grunge stone woman photo manipulation in photoshop

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SEP 13 2010 B Y E R I C VA S Q U E Z


In this design tutorial, we are going to perform a photo manipulation of a beautiful woman breaking free from the confines of her stone prison. We will be using Photoshop to blend various images together along with a bit of brushwork, adjustment layers, and layer styles to create a masterful and compelling image.Articles Digital Art Drawing & Illustration Freebies Print Design Photography Text Effects Tools & Basics Visual Inspiration Web Design

Author: Eric VasquezEric Vasquez is a Graphic Designer, specializing in Print and Web Design. He's a graduate of the New England Institute of Art in Boston and has over 4 years of professional and freelance work experience. He's been featured in Advanced Photoshop Magazine and The Art of Fashion Art Exhibit and Artists In The Station Art Exhibit. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Eric's portfolio at

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Tutorial ResourcesStock image: Makeup & Fashion on iStockphoto Textures: Texture Pack 04 (Paper texture pack) by AnOrderOfFishSticks Texture: rock texture 1 by Mardukex Brushes: Crack Brushes i by Hawksmont Texture: Free Nebula Dust Texture by Zerofiction

Step 1: Isolate the Subject from the BackgroundFirst, pick a stock photo of the model you want to feature. Its best to pick a stock photo with a flat background so that you can easily extract the subject from it. I used the Makeup & Fashion stock photo from iStockphoto. We want to open up our stock photo in Photoshop as we are going to need to remove her from the background. I know that when working with photos such as this, that the hair can be particularly tricky to deal with. The good news is that this really gets easier the more you do it and practice it. If you happen to be fortunate enough to have a tablet, then that will make the job much easier. I am using a Wacom 912 tablet and what Ive done is create a layer mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All) on top of the stock image. I zoom in very closely using the Zoom Tool (Z) and begin to trace around the model, brushing the mask with a solid black brush to hide the extraneous background elements. There are of course other ways of achieving the same result and it is best to use the method that you feel most comfortable with for this step.

Step 2: Create a New Photoshop DocumentNow that we have isolated our subject, we are going to create a new Photoshop document I have chosen a standard paper size (8.511) where I have moved my image over. Double-click on the default Background layer to unlock it, and double-click again to bring up the Layer Style dialog window. Check off the Color Overlay box on the right to apply this layer effect. For the color, use a mid-tone gray (#a9a9a9) which should work nicely.

Once you have selected the color, click OK to accept the changes. You should now have something like the image below.

Step 3: Darkening the EdgesCreate a new layer between the Background layer and the layer containing the image of the model. Select the Gradient Tool (G) from the Tools Panel and then you should be able to find the Options Bar for the Gradient Tool. Make sure to select a gradient that goes from solid black to transparent, and also check off the Reverse option. Create a fairly large gradient fill on this layer you may have to resize it a bit using Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) so that the fade occurs only around the four sides of our image. You could also do this manually with a large soft brush, but I find that by using the radial gradient, you can ensure that the fade is even on both sides.

Step 4: Building a Grunge BackgroundNext, we will be using one of the awesome Grunge Paper Textures by AnOrderOfFishSticks. For this image, I am going to be using the 5.png file from the texture pack, but feel free to use any of the paper textures that you like the most. Drag the texture image into your document and scale it up so that it spans across the entire dimension of the canvas.

Once you have enlarged the paper texture, we are going to desaturate this layer (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate). A

quick way of desaturating an image is to use the shortcut keyboard shortcut: Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + U.

After desaturating the texture, the last thing we want to do for now is to change the blending mode of this layer to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to about 60%. By doing this, the grunge texture will be a little bit more subtle rather than using the colorful variation that we started with. If you havent already done so, this would be a good time to save your work. Save, save, and save again just in case! Dont lose the work youve been slaving on for hours.

Step 5: A Bit of StylingDuplicate the image of the model by selecting the layer and then pressing Cmd/Ctrl + J (shortcut for Layer > Duplicate Layer). Next, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and then set the Radius to 12.5 before clicking OK to apply the filter.

After applying the High Pass filter, we will once again apply another filter. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur with the Radius set at 5.

After applying both filters, change the blending mode of the top image to Overlay and merge it (Layer > Merge Down) with the layer beneath (which should be the original image of the model) by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + E. You should notice a subtle softening effect on the model, particularly on her face and the details of the dress.

