Learn how to create this creative mixed-media composition in Photoshop! You will learn how to combine different graphic elements with extensive use of layer masks. This is a great tutorial for designers who want to experiment with a more modern approach to digital collages.
Preview of Final Results
Create a Mixed Media Style Design In Photoshop
- Water Splash SXC
- Male Head – SXC
- Paint Splatter – SXC
- Tulip Petals – SXC
- Star Brushes – Qbrushes
- Grunge Brushes – Qbrushes
- Patterned Spheres – Media Militia
- Hot air Balloons – Media Militia
- Stag – Mediamilitia
- Paint texture – Mediamilitia
- Model – Deviantart
- Flames – Deviantart
Let’s create a blank document similar to these dimensions.
A subtly textured background works well than a plain one. Locate the paint texture and bring it into Photoshop. Drag and drop it into the composition.
Desaturate the texture (Ctrl+Shift+U). You may need to resize the texture to fit the document.
Adjust the layer Opacity and blending to make it subtle. Double click on the layer thumbnail to load Blending Options dialog box.
We now need to create several shapes that will define the overall design and contain other graphic elements. Set the color to #000000. Let’s Start off from the middle by drawing a circle with the Ellipse Tool. Choose the Shape layers option on the Options panel. Working with shape layers is very productive and time saving. They are resolution independent and can transform them without losing any quality.
Draw this shape using the Rectangle Tool. Edit the corner with the Direct Selection Tool.
Press Ctrl+T, rotate the shape by -45 degrees. Use the Info palette see to see the properties.
Reposition the shape. Duplicate the layer a couple of times. Stack the layers in this manner.
Now construct the bottom side.
Create another circle outside the main circle. Duplicate the circle ( Ctrl+J ). Scale it approximately by 145%. Hold Alt+Shift while scaling to maintain the center point.
We need to punch a hole in the circle. Click on the Vector Mask thumbnail. Copy the path by pressing Ctrl+C and hit Ctrl+V to paste. Press Ctrl+T and scale it down to 80%.
Select the inner circle, on the Options Panel click on “Exclude overlapping shape areas” button to punch hole in the circle.
We don’t need the whole circle but a portion of it. Hide the rest with a layer mask.
Create another circle bigger than the outer one. Just as before, duplicate the middle circle, place it below the rest.
Cut hole in the circle.
I want to use this part of the circle, hide rest of it.
Create a new layer above the cut circle. Use the Pencil Tool with 1px diameter to create the pattern. Select it with the Marquee Tool. Choose Edit > Define Pattern.
Clip the pattern layer to the circle layer. The shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+G.
Duplicate the circle and delete the Layer Mask. Delete the inner circle.
Reduce the fill opacity to zero. Then Apply stroke.
Hide part of the circle with a layer mask.
Open up the model stock image in Photoshop. Isolate the subject from the background. Use the Pen Tool to select the subject, pay some attention while selecting the hair.
Apply Unsharp Mask ( Filter > Blur > Smart Blur ).
Ctrl+click on the circle vector mask to load selection. Click on the Add layer mask button to add mask.
Reveal some more portion of the model.
Reveal rest of the image.
Color correct the image using Curves and Vibrance adjustment layers.
Load the stag ( img035 ) into Photoshop. You need to change the image mode to RGB from Index. Choose Image > Mode > RGB. Then drag it into the design. Invert the image ( Ctrl+I )
Place it behind the model. Change blend mode to Lighten.
Open up the male head stock. Desaturate the image. Adjust brightness and contrast using the Curves command.
Drop the image into composition. Resize and flip horizontally.
Change the blend mode to Multiply.
Duplicate the head layer and invert it.
Load selection from the circle in the middle and use it to mask out the head negative thus showing the portion inside the circle.
Apply gradient to the outer circle.
Load the flames stock image. Copy the below one and paste above the outer circle.
Incorporate the flames into the ring. Mask out the flames using the selection from the ring.
Change blend mode to Screen. Increase flames saturation using Hue/Saturation dialog box ( Ctrl+U ).
Shrink down the flames mask to get rid of any edge artifacts caused by semi transparent pixels. Click on the flames layer mask and load Levels dialog box (Ctrl+L). Enter highest value in the mid tones field.
We now going to clip different graphic elements to the shape layers. First Load the petals stock into Photoshop. Select a petal using any selection tool. Copy and paste into main document.
Place the petal above the shape layer that we want to clip to.
Copy the splash using Lasso Tool. Paste it above another shape. Scale it down and flip horizontally.
Apply Unsharp Mask to sharpen the detail. Then clip it to the layer below.
Load the grunge brushes into the brushes palette. Pick a grunge brush and apply a stroke.
Clip the paint stroke to the shape layer.
Add more elements. Add a sphere from the pack.
Pick a balloon from the balloon pack.
Add butterflies from auto shapes. Or you can create your own butterfly from stock image.
Create a nice blend in Illustrator. Select the lines and press Ctrl+Alt+B.
Apply color overlay
Drop in the splatter stock image into the composition to give organic feel. Place it below the shape layers. Size down the splatter to fit the document.
Add some more enhancements. Load the star brushes into the brushes palette. Pick a brush and adjust the parameters.
Apply the brush.
Now create light streak. Make a new layer. Select a round soft brush. Set the brush size to 500px. Apply the stroke on the bottom edge of the canvas and stretch it vertically.
Place it above the star and invert it.
Rotate the streak by -45 degrees.
Add tiny highlights with the star brushes and a soft brush. Choose white as brush color.
Add some more highlights varying in size using soft brush.
Add some color.
Change the layer blend mode to Screen.
Give the model some additional treatment.
Create a new document 350 X 350 pixels. Fill the background with black. Apply Lens Flare effect (Filter > Render > Lens Flare.)
Drag and drop the lens flare into the design. Place it above the butterfly, change the blend mode to Screen.
I added a couple of color spots with the brush tool.
Add the below pattern from auto shapes palette. Modify it.
Add some lines using the Line Tool. Maintain the 45 degree angle.
Finally add Title. That’s pretty much it. Press Ctrl+0 and take a sight at the design. Should you feel anything needs a change or to be added feel free to do it, and try to be creative.