In a previous post, we looked at how you can create the look of a traditional studio portrait using the filters that come with Photoshop. Today we’ll show you how to get exciting results using a photograph of a textured surface as your starting point. As you can see in the above example, the final background can be quite different from the original texture. The method we’ll use allows you to adapt stock photos to suit the mood and color scheme of your portrait, using non-destructive layers. Let’s get started!
Our portrait is a live-action shot taken during a ballet performance. While the pose is near-perfect, the background is pretty drab. So the first step is to remove the figure from the background. There’s many ways to do this, and you probably have your own favorite way of masking out a figure, so I’ll just quickly give the method I used. Rename the main layer from “Background” to “Ballerina.” Then insert a layer below it, filled with white. With a soft eraser brush, carefully paint up to the edges of the figure. Select the remainder of the background and hit Delete. Your figure is now on a transparent layer with no background.
For our background, I’ll use a stock photograph from deviantArt member Kuschelirmel-stock. You can see this texture at the top of the article, next to the finished portrait. I’m sure you’ll agree the final background is quite different from the original stock texture. This was achieved by adding a purple color fill layer below the texture layer. By turning down the opacity on the texture layer, the purple color shows through. Above this two adjustment layers are added. By keeping each alteration on a separate layer like this, you can continue to tweak all the parameters until they are working together the way you want. This flexibility allows your creativity to do its thing. Give it a try, and you’ll see!
Sometimes it helps to think of layers like panes of glass. Turning down the opacity, as we do here with the texture layer, allows us to “see” some of what’s below it. The mask on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is like a pane of glass coated with black, with a clear oval in the middle. This darkens the edges. Finally, the top levels layer darkens the whole “sandwich”. This helps our dancer to really pop.
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