Please log in or register to do it.

In this tutorial, I will show you how you can Create this Awesome Abstract Photo Effect via Layer Masking and Custom Patterns. Some steps can be a little tricky, but why not have a try!

Along the way, I will show you some interesting method of making custom, abstract style patterns by mixing hard and soft round brush, plus some lighting techniques.

Here is a preview of the final effect we will be aiming to achieve: (click to enlarge)

PSD Vault VIP Membership

You can download the PSD File for this tutorial via the VIP Members Area for only $6.95/Month (or less)! You will not only get this PSD File, but also 200+ other PSD Files + Extra Goodies there. Signup now and get exclusive!

You will need the following stock to complete this tutorial:


Cloud Brush

Smoke Brush

Star Brush 1

Star Brush 2

OK let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 1044px, fill the background layer with black colour. Create a new layer called “background light” and use the Cloud Brush and big soft white brush, create some random light as shown below:

Load the Model image into Photoshop, cut out the model and paste it onto our document. Don’t worry if edges appear to be a bit rough – this is not important for this tutorial as we will be masking them out later on.

We will be doing a bit of retouching for this model. If you look closely, you will see some black spots on the girl’s cheek. We will remove them by using the healing brush, as shown below:

This is the effect after applying the healing brush:

Grab the Sharpen Tool from the toolbox, set strength to around 20%, apply some sharp effect onto the girl:



Step 2

We can create some abstract pattern by mixing Soft and Hard Circle round brush. As you can see, below is a big soft white brush with 0% hardness (a single-click):

Now grab the eraser tool, set the brush hardness to 100% for the round brush, do a single-click to the position shown below:

Then use the free tranform tool to warp it, distort it, whatever you like:

You can create abstract shape like this, which you can then apply to the image:

Meanwhile, you can add some shining stripes by doing the followings:

Firstly use a soft white brush to do a single-click on the top edge:

Then compress it down using the free-transform tool:

Rotate it to an angle you prefer:

By repeating the steps shown above, we can create some cool abstract patten quickly and use the to spice up the effect:

and this is the overall effect so far: (you effect may look different, as the pattern you create may be different from mine)

Step 3

Now let’s add a layer mask on the model layer, use a combination of hard, soft and smoke brush sets on it. Use your own creativity on the mask, and see what result it brings you:

and here is my effect after messing up with my layer mask:

Add a Curves adjustment layer to the top of the model layer: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option when adding them)

As you can see, by adjusting the channels on the curves adjustment layer, we can add colours to the image:

I added another levels adjsutment layer as clipping mask to increase the contrast a bit:

Mask on the levels adjustment layer:

here is the effect so far:

Step 4

Now let’s play with the lighting effect for a while. Create a new layer on top of all previous layer called “highlights” and set the blending mode to “overlay”, use a soft white brush to do a single-click to the spot shown below:

Create another light layer on top and use a big soft white brush to do a single-click on the spot shown below:

Optional: duplicate this light layer once for brighter effect:

We can add some light strips to the image. Grab a big soft brush to do a single-click on a new layer:

Then narrow it down by using the free transform tool:

and add those lights on the position shown below:

Step 5

Now let’s use the star brushes we downloaded to paint some star to the image, make sure you use a mixture of big and small stars:

(you can either create a new layer on top of all previous layer to paint star, or you can create layer below the original model layer if you want to add stars behind the model)

Also make sure you use both white and black colour to paint the star.

Once you’re done with the painting, add the following two adjustment layers on top:

Color Balance

Layer Mask on Colour Balance adjustment layer:


Layer Mask on Vibrance adjustment layer:

and here is the effect you will have so far:

For some final lighting touch-ups, you can use the dodge tool (set strength to around 30%) to add some highlights to the girls hair and face, as shown below: (after you flatten the image)

and here is the final effect: (click to enlarge)

That’s it for this Photoshop tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful. Until next time, have a great day!

Create Surreal Environment Inspired by the "Inception" Movie in Photoshop
Create Artistic Abstract Shapes via the Powerful Warp Tool in Photoshop