Utilise Custom Shapes and Texture to add Extra Flavour to Your Design in Photoshop

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In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create this Awesome Freestyle Artwork via Mixing Shapes and Dirt Texture in Photoshop. This is an intermediate level tutorial and some steps can be tricky, but why not have a go :) ?

Alogn the way, I will show some retouch techniques, the use custom brush and the make of some nice abstract lines and shapes, plus lighting effect skills.

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

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


Dirt Brush

Step 1

Create a new doucment sized 880px * 1200px, leave the background color as White. Create a new layer called “texture”, load the dirt brush into Photoshop and use it to paint some texture on it: (set the brush opacity to around 40%)

One thing you need to remember is when you paint this texture layer, try to use a combination of different brushes in the set, and experiement with different brush sizes as you go:

Once you finish the painting, duplicate this texture layer once and use the free transform tool to perspective it as shown below:

Reduce the layer opacity of this layer to around 50%, you will have the following effect:

Step 2

Load the model image into Photoshop, cut out the girl and paste it onto our canvas, name this new layer as “Model”:

Add the following two adjustment layer to the model layer: (make sure to tick the “use previous layer as clipping mask” option when adding them)


Layer mask on levels adjustment layer:


Layer mask on Curves adjustment layer:

Add a new clipping mask layer for the model layer, grab a soft white brush and paint to the areas as shown below:

Change the blending mode of this new clipping mask layer to “Soft Light”, and you will have the following effect:

I feel the hair of the model need to brighten up a bit, so I created aonther clipping mask layer and used a small white brush with 60% – 70% hardness to paint some white lines on the hair:

Change the blending mode to “Overlay” for this hair painting layer, reduce the layer opacity to around 80%, you will have the following effect:

and here is the overall effect so far:

Step 3

Create a new layer called “Curvy Line” and use the Pen Tool to draw a path as shown below:

Choose a 13px, 100% hardness brush:

Stroke the Path with this brush:

Make sure you tick the “Simulate Pressure” setting:

and you will have the following effect:

Duplicate the curvy line layer a few times, resize and rotate those layers, and position them as shown below:

Step 4

Now let’s get on with the curvy line creation. For tutorial purpose, I made a new document in Photoshop.

Create a new layer and use the Rectangular Marquee tool to draw a seletion as shown below:

Fill the selection with a colour of your choice:

hit Ctrl + T and right-click on the rectangle, choose “Distort”:

Then Hold the Alt key and Drag the bottm right corner of the rectangle to distort it as shown below:

Then duplicate this layer a few times, rotate and resize each layer as shown below: (use colour balance and hue adjustment tool for colour variation)

Then merge the duplicated layer together:

Hit Ctrl + T and right-click on the shapes, choose “Warp” option:

Warp the shapes as shown below:

That’s it, you can use those warped shapes in your image. You can choose you own colour and size, no need to following the exact colour in my image:

Apply the shapes in different location will add depths and variety for your image:

Step 5

This step is optional. I personally feel like adding a bit more depth and variety to the image by have a “shadow” copy of the girl on the canvas somewhere.

Create a new layer called “Girl Shadow” just below the model layer, then load the selection of the model layer and fill the selection with Gray colour:

Resize this layer to a very small scale, flip it horizontally and position it as shown below: (erase the top right part of the girl so it blends into the background)

I added a new layer called “shadow” with “Soft light” blending mode, and use a soft black brush to paint some shadow on the foot area:

Optional: add some more abstract lines around the canvas with Pen Tool Strokes for more variety:

Now we can add some overall shadows and highlights on the image by create a new layer on top of all previous layers, use a soft brush with black or white colour, painting on the new layer as shown below:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 6

Now we can apply some final touches to the image. Flatten the image (save a layered copy before you do so), then duplicate the background layer once, apply the following Smart Sharpen filter to the duplicated layer:

We can also add some lighting effect to the image by duplicate the background layer once more, and apply the Angled Strokes filter to it, with the settings below:

Reduce the layer opacity of this angled strokes layer to around 40%, you will see now we have some really nice lighting effect as shown below:

On left leg:

Around the chest area:

I also add a color balance adjustment layer to image with the following settings:

and you will have the following final effect:

OK that’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy it and find it useful and inspirational. If you have any question, drop a comment below and 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

  • The Final output has came very well, used for Ad poster :P

  • agam

    MANTAP COY!!!!!!

  • Nice Article!!!

  • your tutorial is very amazing, i will follow your tutorial…

  • Mohamed Samir

    Amazing Tut i’ll try to create this design and last see what i get :D

  • Kojeje

    i do love the details you gave…
    So impressive :)

  • Wow ! Really great design ! I like it . Thanks.

  • chris

    Great final design! Love it


    Should I make all layers with ‘USE PREVIOUS LAYER AS CLIPPING MASK’ or just a few of them cuz the effect I`m having is not as it is explained here .!

  • JC

    Great work…!!!
    I will follow it and let see if I get it close to your work!!

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge!

  • Muzza

    Just a tiny detail, but your shadow of the girl is back to front!

    But still great work. Thanks

  • babiloos

    Was very beautiful tutorial.

  • Nice job.
    Carry on…

  • abdelmounim-zaki

    great gob realy i like it so great ^^

  • Asikur Rhaman Reko

    This is an outstanding posting…

  • Ali

    Very great Work

  • Your tutorials are really amazing. very small and simple and straight forward. I booked mark it.

  • budz


    just wanna know what is (make sure to tick: “use the previous layer as a clipping mask” option when adding them). Can you explain this to me, i’m new and willing to learn photoshop.


  • budz

    btw. your tutorial is really awesome… i’m found this site it helps to learn more about the photoshop…

  • hapii

    i’m having a problem at step 3 ~___~

  • great!!!!!

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