Create a Chilling Abstract Using Photos and Textures

Create a Chilling Abstract Using Photos and Textures
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Apply brush masking on the center part of the skull to keep it brighter than the rest:
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Step 13

Open wood texture. Use Rectangular Marquee Tool to create a selection on the pic:
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Drag it onto left arm of the model. After lowering the size, use Warp Tool (Edit-Transform-Warp) to bend it as shown below:
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Step 14

Open brush menu, choose Reset Brushes. Now click to change brush to Spatter 24 pixels:
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Press F5 to change the settings of this brush:
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Add layer mask to the wood layer. Use indicated spatter brush to remove the unnecessary parts of the wood and blend it with model arm. You can vary brush size to get more natural result:
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Step 15

Add wood texture to another arm with similar method:
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Step 16

The arms look a bit flat after adding the texture. To fix it, I group wood texture layers and change the mode to Normal 100% . Add a Curves layer to this group:
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On Curves layer mask I use brush to erase some parts and create contrast to the arms:
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Step 17

The arms need more contrast so I make a new layer above wood texture group, fill with 50% gray and change the mode to Overlay:
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Use Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure 20-25% to brighten the top of left and right shoulder and darken the edges. You can see how I applied this tool with Normal mode and result with Overlay mode:
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Step 18

Open vines stock pack. I choose number 1 to put onto the top of left shoulder and different parts of number 11 to arrange over the two arms. Use layer mask to remove parts outside these areas and blur some details to get more natural look:
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Step 19

Extract branches 1 from the background. I take different parts of them to position around model head, duplicate, transform, use layer mask if needed to achieve a random look:
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I used 10 layers for this effect.

Step 20

Create a new layer under branches ones. Use soft black brush with low opacity (about 20%) to paint shadow of the branches on model body:
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Step 21

Make group for these branches layers, set the mode to Normal 100% and call it "branches 1". Also change the name of them from 1 to 10. Make two Curves and a Photo Filter layers to change contrast and color of these branches:
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On the first Curves layer mask I erase the left side to keep it brighter than the right. On the second I erase the right to make them darker:
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Step 22

Drag the nest into our picture, downsize and warp it to fit the model head:
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Step 23

Use Curves and Photo Filter (Clipping Mask) to make contrast and change color of the nest:
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On Curves layer mask , erase the right side to make it darker than the left:
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Step 24

Open branches 2 stock and isolate them from the background. I take different parts and position them at the two sides of the picture:
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Step 25

To add depth to our picture I apply Gaussian Blur with 4 px for these branches:
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Step 26

Make group for the branches (I call this group "branches 2"). Add Curves and Hue/Saturation to this group:
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Brush over the left side to keep it brighter than the right:
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Step 27

Create some adjustment layers on the top to change color of the whole picture. I use Hue/Saturation, Gradient Map, Color Balance and Photo Filter:

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18 comments on “Create a Chilling Abstract Using Photos and Textures”

  1. Awesome tutorial. I like to do composites that are similar to this, but my process is a bit longer. I think you just showed me a few shortcuts, which is nice!

  2. I believe the purpose is not to have you use the same photo at all. It simply shows you how to do the effects, and you can then choose your own photos to edit.

  3. WHAT exactly is the purpose of trying to have us follow a tutorial with stock images that are not free?? Are we expected to purchase them JUST for the purpose of following this tutorial? I'm confused.

    1. Try to understand it from the writers view. I wish everything is free but bot everything is free on the web and often times the photos needed are not available free. The way I see tutorials is learn... but don't copy. The tutorial appears like it can be completed with a different model picture. Find a model picture on DeviantART or use Google.

    2. You don't have to use the photo they linked to. There are plenty of free stock photos and they work on this tutorial. The point is to learn not to copy.

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