The Making of Liquid Soul


Digital artists often create stunning pieces of art by combining photographic elements with digital renderings and image adjustments. In this tutorial, author Wojciech Magierski will demonstrate how he created, Liquid Soul, a photo manipulation from his portfolio. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

Step 1

Open the woman image.

Cut out the girl from photo, using path tool (P).

Then, invert the background Command/Ctrl + I.

Now desaturate the girl and make it darker using curves Command/Ctrl + M.

Step 2

Her hands and body are still too bright, so we enter the quick mask, use the soft round brush to select the areas which are bright.

Press Q to exit the quick mask, invert selection (Command/Ctrl + I) and again use the curves Command/Ctrl + M and make these areas a little bit darker.

Use a soft round brush behind the girl, to create a source of light.

Step 3

Create a circle shape behind her head, make a selection.

Transform the selection and cut out the selected area from our shape.

Now we have our shape. Make it black Command/Ctrl + I and add a layer style.

Move it up a bit.

Step 4

Now it’s time to make a green shape behind her head. Use a round shape, fill 100% with yellow color #c6ff00, transform it to the center, add a mask and use the gradient to fade it a little bit.

Duplicate the layer, Command/Ctrl + J, and using hue/saturation, put the lightness on 0% to make it black. Now got to the green layer, make selection of it, thank right click, transform selection and cut out the center of the green shape.

Resize it a bit and make it smaller, click Command/Ctrl + T, check the chain icon and enter 97%.

Step 5

Create another shape, make selection and stroke with 2px line.

Now duplicate the line layer and call it line_2. Use the motion blur to the line_2, duplicate it again and merge, Command/Ctrl + E, change the opacity of the layer called line to 50%, than merge the two layers.

Our shape is too bright, use a quick mask, paint it with a soft round brush where you want to remove, and click Q (exit the quick mask), as you see, you made the selection, now you can remove these areas, click delete or just use a eraser tool E.

Step 6

Create an oval behind the circle layers, with solid green color, make selection, move it down, invert the selection and use hue/saturation to create a shadow on top of our shape. After that place the shape behind our circles.

Use a brush with black color to create an interesting background, change the opacity to 50%.

Add a texture too, with blending mode on screen, you can find it in our source files.

Step 7

It’s time to create our splashes. Place the stock of a splash to our canvas, isolate it from the background using path tool or wand tool, than desaturate it Command/Ctrl + Shift + U, use adjustments-auto levels and hue/saturation to increase contrast.

Now duplicate the stock splash and transform it, start to add more textures, like a red ribbon I found on, desaturate, use curves to make it dark. The same way you duplicate the splash, make it with the ribbon. Change the position and you can change the size, just play with it until you get the satisfaction.

Step 8

Create a blast behind the girl by making waves from splashes of paint. To do this, you need to transform it into the shape you like. Using auto levels and desaturate we will match it to the project, change the colour with hue/saturation and move it to the center.

Now we go the layer of a girl and add new adjustment layer - color balance. Put on it layer mask and invert Command/Ctrl + I. Now pick up eraser tool, set the foreground color white, background color black, with this options you can paint a green glow on her hand.

After that, we still keep adding splashes to the background. We take another stock photo, cut it out using path tool, desaturate, transform the shape and make it little bit darker with curves.

Duplicate the layer, change the shape of it, transform and move to the other place, but close to the girl because we want to make a composition from inside to the outside frame.

Step 9

Select the Liquify tool. Take the splash layer, click Command/Ctrl + Shift + X, and with the forward warp tool, change the shape as you want. There are no rules, just experiment, find the way you like and have fun.

Step 10

Lines on her head go from the aureole, you can create very quick and easy, just use the line tool with green color, and create a form. We want the same form on the both side so we duplicate the layer, flip horizontal and move to the right side.

We you finish the form, you can merge these layers, duplicate it and move to the right, use liquify again and create a nice green shape.

