Create an Abstract Piece Theme – Freezing Snow Cold

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a snow-themed large piece. You’ll learn how to plan the composition of the piece, to add elements into the composition, how to recycle the piece itself to generate more elements for the piece, how to incorporate pentools into a design and finally how to finish off and fine tune the piece to make it look great.
Put on a scarf, jacket and gloves, switch on your heater, make yourself some tea and let’s get started!

Final Image Preview
Let’s take a look at the image we’ll be creating. Want more usefull information about the your relevant topic keep in touch with the “ “as for as your tutorial concerns.

Step 1
Create a new document that is roughly 650px wide and 850px high at the default Photoshop resolution. Grab your gradient tool, and fill the “Background” layer with a radial gradient, with the foreground color as 9ab5c1, and the background color as d3dde0.

Drag the gradient fill tool fromt he middle, all the way to the right, far out of the canvas to create a smooth gradient. You should have something like this:

Step 2
Before starting the piece, we must first plan out a “skeleton” for all the elements to go on. I decided to base the piece off a zig-zagged shape flow. When trying to compose your own piece, ensure that you don’t have a composition that is simply a rectangle, square, or something boring. Use loads of edges and angles so you can have more to play around with when you start adding elements.
Using the pentool, create a few simple long shapes. I chose varying shades of blue and as you can see, I chose to make all the angles 45 degrees.
Pentool the lines vertically and then as you free trasnform and rotate a bunch of the shapes, hold down ‘Shift’ so the rotations will happen in short movements.
Composition wise, 45 degree angles help give the piece variety in composition so it’s not just one square as mentioned. Since they’re all sloping diagonally or horizontally, there is a sort of geometry created.

Step 3
I’m quite happy with the base skeleton of this piece, so now it’s time to add some elements. With the theme of this piece being snowy, I decided to add some renders of snowy mountains. I chose a stock image of people skiing on the mountain. For you, a good choice would be stock with detailed mountains that are mostly snowy, but with a few rocks. A few rocks will add detail to the piece, while too many will make it too complicated. Avoid mountains that are just rocks or just snow. The stock I chose is from related web sites. If you want to use this as a texture, I suggest you make an account there and download it yourself.

Step 4
Take out the magenetic lasso tool and use the settings pictured below to render the mountain. Move the magnetic lasso tool without clicking along the edge of the mountain. The magnetic lasso should snap to the edges of the mountain. Next, create a selection of what you don’t want in your render, and hit delete. Erase the little bits that remain. The great thing about rendering mountains is that they’re meant to be rough and craggy, so a quick render in this case works and no real edge refining needs to be done. The outcome is clean-cut, as shown.

Step 5
Take the render and place it on your initial skeleton. In my composition, I decided to put the mountains against a corner. I did this because the right side of the mountain was cut off in the picture, so it made sense to put that side against an edge. Select the layer with your render, hit Ctrl – T for free transform and hold down Shift while transforming. This ensures that the render rotates the same way your pentooled shapes do.
Rotate the render until it looks good to you. I had to do a bit of erasing to make it work with the pentooled shapes. Use the eraser tool as you need it.

Step 6
Continue cutting out mountains, and putting them where you like them best. As you can see, I kept the types of mountains fairly consistent – snowy with some rocks. It’s a good idea not to put all the mountains below the pentooled lines, since that would make everything quite boring. I layered the elements so that sometimes the mountain peaks went over the pentooled shapes. Make sure that you leave space in your piece for elements that you will add later. Notice that my bottom mountain isn’t really even against the pentooled shapes. You might want to vary what you do so the piece isnt over-organised.

Step 7
At this stage, you should be confident that your base composition is good. From now on, we’ll be refining the base and adding things to what we have. My mountain shapes are looking very raw, so I duplicated each of my mountains and selected the lower layer of the two. Select > Blending Options > Color Overlay, and select a color that you used in your initial pentooled skeleton. Try not to use other colors, as we are trying to keep the color scheme quite uniform at this stage. Nudge the color overlayed-shape a few times so it gives one side of your mountain render an outline. Now we have managed to “tie in” the mountains with the shapes.

Step 8
It feels like my piece is slightly too edgey and angular. What about yours? Adding some rounder elements would make the piece work much better. I decided to fill up the blank space I left in the middle right of my composition. To start off, I made a round circle using the Shape tool, holding down Shift as I make the circle so it’s a perfect circle.
The next step is to clip-mask things into the circle. Create a new layer above the shape layer, then right-click this new layer, and select “Create New Clipping mask”. Whatever you do on a clip masked area, it will only show within the perimeters of the layer below the clip masks. In this case, we want whatever we do to only show in the circle we created.
On the clip masked layer, go to Image > Apply Image and hit OK at the default setting. What you have showing in your circle is an image of the whole piece so far. I’m going to recycle the piece we have so far and use it to create new elements. I desaturate the clip masked image by hitting Ctrl + Shift + U, and move it around a little until it looks good. Next, create a new layer above the 2 layers you just worked with and also make this a clip mask. Grab a soft brush, size 300, make it black, and brush around the sides of the image. Create another clip mask layer on top, and then brush on some light blue colors. Use colors that match your piece.

You should now end up with a collection of layers that look something like this.

Three layers clip masking one shape layer.

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