Today we'll be looking at how to make a quick and easy crystal texture Photoshop effect using nothing but a handful of Smart Filters! We'll also be creating a dreamy pastel color grade to pair with a gold foil frame design.
Want to create a crystal texture Photoshop even quicker? Try an action! You can make a crystallized effect with just a click of a button using the diamond texture Photoshop actions available on Envato Elements!
What You'll Learn in This Photoshop Tutorial
- How to create a Photoshop crystal effect
- How to make a diamond in Photoshop
- How to make a sapphire stone shimmer Photoshop
Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
What You'll Need
To complete this project, you will need the following resources:
- Young Woman in Pink Hoodie
- Pastel Sky 1
- Pastel Sky 2
- Pastel Blend - Gradient Backgrounds
- Zodiac Graphic Elements Kit
- Blue Crystal
1. How to Create a Quick Background in Photoshop
First, let’s start with a new canvas filled with a pastel violet color
#ddd9e8 using a Color fill layer. Turning that Color fill layer into a Smart Object by selecting the layer and Right-clicking > Convert to Smart Object.
Next, let’s go to Filter > Camera Raw > Effects and add a Grain of 40-50 and a Vignetting of -10.
Now, we’re going to use Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast to adjust the color. Set the Contrast to 100 and the Brightness to around 40.
2. How to Create a Pastel Gold Foil Design in Photoshop
For our golden frame, we’re going to chop and combine four different assets from the Zodiac Graphic Elements Kit, the first being Element 1.
Drag, drop, and center Element 1 onto the canvas. If it’s not already a Smart Object, then Right-click > Convert to Smart Object.
Go to Layer > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast, setting it to around -60 Brightness and 45 Contrast.
Now, using the Rectangular Marquee tool, select everything above the foreground mountains in the illustration.
Add a Layer Mask and then hit Control-I to Invert the Layer Mask!
We’ll be doing some final masking here soon, so don’t worry about masking too much or too little.
Next, we’re going to drag and drop the Virgo asset directly over the first element.
Hold Alt, and drag and drop the Brightness/Contrast Smart Filter from Element 1 onto the Virgo asset. And then one more time hold Alt, and drag and drop the Layer Mask from Element 1 onto the Virgo asset.
Hit Control-I to Invert the Layer Mask so that the two frames look like one.
Now, let’s drag and drop Element 17 onto the canvas. Enlarge it so that the stars fill in the horizontal space surrounding the golden frame.
Hold Control and click the layer’s icon to make a selection in the shape of the stars. And then Select > Modify > Contract by 15.
Add a Layer Mask, which will thin out the outline of the stars.
Duplicate Element 17 to add even more stars, making sure to flip and rotate them so they don’t look too repetitive.
Let’s Group all of our current gold elements, name the group Gold Foil, and then clip a New Layer into the group. Set the layer to Overlay and 50% Opacity.
And then, using a large soft round Brush set to white, let’s paint some highlights on each corner of the frame. This will help sell the “gold foil” effect.
Now, we’re going to clean up our design by masking out any details we don’t need. This includes the woman’s legs, the inner stars, and parts of the mountains.
You can also always place your subject first, and then come back and mask if you are unsure what elements to mask or keep.
In a new Group, above the Gold Foil group, drag and drop the Element 16 assets, which are gold foil mountains. Use these mountains to create a new mountain range on the gold foil design.
Repeat the same steps as with the previous gold elements, including adding highlights and adjusting the Brightness/Contrast.
Do one more round of masking to make sure the mountains and gold foil design match.
Also, create and clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer into the gold mountain group, bringing down the Saturation so that it better matches the rest of the design.
We’re going to finish up the gold design by dragging and dropping two images onto the canvas, below the gold design.
First, add the photo of a pastel sky, enlarging it significantly and adding a Blur Gallery blur of 67.
Next, add pastel 23 from the "Pastel Blend - Gradient Backgrounds" texture pack. Make sure it fills the entire canvas and set its Layer Mode to Lighten at 48% Opacity.
And finally, create a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer set to -66 Brightness and 100 Contrast.
Then we can group these three layers together and mask them so that they’re confined to the shape of the gold design.
I used both the Pen and Brush tool, but you can use whatever method you’d prefer.
3. How to a Make Crystal Effect in Photoshop
Let’s place and extract our subject between the gold foil design group and the gold mountains group. We want her to look as if she's behind the mountains.
I used Select Subject, added a Layer Mask, entered Select and Mask, and then hit the Refine Hair button for a super quick selection.
Again, use whatever your preferred method is!
We’re going to add some fast backlit hair by duplicating the subject, bringing the duplicate below the original, and then enlarging and flipping the duplicate.
Now, we can create and Clip a pastel pink
#ffe2f6 Color fill layer into the duplicated subject, masking out the rest of her body.
Next, add some quick highlights and shadows using a mixture of Softlight and Overlay layers clipped into the subject.
Use a mixture of soft and hard round brushes to add white highlights to the hair, shoulder, and hand. Add some shadows to the inner parts of the subject’s hoodie as well.
With the subject done, we can finally add our Photoshop crystallize effect! If not already, make sure your subject is a Smart Object.
We’ll be adding a total of four filters and adjustments, all added as Smart Filters.
