Create A Dark Abstract Crow Photo Manipulation

What you’ll be creating

We’ll start this tutorial by creating a black and white background, then adding model and doing some retouch on her. We’ll also create disintegration effect for the hair with the help of debris brushes. Then we’ll add other elements, such as feathers, watercolor brushes, crow and more debris. Finally we’ll add and draw some abstract decoration for model to complete this tutorial. You’ll need Photoshop CS3 or newer to follow the process.


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document with size of 3307×2480 px and fill it with white. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer. Hit G to active Gradient Tool and choose Radial Gradient with color #d5d5d5 and white (#ffffff). Drag a line from the left to right:


Step 2

Go to Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Curves and decrease the lightness:


Press B to active Brush Tool and vary brush opacity from 20 to 100%. Choose Curves layer mask and paint to reduce the dark on the parts shown on screenshot below:



Step 3

Extract model and place her at the left of our main canvas:


Step 4

Click the second button at the bottom of Layer Pallete to add mask to model layer. First I used soft black brush to remove hard edges of the hair, shoulder, neck (don’t paint too much, just enough to make the edges softer). Then I painted with debris brushes on these masked edges to create a disintegration effect there. With debris brushes, I changed settings for them (press F5 to do it) as shown below:


You can choose different brushes to paint.. Here is result on my layer mask and result on picture:


Step 5

Open model stock again. Use Lasso Tool (L) to copy the hair part then put it behind the model on our main picture. Use Warp Tool (Edit-Transform-Warp) to bend this hair a little:


Add layer mask to this one with debris brushes:


Step 6

Make model and hair layers selected then press Cmd/Ctrl+G to make group for them. Change the mode of this group from Pass Through (default group mode) to Normal 100%. On hair layer, go to Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Gradient Map and pick default colors (black and white) to desaturate the model:



Photoshop Tutorials

Free Download: Create Retro 3D Typography From Any Plain Text

Video Demonstration

The Answer to Boring Flat Text

Make any boring text look better in one click with these Photoshop actions. They turn boring text into amazing retro typography and it’ll only take a couple seconds to do.




Free vs Pro Edition

The free edition has 6 actions which include the flat, bold outline, and contrast styles. The pro edition has a total of 37 actions with all the styles.



Download 3D Retro Text Creator

After downloading the action, double-click the ATN file to load the actions. The actions will appear in your Actions panel. For more details, read our guide on how to use Photoshop actions.

Photoshop Tutorials

Create a Photo Manipulation of Alice in Wonderland

What you’ll be creating

To create this image of Alice, we’ll start by creating the atmosphere and the main stage in the form of road maps. Next, we’ll add we begin to add items as teapots, cups of little cards and other. Finally, we’ll finish it up with a image correction and adding effects. You’ll need any version of Photoshop, inspiration and good mood!

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Start by creating! Create a new document. Go to File > New or the short key Ctrl+ N. A blank document with size of 2000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels high. I named the document “Alice”.

Step 2

Let’s start off adding the sky to our manipulation. Go to File > Place and select the image of the sky.

Step 3

After addition of the sky, then stretch, as shown in Figure. To transform the sky, press Ctrl+ T or go to Edit > Transform > Scale. Pull the black cubes in the corners formed frame.

Step 4

To the sky was brighter and stood out edges of the clouds, I added an adjustment layer to the sky. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness / Contrast or button in the Layers palette and set the settings: Brightness 13, Contrast 13.

Step 5

Then add another layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. These layers make a sunset sky.

Set the settings: Filter – Warming Filter (85), Density: 17.

Step 6

Then add another layer> New Adjustment Layer > Hue/ Saturation.

This layer will make the color more vivid sunset.

Set the settings: Saturation: +13, Lightness: +1 Now the sky is brighter with a strong color that gives unusual picture
At this stage, work with the background sky will be over.

Step 7

I did not like the sky of the source file, so I decided to replace it with a more beautiful and bright.

Add image sky File > Place.

