How To Create A Stencil Look In Photoshop

In this tutorial we are going to combine a number of photographs and turn them into interesting graphics elements as part of your designs. This tutorial was inspired by Corey Barker the Executive Producer of PlanetPhotoshop.com He covered this technique on his training DVD Design Effects With Photoshop CS4.

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First thing is first start by creating a new document by holding down CTRL+N or go to File+New, enter the name the width, height and resolution for the new doc.

Note you can enter whatever settings work for you but if you like to follow along enter the setting above.

When you are done click OK, open your first image by using Adobe Bridge or the standard command CTRL+O

With the new image opened in our case we loaded the city image go to Image-Adjustments-Threshold.

The threshold forces all the pixels in the image to either white or black. Adjust the Threshold slider so you get as much white detail before anything else comes into view.

When you are done click OK.

Select the Move Tool and click on the image and by holding down the mouse drag the image into the new document we created.

Note unlock the layer by double clicking on the lock icon if you get the message the layers is locked. When you are done click on the Bridge icon to launch Adobe Bridge.

Navigate to folder where you have your images and load the wood texture that we are going to use as our the main background.

Select the Move Tool and click on the image and by holding down the mouse drag the image into the new document we created.

Note unlock the layer by double clicking on the lock icon if you get the message the layers is locked.

Drag the Wood Layer  underneath the City Layer.

We need now to invert the colors on the City Layer form white to black  to do that select the City Layer and go to Image-Adjustments-Invert or hold down CTRL+I.

With the city layer still selected click on the blending mode and choose Multiply now only the black areas are visible.

Next load the girl image by clicking on File Open or use any other method you are comfortable for opening a image.

With the girl image opened let’s repeat step 3 go to Image-Adjustments-Threshold.

Now start adjusting the slider and  try to get as much details, when you are done click OK.

Next repeat step 8 to insert the image into the composition document.

Select the girl layer and  choose Multiply from the blending mode.

Click on the Add Layer Mask icon.

Make sure the colors are set to white and black and select the Brush Tool.

Start erasing the  black spots that are not needed.

Select the City Layer.

Hit CTRL+T to scale down the image.

Click the Commit icon or just hit Enter.

Select the Wood layer and go to Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur.

Adjust the setting so the layer is blurred slightly.

Click OK.

Create a new Layer by clicking the Create New layer icon and than select the Gradient Tool.

Select a white to transparent gradient form the menu and also make sure you select the Radial Gradient form the settings toolbar.

Now hold down the Shift key and click and drag from down up in the eye region to create a gradient, now the gradient gives a glow look to the face area.

Repeat step 24, to create a new layer.

Select the Rectangular Marque Tool and draw a square shape on the new layer you created.

Select the Gradient Tool.

The last setting should be available if not repeat step 25 the only difference this time  is that you have to set the opacity to 70% also choose Dissolve for the Blending Mode.

Hold down the shift key and click and drag in the selection form bottom to up and release the mouse button, now the selection fills with the dissolved gradient giving a  transparent  noise look.

Select the Eyedroper Tool or press i on the keyboard, sample the backgorund color.

Lock down the noise layers transparency and with the selection still active hit Alt+Backspace to fill the layer with the sampled color, if the selection is not active just make a new selection bigger than the noise square and hit Alt+Backspace because you have selected the Lock transparent pixels icon only the noise will be filled with the color.

Select Linear burn for the blending mode.

Hit Ctrl+T to show the transformation controls and right click in the middle choose Warp from the menu.

Start to warp  the layer to whatever shape you like try creating a splattered look.

When you are done warping copy the layer lower their opacity and place them in diferent parts of the compositon also try rotating and fliping the layers so the look random.

Now we need to make a rough looking shape to place the name on top, to do that first create a new layer and place it on the top of all layers select the lasso tool and by using your mouse or graphic tablet draw a rough looking shape.

Hit Ctrl+Backspace to fill the shape with black or just use the Paint bucket tool, and next double click on the layer thumbnail to show the blending option.

Select Drop Shadow.

Click on the color and sample the background color for the Blend Mode choose Linear Burn, the rest of the settings are fine click OK.

OK now we need to add some text, select the Text Tool and type in a name.

To complete the effect just add a simple drop shadow by double clicking on the layer thumbnail and select drop shadow from the Blending Mode.

So with a combination of photos and some elements that we created from scratch  we can achieve very interesting and cool looking effects. Thing to keep in mind when using the Threshold is to try and get as much detail in, also adding little elements will help your composition look more complete and professional.

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