In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a colorful woman portrait using abstract elements and variety of photo manipulation techniques. First we’ll create a dark background and import the model. After that, we’ll add the flowers, paint some light effect and make a colorful hair with light streaks. We’ll use several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.
Create a new 2000×2000 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white (feel free to make your own dimension and name the file whatever you want). Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Color Fill and pick the color #00050f or any similar dark colors you like.
Make another color fill layer and change the color to a purple one (I’ve chosen #561d82). On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a soft round one with black color. Use this brush with a lowered opacity (about 20-30%) to paint on the middle section to reveal some lightness there, leave the dark shadow visible on the both sides.
Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to paint on the middle area so it won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.
Open the model image. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) or any method you’re familiar with to isolate the model from the background . Drag the model into our main canvas using the Move Tool (V) and place her in the middle section. Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to resize the model to be smaller like the screenshot below: Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add the mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to paint on the neck and top of the head to soften these parts and make them fade into the background.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Bring the Saturation values down to -68 to desaturate the model’s color.
Add a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the lightness. On the layer mask, paint on the front of the model to reveal the light there.
Make a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #f5e9ee to paint on the lips to make them lighter a bit. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.
Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray: Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 15-20% to refine the light and shadow of the model. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.
Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #f5e9ee, the opacity about 20% to paint on the eyes to reduce their contrast.
Use the same brush on a new layer to paint on the model’s cheek. Alter this layer mode to Multiply 100% to make it a bit darker.
Open the lips image. Use the Lasso Tool to select the lips area and use Ctrl+T to scale it down to fit the existing one. Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges and blend it with the face.