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How To Create An Abstract Floral Explosion in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I used several floral stock images and Photoshop brushes to compose a fantastic abstract composition.

Materials Needed:

Step 1: Creating a New Document

First of all, create a new document at 1000x1000px and use a white background.

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Step 2: Insert The Fiddle

Make a selection around the violin image. The Easiest way to do this step is by using the Magic Wand tool ( see settings below, make sure you activate the add to Selection button (circled on left) and check the (Contiguous option). Click several times to select all of the background area, which is colored white. Then Inverse the selection (just press Ctrl+Shift+I).

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Press Ctrl+C to copy the violin (which is now selected), and then paste ( Ctr+V ) it to the document we created before. Adjust the size by using Free Transform Command (Press Ctrl+T).

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Step 3: Add The Leaf Image

Open the rose image. Using Polygonal Lasso tool, create selection around the leaf. See image below.

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When you’re done with selection, copy and paste leaf image over the violin’s layer in the other document. Clear the white color around the leaf by using Magic Wand tool (just click the white color and then press Delete). Deselect by pressing Ctrl+D.

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Drag the leaf layer (Layer 2) below violin’s layer (Layer 1). Using Free Transform command (Ctrl+T), adjust the size and rotate it to right a bit. Press Enter when you’re done.

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Step 4: Color Adjustment

Editing would be simpler if we rename layers by it’s content, so feel free to do so. I’ll refer to layers by name to make things simpler from this point on. Just rename layer 1 to "violin" and layer 2 to "leaf".

Select the violin layer, then press Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels dialog. Adjust Input Levels valueas shown below to increase the contrast. Click OK when done.

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Activate the leaf layer, use the Levels command to make increase the leaf’s contrast. Then use Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+ U) command to adjust leaf’s color to make the greens more vibrant, green, and saturated. See image below for details.

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Step 5: Arranging Leaves Part.1

Duplicate the leaf layer by pressing Ctrl+J. With the leaf layer copy still selected, adjust the position and rotate it right a bit. See image example below.

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Repeat this duplicating process until you get 5 leaf layers. Play around with the size, rotation and position of each leaf layers until you get a very nice layout. Remember, we’re using the Free Transform function, so be sure to touch up on the Transform functions if you’re having trouble.

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Step 6: Shadows and Highlights

Click the original leaf layer (It should be the bottom leaf layer). Select the Burn tool. Pick a soft round brush and adjust the brush diameter around 30 to 40 px. Reduce the Exposure value to 25%. Now use it to create shadows like shown in this example.

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Now we need to make highlights using the Dodge tool. Make sure you pick a soft round brush and reduce the Exposure value to 25% when doing this.

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Repeat this process for all of the leaves layer. You should be end with leafs that have much more depth than when we began.

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Step 7: Duplicating Leaves

This kind of illustration always ends with a lot of layers, so it’s a better idea to keep these layers organized within layer groups. Below, you can see the simplest way to create a layer group and rename them after.

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Now we’re going to balance the composition by duplicated the leaves on the right of the violin to show on the left as well. Rather than starting from scratch, you can just duplicate the group we just created by right clicking on the leaf right layer group, then choosing Duplicate Group from the popup menu.

Name the layer group duplicate’s: leaf left. With the layer group leaf left still selected, click menu Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal, all leaf layers should be flipped to the left now. Using the Move tool, drag the layer group leaf left so the leaves are positioned on the violin’s left side.

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Step 8: Arranging Leaves Part.2

Duplicate layer group leaf left, rename its duplicate to leaf-FL. Drag layer group leaf-FL over the violin layer.

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Re-arrange the leaves using Move tool and Free Transform command. Try to make the leaves’s layout like the one below. Because the leaves are different from before, you should re-define the shadow and highlight area of each leave. Use Dodge and Burn tool to do this.

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Duplicate layer group leaf-FL, and then rename the duplicated layer group to leaf-FR . Flip the leaves via menu Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal. Place these leaves on the bottom right of violin.

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Step 9: Arranging Leaves Part.3

Duplicate leaf-FL layer group once more, then rename the duplicated group to leaf-BL. Drag this layer group below layer group leaf right.

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Re-arrange the leaves using Move tool and Free Transform command. Arrange the leaves’s layout like the one below. Again, redefine shadows as needed, and duplicate this group so that there are leaves along the back left and back right of the violin.

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Step 10: Adding the Rose

Open the rose image again. Select the rose petals, using any selection tool you like. The fastest way is using Quick Selection tool ( available only in Photoshop CS3/CS4 ), but you can also use Magic Wand or polygonal lasso tool.

When done selecting, copy and paste the rose
image over the leaf-FR layer group. Adjust rose’s size and then place it down with the leaves.

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Rename layer 3 (rose’s layer) to rose. Bring up the Levels Dialogue (Ctrl+L), then adjust theinput levels value until rose’s color becomes more vibrant as shown below. If you’re not satisfied with the result, use the burn and dodge tools to bring out the shadowns and highlights in the Rose.

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Step 11: Adding a Blood Drip

For my piece, I’d like to add some flare to the Rose with a drop of blood falling from it. Open the blood image, select it using any selection tool you like. When done, copy-paste it over the rose’s layer.

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Rename layer 3 to blood. Now drag it down so it placed below rose’s layer. Adjust the blood’s size and then place it below the rose.

