Learn how to make this abstract and very emotional composite in Adobe Photoshop. You will learn some technical things – as using adjustments for making masks, loading brushes etc. You’ll also learn some photo manipulation principles such as how the golden proportion works.
What you’ll be creating
You will be creating photomanipulation which is filled by symbols of transformation. I’ll show you, how to blend stock images in abstract composition. I’ll show you how shadows works. You can also learn, how to make photo looks like hand-drawn and more. You will need Adobe Photoshop CS5 or newer, to follow this tutorial.
Let’s start. Create new file. Go to File > New… Set size to 1884 x 1480 px.
Place “Old Paper” stock. It will be base to whole project. Drag stock from folder and drop to your Photoshop file.
I really want to achieve grunge style of paper, not old. Add adjustment layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…) with Hue/Saturation.
Now, add Brightness/Contrast.
Optional – You can add Gradient fill (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…). Radial gradient allows you to make vintage look.
Let’s the game begin, huhu. You will learn, how to mask layer, without using brush. It works with black and white background. Place “Dead branches stock” to your file.
Duplicate the stock – drag layer on new layer symbol.
Click on duplicated layer with RMB. Choose “Rasterize layer”.
From top menu choose Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.
Again go to top menu Image > Adjustments and choose “Levels”.
It’s time to decrease saturation. Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.
Now, add again Brightness/Contrast effect. Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.
Choose bucket tool and fill with white rest of the layer.
With white brush, erase not hidden sky.
Now go to Image > Adjustments > Invert.
Marquee created layer. (ctrl + A, or just by tool) Copy it. (ctrl +c or Edit > Copy)
Now go to first layer. With holding alt, click on layer mask (white canvas on the left). Paste created layer (ctrl + v).
Now you can delete duplicated layer.
Add adjustment layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…) with Hue/Saturation. You will make monochrome tones. Click on adjustment layer with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”.
Now with holding Ctrl, click on “Dead branches” layer and on Hue/Saturation clipping layer. Drag and drop it to “New layer” symbol.
Duplicate it several times and transform it (Ctrl + T). Use golden ratio proportions to make focus point.
Place “Rose” stock to your file. Use trick from Step 5 to mask it. Remember about golden ratio! :)
Colors are weak. Let’s fix that! Add adjustment layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…) with Brightness/Contrast. Then, click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”.
It’s time to transform effect on the rose. At first, place “Ashes” stock image to your file. Then, click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”.
With big, soft brush, mask part of stock.
Now, change blendning mode to Overlay. Petals will look like damaged and destroyed.
It’s time to decrease Saturation – rotten petals would be monochromatic. Add adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. Then, with the same brush as in 14 step, erase part of the layer.
Ok! It’s time to load brushes. Choose debris brush which you want. Load it to your Photoshop.
Now use loaded brushes on “Rose” layer mask. Click on mask canvas at right side and use black debris to mask rose.
Back below layer with rose (and above layers with branches) place foliage stock. Follow golden proportion guides. Duplicate it several times and transform it (Ctrl + T). Use golden ratio proportions to make focus point. If it’s needed, mask some of leafs.
Above first layer with foliage stock, add new layer (ctrl + Shift + N, or Layer > New… > Layer). Pick 60px soft brush and draw some shadows below leafs.
For more realistic effect, decrease its opacity to 60%. Absolute black doesn’t exist in real – remember! :)
Add another new layer, just below rose layer. Use the same brush as in Step 19 and draw shadow below flower.
Decrease opacity to 40%.
Your composite is beautiful now, but let’s tweak it up! :) At first, back below branches layers and place “Blood splash” stock. Use trick from step 5 to mask it. Blood will give some emotions to this work.
Create shadow below this layer. Click on “Blood splash” layer with RMB and go to “Blending options…”. Choose “Drop Shadow” option. Set it as is shown.
It’s time to add the blood some expression. Add adjusment layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…) with Brightness/Contrast. Click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”.
Now, add Hue/Saturation. Also make it clippy.
Add new blank layer (ctrl + Shift + N, or Layer > New… > Layer). Click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”. With soft, big brush draw shadows on blood.
Decrease its opacity to around 45%.
