How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create an abstract piece featuring a young Vietnamese woman in a traditional long dress. Long dresses, lotus, and bamboo are known as cultural symbols in Vietnam.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop
First, we’ll build the background using an old texture and some watercolor images. After that, we’ll add the model and the lotus and bamboo branches. Later, we’ll paint some light and add some splatter and bokeh. We’ll use several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.

Stay inspired! Create beautiful abstract portraits quickly with Photoshop Actions from GraphicRiver.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. How to Make the Watercolor Background

Step 1

Create a new 2000 x 1500 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Open the texture image. Drag the image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) and lower the Opacity of this layer to 40%:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and reduce the Saturation value to -54:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a Mask to the texture layer. On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and choose a Soft Round Brush with black color to paint on the left section near the middle of the canvas. It’s to reveal the lightness to fit the light on the model (we’ll see in the next
section).

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Create a Color Balance Adjustment Layer and alter the Midtones settings:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 6

Open the watercolor images pack. Choose the image named 1030 or one you like and place it on the canvas. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to make it fit the size of the background. Change this layer Blend Mode to Multiply 100%.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Add a Mask to this layer and use a Soft Black Brush with a lowered Opacity (about
30-35%) to reduce the visibility of the watercolor effect.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 7

Choose the image numbered 1029 and place it in the right half of the canvas. Mask it off to show some cyan details only around the middle.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 8

Make a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer above this layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Adjust the Master and Cyans settings to change the color of the indicated cyan details.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 9

Add the watercolor 2 image to the middle section and set this layer Blend Mode to Multiply 50%. Use a Layer Mask to blend it with the existing background.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

2. How to Import the Model

Step 1

Extract the model and add her to the middle of the background using the Move Tool (V).

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Add a Mask to the model layer and activate the watercolor brushes. Select the one you like and press F5 to change the settings for this brush:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Use this brush to soften the bottom of the model and blend her with the canvas.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and change the Master, Reds and Magentas settings. The aim is to change the color of the long dress.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Use a Color Balance Adjustment Layer to give the model some vibrance:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Make a Curves Adjustment Layer to darken the front of the model a little. Paint on the back and the shadow areas of the model.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

3. How to Add the Lotuses

Step 1

Cut out the lotus and place it above the left shoulder of the model. Duplicate it four times and add the copies to the back, hair, and face. Use Control-T to change their size and direction.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Add a Mask to the lotuses on the shoulder and face. Use a mediumSoft Black Brush to blend the lotus with the shoulder and remove the front of the one on the face to show only two petals near the eye.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Select all the lotus layers and press Control-G to make a Group for them. Change this group’s Blend Mode to Normal 100% and add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer within the group. Bring the Hue value up to +15:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Use a Color Balance Adjustment Layer to increase the red for the lotuses.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Make a Curves Adjustment Layer to brighten the lotuses. Paint on the shadow areas so they won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

4. How to Decorate With the Bamboo Branches

Step 1

Extract the bamboo branch and place it in anywhere on the canvas. Set this layer under the lotus group.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Go to Filter > Liquify and choose the Forward Warp Tool. Use this tool to make the branch longer and more curved, like mine:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Place this modified branch behind the biggest lotus.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Use a Layer Mask to erase the top of this branch.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Use this method to create more different twisted branches. Arrange them around the model, above the head, along the hair, and beside the cone. Use a Layer Mask if needed to blend the branches with the head or make them appear behind or in front of the model.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Make a Group for the bamboo branches. Add a Color Balance Adjustment Layer to make the branches more yellow to match the existing background.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Go back to the model layer and add a Mask to it. Use a mediumSoft Black Brush with a very small size (2-3 px) to erase the space between the branches on the head.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

5. How to Paint Some Light

Step 1

Make a New Layer on top of the layers and use a large Soft Brush with the color #251601 to paint on the model area. Change this layer’s Blend Mode to Linear Dodge 100%.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Duplicate this layer twice to strengthen the light effect. Use a Layer Mask to erase the light on the model’s face to focus on the cone area only.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

On a New Layer, use a small Soft Brush with the color #d9ab53 to paint the lotus on the shoulder. Change this layer Blend Mode to Overlay 100%.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

6. How to Make the Splatter Effect

Step 1

Open splatter 1 image. It has a transparent background, so just use the Move Tool to place it under the lotuses behind the model.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Double-click this layer, choose Color Overlay, and pick a green color similar to the color of the bamboo’s branches (#8aa013).

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Duplicate this layer twice and resize them to be smaller. Move one rightward a bit and the other to the shoulder, and then use a Layer Mask on each of these layers to soften the lines of the splatters.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Add more splatter under the big lotus behind the model and change the color to#df7877 to match the color of the lotus.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 5

Open the watercolor 2 image again and place it over the lotuses on the model’s back. Scale it down and change this layer Blend Mode to Darken 100%.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Use a Layer Mask to clean up the effect on the bigger lotus.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 6

Make a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to change the effect’s color to green.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 7

Use a Curves Adjustment Layer to decrease the effect’s visibility.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 8

Open the splatter 2 image. Extract the splatter from the white background using the Magic Wand Tool (W). After that, use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the right part (or any parts you like—your choice) and add it to our main working file. Duplicate this layer and move the splatters to the head and the back of the model.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Take the upper part of the splatter and place it in the cone area.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 9

Add a Mask to each of these layers and clean up the unwanted details.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 10

Make a Group for the splatter 2 layers and change their color to green using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 11

Create a New Layer on top of the layers. Change the Foreground Color to #809100 and use a watercolor brush to paint on top of the head.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Add a Mask to this layer and use a smaller watercolor brush with settings like our previous ones to make a defined effect.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

7. How to Add the Bokeh

Step 1

Place the bokeh image over the lotuses on the model’s back. Change this layer Blend Mode to Overlay 100% and use a Layer Mask to clean up the hard edges and make some bokeh visible on the lotuses.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Select different parts of the bokeh image to add to the cone area, the head, and the back. Apply Masking on each of these layers to show some light and bokeh.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe PhotoshopHow to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Make a Group for these layers and alter the group’s Blend Mode to Overlay 100%. Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and bring the Hue value down to -13:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 4

Create a Curves Adjustment Layer to strengthen the effect and light.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

8. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer on top of the layers and pick the colors #e10019 and #ae730c. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2

Make a Color Balance Adjustment Layer and alter the Midtones settings:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Step 3

Use a Curves Adjustment Layer to increase the contrast of the whole image:

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

Congratulations, You’re Done!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tutorial and learned something new. Feel free to share your ideas or comments in the box below—I’d love to see them. Enjoy Photoshopping!

How to Create an Abstract Vietnamese Woman Portrait in Adobe Photoshop