Creating something new is always about combining techniques used in the past separately. The number of combinations in Photoshop is endless and that is why you should never stop exploring and experimenting. In this tutorial we are going to combine 2d and 3d design techniques to design ornamental elements and make them look realistic. We will start with one photo and add type, ornaments and effects to it. The most time-consuming part of this tutorial is drawing the paths for the ornaments, but it is also a great way to practice working with vector shapes and the Pen tool.
This is where we got so far in the first part and now it is time to add the decorations around the text and the girl in the photo (who is by the way my lovely wife :)
This step is the most time-consuming, but probably the most creative part at the same time. You don’t have to follow exactly the design I did, feel free to create something different in your own style. All you need to do is to use the Pen tool to draw in Shape mode and keep adding shapes to the same Shape layer by using the Combine Shapes mode.
In the image above, you can see the two most important options circled in red. Once you set these up, you are ready to start drawing with the Pen tool. If you haven’t used if before, you might find it difficult to get used to it but believe me, it’s worth the effort. Basically you need to practice drawing curves and edit them with the Direct and Path Selection tools. Here is a useful intro to using the Pen tool and getting familiar with the definitions associated with it:
When you draw shapes in Combine Shapes mode, you will have several paths in one Shape layer. They can still be selected separately, but it will just keep your Layers panel cleaner and more organized. However, if you draw lots of little details using lots of separate paths, than you might need to create several shape layers to be able to use 3d effects on them later. Rendering too many details can be too complicated for Photoshop and it might ask you to simplify your paths. The solution for this is to limit your Shape layers to max 20 paths. When you want to create a new Shape layer, just switch the Path operation to New layer. I used three separate layers for my design. I used white as my Fill color.
This time you have to repeat the same techniques you used in the previous part on the text but apply them on the shapes you created. If you use the Path Selection tool and select the shapes you created, you can choose 3d > New 3d Extrusion from Selected Path option from the menu.
If you used several Shape layers then you have to repeat the same step on all of them until you turned every part of your decoration into 3d. Once you are ready, you can rasterize these layers just like we did on the text layer in the previous part.
Again this step is the same process discussed in the previous part separating the front of the text and the body into two layers. Using a duplicate of the original photo clipped (press Command-Option-G (Mac) / Control-Alt-G (PC) while having the duplicate layer selected) onto the front of the shapes. Then use Hue/Saturation adjustment layers with Colorize option to change the colors of some shapes. Here again you can be creative and use any color combinations you like, you don’t have to follow my design.
What can help blending everything together and make your design even more colorful is using some blurred colored circles on top of everything and using the Color blend mode on them. First, what you need to do is to create a new empty layer on top of all your layers. By this time you will probably have many layers so it is good to keep them organized. Use Layer Groups and name your layers on the way to make it easier later to find anything specific. Once you have your new layer, you can draw an elliptical selection. Make it big but try to keep its edges inside your canvas. When you are ready choose a color for the foreground color swatch and then press Option-Backspace (Alt-Backspace on PC) to fill the selection with the color you chose.
Once you have the colored circle on the separate layer, you can Deselect your selection (Command/Control-D) and choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. For the blur effect radius, choose something high like 150 pixels or more to assure that soft edges.
All you need to do now is to set the blend mode of the circle layer to Color and perhaps change its Opacity if you want a bit more faded effect:
You can then repeat this effect with several colored circles until you feel like your composition is colorful enough and all the elements blend well together.
Finally, you can colorize the sunglasses with another Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. To make sure you only affect the sunglasses use a layer mask. The whole mask should be filled with black and only the sunglasses should be set to white. You can also add some life onto the 3d design in the background by using other images (I used a lizard, but again feel free to do whatever you feel works for your design)
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and well done for your hard work :)