Step 1For the purpose of this tutorial you can use the same photo as we did, or you can just follow along with another photo of yours. Go to and download Stock 44 by The1stGrape-stock. Then open it up in Photoshop – put it on a new layer, named Original.
Step 2Now, this girl’s face is actually pretty clean. But if you want you can go ahead and remove any strawberry-marks and the scar in her forehead using the Spot Healing Brush Tool or the Clone Stamp Tool. Use the Clone Stamp Tool at low opacity if you also want to remove some of her make-up. Then use the Smudge Tool and add some noise if necessary to make the edits seem more natural.
Step 3In the coming steps we will make the girl’s hair a bit brighter, more like pure white. Duplicate the Original layer, so that you do not mess things up Now working on the copy, go to Image > Calculations. Use the settings below to create a new selection. Then create a new layer Hair and fill the selection with white.
Step 4Create a Layer Mask for the layer Hair. Fill it with black and start brushing the Layer Mask with a white color to reveal the white stand of hair. Duplicate the Hair layer to balance the effect (adjust its opacity to a good level). Group both the hair layers, then click the eye to hide the group.
Step 5Right-click on the Original Copy layer and click “Convert to Smart Object”. This will allow us to apply filters in a non-destructive way (which is way cool). If you do not have CS3 or later, you will have to apply the filters in the classic way. Start with Filter > Stylize > Glowing Edges, then Sharpen > Sharpen.
Step 6Add a Levels Adjustment Layer to balance the contrast, place it below the Hair group. Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer on top of everything.
Step 7Duplicate the fx layer (Original copy), set its blending mode to Screen and lower the opacity a bit. If you used Smart Object, then change the Edge Width of Glowing Edges to 2 for this layer.
Step 8Hide both Adjustment Layers, then create a new layer on top of everything and Stamp Visible (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E). Name the layer FX Masked. You can now group Original copy and Original copy 2 into FX and hide this group. Also, show the Hair layer.
Step 9Add a Layer Mask to FX Masked. Using a black brush, start brushing the mask so that the girl’s face is becoming visible. Also, all the hair should be masked out so that it does not look so unreal. This could take some time to get it right. Use soft brushes of various sizes. You can use the Smudge Tool to smudge the mask a bit in some places to get a better transition effect. Continue until you have something that you like. I am going for a half man (woman) / half robot kind thing here.
Step 10Add a new Layer just under the top Black & White Adjustment Layer, name it Black Fills. Grab a soft brush with low opacity, start brushing areas to indicate shadows. This will make her face “pop” a bit more in the picture. Below are my drawn areas indicated in red.
And here it is in black.
Step 11Now you can extend the canvas size if you would like to. Do this by going to Image > Canvas Size. I changed the width to 4000, so that I get some room to work with.
Hide the Hair group, the Original layer and make sure the background layer is all black. All that is showing now is the white outlines, right? Good! Go to Channels and click the icon in the bottom saying “Load channel as selection”, then go back to the Layers palette, create a new layer and fill it with white.
Double-click the layer and add a bit of white outer glow to it. Duplicate the layer, increase the size of the outer glow and lower the opacity of the layer. Group the two outer glow layers into Outline Glow.
Step 12Generate a fractal using Apophysis, or simply download a brush pack with fractals from DeviantArt. Place it in line with the hand, wrap it with the transform tool and use the Smudge Tool to fine tune the bends.
Adding more fractals (both white and black will give you some really cool results).
Step 13Now for the coloring, add a Color Balance Adjustment Layer. Place it just below the Outline Glow group.
Step 14Create a new layer Giant Light, below your fractals layers. Set the Blending Mode to Screen and Opacity to about 10%. Set the FG color to a bright blue. Use the Gradient Tool to create a huge Radial Gradient that extends from the left hand bottom corner way out the scene (bright blue to transparent).
Step 15Use this technique with Radial Gradients and Blending Mode set to Screen to add some more light effects. I suggest you put each gradient on a separate layer and put them all in one group.
Step 16Create a new layer on top of everything and Stamp Visible (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E). Then select Filter > Distort > Glass.
Step 17Set the Blending Mode of the Layer to Screen. Add a Layer Mask for the and mask out everything except for a wide stripe to the left of her right cheek.