Lets start by taking a look at the photo I’ve chosen for today’s tutorial. This is a great shot by the photographer Tinebra from Italy. I was looking for something sort of dark, sexy and mildly gothic to begin with for this particular effect because the genre seems to suit the effect well. Not to say that you couldn’t apply this effect to a photo of your two year old niece frolicking in a garden of tulips.
Lets begin by duplicating our Background layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J), not only to preserve the original image incase we need to come back to it, but because we’re about to apply 4 quite destructive filters to the image and we’ll need to have a copy of the original underneath for masking purposes later. I’m going to call this layer Grunge.
The first thing I want to do is really stir up the lines in the photo and to do this we’ll be using the Ripple filter. Choose Filter>Distort>Ripple from the main menu and set the Amount to 999% and leave the size at Medium.
For the sake of scrolling and download speed I’ll only be showing you a portion of the image as we go through these steps.
Second we’ll use the Diffuse filter to rough up the edges of our ripples by choosing Filter>Stylize>Diffuse from the main menu. Leave the mode set to the default which is Normal and click OK.
Third lets soften the effect of the Diffuse filter with a slight blur by choosing Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur from the main menu and using a radius of 0.5 pixels.
And the last thing we’re going to do here is randomize the mess just a little more using the Splatter filter by choosing Filter>Brush Strokes>Splatter from the main menu and then using the settings 9 and 4.
For the sake of reference, here’s what my image looks like so far.
Obviously we don’t want the entire image to look like this, so lets click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette (its the one that looks like a circle inside a rectangle).
Press the B key to call the Brush tool, select a round soft edged brush from the Brush Picker and make sure that the Opacity of the brush is set to 100%. Press the D key to reset your foreground color to black and then making sure the layer mask is selected in the layers palette (it will have little brackets around it), paint onto the layer mask with black where you want the underlying Background layer to show through. In my photo I’m only going to paint over the woman, exposing her clearly and perhaps leaving a little grunge around her edges.
(*note: by using the bracket keys [ and ], you can increase or decrease the size of your brush)
After using the brush at 100% opacity for the main features, I dropped the opacity of the brush to around 30% and painted around her rough edges as well as a little on the bench she’s sitting on, just to soften things up and let a little more detail through. If you Option-Click (PC: Alt-Click) on the Layer Mask in the Layers palette, you can see exactly what your mask looks like. I’ve inlayed my mask on the image so you can see it.
Create a new layer by clicking the Create New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and call it Gradient Map. From the main menu choose Image>Apply Image and click OK without changing any of the default settings. What the Apply Image function has just done is placed a merged composite of all our layers into a new layer.
We’ll now add the Gradient Map filter to this layer by choosing Image>Adjustments>Gradient Map. When the dialog appears, choose the Black to White gradient from the Gradient Picker and click OK.
Now lets change the way this layer relates to the layers below by changing the layer’s Blend Mode to either Lighten or Darken. Each will give a different effect so try them both to decide which works best for you. I chose Lighten.
Create a new layer called Channel Mixer and just like we did in Step 11 choose Image>Apply Image and click OK, creating a new merged snapshot of our project on a new layer.
It’s time to apply our last set of adjustments. We will be using the Selective Color adjustment so choose Image>Adjustments>Selective Color from the main menu. From the Colors drop-down menu at the top of the Selective Color dialog box choose the following colors and change the settings accordingly and click OK when you’re done.
Color (Whites) +14, -10, 0, 0 Relative
Color (Neutrals) -5, +3, -4, -20 Relative
Color (Blacks) +41, +15, 0, +9 Relative
And that’s it, you’re all done! Here’s the before and after comparison.
And my final image is shown below. This result also looks incredible combined with a cool edge effect like last weeks Photo Transfer Edge Effect tutorial.
(*note: Because of the Copyright limitations of this image and the fact that our filters were applied directly to the image itself, no download is available for this tutorial.)
Lesson Files + Additional Resources
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