Abstract Portraits Photoshop Workflow | Andrei Oprinca | Skillshare

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Abstract Portraits Photoshop Workflow

teacher avatar Andrei Oprinca, Graphic designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Class introduction

    • 2. Create a split portrait effect

    • 3. Create details

    • 4. Tools to create colorful gradients

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About This Class

This is a three parts class where I will show you my workflow when creating abstract colorful posters. In this class I will only talk about the design aspect of the design process, not how to prepare files for print.

I will show you the tools I use when I'm looking to get new color ideas and combinations using the Gradient Editor in Photoshop, Adobe Color Themes andĀ a very coolĀ online tool that allows you to createĀ beautifulĀ color combinations and explore color palettes.

Who is it for?

This class is for Photoshop enthusiasts looking to learn new design techniques and ideas for their own artworks and also for any graphic designer interested in abstract designs and concepts.

You can follow this class using any photoshop version, advisable Photoshop CC. Have fun experimenting.

My background

I'm a Photoshop instructor since 2009 creating Photoshop tutorials for beginner and advanced designers and specialized in photo manipulations.

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrei Oprinca

Graphic designer


I'm Andrei. I'm a graphic designer with 10 years of Photoshop experience specialized in photo manipulation.

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1. Class introduction: Hello and welcome to this quick course on how to make a poster in Photoshop. I wanted to show you how to grade the quick colorful poster and show you the workflow that I follow when I create this kind of artworks. My name is Andre, and I've been working with Photoshop since 2009, and I've been creating online courses since then. And I reload Photoshop. And what I want to show you in most of my tutorials is usually how I, the workflows that I follow. And in this tutorial, I will try to do the same. What I want to show you is not exactly how I got to the, to the result that I got for this particular poster. But how to apply these principles to create your own. And that's why I broke this class into three parts. On the first part, I will show you some of the tools that are used to create gradients or come up with new ideas for color combination and stuff like that. And I will show you the gradient editor. I will show you an online tool to create gradients and to click to gray color palettes. And I think that the more tools you have at your disposal and the more techniques, the better because that way you can add more variety to your colors, enter your artworks in general. So that will be the first part. On the second part, I will show you how I split the portrait that you used for this particular poster. And it's really easy, I'm gonna show you a technique that I used. And now around the third part, I will show you the, some of the techniques that are used to add all sorts of elements because this kind of portrait really rely on lots of abstract elements. And I'm going to show you some of the techniques that are used to create this kind of elements on the description of this project along with the resources that you will need to create disposer. I will also link some other posters that I made using the same techniques, just so that you see that you can apply the same techniques, the same principles, you can come up with really fresh ideas. And I would really like to see what you can come up with based on this course. So I hope you will enjoy it and let's get started. 2. Create a split portrait effect: Now splitting this image is really simple, but you have to keep one thing in mind. You have to follow the shape of the face or the object that you're, you're splitting. Otherwise it's going to look fake. So let's name this model first and get the pencil will change this option up on the top right to path. And I will start from the head. I'm going to click and create a point like that. And I will start drawing a line following the shape of the head like that. Now I'm going down to the nose. You don't have to be really precise but tried to follow the lines of the phase otherwise, as I said, is going to look really fake. Just create another line like that over there. And over here. And now let's close this path. Right click and choose Make selection. And now select any selection to right-click on the Selection and choose Layer via cut. And now we split. The phase will have that part of the face on another layer which I will name, right? And the model will have to name it left. And you can see that now I split it. Let's create that 3D effect here. The right part actually has to be underneath the left one. And I will select the move tool with a Vicki and I'm pressing Shift and using the arrow keys to move this in increments when on the left and left and down, left and down. Now, we have moved this on the side, which is OK, we don't have to make a really huge separation between them. And now we have to fill this area with a color. And that's really simple. It's really easy to do. Just press and hold the Control key on your keyboard or command if you're on Mac and click the left thumbnail, this will load the selection and create a new layer on top of between the left and the right layers. And let's name it. Fill with this election is still active. Use any