The Creation of “Thinker” Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the processes of creating this “Thinker” photo manipulation in Photoshop. We will use a model image and combine with abstract lines and a few flying stones to form this artwork. We will also be using several adjustment layers to perform the final touches.

The PSD file of this tutorial is available to buy on PSD Vault Shop, or via the PSD Vault VIP members area.

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

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:

Background texture

Model by DaeStock


Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 1132px with black background. Choose a texture image you like from the texture pack you just downloaded, copy and paste the texture over to our document:

1 paste

Use a big soft eraser to remove the following portion from the background texture:

1 erase

Add the following adjustment layer on top of the texture layer:

Black and White

1 bw


1 lvs

and you will have the following effect so far:

1 effect

Step 2

We will add the model onto our canvas in this step. Load the model stock image into Photoshop and cut out the model, paste it over to our document. Re-size and position it to the centre of the canvas as shown below:

2 paste

We will also remove the following parts from the leg to create a “detached” effect:

2 remove

Add the following 2 adjustment layers as clipping mask to this model layer:

Black and White

2 bw 2


2 lvs

and you will have the following effect so far:

2 effect

Step 3

We will add some abstract lines into the mix. Use a solid brush to paint a line on the canvas, then use the liquify filter to warp the line as shown below:

3 liqf

The settings for the liquify filter brush:

3 liq settings

Repeat this process and add a few lines around the model:

2 more lines

Continue to add the lines around the canvas as shown below:

3 line groups

Step 4

We will add some flying stones around the canvas in this step. Load the stone texture into Photoshop and select a piece of stone from it:

4 sel

Copy and paste the selection over to our document. Reduce its size and use a cyan brush to paint over the cracks to create some special fantasy effect:

4 paint

Set this blue paint layer’s blending mode to “Overlay”:

4 overlay

and here is the effect for the stone:

4 effect

Repeat the step above and add a few more stones around the canvas:

4 more stones

Use the Smudge tool to add some blurry motions for the stone, in order to create some flying effect:

4 blur

Step 5

We will add some extra effect to spice up the image a bit. Use a black soft brush to paint some lines under the body as shown below:

5 dark lines

Use a particle brush to paint some dots around body:

5 particles

Apply the following Radial Blur settings to this particle layer:

5 rad blur

And you will have the following effect:

5 after rad blur

Step 6

Ok we’re almost done! For final touches, I flattened the layer and duplicate the background layer, apply some blur to the foot area to add some motions as shown below:

6 blur

Add some colours for the image with the following adjustment layers:

Selective Color

6 col reds

6 col whites

6 col neu

6 col black


6 curves rgb

6 cur red

6 cur green

6 cur blue

and here is my final effect: (click to enlarge)


That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy going through it and find it useful. Drop me a comment below if you have any question.

Till next time, have a great 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.

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