Inspiration can come from so many places, yet sometimes it doesn’t come at all. If you’re like me, you may occasionally find yourself staring at an interesting photo, yet have absolutely no idea what to do with it. I like to use these instances as opportunities to explore possibilities without the constraints of expectations. In other words, these moments represent perfect opportunities to experiment freely in Photoshop. Doing so may just lead to your next big breakthrough or a surprising result.

In today’s Photoshop Workbench tutorial, we’ll start with a photo of a model captured in a dark setting with neon face paint. It’s a fascinating photo, yet I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just started experimenting. At first, the results were so-so, but I persevered. Somewhere along the way, something triggered the idea to transform her into an aurora borealis goddess. Now that I had purpose, I layered a variety of night sky images and mixed them with blend modes. To create the aurora effect, I worked with a set of free high-res brushes from the Obsidian Dawn website. Use of colors that matched the model’s face paint helped unify the scene and gave my eyes a thrill.

Watch today’s tutorial (non-members can view this tutorial and over 600 others for just $4.95 per month)


About The Author

Adobe Photoshop Luminary

Mark S. Johnson is an Adobe Photoshop luminary, a photographer, an author, and one of the most passionate instructors you will ever encounter. Through the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, The Radiant Vista, and Boulder Digital Arts, he has lectured in front of and worked side-by-side with countless individuals, including Adobe’s Chief Executive Officers, Jane Goodall, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland, and Academy Award winning director, Louie Psihoyos. Mark’s tutorials appear regularly on the KelbyOne and Planet Photoshop websites, and his imagery and articles have been featured in Photoshop User, Photo Techniques, Nature’s Best, and After Capture magazines. He is a contributor to Dewitt Jones’ heartwarming Healing Images campaign and a Trey Ratcliff Flatbooks author.