Step 6: Apply a Hue/Saturation Adjustment LayerPress on the black and white icon (Create new fill or layer adjustment) at the bottom of the Layers Panel and then select Hue/Saturation. This will bring up the Hue/Saturation Panel. Slide the Saturation options slider all the way to the left side to desaturate the image of the model. Lower the Opacity of this Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to about 40%. Adjustment layers will affect everything below it but will maintain the quality/integrity of those layers (i.e. it is non-destructive and will not permanently alter any layers). Conversely, if we had applied the effect directly to the image, we run the risk of degrading the quality and being stuck with something that we cant later undo. By doing it this way, we arent actually applying an effect to the photo of the model.

Just so you can see the effect of the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, I have placed a before and after image below.

As you can see, its not an extremely drastic change that we are applying, but it gives the image a slightly washed-out look, helping us create a mood/tone that will help to make the image feel more cohesive and unified.

Step 7: Add a Levels Adjustment LayerOnce again, we are going to press on the Create new fill or layer adjustment button at the bottom of the Layers Panel, but this time we will choose Levels. You will then see a dialog window that shows us the histogram. What we want to do here is to boost the contrast (the dark colors) a little bit more. To do this, grab the middle gray slider and set the position to 0.86.

Even though we have slightly desaturated the image of the model, we dont want to completely lose the nice contrast between light and dark colors. Modifying the levels is a great way to bring some of that contrast back into the image. If you were to move this slider the opposite way, we would be brightening the image and giving it more of a lighter feel. I would encourage you to play with this option more as most photos can benefit from a bit of an adjustment (unless it has already been touched up or was taken with flawless lighting).

Step 8: Duplicate and DesaturateSelect the layer with the model and press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer. After that, go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + U) and drag the Saturation options slider all the way to the left.

Step 9: On the RocksOpen up Rock Texture 1 in Photoshop then drag it into your document. I have rotated the rock texture 90 degrees (Edit >o Transform > Rotate 90 CW) and enlarged it slightly using Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to ensure that it entirely covers

our model. When you are happy with the orientation and size of the rock texture, change the blending mode of its layer to Multiply.

Step 10: Making Your SelectionHold down Ctrl/Cmd and then click on the models layer in the Layers Panel to put a selection around her. You know youve selected the subject properly if you see an active selection that is indicated by the marching ants (as I like to call


With this selection still active, click on the layer above containing the rock texture to make it the active layer, and then click on the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers Panel.

Step 11: Merging the Two LayersNext, hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click on the mask we have just created on the rock texture layer. You should then see a menu where you will want to select Apply Layer Mask.

After applying the layer mask, we are going to merge this layer (Ctrl/Cmd + E) with the desaturated image of the model below it.

Step 12: Eyes Made of StoneUsing the Pen Tool (P), make a selection around both our subjects eyes, one at a time. When you have the selection finished, create a new layer and fill this selection with white.

Next, select the Stamp Tool (S) and sample some of the rock texture before creating a new layer above the white eyes. Start to fill in this area on the new layer until the white area is completely covered.

Hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click on the layer containing the eyes that are filled with solid white. This layers content should be hidden at the moment because of the textured layer on top, but that is okay! When you make the selection, you will see the marching ants again to indicate the area around the eyes has been selected. While this selection is active, click on the layer containing the rock texture fill over the eyes, just on top of the white eyes. Next, click on the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. You can now get rid of the "white eyes" layer as we have now trimmed the rock texture layer that covers the eyes. We want to minimize the number of layers that we will ultimately end up with so that we dont end up with an unwieldy PSD, but at the same time, by separating them as we have just done, it makes the process easier when dealing with selections and layer masks.

Create another new layer above the eyes and while holding down Ctrl/Cmd, click on the eye layer to create a selection. Grab a medium-sized, soft round brush with a low opacity setting (18-22% should be good) and begin to brush around the edges of the eyes on the new layer. The goal here is to add some shading around the eyes to add some depth.

