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horsethumb200

Final Image

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

Step 1

Today we’re going to create a composition around the theme of ‘horses’. Horses are beautiful majestic creatures, and make a great subject for designs.

Start by creating a document (600X600px).

Download this cloud photo and paste it into your document.

Step 2

Now apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer and a levels adjustment layer, in order to give your cloud background a washed out appearance.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -100
Lightness: +80

Levels Adjustment Layer:

46 / 1.20 / 255

Step 3

Paste in this photo of a horse. Position it in the right of your canvas:

Step 4

Now use your pen tool or lasso tool to cut out the horse from it’s background.

Notice how I didn’t cut out each individual hair on it’s mane, as this would take far too long. Instead, I simply cut away these hairs, leaving the edge of my selection a solid area of hair.

Step 5

Now paste your original horse image back into your document, this time making sure your horse is below your cutout.

Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 40%. You should see the areas of your horse and mane that were cut away in the last step.

Step 6

Now select your cut out horse layer, and select your ‘smudge’ tool. Set this to 85% strength, and begin smudging out the edges of your horse’s hair, using your underlying 40% opacity layer as a guide. You can see the effect of this below:

Step 7

Now apply hue/saturation, levels and curves adjustment layers. With each adjustment layer go to layer>apply clipping mask. This way your adjustments will only effect your horse layer.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -80
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer:

14 / 0.75 / 230

Curves Adjustment Layer:

(see settings below):

Step 8

Now cut/paste this image of a horse into your document. Repeat the previous steps to cut it out correctly. This image of simpler though, so requires less work with the smudge tool:

Step 9

Now apply hue/saturation, levels and curves adjustment layers. With each adjustment layer go to layer>apply clipping mask. This way your adjustments will only effect your horse layer.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -100
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer:

29 / 1.00 / 241

Curves Adjustment Layer:

(see settings below):

Step 10

Now download this drips and splats photoshop brush set.

Apply the various brushes in the set on a new layer BENEATH your horse layers called ‘behind horse splats’. Make sure to apply the brushes at around 25% opacity:

Step 11

Now repeat this technique, but on a new top layer called ‘above horse splats’. Use 10% opacity brushes for this layer, building them up gradually over your horse composition.

Step 12

Create a new layer called ‘radial gradient behind horses’ beneath your horse layers, but above your background layers.

Drag out a white-transparent radial gradient between your two horse heads:

Step 13

Now create a layer called ‘above horses radial gradients’. Obviously create this layer above your horse layers.

Drag out a couple of white-transparent radial gradients over various parts of your horses. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 60%:

Step 14

Now create a layer called ‘gold radial gradients’, as a top layer.

Drag out radial gradients over your horses, that range from f2cd1d to transparent. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce the layer opacity to 30%.

Step 15

Now create a new layer called ‘gold radial gradients small’. Repeat the previous step, but this time creating smaller gradients, over more specific parts of your horses (the eyes, ears etc…). Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘soft light’ and reduce it’s opacity to 50%.

Step 16

Now create a new layer beneath your horses layers but above your background layers. Call this layer ‘bar behind’. Use your lasso tool to create an abstract shape spanning across the height of your canvas.

Then fill this shape with a linear gradient ranging from 4e3750 to 766d7a.

Finally, reduce this layer’s opacity to 50%.

You’ll notice that our newly created lighting effects will effect this bar shape (such as the gold gradients).

Step 17

Repeat this step, creating another ‘bar’ shape, this time reducing this layer’s opacity to 35%.

Step 18

Now create a layer called ‘lines’ (just above your ‘behind bars’ layers, but below your horse layers still). Use your line tool to create a range of 1px white lines all over your canvas. Then rasterize each of these lines layers and merge them into one:

Step 19

Create a new layer called ‘bars above horses’. Create some bars just as you did before, this time reducing your layer opacities to 50%:

Step 20

Now apply some final adjustment layers to complete your composition. I applied a gradient map, photo filter, curves, and hue/saturation adjustment layer:

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer:

Gradient ranging from: 290a59 to ff7c00.
Layer opacity: 9%

Photo Filter Adjustment Layer:

Filter: Cool Filter 82
Density: 10%
Layer Opacity: 100%

Curves Adjustment Layer:

(see curves settings below):

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -20
Lightness: 0

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome. Click the image below for a full-sized version:

VIP Download

Download the original .psd file for this tutorial here:

DOWNLOAD .PSD FILE

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