How to Create a Surreal, Conceptual Head Photo Manipulation with Photoshop

How to Create a Surreal, Conceptual Head Photo Manipulation with Photoshop

Step 13

Drag the model's head into the space between two desert ones and resize it down using Ctrl+T. Add a mask to this layer and use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a path on the top of the head. Press Ctrl+Enter to turn this part into a selection.
Set the foreground to white and on the layer mask, click Delete to remove this top.

Step 14

To make shadow for the model's head, click a new layer below the head's one. Hold Ctrl and click the head thumbnail layer to load its selection. Fill this selection with black and flip it vertically. Move it under the head and use Ctrl+T to transform the shadow to fit the direct backlight.
Lower the opacity of this layer to 50% and use a layer mask to reduce the opacity on the shadow part on the foreground.

Step 15

On the shadow layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Gaussian Blur to 4 px. This step is to soften the shadow a bit.

Step 16

Make a new layer and use a soft black brush, the opacity about 30-40% to strengthen the shadow below the model's chin, making it more believable.

Step 17

To make a head's hole, create a new layer below the shadow ones and use the Pen Tool to draw a shape to fill in the head and pick the color #a69d9f.

Step 18

Make a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above this fill layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Lower the Saturation values down to -59:

Step 19

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill it with 50% gray.
Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 15-20% to paint light on the contour of this head hole and shadow on the lower area to fit the light from the background.

Step 20

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above the head's layer (set as Clipping Mask) and reduce the Saturation values to -51:

Step 21

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones settings:

Step 22

Add a Color Fill adjustment layer and pick the color #95949b to reduce the contrast of the head. Lower the opacity of this layer to 20%.

Step 23

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the front of the face a bit. Paint on the contour of the head, the middle of the forehead and corners of the lips so they won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

Step 24

Add another Curves adjustment layer to darken the upper of the face. The selected areas show where to paint on the layer mask.

Step 25

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light and shadow on the head. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

Step 26

Create a new layer below the head fill one and set the foreground to #161616 . Activate the Line Tool (U) and draw several lines from the ceiling to the ground , remember to pick the tool mode as Shape. Vary the width of the lines following the rule: the further line from the viewer the smaller. Make one come down directly to the middle of the head's hole.

Step 27

Apply a Gaussian Blur of 8 px to the biggest line near the foreground. This step is to increase the depth of the scene.

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4 comments on “How to Create a Surreal, Conceptual Head Photo Manipulation with Photoshop”

    1. Thank you! I added it as a free alternative in the tutorial.

  1. I just want to thank you so much for allowing this tuts to be available. I have been trying to get better at photo manipulation for so long but I just don't do well with video tuts, my brain just does not learn well that way. I need to be able to read the steps and then implement.
    Thank you so much!

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