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In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to design this Abstract Human Manipulation with Milk Texture and Custom Brushes in Photoshop. You will learn how you utilise a range of photo techniques to manipulate textures in order to form certain effect, mixing with some basic photo retouch skills. Have a try!

This is an intermediate to advance level Photoshop tutorial. If you’re having difficulty with the steps in this tutorial, I suggest you go to the basic section of PSD Vault and practice those tutorials first, then come back and do this one.

Here is a preview of the final effect: (click to enlarge)

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Ok Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stock: (some stock images are not free and registration is required)



Ink Brush

Cloud Brush

Step 1

Create a new document sized 900px * 1170px, fill the background with a light grey colour:

Create a new layer on top of the background layer, use a soft white brush (adjust the brush size to be around 70% of the canvas width) to do a single click in the center:

Duplicate this layer once and resize as shown below, move it to the top:

Duplicate this compressed layer once, then move it to the bottom as shown below:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 2

Load the model image into Photoshop and cut of the model, paste it onto our document and resize it to fit. Position the model in the center of the canvas:

Now we can see the model has been retouch beforehand so there isn’t much work need to be done. However, we can apply the surface blur to the smooth out her skin a little more:

Hint: make sure BEFORE you apply surface blur, duplicate the model layer once and convert it into a smart object, this way you can go back and re-adjust if needed.

On the surfer blur layer, erase the following areas on a layer mask to reveal the original model layer underneath:

Add the following adjustment layer to the surface blur layer as clipping mask:

Black and White (set layer opacity to around 30%)


Create a new layer on top, use the a soft white brush with around 50% flow and opacity, paint some light on top of the model’s head and hair:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 3

Now load the milk texture into Photoshop, use Quick selection tool to select a piece of the milk:

Copy and paste the selection onto our document – you can there is a black line around the texture – this sometimes happens if the selection is rough and you’re using a high tolerance value for quick selection tool:

We can get rid of it with the Refine Edge Tool – so load the selection of this milk layer:

Bring up the Refine Edge tool and apply the following settings:

Then hit Ctrl + Shift + I to inverse the selection, and go to Edit > Clear to clear the selection:

As you can see, after refining the edge, this black line around the texture disappeared, and we have a smooth texture to play with:

Step 4

Now we can have some fun with the liquify filter. (I love liquify filter, it’s totally awesome!)

With the milk texture, hit Ctrl + I to invert it into black colour:

Bring up the Liquify Filter and select the forward warping tool with the following settings:

Liquify this piece of texture and make it look like the following shape:

Duplicate this layer a few times, use free transform tool to rotate, resize, distort each duplicated layer for variety, you can also invert the colour back to white as well:

Attach a piece of milk texture to the top right of the canvas, use free transform tool to make it look like some kind of splashing effect:

You can also attach a smaller piece to the facial area – you can use the Warp Tool to adjust its shape to fit:

Use the Cloud Brush you download, paint some cloud under the milk texture to create depth for the image: (Make sure you don’t paint too much cloud, it won’t look good otherwise)

and here is the effect so far:

Step 5

Now we can start drawing the circle around the model. It’s pretty simple, all you have to do is use the Elliptical Tool (hold down the shift key) to draw a circle shape, fill it with black. Then duplicate this layer and reduce the size of the duplicated layer – by pressing Ctrl + T, then hold down the Alt key while resize it – this will keep its orientation.

Keep this smaller circle layer selected, go back to the bigger circle layer and clear the selection, then delete the small circle layer, you will have the following effect:

Drop the layer opacity of this circle layer to around 30%:

Duplicate this circle layer once and restore the layer opacity of the duplicated layer to 100%, then bring up the liquify filter and use the forward warping tool to liquify its edge:

and you will have the following effect:

Optional: you can attach a smaller circle to the left arm – one thing to remember that if you do this, make sure you distort it a bit so it fits the direction of the milk splash:

Step 6

This is an optional step. Personally I feel like adding some more effect to the image. Here are just a few things I did:

I added a white flowing shape to the top left corner with Pen Tool – So once you draw the shape with Pen Tool, fill it with white colour. You can also use the warp tool to transform it a bit if you like:

I also added a few particle effect with custom brush that I created in this tutorial, just to add some variety to the image:

I added a subtle piece of shadow via a soft black brush painting to the bottom of the image:

Lastly I adjust the contrast of the image a bit and added a few colours to it, and here is the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

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

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