Transform it to fit the document. Then, to remove the sharp transition between the background and a new heaven, add a layer mask:

Step 8

Choose a brush and set with the settings: Size: 500px, Hardness: 0%, Opacity: 50% Flow: 100%.

Step 9

Required Click D on keyboard to restore color and black painting on the layer mask, removing the sharp transition of the sky to the horizon.

Done! At this stage, the scene is complete. I am satisfied with the brightness of the sky and a smooth transition and the resulting scene. Here is how it should turn out. Do not forget to save your work process result hitting the short keys Ctrl+ S! Getting to the creation of the road playing cards!

Step 10

Download playing cards. Opening playing cards stocks in Photoshop by hitting the short keys Ctrl+ O or File > Open. This will lead us to the folder in the computer where we have saved the image.

Step 11

Next, we will cut out playing cards of the image. Take the lasso tool in the tool panel. We will use this tool to cut out the part.

Step 12

Highlight the desired card and press Refine Edge. Change the blending mode to Overlay (V).

So you can see where you select the unwanted piece of playing card and highlight deficiencies in the form of a white background. You can remove them by selecting the brush in this window.

Now set the settings as shown in the photo to remove the bumps and smooth edge selection.

After applying, copy Ctrl+ C cards and go to document our work.

Step 13

Create a group. Click on the Layers panel and call it “Cards”.

There insert the card. Pressing Ctrl+ V.

Step 14

After you move all the cards to the project, start them from the road. Put a few cards in the bottom left corner. You can change the size and slope hitting the short keys Ctrl+ T.

For ease of installation, unnecessary layers can turned off by clicking on the eye icon in the Layers panel. To put the right card over the other, move the layer to the desired card above the lower card. To do this, in the Layers palette, select the desired layer, grab it and move it up or down.

To road looked realistic, you arrange the cards with the slope, you can turn some and arrange them receding into the distance.

Does not necessarily have to follow my drawing. Create your own version if you want.

Photoshop Tutorials

How to Use Photoshop Actions

Step 1 – Installing Your Actions

Before you learn how to create your own Photoshop actions, it’s important for you to try it first and see what they can do. Head over to our Photoshop Actions section and download some actions to try out. You can pick any action but we’ll be using the Instant Hipster actions to demonstrate this tutorial.

ATN vs ZXP files

Sometimes when you download any Photoshop action, you’ll get an ATN file, ZXP file, or both. The difference between the two is that the ATN file will load the actions directly into Photoshop while the ZXP file will install it through Adobe Extension Manager. We recommend using the ATN file because it’s the easiest.

Step 2 – Using ATN files

After you’ve downloaded an action, find the .atn file and double-click it. In Photoshop, open up your Actions panel (Window > Actions).

If you don’t see the actions, you can load it manually by clicking on the panel menu and selecting Load Actions.

Step 3 – Using ZXP files

The ZXP file isn’t always included but if it does, you can choose to install the action using Adobe Extension Manager. It’s a good idea to use Adobe Extension Manager if you plan on installing a lot of addons because you can manage them all in one place.

The number one problem people run into with Adobe Extension Manager is that they can’t find their actions. This is because you need to load them first in your Actions panel menu. In the menu, select the action that you want to load.

Step 4 – Safety Precaution

Not all Photoshop actions are safe to use! Before you use any action that you’re not familiar with, save your document. Many actions will fill your history with so many operations that you can’t undo back to your original document. There are even some actions that purposely merge your layers as a way to make it harder for you to reverse engineer their actions.


Step 5 – Playing an Action

Using the actions is easy. Simply select an action from your Actions panel then click the play button on the bottom. You’ll see the action play – let it run and you’re done! The action we used below was able to generate an exact copy of an Instagram look with just one click. Depending on the action you’re using, they sometimes have their own instructions.

Some actions like these skin retouching actions require you to paint over the skin after playing the action. With these actions, there are usually popups that give you further instructions.

Step 6 – Using Button Mode

You can switch your Actions panel to “Button Mode” which makes your actions clickable buttons. You can switch to this mode by clicking on the Actions panel menu and selecting “Button Mode”.

