Take My Soul Away – Photoshop Tutorial

Take My Soul Away – Photoshop Tutorial

In this new tutorial we’re going to learn how to extract an object from a white background,create a paint effect using some brushes and create a quick HDR effect in a few easy steps. So let’s start.

Final Result

Stock used

Step 1

First we open image of the model. Double-click with left mouse button on it to unlock the Background layer. Duplicate it using Ctrl+J, then hit Ctrl+L (Levels) over the duplicated layer.See the image for the settings i used.You can go even little bit further with the darkening.


Step 2

Select Brush Tool (B), hit D on keyboard to bring colors to default and set your foreground brush color to black. Make sure all your brush options are set to 100% and then paint in the same layer, over the light spots to fill them up with black.

Step 3

Now go to Select > Color Range and use the same settings as shown below. Press OK and then go to Layers Palette and turn off the visibility of the duplicated layer.

Step 4

Select model layer and click on the Layer Mask button. Now you can just delete the model copylayer, as we won’t be using it anymore. We needed it only for extraction.

So this was an alternative way for some cutting out, usually people use Channels to do this.

Step 5

So this is only the first stage of the extraction, now we’re going to need to blend this model with a desired background. So create a new layer below the model, grab Paint Bucket (G) and fill it with black color. As you see there are still some white edges. The cut out never works perfectly, so you either have to blend it properly or just do some more accurate extraction.



Step 6

Now let’s go to Layers Palette, right-click on the model layer mask and select Apply Layer Mask. Next hold Ctrl and left click on the model layer thumbnail, this should bring up the selection.



Select the model layer and hit Ctrl+Alt+R (Refine Edge). Use the same or similar settings as mine. You should see on the live preview on image how it’s working. When your done apply it by hitting OK.Output will create another layer with the settings below applied, so you can just basically delete or just turn off the previous layer.

Step 8

After extracting the model lets’s drop it on our background. Now with the model layer selected let’s create the painted effect with our spatter brushes using the Eraser Tool (E). Now using the same brushes but with the background layer selected erase the part in the front of the model.

Step 9

After we erase the top of the cup we bring our smoke stock. Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to scale the image and put it in the right spot. Set the Blending Mode of the smoke to Darken. Also we’ll add some reflection of the smoke on model’s face. Next, go to the Layers Palette again, hold Ctrl and left-click on the model layer’s thumbnail. This should bring up her selection. Then create new group right above the model layer and while having the selection active click on the Add Layer Mask button. Now when you add anything to this group, it will only affect the silhouette of our model. So first of all, create a new layer in this group and change its Blending Mode to Linear Burn, change the Opacity to max. 30% and paint with soft brush.I used the # f6a8a8 color for the red reflection.

Step 10

In this step we’ll play with the floral brushes above and on the smoke and we are changing some red tones using the Selective Color setting.

Step 11

Now we are going to create a HDR effect from a single image.Apply Flatten Image to the layers first.

Now, go to Image> Adjustments> Shadow/Highlights. Set the Shadow and Highlights amount to 40-50%.

Step 12

Duplicate the layer, then go to Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (for CS3 users, choose Image> Adjustments>Black & White and click OK).

After that, change the layer blending to Hard Light.

Step 13


Let’s add some extra color to the picture. Duplicate the original picture (we will call it Blur), and put it on top of the other layers.

Next go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set the Radius around 40 pixels.

Change the layer blending to Soft Light.

Flatten Image, add some  sharpening and we are done.

Have fun.

Final Result

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My name is Andreea Bianca Grigore. I was born in Romania, a beautiful country in the East Europe. My interest towards art begin in my early ages. At that time I used to draw and paint, later switching to photography. In the late 2005, I discovered Photoshop, the tool which combined photography and drawing and opened a new door for me.It was my motivation to learn how to use Photoshop and today I'm proud to say that I'm a self taught artist.I kept improving my skills trying almost every kind of art, from fantasy to conceptual and from surreal to dark and different media types like 3D, digital painting, etc. I decided to stick on the fantasy and dark side. I find it easier to express my feelings with fantasy elements. I do not like realistic photomanipulation, especially because I see art as a gate to another world, an imaginary one. That's the reason why my name has the "Imaginary" word in it. Because ordinary has limits. Imaginary doesn't. I enjoy working and putting together different elements to help me portray the image I have in my head and showcase it to the world. I joined deviantART in 2005, the largest art community. http://imaginaryrosse.deviantart.com It was the place in which I grew and develop as an artist, thanks to the feedback of everyone there. I got to meet and later work with different artists which I admire, and from which I also got to learn different things. I decided to step up and start using art to help less talented people to portray their own imaginary worlds, and have something of their own. Something they can escape to. Something imaginary, they can relate to, when ordinary gets too limited.


  1. Pierre says:

    Could you please add the Model again ?
    The link is dead.
    Thanks in advance and great tutorial, I want to try =D

  2. blejde says:

    I also did it. I posted my result here: http://www.tsu.co/DanielTM
    BTW, Andrei, I believe you should be present on tsu (the new & upcoming social platform) as well. They pay users that post original content and you have a lot of that. Joining is done via invitation so you may use my link to join. Check it out! I did and it seems legit. Cheers!

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