Photo ManipulationPhotoshop Tutorials

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

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a surreal, conceptual piece featuring a woman’s head with broken lamps.  First we’ll build the base scene using two sky and desert images. After that, we’ll add the model’s head and create a head’s hole. Later, we’ll draw several lines and add light bulbs and create some broken holes. We’ll use several adjustment layers and create bulb’s light to complete the final effect.

Preview of The Final Result:

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 2300×2300 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the desert image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).  Use the Free Transform  Tool (Ctrl+T) to resize it to fit the size of the document. Place it in the bottom of the canvas.

Step 2

 Duplicate this layer and flip it vertically (Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical). Move it up to the top of the scene. 

Step 3

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to each of the desert layers. Activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a soft round one with black color. Use this brush to remove the sky and hard edges, making them soft and smooth. 

Step 4

Select two desert layers and hit Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change the group’s mode to Normal 100%. On top of the desert layers , go to Layer > New Adjustment layer > Curves and increase the lightness. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the lightness on the top desert and the foreground of the bottom part . 

Step 5

Make another Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness on the foreground of the top and bottom. On the layer mask, paint on the middle background as we aim to add the main light source to this place . 

Step 6

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the foreground on the top and bottom of the scene. Paint on the rest to keep its lightness. 

Step 7

Open the sky image and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the sky only and place it in the space between the up and down desert parts. Set this layer below the desert groups.

Step 8

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the sky. Bring the Saturation values down to -84:

Step 9

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the sides of the sky. On the layer mask, paint on the middle to reveal the light there .

Step 10

Open the model image and isolate her face from the background using your own method.  

Step 11

We’ll remove some unwanted details on the left of her face (from the viewer).  On the model layer, use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select a part from her right cheek and press Ctrl+J to copy this part on a new layer. Flip this part horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) and move it to the left of her cheek. 

Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to blend this part with the existing skin to hide to trace of the finger. 

Step 12

Do the same with the left of the chin(copy a part from the right of the chin, add to the left, blend it using a layer mask). Now her face looks good enough and ready for the next steps. Turn off the background layer and hit Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to merge all layers into a new layer.
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