Photo Manipulation Using Watercolor Brushes and Rock Pattern in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this Photo Manipulation Using Watercolor Brushes and Rock Pattern in Photoshop.

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

This is an intermediate level difficulty tutorial and some steps can be tricky.

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.

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:

Model by svp-stock

Watercolor Brush 1

Watercolor Brush 2

Watercolor Brush 3

Rock Texture

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1400px*874px with black background. Load the model image into Photoshop and select the model:

1 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, place the model to the position as shown below:

1 paste

Remove the hair accessory using an soft eraser tool:

1 erase

Fix a bit of the facial imperfection using the Clone Stamp Tool:

1 clone stamp

Clone Stamp tool setting you should use:

1 clone set

1 fix

and here is the effect so far:

1 effect

Step 2

Load the watercolor brushes into Photoshop, use some brushes of your choice from those sets as eraser:

2 brush

Set the eraser opacity to 50% and Flows to 80%:

2 brush set

Apply this eraser to the model layer as shown below:

2 erase

Step 3

Apply the following 3 adjustment layers as clipping masks to the model layer:

Black and White (make sure you mask out the lips and eyes area)

3 bw


3 lvs


3 curves

and here is the effect so far:

3 effect


Step 4

Create a new new under the model layer, use a red watercolor brush and paint some pattern on it:

4 layer

You will be able to see parts of the painting through the model’s face:

4 paint


Step 5

We will work on adding some rock textures onto our design in this step. Load the rock texture into Photoshop and select a piece from it:

5 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, attach it to the neck area as shown below:

5 place

Apply the following adjustment layers onto this rock layer:

Black and White

5 bw


5 lvs

and here is the effect so far:

5 effect

Repeat this process, add more rock texture onto the neck area:

5 more

Also add some around the eyes and lips area, make sure you don’t cover the eye:

5 more 2


Step 6

We will add some hair for the model. Go back to the model layer and use a Lasso Tool with 30px feather and make a selection of hair like this:

6 sel

Duplicate this hair selection, and on the duplicated layer use this black and white filter:

6 bw

Then use the Free Transform Tool to warp the hair as shown below:

6 warp

Move it to the following position:

6 attach

Again we duplicate this hair layer a few times, move and attach them together to form a hair effect as shown below:

6 more


Step 7

We can add some more watercolor effect on the top by using the watercolor brush – make sure you set the flow and opacity of the brush to be around 50%:

7 paint

We can use the rock texture to create a back drop for our design – make a selection of the rock as shown below:

7 sel

Copy and paste the selection to our document, and make sure it covers the entire canvas. Apply the following image adjustments to this rock layer:

Black and White

7 bw


7 lvs

Mask out the model portion on the rock layer:

7 mask

Reduce the layer opacity of the rock back drop layer to be around 15%:

7 layer opacity


Step 8

We’re almost done! To finalise the effect, we can flatten the image and duplicate the background layer, sharpen the image by using the following Unsharp Mask Filter:

8 unsharp

Add some colours to our image by using the following image adjustment layers:

Selective Color

8 sel reds

7 sel whites

7 sel neu

8 blacks

Color Balance

8 color bal sha

8 col bal mid

I further create a new layer on top and set its layer blending mode to “Overlay”, use some pink and red watercolor brushes and paint some extra pattern around the model:

8 paint

and here 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!


  • 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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