Overlays – The Photoshop Tutorial

Image 1: The end product.

As I promised last monday, a tutorial on how to make these “artworks” of your photo’s in Photoshop. So, what do we need to create this kind of shots?

The Thinking Part

Image 2: The original

We start off by just taking a look at the photo and by asking ourselves,: “Will this photo benefit from these technique, and if so, what kind of structures do I want to use on this photo?” So to to start off, take a look at image 2 (click on the images to enlarge), which is the regular portrait, edited with the bleach bypass setting of Lightroom. This photo gave me an urban feeling, so to enhance this photo I started looking for images of structures which I could use. For the structures I personally use www.textureking.com, which offers an enormous amount of royalty free textures.


The Photoshop part

Image 3: The Layers panel

Now the real fun begins. To start, open the photo you want to edit in photoshop. For this photo I chose first of all this texture, which I copied with the right-click menu, and pasted, on top of the photo in Photoshop with Cmd-V. When you open up your layers panel (bottom right, or by going to Window => Layers) you should see image 3.


Image 4

Since you now only see the upper photo (image 4) we’re gonna change a few settings. The real magic behind this technique is the use of blending modes, opacity and layer masks. The first thing to do to see the original photo through is change the blending mode (see image 5,6). There’s isn’t a golden setting which always works, all I can say is just give it a try. In this case, I settled for the Hard Light setting, which shows the texture, but still in a bit harsh matter.

Image 5


Image 6

After that, we can change the Opacity to show more or less of the layer. This setting can be seen at the top of the layers panel (see image 7) which, when you click on it gives you a slider with which you can change the setting. This all has to be done by feeling, so once again no golden rules. In this case it felt right by 71%, after which the photo looks like image 8.


Image 7

Image 8

Layer Masks

Image 9

The most noticable right now is the large crack on top of the model. To get rid of this we’re gonna use Layer masks. First of all click on the layer in the Layers panel, and after that click on the small square with a circle in it icon at the bottom of the layers panel (see image 9). This creates a mask with which we can hide and reveal certain parts of the image. To remember what a layer mask does, the rule is pretty simple. Black hides, white reveals. So any part of your layermask which is black hides that part of the layer, while any white parts are visible in the layer. Gray is also possible, which is partially revealing.

Image 10

To hide the crack make sure that the mask is filled with white (use the paint bucket tool with white as foreground colour), so that you can see the entire layer. After that select a large brush, and make sure that the foreground color is set to Black. Now it’s really handy to have a Wacom tablet at your hands, since we’re gonna paint away the concrete layer over the face, by brushing white over it. Keep on painting until you’re happy. When you think you’ve painted away too much, switch the foreground color to white to show certain parts of the image again. When finished, it should look like image 10.

As an additional setting I’ve tamed down the colors of the concrete somewhat by adding a black and white layer. To only apply it to the concrete layer, right click on the adjustment layer, and click on Create Clipping Mask . In this way the layer only applies to the layer directly beneath it.

Again with another textured layer

Image 11

Image 12: The Layers panel at the end

After that I added this texture, set the Blending mode to Lighten (after trial and error) and also used a layer mask to brush away certain parts. (See image 11) Also I changed the color using a hue saturation mask to give it a bit more friendly look, and made that into a Clipping Mask. When you’ve done all of that, your layers panel will look like image 12.

And that’s all there is to make it all happen. So now you know how to do it, make it happen for yourself. Pick one of your own images and give it a try, be as creative as you can, and when you’re finished, share it with us in the comments section.

All that’s left to say now, Enjoy the weekend, and check back monday for more.