Step 33

Go to the Brain layer then press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate the layer. Change the blending mode of the new layer to Multiply.

Step 34

Select the Dodge tool then set the range to Highlights and brush size to around 1000 pixels. Paint the front of the brain to brighten it up.

Step 35

Select the Brain Copy and Brain layer (Hold Ctrl or Cmd to select multiple layers) then merge the layers (Ctrl/Cmd+E).

Step 36

Now we’re going to create two iron bars for the handle. Create a new layer then move it to the top. Name this layer “Iron”.

Step 37

Select the Rectangular Marquee tool then create a selection like shown in the image below.

Step 38

Select the Paint Bucket Tool (G) then fill it with black. Press Ctrl+D to deselect.

Step 39

Now we’re going to apply some effects to the iron with layer styles. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Bevel & Emboss. Apply the settings as shown below.

Step 40

Create a new layer under the Iron layer. Select the original Iron layer then press Ctrl/Cmd+E to merge this Iron layer to the empty layer. We have only one layer again.

Step 41

Select the Eraser tool then with a hard brush (7-0100% feather), delete the bottom and top areas of the iron so that it looks like it fits in the models hands.

Step 42

Dodge and burn the layer a bit. Burn the part next to the hand and hole of the brain and dodge the middle of the iron to lighten it a bit.

Step 43

Press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate the Iron layer. Now we have two bars. Use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd+T) to scale and position the iron rod like shown below. Delete the unnecessary parts of the iron just like what you did earlier with the other iron bar.

Step 44

Create a new layer above the Brain layer and name it “Shadow”.

Select the Brush tool (B) then using a soft brush, paint under the model like shown below.

Step 45

We’re almost done! Let’s apply some more adjustment layers for the whole image. Select the Brain layer then apply the adjustment layers in the order shown in the image below.

Here’s how your layers should look.

Step 46

Select the Sea layer then use the Blur tool at 50% strength to blur the top of the mountain.

Step 47

Now go to Layer > Flatten Image.

Editors Note: This tutorial suggests to flatten the image which will merge all of your layers into one. Instead of flattening the image, you can convert all the layers into a Smart Object. To do this, select all of the layers then right-click on the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.

Step 48

Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer. Go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Apply the settings shown below.

Step 49

Reduce the opacity of the new layer to 55%. Select the background layer then press Ctrl+J to duplicate it. Select the top layer then press Ctrl+E to merge it.

Step 50

Press Ctrl/Cmd+J to duplicate the background layer. Go to Filter > Other > Custom. Do not change anything – just click OK. Lower the opacity to 20%.

As you can see, the sharpening effect is very strong. Reduce the opacity to 20%. Press Ctrl+E to merge the layer.

Step 51

Create a new layer then fill the layer with black.

Step 52

Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Apply the lens flare shown in the image below.

19 thoughts on “How to Create a Surreal Flying Brain Photo Manipulation in Photoshop”

  1. nice tutorial, can you send me more tutorial please on my email, thanks! bcoz i’ve wanted to be as good as you :)

  2. Thanks for this tutorial…I got stuck in some parts, specially on step 23 and also I skip or did some steps a bit different (layer order) but result was almost the same (except for the glow above the mountain)…anyway Im happy to be able to do this without much issue since I started learning photoshop one month ago. tks again, Adriano

    1. @ PBX I understand, but breathe… take your time and try to do it slowly, I try to build my tutorials well detailed, step by step, just try, I believe you!  :D

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top

Subscribe and EnjoyFree Photoshop Actions

Sign up to our weekly newsletter and as a thank you, you’ll get 10 free Special FX Photoshop Actions courtesy of SparkleStock ($12 value).