Create Awesome Abstract Photo Effect via Layer Masking and Custom Patterns

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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)

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You will need the following stock to complete this tutorial:

Model

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:

Hair

Lips

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:

Vibrance

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!

Tags:

  • 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

  • This will definitely make any photo pretty polished, and there’s now way for me not to trust the tutorial, your site is one of the most polished website that I’ve ever seen, and I like your fee templates too! Well done guys!

  • Wow, this really rocks!
    I will try to create this awesome abstract photo effect right away.

  • wow!! unbelievable….

  • demente

    i dont get it !

  • AMMAD

    That Wonderful Effect!………

  • very good,i must admit.

  • Awesome job! Thanks for the great article.

  • Nicole

    This tutorial would be awesome if it wasn’t so vague! I find it difficult to follow because it seems there are steps missing in between. It’s a pity.

  • Rajabi_alma

    fantastish

  • Rajabi_alma

    fantastish

  • Newbie in PS, thanks you a lot for this step by step tutorial.

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