Start with Filter > Pixelate > Crystalize, which will be the base for the diamond texture Photoshop effect. You’ll want to play with the Cell Size. I ended up liking a size of 106.
Keep in mind, you can always come back and change this later, as all Smart Filters are adjustable.
Second, Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen, setting it to a 500 Amount and a 5.4 Radius. You’ll want to make it sharp enough so that the edges of the previous filter appear to be outlined.
Third, Image > Adjustments > Color Balance set to -100, 0, and +100, turning the crystal shapes blue.
And finally, Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast set to -20 Brightness and 100 Contrast.
Now, let’s select the Smart Filters layer mask, hit Control-I to Invert it, and then carve back in some crystal shapes.
I like to use a hard round Brush as it’s quicker, but the Pen tool or the Polygonal Lasso tool will give you sharper edges, which is what you want.
This part can take a few minutes, so just focus on the shapes being created and take your time. I also went ahead and turned the lenses of the subject’s sunglasses crystal as well.
With your mask done, finish off the crystals by adding some highlights.
Create a new layer set to Overlay, and Clip it into the subject. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool or a hard round Brush to paint harsh white highlights on the sides of some of the crystals. Focus on the sides that would be catching and reflecting light.
Brighten the crystal sunglasses by dragging and dropping another photo of a pastel sky onto the canvas, placing it over the subject’s glasses and then setting it to Screen.
Add a layer mask to the sky image, fill it with black using Control-I, and then mask back in so that the sky only appears inside the lenses.
4. How to Use 3D Objects in Photoshop
Next up, let’s add a bunch of smaller shards of crystal floating around our subject using just one Blue Crystal 3D asset.
We’re going to do this by choosing View 3D Render, and then rotating and downloading the same crystal at multiple different angles. Download them as a layered PSD, so you can easily turn off the shadow layer.
Try and do at least five different angles so you have a bit of variety, though the more the better!
With your crystals downloaded, scatter them around the canvas in different sizes, surrounding the subject.
Try to keep the flow of the image in mind, as well as facing the brighter surface of the crystal towards the light source, which is the subject in this case.
Once you’re happy with your crystals, Group them all together, naming the group "Crystal Shards".
Now, let’s add some shine using an Inner Glow and an Outer Glow layer style.
Next, we’re going to clip a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer into the Crystal Shards group. Set it to 99 Brightness.
We’ll be finishing up the crystals by clipping both a Lighten and Screen layer into the shards group.
Then, using a large soft round Brush set to a hot pink
dd64b5 color and a low Flow Rate, let’s paint an iridescent glow onto the crystal shards.
Aim to create soft blooms of pink inside the crystals. We don’t want them to be solid pink, only partially.
The Screen layer will brighten, while the Lighten layer will give you that inner glow effect.
5. How to Create Pastel Highlights in Photoshop
Let’s add a final glow by duplicating our Pastel Background group, bringing it above all current layers, deleting the current layer mask, and setting the group to Lighten at 60% Opacity.
Now, let’s add a Layer Mask, Invert it using Control I, and then mask back in some pastel glow around the subject’s hair and body.
Use a soft round Brush set to a low Flow Rate so you can build the glow up slowly.
Finally, create a Curves layer and bring up the Highlights Anchor.
Double-click the Curves layer and adjust the Blend If settings so that the layer only affects the highlights.
Set the toggles to something like you see below, though these settings will change depending on the subject’s skin tone and the overall image brightness.
Now, we can enhance the highlights of the image by masking in areas with a soft round white Brush.
The Blend If settings should keep the lighting out of the shadows, with only the brightest portion of the subject’s face, hair, and body being affected, along with any other areas you want to brighten in the image.
6. How to Create a Pastel Color Grade
Let’s give one last wash of pastel blues to the whole image, starting with a Color Lookup layer set to HorrorBlue, with a Layer Mode of Color, and an Opacity of 25%.
Next, add a Selective Color layer with the following settings.
And finally, a Vibrance layer set to +57 Vibrance.
You Did It!
And that's how to make a crystal effect in Photoshop! Thanks to Smart Objects and Filters, making a crystallized effect has never been easier. Pair it with pastel blues and gold foil, and you have a mystical yet modern design!
We also learned how to make a sapphire stone shimmer in Photoshop using only two layer effects, as well as how to use a 3D object to its fullest potential, turning one object into dozens!
Looking for More Photoshop Crystal Effects?
This giant set of diamond sparkle Photoshop brushes is the perfect way to add a bit of shine to any crystallize effect. If you're wondering how to make a diamond in Photoshop glow, then this is the brush set for you!
Create an instant Photoshop crystallize effect just like in this tutorial using the Low Poly Photoshop Action! Create a diamond or a sapphire Photoshop effect just by changing an image's color. You can even use this action to create custom Photoshop crystal brushes!
While this effect calls itself glass, you can easily imagine it as a sapphire Photoshop effect! Apply it to any font easily by editing the included Smart Object. A diamond sparkle Photoshop brush effect is already applied!
These Photoshop crystallize effects are actually a set of high-resolution crystal patterns, frames, and isolated PNGs. This pack comes with 12 unique crystals in a wide variety of shapes and colors!
Use this set of crystal drawings in both graphic design and art projects. Turn the crystal PNGs into a Photoshop crystal brush for an even simpler crystal effect!
Looking to learn more? Why not check out the following tutorials:
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