color you like. It doesn't really matter. You can change it afterwards, just something to fill that selection with. And press Alt and backspace on Windows or option and backspace on Mac. And this will fill that selection. You cannot see it because it's just underneath the left. You can see here on the thumbnail it's filled that selection. Now with the move tool, I can move this and place it right over here. Actually have to put this underneath everything, underneath both portraits, underneath the left and underneath that, right. So basically we have the gradient field. Let's delete the old background. We have the gradient, we have the fill, right and left. Have this done. The next thing I want to do is make sure this bar is not sticking out. So I'm going to select the fill layer. And with an eraser, I'm going to delete that. If you want, you can, if this, if this line, the yellow line is like up here, you can use the Brush tool. Use like a hard, very hard brush and just start painting that line if you want to create a straight line like from here to here, let me just delete this so I can show you better. Let's assume my line is up there and I want to make it like straight. What I can do is get the brush tool, Alt Click to sample that color. Would the edge of the brush wide where I want to fight over there and then shift click right there and that creates a straight line. And now I can fill this in. And is really that simple. Try to keep the lines right over there consistent because we're going to add some shadows. And especially if you want to add ener shadow, you want this to not overlap too much. If you want to delete the access, what you can do is control-click on the right side, go to the fill and press Delete. And what that does is gets rid of the excess over there. And now if you want to use an inner shadow, is going to start right from the line, okay, which is what you want. Now we have the fill. Let's add some 3D effects to this. Okay, we want to add that shadow over there. And again, that's really easy. What do we have to do first is go to the left layer, which is this one, and go inside the leader style. So double-click and we will use a drop shadow. And of course we're going to change the angle because we wonder shadow to fall in this side over here. Increase the size. Now, don't worry the shadow is going to fall and all over the place. But just focus on this part over here. We're going to fix the other sides. And I'm going to increase the size a little more. Maybe a little bit the spread and maybe the distance a little bit. I should not, not too much the distance as much as I wanted the spread. And the angle maybe to 165 is okay. Anyways, this is just the first shadow. This is just a soft shadow. We will paint this manually again to enhance the shadow where we need it. So actually set the size to 0 and the spread to just 6%. Mode multiplies. Okay for now, and I will click OK. Now with this shadow, we want the shadowed only show up on the fill layer. And how do we do that? Well, we have to turn this shadow into its own layer. Right? Click on the Effects and choose Create Layer. This just God that shadow onto its own layer and now have to drag it on top of the fill layer and just create a clipping mask out of it. And that way we will get rid of this parallel. Of course, you can delete it by hand, but it's a lot easier to just press option on a Mac or on Windows and click between the two layers, makes sure the drop shadow is on top of the fill. And voila, now it's only visible on top of this is not going to be visible over the, the portrait itself. Now we have the shadow. Let's give it another color. Let's go into the fill. Layer Styles. So double-click on the fill layer and add color overlay. Now if you do this, you will see that the shadow will go away. So you'll have to use the colorblind mode for that in order to be able to see it again, or just use the hue saturation adjustment on this layer and that's it. But I think with the Layer Style it's easier. So let's choose this. Or the Hue actually is going to look better maybe. Now, this technique has a problem, and that is the color is not going to be the one that you really want. So actually I will use the hue saturation instead of using a Layer Style and just increase the saturation a little bit and move the hue. And this is going to be a lot result or better. If you have it white or black, you'll see that even if you move, this is not going to happen anything. If you have it wide, just make it darker. And if you have a blank, just increase a lightness a little bit. And just yet, the cauda u1, I want something orange like that color. And I think this one looks okay. I will click OK. Now. Now let's enhance the shadow a little more. You can use this same layer that we created with a drop shadow. Or if you, if you're not confident enough that you're not going to ruin it, just create a new one. And again, clip it unless name it painted channel. Select the brush tool with a beekeeper, uses a soft brush harnessed to 0 size, increase it to anything you're comfortable with. Use the black color and change the climate of this. Actually, I'm going to use soft light just to try it out. And I will drop the opacity of the brush to 50% and the flow to 30 by pressing Shift three on the keyboard. And I'll start paint yellow, sapphire looks great. And I will also activate the transfer just because I can do it. And just leave it on pen pressure, you can use the mouse and just use a lower passively and flow if you want to. And just paint more shadow here on