Abstract Your Face in Photoshop

    ●  Abstract shapes serve to focus attention and deliver meaning to an otherwise uninspired flat portraits.

Learn About:


Marquee Tool Free Transform Distortion Blending Options

•   This tutorial is part of the Portrait Project ~

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

                        abstract example    

Step #1: Open a Picture of your Face in PhotoShop.

Open a picture of your face in PhotoShop - you may need to crop the image to get just your face …

… select the Rectangular Marquee Tool

… and drag a box across part of your face.

Right-click and select Layer via Copy or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+J

… notice you now have a new layer.

Step #2: Transform the Layer & Add Effects ~

Go to: Edit > Transform > Perspective

… grab a corner and pinch or squeeze a little.

When you've finished tweaking the layer, hit the

Step #3: Layer Styles ~

Click on the at the bottom of the Layers Pallette …

… try Inner Shadow, Inner Glow & Drop Shadow or anything else you want.

Repeat this process as many times as you think necessary.

Step #4: Again … ~

Draw another rectangle around a different part of your face and make a copy …

layer via copy

… hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+T, only this time, hold Cmd(⌘) cmd key while you distort the selection.

Do this as many times as necessary …

Step #5: Blur the Background ~

Right-click on the bottom background layer and hit Duplicate Layer …

… then click on the middle layer …


… and go to: Filter > Blur > Box Blur.

trace contour

Step #6: Opacity ~

Lower the Opacity of the new background layer …

Scroll through the Blending Modes and find one you like …







Try Multiply, Screen or Overlay or whatever you like best …


If you see other blending modes you like as you're scrolling down, don't be afraid to experiment.


Blending Modes are awesome!


Hint: You can scroll through the different Blending Modes by hitting Alt (⌥)+Shift+Plus:

Last Step: Save & Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your work as - FIRST_NAME_LAST_NAME_PROJECT_NAME

save as .psd

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.