To add the cool looking twigs or branches, we will make a brush out of a photo.

Find a photo of a tree

Ctrl/Cmd+L will launch Curves.

To brighten the spots, move the white slider.

To make the shadows darker, move the black slider.

When creating a brush, the more contrast, the better.

Click “OK”

We must now smooth out the bottom. On a brush, those sharp edges won’t perform well.

White should be used as the primary colour.

selecting the gradient tool

Choose linear gradient with foreground transparency as the gradient style.

Create a new layer

Apply the gradient to blend out the bottom

Grab the rectangular marquee tool

Make a selection around the area we are going to turn into a brush.

Select Edit > Defining Brush.

Your brushes library will receive a brand-new brush.

The brush tool will also have the brush active.

Just above our cutout layer, add a new layer. We’ll paint over the fresh coat.

We must unclip the new layer from the cutout and clip the top tree layer to the new layer before we begin painting. This will enable us to observe what’s occurring when we create the new edges (move the cursor across layers and press alt or option+click).

The woman won’t currently be affected by the screen effect, but it will on the new brush strokes we add; we can easily adjust that afterwards.

Please watch the video at the top if any portion of this is unclear; after you see it, the process is actually fairly straightforward.

This is how your layers panel ought to appear. Since the tree layer is a Smart Object, the levels adjustment is visible. In either case, this tutorial will function as intended. If it weren’t a smart object, levels wouldn’t be shown. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see the levels.

Make sure the bush tool is active and set the color to black, although the color won’t really matter much.

We are going to be changing the brush a bit and painting on the edges. Here are some shortcuts to help you with the brush.

Rotate the brush with the arrow keys so that the branches are pointing outward from the centre. Use the [] bracket keys to adjust the brush size if you can’t see the brush overlay.

The branches will begin to appear around the edges of the painting as we paint using the brush’s edges.

It is improper to drag this kind of brush. To stamp with the brush, click.

Open brush settings and use Rotation, flip X, Y and size to vary the brush stokes so they don’t look too repetitive.

Here we have painted all the way around. It’s a bit more repetitive than I like on the arm, but it will work. (If the size had been varied, it would look even better,)

Observe how the woman isn’t affected by the screen effect; only the corners are. Now let’s correct it.

Click the lady layer in the Layers window while holding down the Shift key.

The edge and the woman should both be selected at this point.

Right-click and select Turn into a smart object

The 2 layers will now appear as one and the screen effect should be working correctly.

If not, make sure you clip the top layer to the woman layer.

Thanks for checking out this weeks tutorial.

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