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Create an Abstract Playing Card Photo Manipulation

Create an Abstract Playing Card Photo Manipulation

Final Image

Here is a preview of the image that we are going to be creating:

Step 1

Create a new document (700X800px).

Select your entire canvas and fill it with 17161d.

Step 2

Now create a new document (100X100px). Using your custom shapes tool drag out a black ‘spade’ shape.

Then go to edit>define pattern. Call your new pattern ‘spade pattern’.

Now create a new document (1000X1000px). Create a new layer and fill your entire canvas with whatever color you like. Then reduce the FILL OPACITY of this layer to 0%, keeping the main opacity at 100%. Then apply a pattern overlay, using your newly created ‘spade pattern’.

Apply the pattern and then flatten your image:

Copy and paste this flattened image back into your original document. Call this layer ‘spade pattern 1′.

Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 27% and change it’s blend mode to ‘multiply’.

Now go to edit>transform>warp and use your warp tool to warp your spade pattern until it resembles the image below:

Now repeat this technique, pasting your spade pattern onto a second layer and warping this layer the opposite direction to your original spade pattern layer. The result will look a little busy at this stage, but it’s ultimately building up a complex background design.

Step 3

Now download the PSD.FanExtra ‘card tint’ texture set (see the resources section for this tutorial).

Paste in one of the images, positioning it in the top right of your canvas.

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. Apply a layer mask and use a large, soft black paintbrush to mask off the edges of your texture image, blending it smoothly into your main background.

Repeat these steps, pasting the same texture into the bottom right of your canvas. Rather than changing this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ keep it as ‘normal’ and reduce it’s opacity to around 10%. Still mask off the edges of your texture image:

Step 4

Paste in the first of your nebula images. Position it in the center of your canvas:

Reduce this layer’s opacity to 10% and mask off the edges of your nebula image:

Step 5

Now download the watercolor brush sets from the resources section for this tutorial.

Create a new layer called ‘watercolor’. Paint a couple of brush strokes over the center of your canvas using a 3f645a colored watercolor brush:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to around 10%:

Create a new layer called ‘watercolor 2′. Using your second watercolor brush set paint out some white watercolor marks:

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’:

Duplicate your ‘watercolor 2′ layer. Keep this layer’s blend mode at ‘overlay’ but reduce it’s opacity to 60%. This should make your watercolor marks bolder and more visible:

Step 6

Paste in your second nebula image. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 10% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will be barely visible, but it will help to layer up your background and add further details:

Step 7

Create a new layer called ‘background lighting’. Using a very large, soft paintbrush (color: fcfcee) paint some spots of light over your canvas:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 50%.

Duplicate your ‘background lighting’ layer. Keep the layer opacity at 50%, but change the blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will make your background lighting even more intense:

Step 8

Now it’s time to add some neon background lighting!

Create a new layer called ‘neon background lights’. Use a large, soft paintbrush (color: fd00ee) to paint in some bright pink light spots:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 15% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will add a subtle coloring effect to your main background:

Continue to build up your background lighting through a series of additional lighting layers, using neon blue and neon green colored paintbrushes:

Step 9

Create a new layer called ‘vignette’. Use a large, soft, black paintbrush and paint around the edges and corners of your canvas:

Reduce this layer’s opacity to 20% to make the vignette more subtle:

Step 10

Cut out and paste in the image of the woman, from the resources section for this tutorial:

Use your pen tool to cut away the bottom of your woman, leaving her with a curved, elegant neckline:

Go to filters>convert for smart filters. This will allow for non-destructive editing.

Then go to filters>sharpen>unsharp mask. Apply the details shown below just to sharpen the woman photo very slightly:

UnSharp Mask Filter Settings:

Amount: 31%
Radius: 1.0 pixels
Threshold: 0 levels

Now apply a color balance adjustment layer. Be sure to create a clipping mask for your adjustment layer so that your adjustments only effect your underlying woman photo layer, not your entire canvas.

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -12 / +2 / -12
Midtones: -19 / -16 / +22
Shadows: -11 / -5 / -1

Step 11

Now create a new layer called ‘shadow bottom of woman’.

Option+click on your woman layer in your layers palette. This will select your woman shape. With your new shadow layer active, select a soft, medium sized paintbrush (color: 130c16). Paste around the base of your woman shape. Because of your active selection it will be impossible to paint outside of the contours of your woman:

Now reduce your shadow layer’s opacity to 25%.

Step 12

Now create a new layer called ‘bottom woman’.

Option+click on your ‘woman’ layer in your layer’s palette again to select the shape of your woman.

Then in your layer’s palette make your new ‘bottom woman’ layer active. Fill your selection with 130c16.

Now simply shift your active selection up around 8px using your cursors. Hit delete, leaving a dark section at the bottom of your woman:

You’ll notice a few stray dark areas around the upper edges of your woman. Delete these, leaving only the dark area at the base of your woman:

Now option+click on your ‘bottom shadow’ layer in your layer’s palette to select this area.