We build the form little more, so as before, we use the polygonal lasso tool and make a selection, then paint it with a round brush. We have it on new layers, so we duplicate it and flip horizontal, now it is ready to move it on right so we have the same shapes on both sides.

Step 11

We are going to create some circles around the girl, so use the ellipse tool with gradient overlay and bevel and emboss. Move it near the "blast wave".

The next step is about the stroke, so same way as before create a circle, with white solid color, make selection of it, transform a little bit and cut out measure. Hue/saturation helps to make it darker, because our project has a dark mood... add a layer style, bevel and emboss, to show the source of a light. Than move it to our little circle on the bottom.

We can merge both layers, the circle and the stroke, because we use it on the right side again, like you see on images, flip horizontal and make it smaller a little bit.

Change the color with hue/saturation, and create a little dust on the left and right side.

Step 12

Now same way as before, create a stroke on the left side, with green circle inside.

Create a green solid circle inside our stroke, and create an interesting form using selection, brush and liquify.

As you see I erase the green stroke I've created, because I want to make a fade and shadow on the left side of it.

Now you can create another circle inside, and erase it with soft round brush, opacity 32%.

Make selection, inverse the selection, move it up a little bit and make the edge darker.

Step 13

As you see, using the liquify tool I warp the green layer to create a nice form inside our circle.

I will use the form again in the center of the image and on the right side, to maintain the balance.

Make it more twisted with the liquify tool again.

Find the layer with our 3D stroke, duplicate it and take it to the right, place it in the center of the green form.

Step 14

Take a 1px hard round brush and paint green fluid flowing from our green form.

You can create some details on the left green form, like you see on the image.

Step 15

Go to the layer of a girl and make a selection around her eyes with path tool. Duplicate the layer and use the curves to brighten it up.

We want to make her eyes green of course, so we need a hue/saturation to make it happen.

Step 16

I decided to add more details on our triangle construction; so same way as before, I take a polygonal lasso tool and make selection, which I fill with green color. Then I duplicate it, flip horizontal and move to the right.

We are going to paint some sparkles. Take a soft round brush, set the brush presets, to create a sparkle brush and pick up the green color.

We paint areas near our green forms

Step 17

Green lights. We know that the forms are bright so they are releasing a green light. We add an adjustment layer hue/saturation to our girl.

Add a layer mask and invert it. Than take a soft round brush, set the foreground color white, background color black and paint areas which are illuminated.

Now you need to do the same with color balance.

One more time, add the color balance adjustment layer, set it to the green color, and start to paiting illuminated areas.

I want to make it more illuminated, so I create a new layer, take a 1px hard round brush with green color on foreground and start to paint some edges of her hand, lips and nose.

Now I think this is good looking. So we are going to the next step.

Step 18

Look closely to the girl, she's got some white light on her clothes.

I take a soft round brush, enter the quick mask and paint some areas, exit the quick mask and fill it with black solid color.

Now it's good.

Step 19

Ok we are going to create the liquid form in the center of our project.
Take the green circle from our left shape. Do the same with our 3D stroke.

Now it is time to make lines of energy, you need to take a smoke brush, with white color and transform it.

Erase a little bit and leave only the small wave and change the opacity to 40%.

You now have a layer with wave so you can duplicate it and start to build a line of energy. Use a warp tool to change the shape or position.

Step 20

It is time to paint lines with a 1px brush and green color. Don't do it on all over the project, just in the places around the liquid forms.

Keep painting the lines, but you need to focus on the composition and balance of the project. For example you can paint some more lines near the right circle.

Step 21

We can add some more details, like you see on the image, fade it with burn tool, because the source of the light is from the left side.

Duplicate it, change the size and saturation of the objects, move it to different places

You can take the smoke wave layer, and create some more energy lines

Step 22

I decided to change the color of the project, so go on the top of layers and add a hue/saturation adjustment layer.

Make it brighter with curves and erase some areas which we want to leave dark using quick mask.

Final Image

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