the top actually is when should we almost black? But because I am using the soft light is not going to give me data facts, so I will delete it. Use the Let's try Color Burn. Yeah, and it looks map Color Burn or multiply. And they both work. And just, I'm going to use black there and just a couple of passes. And that's, it used to enhance the shadow, especially over here. Okay, now have the Split. This is probably the most difficult part. Maybe the part that most of you wanted to know how to do. It's really, it really is as you can see. And the next thing we want to do is start adding details and elements on the back. So this is what we're going to do next. 3. Create details: Okay, let's start adding some details. And this is the bar where you will spend most of the time because there are endless things you can do here. I will just show you a few techniques, a few things. You can use, a few resources and you can add to your design arsenal to make this kind of posters. Let's start by adding some details to the background itself. So let's scroll down on the layers panel and on the gradient field, which I will name background, bg color shorter, I will add a new layer and I will group it. And I will name this soft lights. And on this layers, I will use the soft light or you can use the overlay blend mode. Of course you can try others, but these are the ones that I like most. Here you can create some cool stuff. And I'm talking about this. You can see these gradients over here, this soft, lighter gradients. I'm gonna show how he made that and also this darker ones. Basically you can create a straight ones or just more organic ones. I will start by using while the straight ones. And the easiest way I think is using the pen tool. So let's select the Pen tool. Again, we have this set to path. Of course you have to think a bit about the composition. As you can see, the gradients like, is like running on an angle here. So I want the whole composition to just kind of have this fail. You can see the guy is looking like down on the side and I wanted to have the whole poster have this kind of on an angle look. So everything should flow on that on that angle. Okay. Or at least that's what I wanted to just keep it consistent. And so I will start creating a point here and then press and hold the Shift key. This will create straight lines, straight angle, I think, at 15 or 45 degrees actually. And create a line like that. Right-click and choose, Make selection. And click OK. Now I have the selection of a here. And looks like a selections also changed or what? Anyways, I have the selection over there. Get the brush tool, and select use a soft brush or really soft brush. And you have to use also a pretty big one, something like that. And now I have the opacity and flow to 5030. Actually, I'm going to leave it to 100%. And I will paint with white. And I have the layer on soft flight. I will press Control Command age. Well actually no, because I want to see the selection. The idea is to start painting along this line. You don't have to paint like this. Just, you have to touch with a brush that selection, just paint on the side. And again, you can use the shift key. You can just click once they're press and hold the Shift key and click down. And this is what you got if I press control command age, this is what you can see now. It's too strong for my taste. So actually what I will do is dropped the opacity to 30% on the brush and do it again. And I will move the brush a little further away from the selection. One over there and one of their press Control Command age. And you can see the line are really subtle line, but it looks great. You can cheat, try overlay. This will intensify the effect a little bit. So I think suffice, it looks better. Now let's do another one here on the top, the Pen tool with the peaky. And I will create another line like that. This time I didn't press the Shift key, control-click or right-click and make selection. Click OK, get the brush, and just paint over there. And we got those lines. Now, let's make some organic ones. Again, get the brush tool, set it to path. And I actually want to kinda follow the shapes of this guy's head. This time you want to have round edges, so I think they look better once you have the shape right-click and choose. Make selection again. Okay? And this time you could use the brush, but of course now is not that easy to just follow this at the same distance. You could try it, but it's not as easy and you'll get some cool results actually you can try it. But I'm going to show you two methods of doing this. I'm gonna paint with black first. And let's turn this back into selection. The Pen tool again, right-click makes election. And with this black brush, just paint on the sides. You can, what you can do also is press Control N h. This will hide the selection and you can start painting and see exactly how we are approaching that line. And of course you can try by modes. Let's try soft light. It's really, this one is really soft, so you probably want to feign some more, but anyways, that's one way of doing it. Let's create another one and show you how to use the Layer Styles. I will create one over here. Right click, make selection, hit. Okay? And I will fill this with black. Actually, you can use any color, doesn't really matter. And drop the fill of this layer to 0, the field, not the capacity. Now go to the Layer Styles my double-clicking and use inner shadow. And from here you want to live the distance to 0. You can experiment with this, but I'm telling you what I, what