Welcome to another abstract wallpaper artwork tutorial in Photoshop. In this article I will show you how to create simple and nice looking abstract artworks using a model, some abstract elements and your own created objects. You will learn how to use blend modes to create nice light effects and how to create abstract shapes and backgrounds.
Stock images credits
Step 1 – Background gradient
The document size I used for this wallpaper is 2500×1667px. I like to use simple backgrounds for this kind of wallpapers, so I usually use the Lens Correction filter or the Radial Blur gradient to create a smooth gradient. This time I used the Radial Gradient and draw a big soft gradient on the Background layer – Gray (#d3d3d3) →White (#ffffff).
Step 2 – Background noise
I also like to have some texture on the background, so I decided I would add some noise. First I turned the Background layer into a smart object (this is optional) and then went to Filter→Noise→Add Noise. I added 2% Gaussian Noise with the Monochromatic option activated.
Step 3 – Model and hair masking
I first extracted the woman using the Pen Tool and the Refine Edge to mask the hair from the background using the Smart Radius Feature. You can download the stock image of the model from Shutterstock.
I wanted to keep it realistic, so I used the Layer Styles to add a Drop Shadow effect on the woman. I used an Opacity of 25%, Distance 57px and Size 79px. These dimensions depend on your canvas size though.
In order to extract the hair, make a rough mask around it and then use the Refine Radius brush option on the Refine Edge window. Paint over the background and the hair to remove the background.
Step 4 – Contrast masking
I wanted an even more realistic effect for the shadow, so I used the original image of the woman stock for that. I wanted to use the original shadows of that image, so I used the Contrast Masking technique to do that.
Basically, what I did was duplicate the woman and deleted the layer mask so that I also have the background of the original image and then turned the image into black and white and set the blend mode to Multiply. I already have a tutorial about this technique (see video below).
Step 5 – Background shapes
I used the Pen Tool (P) to create some abstract colored shapes on the background below the original shadow layer. I created some random shapes with smooth rounded corners.
Step 6 – Colorful abstract elements
I added more colored elements using a sample pack I downloaded from www.visualfreaks.com. You can use any 3D render, there are tons of them free on the internet.
Step 7 – Pen Tool shapes
I painted some shapes myself using the Pen Tool. I used bright saturated colors and then I burned the edges with the Burn Tool using a big smooth brush and dodged the inside. You can find out more about this technique on Creative Fan.
Step 8 – Add colored lights
Use a medium-big soft brush to add some colored light effects. I created a new layer above the woman and the shapes and set its blend mode to Screen. Then painted some colors on some places. Play around with color saturation and brightness when you use the color picker. Really bright colors will not look good. I Also had to change the layer Opacity to 60%.
Step 9 – Woman adjustments
After adding the colored shapes and light effects I noticed the woman’s skin was not blending in as I wanted, so I added some adjustment layers to make her look better. I used a Gradient Map and a Levels adjustment layer as clipping mask.
Step 10 – Particles
As in many of my other tutorials I used the Media Militia particles pack to fill in the artwork and add more texture. I placed these particles on new layers below the woman layer and above the original shadow layer. This time I used these textures along with some colorful textures as clipping mask to make each particle a different color.
Step 11 – Add more details
Use the leaves stock image and add some different green leaves on the image. I suggest you use a few different types rather than duplicating in order to have more variation. Also, rotate them around and scale them in order to have different sizes.
Add some Drop Shadow to some leaves for more depth. You can control the shadow blur using the Size slider. Reduce the Opacity of the shadow to about 25%. You can also use linear Gradient Overlay style (black to white) on Overlay to shift the light and make the leaf brighter on one side and darker on the other.
I used one of my lens flares to add more light effects. You can use the lens flare stock images with the Screen blend mode to remove the black background.
Step 13 – Blending light effects
I created a final light effect using a soft brush. Create a new layer above all the other layers (I named it color dodge light) and paint a soft dot as shown on image 13 I used the color #803600. I changed the blend mode of this layer to Color Dodge and I reduced a bit of the Opacity to 72%.
Then I created a new layer above it which I named Screen light and I used a smaller soft brush and the color #f76900 to paint another color above the other one and blend the two colors together for a nicer effect. The Screen and Color dodge blend modes work really well together to create light effects with different colors on separate layers.
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