With your selection in place create a new layer called ‘lighting bottom area’. Apply a white, soft paintbrush over certain areas of your bottom shape. You want to give the impression of depth and contours.

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 12% to make it more subtle:

Step 13

Now cut out and paste in the image of your crown. Roate and position it roughly over your woman’s head:

Now use your lasso tool to cut away the furry base of your crown. Then go to edit>transform>puppet warp. Use your puppet warp tool to curve the bottom of your crown inwards, making it fit more naturally on your woman’s head:

(If you don’t have CS5 which introduced the puppet warp tool, then use the regular warp tool or liquify tool).

Now go to filter>sharpen>unsharp mask and apply the settings shown below to sharpen up your crown details a little more:

Unsharp Mask Filter Settings:

Amount: 90%
Radius: 1.0 pixels
Threshold: 0 levels

Now apply a hue/saturation, levels and color balance adjustment layer (creating a clipping mask for each).

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -85
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

42 / 0.87 / 232

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -19 / -4 / +6
Midtones: -13 / -9 / -4
Shadows: -8 / +1 / +5


Finally, we want to blend our crown slightly better with our woman. Create a new layer called ‘shadows crown’. Use a soft, black paintbrush at around 20% to paint in some shadows at the bottom and right of your crown. This will help create a more unified light source:

Step 14

Cut out and paste one of the jewels from your crown over your woman’s ear. You want to give the impression of regal looking jewellery:

We want to make the dangling silver part of our earring really shine, so create a new layer called ‘light up earring’. Select a small, soft white paintbrush (50% opacity). Paint over your dangling earring. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This should make this part of your composition lighter and more intense:

Step 15

Now use your custom shapes tool to create a spade shape to the right of your woman (color: 17161d):

Now apply an outer glow and inner glow blending option.

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 50%
Noise: 0%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0
Size: 54px

Inner Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Screen
Opacity: 7%
Noise: 0%
Color: ffffff
Choke: 0%
Size: 16px

Step 16

Now in your layer’s palette create a new circle shape layer beneath your woman layers.

Create a large, white circle behind your woman’s head. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 35%:

Now duplicate your circle layer. Increase this layer’s opacity to 100%.

Now select the circle and fill it with a radial gradient ranging from 5f4362 to 141123.

Now apply an inner shadow and outer glow blending option.

Inner Shadow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Overlay
Color: ffffff
Opacity: 120
Distance: 9px
Choke: 0%
Size: 24px

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 20%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0%
Size: 35px

Step 17

Now repeat step 16, creating a series of smaller circles beneath your main purple circle:

Step 18

Now create a new spade shape using your custom shape tool. Position this in the bottom center of your canvas. Reduce the fill opacity of this layer to 50%, keeping the main layer opacity at 100%.

Now apply an outer glow and stroke blending option to your spade shape layer.

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0%
Size: 62%

Stroke Blending Option Settings:

Size: 1px
Position: Inside
Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 70%
Color: ffffff

Step 19

Now use your pen tool to create a series of path lines following the left edge contours of your woman.

Ensure that you have a 1px white paintbrush selected and then in your paths palette right click on your contour paths and click ‘stroke path’. This should create a nice sharp highlighted edge for your woman:

Step 20

Create a new layer called ‘over lighting’. Using your paintbrush tool (color: cd1fdd) paint out some light spots over your image.

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 8% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’:

Step 21

Create a new layer called ‘bottom shape’. Use your pen tool to create an abstract shape in the bottom left of your canvas.

Fill this area with a radial gradient ranging from 93767c to 342232.

Now apply an inner glow and stroke blending option to your abstract shape layer.

Inner Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 75%
Color: 000000
Choke: 0%
Size: 65%

Stroke Blending Option Settings:

Size: 1px
Position: Inside
Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 100%
Color: ffffff

Step 22

Now repeat step 21, creating a blue abstract shape in the top right of your canvas. Apply the same blending options as your first shape layer:

Step 23

Now create a new layer called ‘lens flare’.

Fill your canvas with black, and then go to filter>render>lens flare. Apply a 50-300mm Zoom lens flare filter to your canvas, positioning the lens flare roughly over the left edge of your woman’s face:

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘screen’ (this hides the black fill) and reduce it’s opacity to 30%.

Step 24

Create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’. Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray.

Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will hide your gray fill, but allow you to non-destructively dodge/burn your image.

Use a soft paintbrush at around 10% opacity to dodge/burn your image, using black for your shadows and white for your highlights. The images below show your dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode and then ‘overlay blend mode’.

Step 25

Finally apply a curves adjustment layer, being sure not to apply a clipping mask to this one, as you want it to effect your entire canvas. Apply the settings shown below, and then reduce your adjustment layer’s opacity to 50% to make the effect more subtle:

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

Download Source File for this Tutorial


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About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment

7 Comments:

  1. Sava says:

    Great Tutorial!

  2. john says:

    it looks really beautiful, thank you for the tut!

  3. This is a great tutorial, and a great looking outcome.

  4. Marcu Lavinia says:

    great description about you & and mega great tutorial.

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