Create a Colorful Grunge Portrait in Seconds

Create a Colorful Grunge Portrait in Seconds

This effect is so simple and fast, but produces such a stunning and unique appearance, that you'll instantly love it. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you'll spend quite some time playing with variations, brushes and different photos to see what sort of looks you can create. Let's jump right in.
Here's a look at what we'll be creating.

Step 1 - A Good Texture Base

First off, you need a good worn paper texture. I'm using one from our Free High Res Paper Texture Set. I bumped the contrast a bit using ( Image | Adjust | Levels ). My document is 558x837 at 72dpi.

Step 2 - Apply Your Portrait

I found this great portrait of John Lennon to use for this example. I copied and pasted it to a layer above my texture. Next, I bumped up the contrast using ( Image | Adjust | Levels ), the amount will vary based on your photo. Then I applied a ( Filter | Artistic | Watercolor )... Again, the settings will vary based on your photo. Basically, you want to give the image a nice painted effect, like the one below.

Step 3 - Begin Painting

Next up, create a new layer above all others. Now switch over to view the channels panel and ( Cmd + Click ) the RGB channel thumbnail to create a selection. Now back over to the layers panel, press the layer mask icon with the new top layer selected. This will apply a mask from the selection you made on the channels panel. You can release the selection by pressing ( Cmd + D ). With the mask thumb selected press ( Cmd + I ) to invert the colors. You can now delete the original portrait layer. Now we're ready to paint. Choose the top layer and using a nice grunge brush ( I'm using this set, but any good grunge brush will do ). Begin painting by randomly clicking around the layer using a different bright color each time. Keep building up your colors until you feel it is complete. Part of the fun is determining when you've reached that point. Here is my completed grunge portrait. As an optional final step, I added a border by filling a selection with 60% white. I hope you have fun experimenting with this technique!

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