Tutorial: Quick and easy edit for profile pictures.

Or close-ups, or just cause you feel like playing around in Photoshop a bit.

I used to do these kind of pictures a lot back when I started messing around with photography in SL, I did it as my own profile picture, for friends, for some clients..all that.

First off, I’ll post the finished image, then I’ll see if I can go step by step on how I did this.

Here is where my other tutorials comes in first. I have obviously fixed this picture up a lil bit before I started with the effects, in particular the Liquify tool.

Oh, and this will most probably looks best if you like the “darker” look, so you’ll need a picture shot against a black background and preferably darker or black hair..then again, it might look sweet with lighter hair too, I haven’t tried that.

  • First rule of this tutorial, don’t touch that original layer, no editing, no blending mode, no nothing. It is there for a reason. By lowering the opacity of the other layers, it makes them see-through, so basically, we see through those layers down to the original. The second rule is, there is no second rule, just have fun with it.
  • Duplicate your original image twice.
  • Create a new layer on top of all of your layers, and set the blending mode to Soft Light.
  • Grab a soft, large-ish brush and with a white colour, paint over all of your hair to make it brighter, then go ahead and hide this layer for now.
  • Go back down to your second layer, activate it, then go to Image – Adjustments – Desaturate. Now lower the opacity of this layer to about 50%
  • Now, go to the third layer, activate this, then go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur. The amount of blur you will need depends on the size of your image. I used a pretty big image, so about 3 was good for me, you just want to soften up the image a bit, make it a bit blurry. Then set the blending mode to Soft Light and lower the opacity a bit..this again will depend on you, how dark you would like it to be.
  • Back up to that top layer we hid before, activate this and the hair will show up bright and nice. Too bright even, so go ahead and lower the opacity til you get something to your liking.
  • Now to make the eyes show up more again, cause this picture is all about the eyes. Go down to the blurred layer, create a layer mask and make sure that it is selected. Then grab your brush, and paint over your eyes with a black colour, then do the same thing again with the black and white layer.
  • This step is optional, and only if you want the eyes to “pop” even more. Go back up to that top layer where we painted white over the hair, grab your brush again, make sure the colour is set to white and paint over the eyes. (Even more optional, create another layer, set to Soft Light and paint over with a colour of your choice, this can give some really sweet effects to your eyes).
  • aaaand done. Crop, save, play around even more with the opacity layers..hell, even go ahead and try what your image looks like with that black and white layer looks like with other blending modes..it’s all up to you now. Playing around is how you learn.

There we go. Quick and easy as I said it would be. These techniques can be useful on other images as well so keep them in mind if you are just starting out with editing.

I hope you enjoyed and maybe even learnt something <3 and do let me know if I made something unclear, or if you have an idea for something else I could do. My fingers are itching for more Photoshop after this long blogging-hiatus.