In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use Adobe Photoshop to create an abstract piece featuring a broken woman portrait.
First, we’ll build the base background using several landscape and abstract texture images. After that, we’ll retouch the model, add a mountain to the model’s head, and import the abstract texture and crack effect. Later, we’ll add rocks with lava effects and draw some lines. We’ll work with an abstract texture again, using the Dodge and Burn Tool and several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. How to Build the Base Background
Create a new 3000 x 1790 px document with the given settings:
Open the landscape 1 image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).
second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this
layer. Select a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to
remove the hard edges and blend the landscape to make it fade out into
the white background.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and set it as Clipping Mask. Bring the Saturation value down to -100.
landscape 2 image onto the existing canvas and add a mask to this layer.
Use a soft black brush to remove the bottom of this landscape and leave
the mountains visible softly and subtly in the middle of the canvas.
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to desaturate the landscape 2.
abstract texture pack. Browse the folder of the colorful power backgrounds
and select the first group. Take the image you like and place it onto
the existing canvas.
Use a layer mask to erase most of this texture image, leaving some details visible subtly on top of both sides.
Add a Gradient Map adjustment layer and pick the default colors (black and white) to desaturate the texture.
Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness to make the effect more subtle.
abstract texture pack again. Browse the grunge folder and select one
image from the fourth group to add to the main canvas. Use a layer mask
to erase the bottom and make the effect visible mostly on the upper section.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to the minimum.
Use an Invert adjustment layer to make the effect more subtle.
2. How to Retouch the Model
Open the model image. Cut out the model on the left and place her in the middle of the main canvas.
Add a mask
to the model layer and select a brush from the watercolor brush set.
I’ve used the one numbered 2494 and pressed F5 to change the settings of
Use this brush to trim the hair and some details on her shoulders.
Make a Gradient Map adjustment layer with black and white to desaturate the model.
Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the model, especially the
side of the model towards the background. Paint on the shadow and face
of the model so they won’t be affected or will be less affected by this adjustment
Make a new layer and use a soft brush with Opacity and Flow about 50% to reduce the shadow on the model’s shoulder.
Create a new layer, and use a soft brush with the color
#808080 to decrease the light on the model’s lips and teeth.
Add a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray.
the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) to refine the light and shadow on the model.
You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay
3. How to Add the Mountain
mountain image. Select the big mountain on the right to add to the
model’s head. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) with Warp mode
to distort the mountain to fit the size of the head.
Add a mask to this layer and use a hard black brush to cut the contour of the mountain to fit the head completely.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate this mountain.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the mountain.
Curves adjustment layer to brighten the mountain. On this layer mask,
use a soft black brush with a lowered opacity (about 20-50%) to reduce
the light to keep the mountain’s contrast but still show some texture.
4. How to Import the Abstract Textures
abstract texture pack again. Browse the grunge folder and select one
from the fifth group to add to the lower part of the canvas. Use a layer mask
with a watercolor brush to remove the top and leave some jagged,
crumbly effects on the model’s body and both bottom corners of the canvas.
Lower the brush’s opacity if needed to get a better, more natural
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the effect.
Curves adjustment layer to strengthen the effect. On the layer mask,
use a watercolor brush to reduce the dark effect in the bottom right corner.
this texture image and drag it above the top of the layers. Move it up
and use a layer mask with a watercolor brush to remove most of the
image, leaving some subtle abstract effects visible around the model’s head
and the bottom of the mountain to give it some details and texture.
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to turn the color of the effect to black and white.
Use a Curves adjustment layer to make the effect on the mountain more visible and on the background less visible.
5. How to Make the Crack Effect
Move the crack image into the main document and change this layer mode to Multiply 100%.
Add a mask to this layer and use a watercolor brush to remove the areas outside the model.
Lasso Tool (L) to select a part of the crack image and place it onto the
model’s face. Activate Control-T to make it much smaller, and then use a
layer mask to erase the parts outside the face.
crack layers and hit Control-G to create a group for them. Change this
group’s mode to Multiply 100% and add a Curves adjustment layer within
this group. Decrease the lightness to increase the broken effect’s visibility.
On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the effect on the
areas which are too dark after this step.
Curves adjustment layer to brighten the effect, especially the contour
around the face and body. Paint on the shadow areas so they won’t be
affected by this adjustment layer.
6. How to Add the Rocks and Lava Effect
rock images pack. Select the meteor_11 folder and take one rock from
this. Place it above the mountain’s area and use Control-T to rotate it
as shown below.
Use a layer mask to blend this rock with the existing surface.
Add more lava effect to the head and model’s body using different rocks.
For the lava effects on the model’s cheek and shoulder, use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten them as they’re too dark now.
rock from the meteor_11 folder to our working document, and then go
to Filter > Liquify. Select the Twirl Clockwise Tool (C) to tweak the
rock so it looks different from the original form. Don’t overdo it as
it would look too strange and unnatural.
Use Control-T to scale it down and place it below the mountain area.
Use the same method to tweak different rocks into different forms and add them around the ear area and above the forehead.
Use a layer
mask to blend the upper part of the rocks with the forehead and break their tops to get the form of a headpiece (the rocks above the forehead include two
rock parts; the smaller one is upper and the bigger is lower).
Curves adjustment layer to bring more light for the rocks on the
forehead. On their layer mask, paint on the shadow area so they won’t be
brightened by this adjustment layer.
the Liquify Tool to make some small twisted parts to decorate the eyes
and forehead. Use a Curves adjustment layer if you feel any
details are too dark or want to increase their visibility.
rock into a similar result below and place it onto one of the model’s
shoulders. Duplicate this layer and flip it horizontally and move it to the other shoulder.
rock to one of the shoulders to make the two sides appear different. On
each of these three layers, use a layer mask to blend them with the
Curves adjustment layer for each of these indicated layers to match
their lightness with the background. Paint on the back side of the rocks
if you feel this part is too bright.
same method to add more rocks on the background, and use Control-T with Warp mode to turn them into different sizes and forms. Place them
vertically on both sides of the model.
the rock layers and use a Curves adjustment layer to brighten them a
bit. The selected areas show where to paint on the layer mask.
7. How to Draw the Lines
new layer on top of the layer and activate the Line Tool (U). Draw five
lines with black color and 1 px stroke along the rocks on the background. Hold the Shift key to make them go straight.
Use a layer mask to remove some line parts on the rocks.
8. How to Do the Final Adjustments
texture used in section 4 to the top of the layers and use a layer mask
to erase most of this texture image, leaving the grunge effect covering
only the lower part of the model’s body, especially the rocks on the
shoulders, to make them integrated better with the background.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the texture’s effect.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to match the effect’s lightness with the rest of the body and background.
I want to desaturate and reduce some lava details to make them appear
more subtle. Use the Lasso Tool to select one area on the neck (or any
areas you want) and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer >
Hue/Saturation. Decrease the Reds and Yellows values.
On this layer mask, use a lowered soft black brush to recover some yellow details.
new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use
the Burn Tool to paint more shadow below the strokes of the crack effect
on the model’s face to increase their visibility, and use the Dodge Tool
to brighten the model’s contour.
Curves adjustment layer to increase the whole canvas contrast. Paint on
the edges and the shadow areas of the model so they won’t be affected by
this adjustment layer.
another Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the middle of the
canvas. The selected areas on the edges and shadows show where to paint on the layer mask.
Use another Curves adjustment to darken the edges more, to give the whole scene a better contrast.
Congratulations, You’re Done!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new for
your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in
the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!