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Members Area Tutorial: Create the Beautiful Digital Masterpiece ‘Mesmerized’

Today you will receive an insight into the workflow of world renowned digital artist Kevin Roodhorst.

He will walk you through how he created his popular composition ‘Mesmerized’, giving you a never before seen insight into his professional workflows and techniques.

This tutorial is specifically aimed at more advanced Photoshop users, and focused more on the workflows, concepts and visual aims behind this type of high-end composition. Not every step will be broken down into minute detail, but you will be walked through the stages of creation, and gain an understanding of how to construct this type of work.

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Resources Used In This Tutorial

Step 1

Start with a new document a4 size with 300DPI.

Fill it with black.

Place the stock photo of the model in the center of the document.

Step 2

Cutout the model by using a layer mask and the brushtool.

Step 3

Now I clipped 5 adjustmentlayers onto the model for more contrast and better colors. I just experimented until I’ve got a result I was satisfied with. (see screenshots of the adjustment layers below).

Step 4

Now it’s time to add the abstract shapes. I created these shapes by using the pen tool and then brushing into the selection. If you’re not happy with the result you can use liquify to transform it a bit.

The diagrams below help to demonstrate my work flow for creating these abstract shapes:

Step 5

In this step I added more shapes using the same method as step 4.

Step 6

With a soft brush I brushed a but of dust/smoke onto the background with the layer set to 20% opacity.

Step 7

In this step i added some lights to the abstract shapes. I did this using the brush tool and putting the layer blendingmode to SCREEN with 75% Opacity.

Step 8

Now we’re going to add more lights to the shapes by using the pentool again.

Once you’ve a selection made with your pen tool brush into the selection with your brush set to 50% opacity.

Experiment until you’ve something you’re happy with. I can spend hours doing this.

Step 9

Now we’re going to add some shapes around the model. 2 circles made with the selection tool and again the brushtool. I blurred one of the circles for more depth I did this with the gaussian blur filter. Some of the shapes are transformed with liquify.

Feel free to experiment with the liquify tool, you can achieve amazing results.

Step 10

In this step I added 2 more abstract shapes. I made them using the round selection tool and brushed into it but instead of using liquify I used Filter-Distort-Wave.

There are no ‘right’ settings to use for this step, but rather you should experiment with the filter settings to achieve a nice looking, random result. The diagrams below show how the abstract shapes created in Step 4 can be distorted into a wavy abstract shape.

Most of the time working on this creation I experimented.

Step 11

I added some stars around the model by using a small round brush and in the brush settings I turned on shape dynamics and scattering and adjust the spacing.

When finished with the stars double click on the layer to bring up the blending options and add some outerglow.

I used white light with a opacity of 30%.

Step 12

Now I added some stardust/nebula. I used a stockphoto for this (see the resource section for this tutorial).

I added a layermask to the stardust stockphoto and filled it with black and then brushed with white to reveal the stardust where I wanted it.

At the end I sharpend the dust a bit by using the sharpen tool.

Step 13

In this step I brushed some clouds into her back/shoulders. I did this by using a stockphoto (see resources section for this tutorial).

Again using a layermask just like step 12.

I changed the layer blending mode to screen 75% opacity.

Step 14

I added 2 abstract twirls again by experimenting with the WAVE-FILTER. The opacity of the two layers are 70%.

Step 15

I added some particles and dust around the model. I did this by using the brush tool with shape dynamics turned on.

Step 16

In this step I made the abstract shape on her face. I painted a couple of strokes with a hard brush and the used liquify to position them on her face.

To get this nice color effect put the layer to screen with 85% opacity.

Step 17

With the motion-blur filter I blurred some lines to give it more motion.

Again I experimented until I’ve got some nice blurred waves.

Step 18

I added more Lines to her face by using the motion blur-filter.

Draw some lines and add motion blur.

To position it you can use liquify.

Step 19

Added more shapes around her with the liquify tool in combination with the selection and brush tool.

Step 20

In this step I added some haze around the model by using a soft brush with a purple color and the layer set to screen with 15% opacity.

Step 21

I used an exposure adjustment layer to darken the objects around her and focus in the middle.

Step 22

To add more colors I added an curves adjustment layer set to color-mode 50% opacity.

Step 23

Another adjustment layer this time a channel-mixer set to Lighten-mode with 30% opacity.

Step 24

I needed brighter lightning so i added a exposure adjustmentlayer set to normal with 50% opacity.

Step 25

I added a title: Mesmerized.

I choose this title because the look her her face. She looks mesmerized by the beautiful things around her.

Step 26

I looked at the overal picture and wasn’t satisfied yet. So I added another channel-mixer adjustment to add more warm colors.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I’ve showed you a couple of cool techniques and combinations between adjustment layers. When I create something it’s all about experimenting. Thank you for reading!

And We’re Done!

Here is how your final result should look.

Leave a comment


  1. Jose Luis says:


    It’s not very clear for me the way you make the abstract forms. Could you please make more steps in order to understand it better?


    • fanextra says:

      Hi Jose.

      Thanks for commenting. I’m afraid Kevin has explained the abstract forms as clearly as he could in this tutorial. I’ve talked with him for you, and he was clear that they were created literally just using the pen tool to create abstract shaped selections, and then brushing within these to create shading/gradients. To create the sharper highlights simply use a new pen tool selection and paint in a highlight using a lighter colored brush.
      I know that it looks like a really complex outcome but it literally is this simple, it really just takes some experimentation to get it right.

      I hope this helps, and please let me know if you need more info.

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