Simple Facial Manipulation with Layer Mask and Custom Brushes in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a Very Simple Facial Manipulation with Layer Mask and Custom Brushes in Photoshop. This is a beginner level tutorial with the aim of showing you how to combine masking and brush to add special effect to an object (in this case human face). Have a try :)

I will also use some basic image adjustments and photo retouch techniques along the way.

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

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OK Let’s get started!

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


Water Color Brushes

Various Grunge Brushes

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1200px*800px with a dark grey background, create a new layer with around 30% layer opacity, and paint some grunge patterns around the canvas:

Duplicate this layer once and flip the duplicated layer horizontally, you will have the following effect:

Step 2

Now let’s cut out the face portion from the model image we downloaded – use the Pen Tool to draw a path and make a selection as shown below:

Set Feather Radius to 0 pixel, and press “OK”:

Use the Refine Edge filter (Ctrl + Alt + R) to smooth the edge a bit:

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, resize it to fit the scale:

Step 3

Now let’s get to the fun part of this tut – masking the face! Use the brushes you downloaded as eraser, erase some parts of the face off via layer mask:

Left Side of the face:

Top part of the face:

Right side of the face:

The above screenshots are indicative only – of course you can experiment different brushes and see what result they will bring you:

Step 4

Now let’s add some image adjustment layers to this face – apply the following 3 adjustment layers as clipping mask to it:

Black and White

Erase the following area on the black and White adjustment layer mask to reveal the lips and parts of the eyes:



and here is the effect so far:

Step 5

Let’s add some further touches to the face – firstly, I add some tear drop mark to just below the eyes using a small, soft black brush:

I used the cloud filter, added some cloud around the face area for some dramatic effect:

You can also add some particle paintings around the head area using some particle brushes, as shown below:

Step 6

OK for some final adjustments, I flatten the image and duplicate the background layer, apply the following Reduce Noise (Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise) settings to the duplicated layer to sharpen the image a bit:

Add a new “Selective Colour” adjustment layer to apply some colours onto the image:

For the selective colour adjustment, you only need to adjust the white, neutrals and black colours, have a play and see what result they will bring you:

I used a warm colour scheme with red and yellowish colour, as shown below:

If you would like to know a bit more about applying colour effect, check out this video tutorial I have below:

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

Categories: Photo Effect

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  • Excellent tutorial,I love this!

  • D6_Guest

    Im sorry, i dont want to complain or anything but some steps are not well explained. Like step 5 with the clouds hehe.But after all love the tut. Keep it up ! :D

  • Great tutorial ..Brilliant

  • Nice tutorial, excellent outcome to say the least.

  • georgeholmes

    Tell me which Grunge Brush you downloaded so that I can find it. I have searched trying to find the same one that you used to no avail.