Additional Panel Options

There are a lot more features in the Actions panel that you can adjust. Have a look at the graphic we created below for all the details.

Final Words

Photoshop actions are great tools whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced professional. I highly recommend you trying some actions out – there are actions that do everything for you! For starters, check out our Photoshop actions section. If you want more, DeviantART has the most but be careful because some actions will merge your layers and flood your history with unnecessary steps.

Photoshop Tutorials

Free Download: Awesome Lego Mosaic Actions

One-Click Actions

You can turn your photos into brick mosaics simply by playing any action. With the “Play All Effects” action, you can simply play one action and all the effects will be prerendered for you. Watch the video below to see how it works:

There are two versions you can download; the lite and the pro. With the free lite version, you get 9 actions. Upgrade to the pro and you’ll get 40+ actions!

With these high-quality actions, all effects are created nondestructively and your original layers are untouched.

You can pick between 1×1 or 2×2 bricks. We found that the 2×2 bricks look better in most instances.

Download the Photoshop Actions

  • Nondestructive & Fully Editable Layers
  • Snapshot Prerendering
  • Photoshop Actions
  • Brick Styles
  • Color Styles

  • Lite

  • Free


  • yes
  • yes
  • 10
  • 1×1 Only
  • Standard, Full Color, and Grayscale

  • Pro

  • $ 4


  • yes
  • yes
  • 41
  • 1×1 and 2×2 Bricks
  • Standard, Full Color, High Color, and Grayscale

  • Pro

  • Free

    Requires paid SparkleStock membership

  • yes
  • yes
  • 41
  • 1×1 and 2×2 Bricks
  • Standard, Full Color, High Color, and Grayscale

Photoshop Tutorials

How to Turn Your Photos into Lego with Photoshop

Video Tutorial

Preview of Final Results

Step 1

Open any image you like into Photoshop. We recommend using an image that’s at least 2000×2000 pixels. If your image isn’t large enough, you can use the Image Size tool (Image > Image Size) to resize it up – don’t worry about getting a blurry image from upscaling because we’ll be pixelating it anyways!

I’ll be using this image from ShutterStock. Simple photos like the one below will have better results than a busy photo (ex. cityscape photo).

Step 2

Duplicate the layer so that you have a backup copy. You can duplicate your layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+J. Rename this layer to “Bricks”. Right-click on the new layer then select “Convert to Smart Object”. By converting the layer into a Smart Object, we can apply Smart Filters which give you the option of changing your settings at a later time.

Step 3

Next, go to Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic. Adjust the Cell Size setting until you can barely make out the image. This setting will determine the size of your bricks. Remember the cell size setting because we’ll need it for the next step.

Step 4

Create a new document (Ctrl/Cmd+N or File > New) with the same width and height as the cell size setting you used earlier. For example, if you used the Mosaic Filter with a cell size of 64 square, then you would create a new 64×64 pixels document.

Step 5

Press Shift+Backspace or go to Edit > Fill to open the Fill tool. In the drop down menu, select “50% Gray” then click OK.

Your document will be filled with 50% gray.

Step 6

Select the Ellipse tool (U) then create a circle in the center (the color of the circle doesn’t matter).  You can create a perfect circle by holding the shift key. Switch to the Move tool (V) to position it in the center of your document.

Step 7

Now we’re going to turn create a bevel from the circle using layer styles. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Set the fill opacity to 0 – this will make everything but your layer styles invisible.

Select and checkmark the Bevel & Emboss layer style. Set the technique to “Chisel Hard” then adjust the size so that you get a bevel thickness like shown in the image below. You can also adjust the shading angle which is 120° by default – I changed mine to 90°.

Next, enable the Drop Shadow layer style. Set the Distance to 0px then adjust the size so that it looks like the image below. Click OK to apply the layer styles when you’re done.

Step 8

We’re done creating the button in the center of the brick. Next, we’ll add a subtle bevel to the outer edge of the brick. To do this, we’re going to apply a layer style to the background layer, but before we can do that, we need to convert the Background layer into a regular layer. You can do this by double-clicking the background layer or right-clicking and choosing “Layer from Background”.