At this point, we can merge the shadows with the eyes and the rock texture-filled image of the model. We should still have the color version beneath these merged layers, so your Layers Panel should look like this:

Step 13: Add Some CracksNext, we are going to create a new layer above the layers with the image of the model. Download and install the Crack Brushes i brush library. Set your brush tip to one of the crack brushes and then use a solid black color to paint a few cracks here and there on top of the image. The idea is to apply your brush strokes sparingly and only use them in a couple of areas. The reason for this is that we want to save some of the larger areas for the subsequent steps where we are going to have larger chunks of the statue falling off to reveal the model beneath.

Step 14: Breaking AwayWe want to prepare to make some larger areas that will break away and reveal the girl underneath in order to give the illusion that she is breaking free from her stone confines. So what we will do before that is duplicate the rock texture girl layer and then turn off the visibility of the original layer. We are doing this so that we can retain the statue layer in its current state in case we need to go back to it at any point. Your Layers Panel should look like this:

Create a new layer above the "Cracks" layer where we painted in some cracks in the statue earlier. On this new layer, we are going to use the Pen Tool (P) to create some large shapes on top of the other layers and fill it with a solid white color. These are going to be the areas where we will reveal the model below. We want the shapes we are creating to be jagged, organic, and random and by no means neat, precise or calculated.

Once you have created your first shape, change the blending mode of its layer to Multiply. Double-click on the layer to access the Layer Style dialog window and add an Inner Shadow with the following settings: Opacity: 75 Angle: 90 (and check off Global Light) Distance: 7 Choke: 8 Size: 8

Click OK to apply the Inner Shadow effect. Next, hold down Cmd/Ctrl and then click on the shape layer. This should make a selection around the shape. While you still have this selection active, choose the rock texture girl layer that we duplicated. Press the Delete key to erase this selection from the rock texture layer. You have now subtracted this shape area from the duplicate copy. By applying the Inner Shadow layer effect, it will make it look as though the broken statue has some space between it and the figure beneath, which is exactly what we want.

Continue this process by creating a new layer, making some selections and filling them with solid white. You can copy and paste the layer style from the first shape we created rather than inputting the same values each time. Change the blending mode to Multiply, then hold down Cmd/Ctrl and click the shape to activate the selection. Delete the selected area from the duplicated rock texture girl layer simply by hitting your Delete key.

This may seem like a complex process at first, but after you try it a few times, you will get the hang of it, and it really wont seem so hard. As you go along, try to be mindful of where some of these larger cracks will appear. I have gone back and used the crack brush set in a few places because in order to depict a more realistic breaking, we must think of how concrete would actually crumble and crack. By this, I mean that we will essentially want to add some thinner lines around the larger areas to show them sort of leading up to the bigger breaks. Notice on the left arm (our left, her right) that I have added a few of these thinner lines around the large break. You can erase the pieces of the brush strokes that you dont need, but feel free to transform and rotate them until you are satisfied with the result. Once you are satisfied, you can merge it together with the other brush strokes on the "Cracks" layer.

Step 15: Coming to the SurfaceAs we add additional shapes and cracks around the larger areas (as we have done in the previous steps), you will see we are gradually building up the image. At this point, I am hoping that you will have something similar to what I have below:

You can take as little or as long as you would like on this part, but I have spent some time adding more and more details to the piece until it really starts to come to life. Here are a few close-up shots so that you can see where I have added some additional details around the larger areas:

Step 16: Make It ShineNext, we are going set our Foreground color to a solid white color and create a new layer above all of the cracks and images of the model. Select the Gradient Tool (G) and make a radial gradient that fades from solid white to transparent. Set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to about 30%.

Duplicate the white-to-transparent gradient layer a couple of times and move each one to a different spot in the image where you want to bring out some of the detail and add a bit of contrast. This is more of a subtle technique that will enhance the detail of the image.

Step 17: Add an Additional TextureNow its time for us to add a bit of extra texture to the piece. Open up the Free Nebula Dust Texture in Photoshop. We are going to desaturate this image by pressing Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + U (Image > Adjustments >Desaturate). Once you have done that, drag the image into your document. We want to add this nebula dust texture all the way at the bottom of our layers, so that its the second to last layer. You may have to scale the image up a bit so that it covers the background. After that, we want to set the blending mode to Screen. At this point, only the original background layer should be beneath it.

You will notice from the image that I have organized some of my layers just by grouping them in folders. This isnt absolutely necessary, but it is good practice and can save you time when looking for a particular layer or group of layers later on.

