Photoshop tutorials for professionals and beginners

Combining Black & White and colors Abstract Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial I will show you how to create an abstract artwork in Photoshop by combining black and white and colors. This kind of technique can be used to create beautiful abstract artworks and minimalistic wallpapers.

Final Result

Stock images used


This tutorial will not be as detailed as my previous ones, I will explain the basic and most important steps. For more details please watch the video.

Step 1

Create a new document 3000px wide by 2000px high. Select the default while background layer and add some Vignette effect from Filter>Lens Correction and select the Custom tab. I used -9 for the Amount and Midpoint 0.
Next I turned that layer into a smart object and added 5% noise from Filter>Noise>Add Noise. I used Uniform and checked Monochromatic.

Step 2

Add some subtle texture to the background on a new layer using any watercolor or splatter/grunge brushes you have or try the ones provided. Add these on a new layer.

Step 3

Use the Ellipse vector tool to create two black circles. Change the blend mode of these two layers to Softlight so that they are barely visible.

Step 4

Add the provided tree branches to your canvas or use your own and use Levels and Black&White adjustment layers as clipping mask to create a high contrast effect. The Levels adjustment layer was set to Overlay in order to increase contrast.

Step 5

Use some images from the Paint Tossing pack from Media Militia and add some paint as shown on the image below. I preferred to change the color of the paint to black using Hue/Saturation but you can use the original color if you want. The blend mode used was Darken and Multiply. See video for more details on this step.

Step 6

Use the McBad watercolor (or any other watercolor brush that you have) and add some random colors under the branches. If the colors are too weak just duplicate the layer when you’re done painting. You can also add the humming bird and turn it into black and white just like you did with the branches. Add some colors under the bird too.

Step 7

Extract the bird house and place it on your canvass as seen on image 7. Use Hue/Saturation and Levels as clipping masks to desaturate and increase contrast.

Step 8

Extract the clock from the background, place it on your canvas as shown on image 8 and do the same as with the bird house.

Step 9

Open the fractal images from the provided pack and paste them over the left part of the branches. Use the Screen blend mode so that only the colored lights remain visible.

Step 10

Select the top most layer on your layers palette and add a Gradient Map layer not as a clipping mask. Use the default gradient shown on image 10, change the layer’s blend mode to Softlight and reduce the Opacity to about 15%.

Step 11

Creat a new layer above all the other layers, change its blend mode to Screen and use a soft brush to paint a few colors as shown on image 11.

Final result

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