In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to Create this Abstract Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements. Along the way, you will learn how you can apply layer masks to image adjustment layers to create unique effect, as well as learning to blend texture and to use various elements to create great abstract effect.

This  is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try!

Note: The Photoshop tutorial is done in CS6 – therefore some screenshot may have slighting different layout as in the earlier version. Some brushes are exclusive to Photoshop CS6.

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

brush abstract flatten 492x700 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

PSD File Download

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vip sign up 250 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

OK Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:

Girl Photo by ~Mirish

Tree Bark Texture

Grunge Brushsets (Pick a few from the list)

Video Tutorial

If you have any trouble with Step 3, I have a video tutorial here to show you exactly how to apply the tree bark texture over the model’s face:

Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 1136px, fill the background layer with #cccec9 color. We will add some textures onto the background – Load the tree bark texture into Photoshop, use the rectangular marquee tool to select a portion of it as shown below:

1 sel Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, resize it to fit the size of the canvas. Apply the following image adjustments to it:

Black and White

1 bw1 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Levels

1 lv 500x478 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Set the layer blending mode to “Subtract” (for versions other than CS6, you can use “overlay” mode instead)

1 subtract 500x385 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Add a highlight to the centre with a soft white brush:

1 erase1 500x597 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Then create a new layer, and apply some grunge brush paintings over it – I have the following effect below:

1 paint 490x700 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Step 2

Load the girl image into Photoshop, cut out the girl and paste it over to our document:

2 paste 500x541 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Apply the following surface blur settings to this girl layer:

2 surf Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Use any grunge brushset as eraser, remove the edges of the girl as shown below: (make sure you adjust the brush size accordingly as you paint)

2 erase1 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Add the following 3 adjustment layer as clipping mask to this girl layer:

Black and White

2 bw Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Layer mask on the black and white adjustment layer:

2 bw mask Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Levels

2 lv Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Layer mask on the levels adjustment layer:

2 lv mask Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Curves

2 curves Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

and here is the effect so far:

2 effect1 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Step 3

We will add some bark textures around the face – use quick selection tool to select a piece on the bark image, and copy & paste to our document, as shown below:

3 paste1 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Distort the new bark layer as show below:

3 distort Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Select this new layer, and apply the following “Refine Edge” options: (by doing so, it will give a rough edge for this tree bark layer)

3 refine edge Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Apply the following 3 image adjustments to this bark layer:

Black and White

3 bw1 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Levels

3 lv Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Curves

3 curves1 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Then we can duplicate this layer a few times,  then move them around the face as shown below:

3 dup 500x694 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Step 4

We’ve now done the textures and painting parts. Let’s flatten the image and duplicate the background layer, grab the clone stamp tool:

4 clone stamp Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Set the brush to soft round for this clone stamp tool:

4 soft round 500x294 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Define the following portion as the clone source, then paint around the girl’s face, as shown below:

4 point 500x429 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Apply the following layer mask to this new layer to hide some portion:

4 mask 500x553 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

You can apply some liquify filter effect to various parts of the photo as well:

4 liquify 500x553 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

and here is the effect so far:

4 effect1 500x601 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Step 5

We will fine-tune the image a bit and add some colour effect to it. We will do them via adjustment layers as below: (from bottom to top)

Curves

5 curves Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Layer Mask on the Curves adjustment layer:

5 curv mask 488x700 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Selective Color

5 red Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

5 white Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

5 neu Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

5 black Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

Color Balance

5 color balance Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

and you will have the following final effect: (click to enlarge)

brush abstract flatten 492x700 Create Abstract Photo Manipulation with Tree Bark Texture and Brush Elements

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! Drop me a comment below if you have any question.

Till next time, have a great day!