Step 18: Smoothing It OutAs the final step, we will process our scene to enhance it. First, we are going to need to save our document (Ctrl/Cmd + S) just to make sure that everything is up to date and that we have a backup in case things get hairy in this phase. Once youve saved your PSD, flatten the image so that all of our layers are merged (Layer > Flatten Image). Make a copy of this flattened layer (Cmd/Ctrl + J) to duplicate the artwork. Next, go to Filter > Other > High Pass, setting the Radius to 12.5 before clicking OK to apply the filter.

Afterwards, choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply the filter with a 3-pixel blur Radius. Change the blending mode of this layer to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 40% to let a bit of the original layer shine through. You can see the effect by turning this layer on and off, but essentially, we have used a photo retouching technique to

sharpen and smooth out the image to add a nice polish to our design. It may be a subtle difference, but you will notice that some of the details of our model (most noticeably around the eyes) have been sharpened and have been given an extra bit of crispness.

Tutorial SummaryYou have now successfully gone through the process of creating a photo manipulation of a beautiful woman breaking free from the confines of her stone prison. We have used stock images to piece together a scene that was built using intermediate-level Photoshop techniques such as adding adjustment layers, selecting with the Pen Tool, and imageprocessing techniques such as the High Pass/Gaussian Blur filter combination. Thanks for following along and I hope that you have picked up a few new tricks along the way!

Download Source Filesstone_woman_photomanipulation (41.00 MB)





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31 Comments (Add yours)

Giacomo Colddesign SEP 13 2010

Great tutorial, thanks!REPLY TO COMMENT

Design Kent Web SEP 13 2010

great tutorial, i need an excuse to try this out now!REPLY TO COMMENT

awsome!it is so nice~

Jacob Gube SEP 16 2010Editorial Team

Whoa, awesome job Owen! Ive rehosted it on Imgur since the link seems to be inspired now: A question to you all: Would it be helpful if you could post images in the comments? (Small ones though, 200-300px max width). If enough people want this ability, well discuss this in our next meeting.REPLY TO COMMENT

kelly SEP 09 2011

hi eric, i dont understand the about layers , i culdt do that , as gud as this is. and i dont find the all tools which u r telling , i love this workREPLY TO COMMENT

vegligi SEP 13 2010


Reza SEP 13 2010

Amazing postI love it. Thank you very much.REPLY TO COMMENT

Childmonster SEP 13 2010

Great tutorial but i think it s missing the shadowREPLY TO COMMENT

PrintersYork SEP 14 2010

cool! One of the best written tuts Ive seen in ages. I agree with Childmonster though, it does miss a shadow, but hey, the rest is solid. Cheers


Eric Vasquez SEP 14 2010Contributor

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback! Im glad that the tutorial is well received. I actually had played around with putting a shadow behind the figure but I opted to omit it from the design because I wanted a higher contrast between background and foreground. To your point though, it may help blend the two together but in doing so I would also run the risk of losing some of the crispness around the darker edges as you may not be able to see the separation as well.REPLY TO COMMENT

Reza SEP 14 2010

Very informative and helpful. Thaks very much.REPLY TO COMMENT

Niels SEP 15 2010

Looking good.Very nice tutorial.REPLY TO COMMENT

Puneet SEP 15 2010

Wow, really great work. Need to try it out.REPLY TO COMMENT

Owen Yue SEP 16 2010

Hey! What do you think of my result? /img/162965720-f9f77867cb440bdeef5cef832529b692.4c926228-full.pngREPLY TO COMMENT

Eric Vasquez SEP 16 2010Contributor

Owen your image looks very good! I am glad that you felt inspired and tried out the techniques :)


Richie SEP 19 2010

Excellent idea and good result Eric. I appreciate you for writing such a detailed tutorial. Creative though it is, lacks a few fundamental concepts. This is just my observation and not a judgment so I thought Id share it with you. 1) Why was the High Pass filter necessary both before and after the transformation? I dont think smoothing the image did any justice to the sculpture. 2) The drop shadow on the stone pieces contradicts the lighting (for some, the shadow falls to the right and for the rest, it falls to the left) 3) Just by changing the blending mode of the rock texture to Multiply doesnt give it a complete real and authentic sculpture look. Maybe you should have gone further and used the Dodge and Burn tools to create a perfect environment for the stone textures also. Well, those were my $0.02 :) Maybe my points of views are wrong. If they are, please let me know. ThanksREPLY TO COMMENT