Right-click on the Background layer then choose Blending Options. Enable the Bevel & Emboss option then set the Technique to Chisel Hard and Size to 1-2px (so that it looks similar to the image below). If the bevel looks too strong, you can lower the Highlight/Shadow Opacity setting on the bottom. Click OK to apply the layer styles.

Step 9

Now we need to turn this image into a pattern. Go to Edit > Define Pattern. Name it anything then click OK.

Step 10

Close the current document without saving and switch back to your main Photoshop document. Create a new Pattern adjustment layer by clicking on the New Adjustment Layer button in your Layers panel then selecting Pattern.

Select the brick pattern then click OK.

Step 11

Change the blending mode of your layer to Linear Light. You’ll now have a brick image and this is what your photo will look like if bricks came in every color and shade.

Step 12

Because bricks don’t come in every color and shade, we need to compress it to a more limited color palette. We’ll do this with two layers; one to affect the tone and the other for the color. In your Layers panel, click on the New Adjustment Layer button then select Posterize. Move this layer below your Pattern Fill layer then change the blending mode to Luminosity. The Luminosity blend mode prevents your layer from affecting the colors in your image.


Adjust the Levels setting to anywhere from 4-8.

Step 13

Now we need to compress the saturation of the colors to a more limited range. To do this, create a new red Solid Color fill layer by clicking on the New Adjustment Layer button in your Layers panel and selecting Solid Color.

Pick any color then set the S (Saturation) to 75% and B (Brightness) to 100%. The H (Hue) can be any color. Click OK.

Move this layer below your Pattern fill layer then set the layer blending mode to Saturation.

Final Results

Here’s the final results! You can adjust the opacity of your Posterize layer if you need to bring back more tone into the image.

If you want your brick photo to look more like the official Lego Photo app, simply change the blending mode of your Posterize layer to Normal.

Download the PSD

Brick | 66.5 MB

Photoshop Action coming soon

Photoshop Tutorials

Free Download: Brilliant Photoshop Actions That Make Your Photos Look Vintage with Light Leaks

Premium Looks for your Photos

These Photoshop actions are all you need to add vintage effects to your photos. These actions run fast and uses snapshot prerendering to prerender all the effects – a huge time saver! Watch the video below for a demonstration.

The free download gives you seven photo actions (5 premium looks and 2 light leaks). Upgrade to the pro and you’ll get twenty actions; twelve premium looks and eight light leaks.

The light leaks are amazing. You’d think they’re just light leak photos that you drag and drop into your photo – but they’re not. They are all created using gradients which means that they’re easy to use and they work on photos of any size.

All layers are fully editable and the actions are compatible with both 8-bit and 16-bit RGB photos. There’s no layer merging and your original layers are left untouched. If you do video editing in Photoshop, these actions are also compatible with your video clips.

Download the Photoshop Actions

  • Vogue
  • Privilege
  • Wistful
  • Urbane
  • Aquamarine
  • Darkroom
  • Evocative
  • Peril
  • Strike
  • Summertide
  • Polaroid
  • Tangerine
  • Light Leaks
  • Works with Video
  • 16-bit RGB Support

Photoshop Tutorials

Create a Surreal, Emotional Underground Scene Photo Manipulation

Preview of Final Results


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document with size of 900×1125 px and fill it with black. Open soil 1 image. Use Move Tool (V) to drag it into our black canvas, choose Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform it as shown below:


Step 2

Click the second button at the bottom of Layer Panel to add mask to this one. Use soft black brush with opacity about 60-70% to erase some parts of the underground. You can see the result on layer mask and result on picture:



Step 3

To darken this underground, I used a Curves layer with Clipping Mask. On underground layer, choose Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Curves:


On Curves layer mask use black brush with opacity about 10-15% to reduce the lightness on the part near foreground:



Step 4

I added a Levels layer to change the contrast a little:


I used black brush to erase the foreground:



Step 5

I made a Hue/Saturation layer to reduce saturation of the underground:


Step 6

Isolate model from background and place her on the underground (feel free use your own stock).