I did. And just increase the size. And you have the same effect as we have there, which is barely visible, but you have it on the same amounts from all sides. And of course, you can use your blend modes and just use a different capacity level, and that's it. So that's how I created this lines over here. You can see right over here, of course you can use solid objects like solid elements. Let's create a new layer and keep adding gradients. Again, you can just create a shape and use the gradient fill and fill it with a failure with a color with a gradient. Let me just Load the PESTEL gradients from here. Okay? And let me use this one and just do something like that. And now I can of course, press control command, you intensify the colors. I can change the hue to get another tone if I want to. And I think I will leave it like that. And probably family, darker. The colors will change. Also, you can create shapes. Let's use the polygonal lasso tool to create shapes. So I could create a, a triangle like this. And again, you'll use the gradient tool quite a lot in this kind of manipulations or in this kind of artworks. Let me reset my gradients. I will start with a solid color and probably change those tones. Now here, some, some experience will give you better results because you will know more or less what colors look good with each other. But for that, you can follow a basic color theory tutorial and just wanted to have the selection and your gradient just create something like that. Now I have to put this on top of everything. You want to have some of the elements on top and some of them on the, underneath the model. So numbers, I added a really big five over there. So let me just do that and do that. Put it right over there. And what I did here with five, as you can see, I had another color. I just used the left part of the portrait control cricket. And with this selection created what you do is create a new layer and add a solid color. And it's going to use that selection and to just make it visible there and this solid cogen, we're gonna create a clipping mask to the a leather. And now I can change the color of this and it's going to be visible only over the a I use whiter thing. Or you can try blend modes. You can try some really weird blend modes like for example, let's change the color of this to yellow and try blend modes like for example, difference or subtract. And you get some really weird towns. Really strange if, oh yeah, this one, I like it. And just leave this like so. Now let's add even more elements. Sticking with the, with the font, you can add weird with signs or that's at a place which is really something really basic. But let's change the font to something and also the size of it. So you could use stuff like this. I'm gonna make it white. Then of course you can use the brush tool. And now I'm just going to skip the part of organizing the Layers palette because I want to go a little faster here. You can use the brush, round brush to create random points. Just using the brush panel, you can use a shade dynamic to create random size dots. And just with, with your mouse or with your whatever, just paint a few dots there. I will increase your capacity to 100% by pressing the 0 key on the keyboard. And just make some random point around here. Maybe these ones are too big. Like so one other thing you can do with the brush is create squares of dots. Or I'm just going to show you different ways of doing this. So I will select the brush, go into the brush settings. By the way, you can show this window if you don't have it here from window, choose brush settings or press F5. And I will leave the size Judah to 0. I will increase the brush tip shape to something like that. I will make them brush a little smaller and press and hold the Shift can just paint here to make a quick test. I want less separation. Add a few ones over there and then press Control Command J. Move them to the side. And then merge this two-layer select both of them, press Control Command E, and you have another element. And put it randomly around here, something like that. And I know there were the control with a hue saturation. I will change the blend mode and probably just flip it. I don't know, and just doing random stuff here. Most of this is just random stuff. As you can see, it's not really that difficult. But getting to a composition than actually doesn't look really horrible is another story. At least you'll have the tools to create this sort of, this sort of things. Obviously this is chain. This changes a lot when you start adding text. And actually, if this is a poster, you want to have the text here and the name of the event or whatever. So you probably better off if you don't use letters as part of your composition, or at least not in such an obvious way that it takes away the focus from the main name of the event or whatever you are making the poster for it. So this is the way, the way I created this, the sort of posters. Just to finish it off. I also light effects, you know, I just love them. So I'll create a new layer, put it on screen. You can, you can try Color Dodge as well. Just add some soft light, do not abuse. This. Just adds some tones over there, just sample from there and add some lights may be there. So just sample some tones and make some clicks here and there. Us law capacities and just see what you can do. And of course, at the end, I like to use facts. I like to use scholar lookups and camera. I'm just going to use a really quick one and just add, I will use the third one here. And just to