Richie SEP 19 2010

Also, Here is another tutorial which does completely opposite to your idea :) Just thought Id mention it Bringing a Stone Statue to Life : TO COMMENT

Eric Vasquez SEP 20 2010Contributor

Thanks for your comments Richie I just wanted to respond to a few of the points that you had previously mentioned. I think that when creating an image like this the light and

shadows are very important and I have definitely taken some of your points into consideration. 1 The High Pass filter was used more to smooth out the skin but I could have masked out only the skin areas so it wouldnt effect the statue portions of the image. The idea is that to create a realistic image, think of what your body does if it were in a cast for example, for a long period of time. Your skin starts to get soft, pale, and doesnt look as fresh and healthy as it normally would. I wanted to give the model underneath that sort of look. 2 The Drop Shadow on the statue was intended to reflect more of a head on lighting coming from the front of the statue, but I see your point as well that the shadows should all be going in one direction. That would be the case if the light were coming from one side or the other, but if you shine a light on an object directly from the front, you wont see all of the shadows going only one way and nowhere else. 3 I do agree that the Dodge and Burn tools would have helped to further achieve some contrast between light and dark, perhaps I will give this a go for my next attempt at creating a similar effect. The Multiply Blending Mode seemed to get the effect I wanted, but I will certainly keep this in mind for future tutorials. Also, I like the example that you provided in the link, which brings the statue to life but I dont see how it is so different from my idea to be honest. I noticed in that design also that the skin tones appear to be very saturated as though the figure had only been trapped in the stone statue for a few minutes, rather than a longer period of time. And to circle back to the comment about the Drop Shadow I have noticed that this piece also has some of the shadows coming from the left, and some from the right, similar to my design where the lighting seems to be hitting the figure from the front. On the stone piece on the chest, there is shadow on the right side, and on the arm it is on the left. This is the same type of shadow that I was going for with my photo manipulation. Overall these are some very good, constructive, critiques and I very much appreciate you taking the time to comment on this. You have some good

points, and I will be sure to try out the Dodge and Burn to further enhance the lights and shadows in some of my future tutorials.REPLY TO COMMENT

Federico Capoano SEP 24 2010

I like it more when its almost completely covered with the stone texture :-). Great tutorial!REPLY TO COMMENT

iapdesign SEP 29 2010

Wow. this one is awesome. i am trying it right now. hehe. i hope it will finish by an hour. hehe.^^ thank you again sir.!REPLY TO COMMENT

white JAN 05 2011

Super good. I like the effect.REPLY TO COMMENT

smartuts JAN 08 2011

i must try it..thx for great tutorialREPLY TO COMMENT

Cgbaran JAN 08 2011

I will try it soon thanksREPLY TO COMMENT

michael lewis JAN 12 2011

hi i have downloaded the crack brushes file but i can not find any of the brushes and i do not no how to download them. what do i do after i have downloaded the file on to my macbook thanksREPLY TO COMMENT

Sharon Steele FEB 13 2011

Great tutorial :-) ThanksREPLY TO COMMENT

Alan MAY 30 2011

I get to the part were Im removing the large chunks and I get stuck. Im not seeing the color image underneath. Any suggestions?REPLY TO COMMENT

Samantha Gadget SEP 21 2011

I really enjoyed doing this. Thanks so muchREPLY TO COMMENT

Deepak Suryavanshi SEP 23 2011

Amasing use of photoshop for creating wonder!!! interesting tutorial , thanks a lot.REPLY TO COMMENT

satar DEC 28 2011

Thanks so much. very goodREPLY TO COMMENT

Juan JAN 21 2012

Cool tutorial.. Shyts hard i got frustrated and quit but i will try it again, one day when im a lil more advancedREPLY TO COMMENT

mohammad MAR 30 2012

thank seem interesting i will try it.can u send me another tutorial on my email? [EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED]


blackmondays APR 01 2012

I am having trouble with applying the mask, with the ROCK TEXTURE layer. It is just greyed out and I cannot apply it. Any suggestions?REPLY TO COMMENT