Create an Abstract Style, Vibrant Jumping Man Scene in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how you can utilise the amazing power of image adjustment layers to make colour, contrast and lighting change for any chosen image in Photoshop, by walking you through the design process of this man jumping scene.

The reason I put up this basic tutorial is that lately I have receive some requests from people wishing to learn some techniques involved in using adjustment layers.

Along the way, not only I will be using image adjustment layers techniques, but also I will show you some skills I use to create break-apart effects, pen tool and layer blendings. Have a try!

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


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OK let’s get started!

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


Step 1

Load the “Jump” stock image into Photoshop, double-click on the background layer inside the layer pallatte to unlock it. Then create a new layer called “bg” , fill it with black colour and put it under the background layer we just unlock.

Use whatever selection tool you perfer to clear out the surroundings, and leave just the jumping man on the canvas:

1 clear

It doesn’t really matter if the selection isn’t perfect. The tutorial is not about teaching you how to make the perfect human selection (However if you do want to learn, here is a tutorial for you).

Step 2

Now let’s head straight to the image adjustment layers. You will find those options under Layer > New Adjustment Layer > … , as shown below:

2 adju

In this tutorial, I will be using three adjustment layers to retouch this jumping man: colour balance, curves and brightness and contrast. In my opinion, these are probably the most frequent used adjustment layers you will be using for whatever design you’re doing.

Step 3

Let’s go ahead and apply those adjustment layers. From bottom to top,

Color Balance

2 col bal

2 col bal 2


2 curves

Brightness and Contrast

2 bc

And you will have the following effect:

2 effect

You will see now the colour tone and the lightness of the image are completely changed, just by adding those three adjustment layers. And the good thing about them is that you can have more flexibility if you do want to make changes later on, because the original layer is not altered.

Also, because those adjustment layers are in fact layer, you can apply mask, or change the blending mode for them, to experience different result.

Step 4

Now I will show you a quick way I use to create this cool dis-integration effect. Firstly let’s create a custom brushset.

Select a 5px, soft round brush, and apply the following brush dynamics to it:

Shape Dynamics

4 sha dyn


4 scat

and tick Noise, Airbrush and Smoothing options.

Now load the selection of the jumping man layer by Ctrl + left click the thumbnail image of that layer, click the rectangular marquee tool, then right-click inside the selection and choose “Make work path”:

4 make work

Then define the Feather as 2px, and you will have the following effect:

4 path

After you made the work path, create a new layer called “stroke” and put it just under the jumping man layer, then click on the Pen Tool icon, and right-click on the work path and choose “stroke path”:

4 pen

Make sure the brushset you just created is still selected and choose “Brush” in the next window, leave “simulate pressure” option un-checked.

Change the layer blending mode of this stroke layer to be “Screen” and drop the opacity to 40%. You will now have this effect:

4 effect

Step 5

To create some motion for the image, we can duplicate the “stroke” layer from the previous layer once, drag the duplicated layer to the top of the jumping man layer, and apply the following radial blur:

5 mo blur

Change the blending mode to “Hard Light” for this duplicated layer, and duplicate it once again. You will now have this effect:

5 effect

Step 6

To add some more effect to the image, we can grab this Debris brushset and create a new layer just below the “Brightness and Contrast” adjustment layer, and paint some debris on it:

6 debris

And that’s pretty much it for this tutorial! I added some abstract lines stretching from his arm to make this image more vibrant. This require some basic use of the Pen Tool, if you’re interested, I have a pretty neat tutorial here showing you how to make this sort of effect.

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


Hope you enjoy this tutorial, drop me a comment if you have any question, I will try my best to help you out.

Cheers and have a nice day!


  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

  • Show Comments

  • STEP 5: very good, great trick!

    I had not thought about this trick.


  • Divyesh
  • shoco

    Low quality

  • Flex developer

    Way !! Super!!! Great post… thanks

  • mike

    ok a made exacly till the step 5 but a don`t have glowing efect of brush it`s black how made it?

  • Fabio

    Nice effect, but I don’t know how to create a brushset as written at step 4. Maybe you should write down your tutorials in a step-by-step mode, in the future. Thank you.

  • Andy Dinh

    Nice work. I really need something like that.Thanks for share

  • Jefferyfish

    Careful on step 5. The blur used is a radial blur not a motion blur. I was also having a hard time getting the brush setup exactly as James did. Probably just me.

  • James

    @jefferyfish: I changed it to radial blur just now, thank you so much for pointing this mistake out :)

  • Very nice Post! Really love it your post! thank you very much for your Information

  • Lindsay

    nice tutorial…great site!

  • 谢彬——X_B

    做的非常好! 向你们学习。

  • vcastilla

    wuau..! i do not speak english..!
    and understood perfectly
    congratulations..::: great post…!

  • Esther

    Thisis freaking amazing, thank you XxX

  • Esther

    This is so amazing, i love this website. thank you

  • nice post

    thanks MCSE

  • Excellent tutorial Thank you very much………………….


    very cool !!!