Use Blend Modes and Layer Masks to create a grungy-themed portrait in Photoshop
A great way to put a creative spin on your portraits is by adding texture to the skin to give your image a different look that is sure to impress! All you need is two images: a texture – a scratched surface or some peeling paint, for example – and a portrait. Then you combine the two together with Photoshop’s Blend Modes, layers and Layer Masks. It’s easy to do and very effective.
Giving your portraits that extra edge is often difficult to achieve in-camera. Fortunately there’s Photoshop! It’s easy to add textures to images, which can provide an interesting element to otherwise plain portraits. To do this, we’ll mostly be using layers and blending, as well as using the Brush tool to help to distribute the textures to the right areas (the skin).
Step-by-step guide to creating a textured portrait in Photoshop
01 Add texture to the face
Open your original image and your texture image. Copy and paste the texture onto the face layer. In the Layers Panel, change the Blend Mode to Overlay and fine-tune the texture layer position. Double-click the layer to access the blend options, select blue from the Blend If drop-down menu. Hold down Alt and drag the top right-hand slider to the left.
02 Isolate the texture
Click the Background Layer and hide the texture layer. Go to Select>Color Range. Select Sampled Colors. Grab the middle Eyedropper, and click to select areas of skin. Tweak it by adjusting the Fuzziness. Reveal and highlight the texture layer and add a mask. Highlight the mask, grab the Brush tool and paint with black at 100% to hide the texture on the neck of your portrait.
03 Duplicate for the neck
Highlight the texture layer and hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate it. Right-click the Layer Mask and delete it. Grab the Move tool and position the texture layer over the neck area. Hold down Alt and click the Add layer mask icon to add a black mask. Paint with white at 100% to reveal the new texture over your subject’s neckline.
04 Boost the contrast
Highlight the face texture layer and then add a Curves Adjustment Layer. Click the ‘clip to layer’ icon at the bottom of the Curves settings, then create an S-shaped curve to boost the contrast. Highlight the top layer in the Layers Panel and hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to create a merged copy of all the layers so far. Rename this layer ‘Merged.’
05 Adjust the colours
Click the ‘Merged’ layer and add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Click the hand icon, then drag on different colours in the image to adjust the Saturation. Select Master to apply an overall adjustment, and reduce the Saturation using the slider. Add a Curves Adjustment Layer and draw an S-shaped curve to boost the contrast.
06 Dodge and Burn
Click the ‘Merged’ layer. Grab the Burn tool and set Range to Shadows and Exposure to 9%. Paint over the cracks to add definition. Grab the Dodge tool, set Range to Highlights and Exposure to 9%, and paint over the eyes to brighten them. Tidy up long cracks that flow over areas like the nose, lips and hands with the Spot Healing Brush tool or the Patch tool.
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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 2:06 pm and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.