How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

This tutorial is an example of how a few simple techniques can be used to create a piece of digital artwork using multiple layers, masking, the Brush tool, some basic lighting and one simple noise texture. Using the processes here, you will be able to apply the same techniques to your photomontage and create your own look. Layered PSD file included. Let’s get started!

Final Image Preview

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Start working by creating a new document (Ctrl+N) in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with the size 1000px by 1500px (RGB color mode) at a resolution of 72 pixels/inch. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill with black color the new background layer.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Find a stock photo with a model represented on it, I used this portrait of beautiful young woman from Shutterstock. I would like to thank the author of this photo, or if you prefer, you can substitute similar image of your own.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Remove the background using your favorite tools like Pen Tool (P), Magic Wand Tool (W), Magnetic Lasso (L) or even a simple Filter>Extract and insert it on a new layer in our main document.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Create a new layer and select the Soft Round brush from Brush tool (B).

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Use this brush to paint the background with this color nuances #6D7B93. Put the layer under the woman’s one in Layers panel.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Create a new layer and apply again the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill the layer with white color.
Then insert the mask on the same layer by choosing Add layer mask on the bottom part of the Layers panel and apply on the mask the next filter: Filter > Render > Clouds. The layer will be situated under the woman’s one.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Set Fill to 22% for this layer and change the Blending mode to Linear Dodge.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Create a new layer and choose the Soft Round brush from Brush tool (B).

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Use this brush to represent the shadows on the woman’s body. Use #121220 color. Use also a different Opacity value for the brush.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and click between the brush’s layer and the woman’s one in the Layers panel to create a clipping mask.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

We’ve got the next result:

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Create a new layer and select here the Soft Round brush applied before to continue representing the shadows on the woman’s body. The brush’s color is #111723. Don’t forget to change the Opacity value for the brush.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and click between layers in the Layers panel to create a clipping mask.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

We’ve got the next result:

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Create a new layer and select the Soft Round brush.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Use this brush to paint the bottom part of the canvas with black color (brush’s Opacity – 20%).

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Create a new layer and select the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill it with #415367 color.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Select for the same layer the next filter: Filter > Noise > Add Noise.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

We’ve got the next result:

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Set Fill to 44% for this layer and change the Blending mode to Overlay.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Insert the mask on the layer by choosing Add layer mask on the bottom part of the Layers panel and choose the Soft Round brush of black color (set Opacity to 20% in Options bar).

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Paint in the mask using this brush to hide the noise on the woman’s face and arms.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Then start drawing the rays of white color, choose the Pen Tool (P), set the drawing mode on Shape Layers in Options bar and draw the next shape as shown.

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Insert the mask on the made layer the way we did before with the other layers and hide the edges of the layer containing the ray, using the Soft Round brush of black color (brush’s Opacity – 15%).

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

We’ve got the next result:

How to use brushes to enhance your portraits in Adobe Photoshop CS5

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