A couple weeks ago I did a post about making a few bucks by targeting a specific sport and offering the athletes a one of a kind Digital,photographic painting. Something with an ultra crisp image of the sportsperson doing their thing combined with a "painted" background. The last one was an OOB (Out of Bounds) interpretation with the rider breaking out of the "frame" of the painted area into the white of the canvas. It's one way to go. Today's image is another way to "see" a similar (it is a different rider) image. Rather than the OOB breakout it gives the rider a more open idea of what's going on. There are several considerations when "designing" (yes, you are altering a few conditions from the original image) a digital "painting". To find out what decisions were made to today's image, hit the "Read More".
The rider wasn't captured at the angle you see him. Turn the bike slightly clockwise (not much, a few degrees or so) to get an idea where he/she was in the jump. You have to be careful not to put it too far forward or backward. Either way would make the physics wrong. Too far back and the rider would be beyond the CG (Center of Gravity) of the bike. Unless she/he was an elite rider (think X-Games) the bike would probably dump out in front of the rider. Too far forward and you'd give the impression that he/she would end up going over the handlebars in a very serious crash. Since the rider is being cut out of the original image, the placement in the frame can be altered to taste. Too far back and the tail would hit the edge. Too far forward and there would be no place for the mind to travel into. Too high and it becomes unnatural. Too low and you're not creating the drama needed to give the image some tension.
What makes up the background? In this image it started with a copy of the original image. The lower Layer in the stack was given a large Gaussian Blur (first Convert to Smart Object, then Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur). Typically this ends up being pretty much a no no. It'll give a halo around the subject that tends to be fairly visible. The reason it can work in this situation is that other Layers are going to be put between the blurred Layer and the cutout Layer. The green area in the lower right is a tree in the original image. It's blurred so far that it becomes just a green tint.
But, the subject of this post is supposed to be Brushes. First a little discussion of Brushes (B). Many people use the Brushes that are the defaults that come with Adobe Photoshop CS6 (and before). The first thing along the Brushes Option Bar is a dropdown with some Brushes Presets. The second tab controls the size, softness and offers a selection of Brush types. Soft, hard paint brushes, shape brushes and on and on. These aren't the only Brushes Adobe supplies. When you click on the dropdown you can see a gear sharp in the upper right of the dialog box. Click on the gear and Photoshop presents you with a list of possible Brush shapes. There's Assorted Brushes, Basic Brushes, Calligraphic Brushes, Dry Media Brushes, Faux Finish Brushes, and quite a few more. Click on one and a dialog box comes up asking what you want to do. The default is to Replace the current Brushes. You can also Cancel the operation or Append the new Brushes to the list of Brushes you already have. This last option can get a little unwieldy. I typically select the Brush set I want to use and when finished Rest the Brushes back to Default.
You're not "stuck" with the Brushes Adobe supplies. The internet is full of Brushes. Some paid and some free. There's enough free Brushes that paying for a set of Brushes isn't really necessary. Do a search on something like "Photoshop brushes free subject". Where the subject is whatever you're looking for. Fire, cloud, lightning, bricks, whatever. Most of the time they'll be zipped files. Download the topic you're interested in, unzip it and you'll see ABR files. Remember where the unzipped files are and open the file structure map (in Windows that would be Windows Explorer [not Internet Explorer]). Now dig down through the files structure. It might be something like C/Program File/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64 bit)/Presets/Brushes. Drag and Drop the ABR files into the Brushes Folder. When you start Photoshop again you should be able to see the Brushes you picked (i.e. Fire) in the flyout list of Brushes.
Now that we have the Brushes we can complete today's image. My recommendation would be to put every different Brush you use on its own Layer. If you think you might give the same Brush a different treatment, put each treatment on its own Layer. You may want to Blur one instance of a Brush more than another use of the same Brush. Or, use two different colors of the same Brush (or, at least, have that option open to you.
Put all your Brush Layer between the blurred Background and the cutout of the athlete. Play with the Blend Modes, Opacity, etc. You can always put Brush Layers above the cutout of the athlete if you want to put paint splatters to get a little Jackson Pollack on the image. Hey, it's your image and your imagination. Put Brush Layers where ever you feel it works for you. Just have fun with it.