see what I get. Goal crimson, I don't really like it. This one I like it's all dropped the opacity of it quite a bit. So try different, different presets that you have. These are just the ones that have happened. Have I created this bag myself? But for this one, I will not use any kind of colour changes or car lookups. So I'm just going ahead stamp this onto new layer. So I create a new layer on top of everything, Shift Option Command E or Shift Alt control, ie, if you're a Windows and go to Filter Camera Raw. And if you follow my tutorials in other and pretty much have the same workflow. And here I will add some vignetting. I want to decrease the midpoint quite large, increase the highlights because I want to protect them and have something like that. And obviously here in the calibration, you can make some pretty cool stuff with the colors by changing the hues of each channel. So you can see pretty much you can change the look of this and probably add some detail. And I don't know, I'm going to leave it like that. And that's pretty much it. This is the basic workflow that I usually follow to create this kind of posters is really simple. And it's why I really like about this kind of poster is that the possibilities are endless. You can add plants around here. You can add lots of elements. You can, you can just add pretty much whatever you like. Just go ahead and take a look on Pinterest and get some inspiration and start creating your posters. Start with basic stuff. Don't try to mimic anything. Just start with a few colors with the principles that I gave you here. Create the basic gradient and add some basic elements. Do not go while would they said at the beginning because you will get frustrated and you will just abandon the project. And the objective is to just have fun and experiment with this. That's our head to show you today. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for watching and I hope to see you on my next tutorial. 4. Tools to create colorful gradients: So for this kind of posters and artworks, I also start by creating the background first. The first thing I want to do is create the canvas. I'm going to press Control N. And the dimensions that are used are two thousand, three thousand, but the dimensions are really up to you. Basically the aspect ratio is two by three. And I'll hit create. Now, I will show you a few ways of creating gradients. I will give you the one that I used for this particular poster. But what I really want you to learn from this tutorial is not exactly how to get the same result that I got here. But understand the principles and the, the workflow that you can follow in order to create your own posters. So I will first give you the one that I am going to show you how to use, the one that I just used. So it just use a go here to the Layers panel and use gradient fill. Just add a new gradient from here, and click this drop-down arrow. And now this wheel and choose Load gradients. And inside the assets folder you'll find this file called colorful posters and open that. And it should add it to your list here and just select that and use an angle of about 60 degrees. And of course you can move this around to place it however you want. But how do you create this? I actually made this myself by hand, but I will show you a few methods of creating gradients to just have a starting point if you want. So I'm going to add a new gradient here to practice with. And the first method is just here inside of Photoshop. Open the gradient editor. And from here, instead of the gradient type, instead of using solid, use noise. And from here, you can really powerful. From here you can choose the roughness if you wanna see it more like lines like this, or you can leave it to 0 if you want to have a smooth gradient, you have a few colour models. Usually its RGB, the one that is listed. But you can choose HSB or lab if you want to. And from here, the good thing is that you can limit the amount of colors that you can have and also the luminosity of the gradient itself. So you can choose to exclude, for example, blues and just have more like of a yellow and this type of terms. And you can see the gradient that you can have there. And the best part is that you can click the randomized button. And it's going to give you a random colors from this range that you sat here. If you just leave the roughness to 0, you'll get like a just two colors. So instead of that, you can just increase the noise about 50 and get different colors and try the options here and see what you get. And then you can apply a blur to this gradient and make it smooth. Now, the HSB has a different kind of colors that you get. So try this. Three modes and see what you get. Another convenient way of getting these gradients is using looking for pastoral gradients on internet, or just try the ones that photoshop comes with. So if you go here in Photoshop 2021, I think they included more. But you can go to the pass those gradient from here. I'm just going to append that. And you can see you have a few 1s here you can choose from. So this is the starting point, but they just, they just have a few ones. So you might want to find some free pastoral gradients on the internet. Let me show you yet another way of creating. I'm just gonna give you options and then you just try the ones that you like. Maybe you can create your own pack of gradient. Another option is going to window extensions and choosing the colored themes. This little panel opens up and usually opens with the Creator, which is this color wheel that you'll