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In this tutorial, you will learn how to make disintegrating human effect in Photoshop. We will turn a stand female model photo into a dark, mysterious disintegrating portrait of a witch. Custom Photoshop brushes will be the main tool of this tutorial.

The PSD file of this tutorial is available via the PSD Vault VIP members area.

This is an intermediate level tutorial and prior knowledge of Photoshop layers, image adjustments, layer masks are required.

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

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


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Let’s get started!

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

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1440px * 679px with black background. Load the grunge texture (I used image 02 in the pack) into Photoshop and make a selection as shown below:

1 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, adjust its size with free transform tool and cover the canvas:

1 paste

Apply the following image adjustment layers as clipping masks:

Black and White

1 bw


1 lvs

and here is the effect so far:

1 effect

Step 2

Load the model image into Photoshop and cut out the upper part of the model, paste it into the following position on our canvas:

2 paste

Apply the following image adjustments as clipping masks for this model layer:

Black and White

2 bw


2 lvs


2 curves

Use the hair brushes, paint some hair on the right side of the face as shown below:

2 hair

Step 3

We will work on the disintegrating effect in this step. I decided to use the “Dried Blood Splatter” set:

3 splatter

Paint some splatter around the body:

3 paint 2

Then use the eraser tool, set the eraser to use the same dried blood splatter set, break the splatter painting apart:

3 erase

This is the effect I have after I repeat the above process several times:

3 paint effect

I also added some splatter painting around the face area:

3 paint face

On the left side, I add some cloud painting:

3 cloud brush

3 paint

Step 4

We will add a magic glyph into the image. Load the glyph stock image into Photoshop:

4 sel

Select the entire image, paste into on our document and place the new layer below the model layer. Set its layer blend mode to “Multiply”:

4 mul

Reduce the layer opacity to around 40% for the glyph layer, so it’s barely visible:

4 paste

Load the fire stock into Photoshop and select the left side of the fire ring:

4 sel 2

Copy and paste the selection to our document and set its layer blend mode to “Screen”:

4 screen

Move the fire to the glyph area, adjust its size and here is the effect you will aim to achieve:

4 fire

Step 5

We will add fire to the model’s eye in this step. Go to the fire stock image and select the following part with Lasso Tool (set feather to 40px):

5 sel

Copy and paste the selection, use the free transform tool to compress, stretch it as shown below:

5 compress

Create a new layer on top of the fire layer, use a soft white brush to paint a dot as shown below:

5 paint

Change the layer blend mode of this white dot layer to “Overlay”:

5 overlay

Duplicate this white dot layer 10 times, and this is the effect you will have:

5 dup

Step 6

We’re almost done! For final touches, I added some red/blood particles around the canvas to spice up the disintegrating human effect:

6 par

Paint some cloud at the bottom of canvas:

6 cloud

Finally, I flatten the image and made an duplicate of the background layer, applied the following “Accented Edges” effect to the image:

6 accented edges

This is the effect so far:

6 effect

I further added some colours to image with a couple of colour balance adjustment layers, and this is my final result: (click to enlarge)


That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful! If you have any questions about the steps, please contact me or leave a comment below. I will try my best to answer them.

Till next time, have a great day!

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