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Members Area Tutorial: Create a Fiery, Dynamic Basketball Photo Manipulation

Members Area Tutorial: Create a Fiery, Dynamic Basketball Photo Manipulation

In this advanced tutorial we will be creating a high-energy sports themed design that is full of color, motion and depth. Using an image of a basketball player as the focal point, we will use various light effects, custom brushes and vector artwork to build up a detailed composition.

Let’s get started!

Final Image

Let’s take a look at a preview of the image that we are going to create:

Step 1

Alright guys first we are going to open the image of the basketball player that we downloaded in Photoshop.

Once our image is open we are going to duplicate the layer by pressing Command/Ctrl + J. After you have done that, add a Layer Mask to the newly duplicated layer by clicking on the Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of your Layers Palette.

Step 2

Grab your Brush Tool (B) and with a solid black color selected, choose a hard round brush from your brushes.

Create a new layer and place it in between your original basketball player layer and your duplicate of this layer like the image below:

Fill the layer with a color using your Paint Bucket Tool (G) which, in this case I have used a solid black.

Next, make sure you are painting into the mask of your duplicated basketball player and begin to paint out the background. I zoom in pretty close when masking out my images and pay careful attention to the hands and all of the contours of the body to keep things clean.

Continue to paint with your black brush until you have removed all of the background. You should now be able to turn off the solid color layer and just see a clean transparent background around the basketball player.

Step 3

Create a new layer above your black layer and choose #101F2A as your color.

With your Paint Bucket Tool (G) fill the new layer with this color. Conversely, you could also press Alt/Option + Delete to automatically fill that layer with your foreground color.

Once you have done that, reduce the opacity of the layer to about 50%.

Step 4

Switch to your Gradient Tool (G) and make sure that you have a linear gradient selected that fades from white to black as shown here:

As a quick side note, if you have your Paint Bucket Tool selected and you hold down the Shift Key and press G on your keyboard you will toggle between the options or alternatives for that particular tool. This works for any of the icons that have more than one option.

Add a Layer Mask to your new layer and then use your Gradient Tool to fade out the color by clicking and dragging your mouse from one corner to the other.

Step 5

I am going to quickly expand my canvas by going to the Image Menu and selecting ‘Canvas Size’ before entering the values below:

Once you do this you will need to do a Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) to stretch your background colors a bit just to fill out the space that was caused by the expansion of the documents dimensions.

Step 6

Select your Basketball Player Layer and press Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer.

Hold down the Control Key and click on the mask that is attached to your layer to reveal the dropdown menu. From this menu we just want to select ‘Apply Mask’ to merge the two together.

I will now bring the original Basketball Player Layer and move it down to the bottom, turning the visibility of the layer off.

Step 7

Go to the Image Menu and choose Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights.

Once the dialog box appears, apply the settings shown in the image below:

After you’ve applied the settings, make a copy of THIS layer by pressing Command/Ctrl + J on your keyboard.

Step 8

With your newly duplicated layer still selected, go to the Filter Menu and choose Blur > Motion Blur.

Apply your settings so you have an Angle of 0 and a Distance of about 355 pixels.

Press the Enter Key or click OK to apply the Motion Blur. Once you have done that ,change the Blending Mode of your layer to Soft Light as shown below:

Step 9

Open the image of the first volcanic eruption image as shown below:

Change the blending Mode of the layer to Screen and make sure that it’s placed at the top of your Layers Palette. Click on the Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of your palette to add a mask to the layer.

That’s the end of the preview!

About the Author:

Eric is a Graphic Designer, specializing in Print and Web Design. He's a graduate of the New England Institute of Art in Boston and has over 4 years of professional and freelance work experience. He lives in Brooklyn, New York working as a Graphic Designer and he has been featured in Advanced Photoshop Magazine, The Art of Fashion Art Exhibit and Artists In The Station Art Exhibit. Visit Eric's portfolio at

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