see here. And from here again, you can choose set of colors and then add them to your, to your color swatches, which is right over here. And you can see you can add those colors there and then just this gradient colored Palette from here. Or you can just explore the ones that other users created from here and look for, let's say, past and see what it comes up with. These are the ones that you can find if you can grab them from here by clicking this and add to my swatches. And there you have. And then you just open the gradient editor. Just opening it again. And with the color swatches open, you just pick the colors from here and create your gradient. So It's really simple. But while it takes a bit of time at the beginning until you just develop that workflow that I was talking about. But this is another way of doing it. Yet another one is using an online tool. And I'm going to show you one, but there are lots of them. I've been using this one for a couple of years now for color, themes and stuff like that. And it's called coolers. I'm going to add the web link here on the video. It's called coolers dot CEO. And it's a really cool tool that you can use to create random colors. Basically just hit the space bar and it starts to create colors. When you find one that you like, you can lock it and then just create different colors based on that one. You can also view this as a great inefficiently bys three dots here. And you can see how the gradient looks like. So just take a look at it and explore it. You can also, if you click this new creative collage button, they actually rebuild the stool not long ago. And you going to search, for example, and just type pastel and it's going to open this image. These are from an Splash, it's linked to an splash. And let's say I like this color, so I'll just click there. And it's going to create this stripes. Colors here and you can actually have a few ways of viewing this. If you want to create like a mood board, you can change the aspect ratio of the image. And of course you can see the palate can change it. You can add more or less color. So it's a really powerful to just explore it and see what you can come up with. This is just another idea that you can now tell that you can use to create new colors for your gradients. Now let's get back to Photoshop and that we're done with the gradient and continue with our. Now, this is the way that you can use to create backgrounds and other really cool thing you can do to your background is after you create the gradient, right-click and choose Convert to Smart Object. And you can add some noise I like to do with using Camera Raw, but you can use the filter, the noise filter. Just go to filter noise and add noise. Okay, let's get started. I just updated Photoshop, that's why it popped that out. Camera also got some new features or things. You actually can see the interface is different. But anyways, usually ups here. An interface is different because now out here on the effects tab, you can have the grain thing. Yeah, yeah, they, they changed the interface. Let me zoom in on 100% so I can see whenever you add grain or, or add sharpening stone image, zoom to 100%. And let's go back to the effect. And here you have the grain which a real like you can increase this. It works a lot different than the noise. And I really like it. So you can add some grain, you can see what it does to the image. I really like how that looks like the green they removed what are yeah, you have to expand this. You have the roughness as well, so you can increase the roughness and the size of the grain token have really huge grain or like small grain, like something intermediate, something like that. And click OK. And now after the grain is applied, you can sharpen this, just go to Filters sharpen, and just use plain old sharpness without any kind of adjustments. Now, we have our background. Let's move on and add our model. Here. I added a model, but you can add so many things. You can just add a simple letter and add stuff that comes out from behind. You can add a number. I've seen lots of posters where you have like part of a statue or a black and white image or simply a crop image, and then you add stuff so the, the possibilities are endless. What one thing you can do to get more inspiration is to actually just look on Pinterest and look for abstract posters or colorful posters and you'll find lots of things. Let's get going because I talked a lot. So let's start doing something here. So let's go back to our assets folder. And you can see from the ones that I have here, basically follow the same principle. Just have a poster and a letter and some random stuff lying around. And on the assets folder you'll find that this image from I got it from an Splash.com. And I chose, I chose this one because it's really simple to select. Just get the what magic wand, click on the white background, mask the background. And actually let me just refine the edge a little bit. I'm going to right-click, select unmask, Shift, Edge, increase feather, and increase contrast. And we're good to go. Let's click OK. And I will apply this layer mask because really a simpler, really simple one. And I'll use the lasso tool to select just part of his. Actually, I'm going to I'm going to select the shirt and just cut it like that. I don't want to have a straight edge. Let me select it and move it to my canvas. Over here. I will flip it horizontally and now comes the part where I split it. I'm going to show you how I split. I split this bar like that. So let's see how we do that.