Step 7

I don’t like the shirt model wearing so I’ll repaint it. Make a new layer (Clipping Mask), use hard brush with color #fbfbfb to fill the shirt:


I named this layer “clothes base”. We’ll be adding more details to it later.

Step 8

Use Curves to darken the model :


I added a Levels layer to fix the contrast there:


On Levels layer mask use brush to erase on some part of the model to get proper light and shadow:



Step 9

Apply Hue/Saturation to match her with the scene:



Step 10

Now we’ll pay attention to the clothes. Create a new layer, fill with 50% gray and change the mode to Overlay:


Take Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 25-30% to darken the clothes. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and result with Overlay mode:



Step 11

Make a new layer with same settings, use Dodge and Burn Tool to create details of the wrinkles for the clothes. I’ve tried to achieve a silky, soiled look (as she is sitting on the underground ) and you can see my results as a reference:



Step 12

Make a new layer under model one. Use soft black brush with opacity about 30% to create shadow for model clothes, legs on the ground:


Step 13

To give the model more “dirty” look, choose wood texture, use Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection :


Place this part on the model and use Warp Tool (Edit-Transform-Warp) to bend this part a little:


Change the mode of this layer to Soft Light 100%:


Photoshop Tutorials

How to Create an Infernal Scene in Photoshop

Preview of Final Results

final result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

First off create a new blank document (Ctrl+N) with size of 2000 pixels wide and 2424 pixels high.


Take gradient tool in the tool panel and choose linear gradient. We will fill the blank document with gradient color. Make sure to set the foreground color to #151723 and the background to #423e43. Fill the document by hold-clicking and dragging the tool from the top to bottom of the document.


Step 2

Next place the fenestra image in the document.


Activate the free transform tool (Ctrl+T) to scale the image up. Position it in such way that the window of it becomes the main part of the background.



Step 3

Proceed to alter the color of the wall. We will do this by just simply duplicating the original image four times. Set the original image to multiply blending at 100% opacity, the first duplicate to screen blending at 20% opacity and the other three duplicates to soft light blending at 100% opacity. Finally select all the layers and hit Ctrl+G to put them in a folder. I named this folder wall.


Here is what we will have:


Select the original layer within the folder and give it a layer mask. Take a very soft round brush to mask the upper part of this image as indicated by the red color in the screenshot.


Proceed to select the first duplicate layer and give it a layer mask as well. With soft round brush, mask area around the lower part of the window.


Here is the result should be:


Step 4

Open the raven image and extract it from its background.


Add the raven to the main document. Scale its size and place it on the chair.


With the raven layer still selected, go to layer > new adjustment layers > hue/saturation. Make sure to give this hue/saturation layer a clipping mask by checking ‘Use The Previous Layer To Create A Clipping Mask’ in the new layer option box.


Here is the value of the hue/saturation should be set. Select the raven and hue/saturation layer and put them in a folder. I named this folder raven.


Photoshop Tutorials

Free Download: Photoshop Actions to Turn Night Photos into Twilight Photos

Video Demonstration

Pro vs Lite

The lite version is a fully functioning Photoshop action that will turn your night time photo into a twilight photo. For more features, upgrade to the Pro version and get additional actions with different twilight colors, actions to help brighten the sky, and more!

The lite version includes the Twilight effect. Upgrade to the pro version for the Teal and Deep Twilight effects.

You can increase/decrease the twilight effect simply by adjusting the layer opacity.

The effect works automatically and in most instances, there are no further adjustments needed.

The pro version includes an action to brighten the sky for an even better twilight look.

Download Night to Twilight Photoshop Actions

  • Twilight
  • Twilight +
  • Twilight ++
  • Teal Twilight
  • Teal Twilight +
  • Teal Twilight ++
  • Deep Twilight
  • Deep Twilight +
  • Deep Twilight ++
  • Brighten Dark Skies
  • Auto DRI

Photoshop Tutorials