity to around 8%.