Ok. Go on the top of layers. Place “Jackdaw” stock.
Use debris stock to mask unwanted parts of bird. Just the same as in step 17. You can use several kinds of brushes.
I think this bird is too contrasted. For fixing it, add Adjustment layer with Brigtness/Contrast. Then, click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”.
Remember, that you can mask also Adjustments layers. Click on white canvas, on the right side of Adjustment layer. Choose big, soft brush and mask right side of bird. His left side would looks like flying out of the damaged parts of flower.
Now you’ll create debris effect. It will give your work dynamism. Add new layer. In Clone Stamp Tool choose desired debris brush. It allows you to copy one area of an image and place it onto another area. Set Aligned sample: Current and below. To select the area you want to copy from, move your mouse to the area you want to duplicate and Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac). The cursor will change to a target. Click the exact spot you want to start copying from. Clicking without alt (or option), will make a clone. Try it out! :)
Follow golden ratio proportions. Fill them with debris clones.
Optional-but-fine: Place crow stock to your file. Mask it as in step 17 or 26. (Black debris brush on mask)
Add clipping Adjustment layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…, then RMB > Create clipping mask) with Hue/Saturation.
Next, add clipping Adjustment layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…, then RMB > Create clipping mask) with Brightness/Contrast.
Now create New, blank layer. Choose soft 30px brush. Set gray color and draw some strokes from bird.
Decrease opacity of created layer to around 20% and change blending mode to Darken. It would be looks like real “smash” :).
Click on brush tool and load “Feathers” brushes. Adjust brush settings as is shown. Set size and angle Jitter. Then, set spacing between brush strokes.
Add new layer (ctrl + Shift + N, or Layer > New… > Layer). With created brush settings, draw some feathers (choose black brush). Follow golden ratio guides.
Again add new layer. Use the same brush settings. Draw some feathers randomly.
For making a depth of field, use on this layer Gaussian Blur. go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur and set it as is shown.
Now you can go below blood splash layer (yes, so far!). Add new layer. Use soft round brush and make shadow below flower, bird and feathers. Keep changing opacities – less below feathers, more below rose and crow.
Light source isn’t strong, so decrease opacity of created layer to 22%.
Again add new layer, below “Blood splash” stock. With the same brush settings, draw shadows below branches.
Decrease its opacity to around 20%.
Now duplicate “debris” layer (drag and drop to “New layer” symbol). Then, drag it below layers with shadows and gradient fill
Then, go to top menu and choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. Cool! You’ve created simple shadow! :).
If you don’t want “drawn” ornaments below rose, just skip next steps. Don’t go above all layers! Place “fbs” stock to your file. Change blending mode to Multiply.
Duplicate it several times. Remember, that you can use other hand-drawn ornaments form pack (or from the other sources). I used fbs10 and fbs04.
If you don’t want to use hand-drawn resources, use normal photos with isolated background. Place your stock (I used one of foliage pack) and change blending mode to Multiply.
Then, go to top menu. Choose Filter > Filter gallery… Pick Glowing edges.
Add clipping Adjustment layer with Brightness/Contrast (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…, then RMB > Create clipping mask).
Now, Hue/Saturation (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…, then RMB > Create clipping mask).
Let’s Invert it! (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…, then RMB > Create clipping mask). And it’s ready – hand-drawn foliage.
You are really close to finish! :) Go to the top of layers. Add adjustment layer with Brightness/Contrast (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…).
I really don’t like this contrast level on colorful parts of picture. Fix it. Click on white canvas of Adjustment layer. Pick big, black, soft brush to erase colorful parts.
Now you can add some “dramatical” colors. Add Color/Balance layer (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…).
Add Gradient fill adjustment. Set radial gradient, for making more vintage look.
Decrease opacity to 30%, and change blending mode to Overlay.
At the end, add Adjustment layer with Brightness/Contrast (shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment layer…). Set levels of darker colors.
Download the PSD
Tutorial by msRiotte
Thank you for following this tutorial! If you have questions, write. I am Monika Nowakowska – young graphic designer. I love photomanips and digital artworks. You can see my portfolio or see my blog with tips and tricks. If you want to get some news, like myfacebook page.
– msRiotte – Monika Nowakowska