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Step 12: Expanding Canvas Size

By using Crop tool, make a rectangular selection like this one below. Then adjust the control point so it’s out of the canvas. Press Enter to finish this step (only effective within Photoshop CS above). The canvas should be expanded right now.

If you don’t have photoshop CS yet, expand canvas size from the Image > Canvas Size menu.

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Step 13: Shadow layer

Create a new layer above the violin layer. Name the new layer "shadow".

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Grab the Brush tool. Pick a soft round brush with 65px diameter size. Set the Mode to Normal and reduce Opacity to 25%. Start drawing shadows for the leaves (make sure you set the foreground color to black) using the Brush tool. See the example below.

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Step 14: Using Floral Brush

Create a new layer below the violin layer. Name the new layer to floral. Load the Suddendly Spring Brushes and make sure you set the brush Opacity back to 100%.

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Use these brushes to create some flower shape around the violin. Vary the brush size and shape until you get a nice result.

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Step 15: Alter the Floral Color

Create a new layer between the floral and violin layer. Name the new layer to floral color. Set foreground color to red and background color to black. Then use Filter> Render> Clouds to create a red and black cloud..

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To put the clouds inside the flowery shape( floral layer ), simply press Alt+Ctrl+G (make sure you still have the floral color layer selected). Now floral color has become a clipping mask, the clouds will now appear inside the floral shapes.

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Step 16: Adding Debris

Load the Debris Brush. Then Create a new layer above floral color layer (if the new layer becomes a clipping mask, simply press Alt+Ctrl+G to cancel it). Name the new layer, debris. Use the debris brushes to create some debris around the leaves and violin. For better result, vary the brush size and color so it matches the environment.

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Step 17: Coloring Background

Grab the Gradient tool. From the option bar, choose foreground to background color and make sure you activate the linear gradient button. Change the foreground color to #C4DF9C and background color to white. Select the background layer, then use Gradient tool to create the gradient (drag it vertically from bottom to top).

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Step 18: Adding Paper Texture

Load the Crushed Paper Brush. Pick pure pea green (#8dc63f) as the brush color.

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Show the Brush Pallette by pressing F5. Then open the Brush Tip Shape option. Adjust brush Diameter to 1400px and Change the Angle to 90. Use this brush to create the crushed paper texture (still on the background layer).

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Step 19: Adding Smoke

Load the Smoke and Ink Brushes. Pick white as the brush color. Now use it to draw some mystic smoke around the violin. If the smoke is too bright, undo your work and then try lowering the brush opacity before you draw the smoke again.

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Step 20: Adding Smoke

Load the Flower Tattoos Brushes. Pick some of this brush to create an ornament below the violin. For better result, vary the brush color. You may end up like this example below.

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Step 21: Adding Text

Almost done! I’m going to name my piece, and maybe you’ll choose to do the same. Using the Horizontal Type tool, add some text above the ornate markings created previously.

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And you’re done! Hope you enjoy the tutorial and learned something new here!


  1. Add point Subtract point

    this is really awesome
    thank you for sharing

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    Ursula (2 Points) January 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Great tutorial and resources, Thank you!
    I enjoyed working with it.

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  3. Add point Subtract point

    The brushes are awesome!

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  4. Add point Subtract point

    Wow! Have tried this with some of my own ideas… Great stuff and so easy to do once you know how.

    Keep posting more tutorials like these please! ;-)

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  5. Add point Subtract point

    One of the most thorough tutorials I’ve seen. Thank you for including all brushes with it.

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  6. Add point Subtract point
    Jorsalta (1 Point) August 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Me encanta este tutorial, solo que necesito la foto de la rosa que ya no está disponible. Gracias.

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    Jamie (-1 Points) August 18, 2010 at 3:09 am

    I love this tutorial. Thank you. :)
    That is my final result of the first one, though I plan to mess around with it more. And I am going to try to get one printed off for a book cover at school. This was a really nice, unique thing. Thanks again!

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    rizwan (0 Points) July 26, 2010 at 1:22 am

    very great tutorial
    but plz tell me name of brushes thanks

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    Thiago (1 Point) July 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I finished my version 3 minutes ago, but I exchange the violin for a guitar and I in love with it.

    Jayan thanx for the tutorial, I learned a lot of thing and I see a lot of details that i never paid attetion.

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    kevin (1 Point) July 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    what version of photoshop is this

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  11. Add point Subtract point


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  12. Add point Subtract point
    Elson (1 Point) July 10, 2010 at 9:26 am

    It’s very great idea and would be interesting for it!
    Thank a lots for make me know this idealy !!!

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    Nathan (1 Point) July 8, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Well done, I enjoyed do this, and added a bit of my own.

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  14. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลง mp3 (1 Point) June 9, 2010 at 5:04 am

    very good! Thank you for tutorial.

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    photoshop cs5 tutorials (1 Point) June 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    very good! Thank you for tutorial.

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  16. Add point Subtract point
    firnx (1 Point) May 30, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Awesome, thanks a lot, I love it!

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงฟรี (1 Point) May 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you for tutorial.

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    jayakrishnan (1 Point) May 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

    super work…..
    its very nice 2 see……….
    thank u 4 sharing……….

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    jayakrishnan (1 Point) May 28, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Super work………
    its very difficult to create, bt nice to see………
    thank u 4 sharing……..

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    Kewlgirlie32 (1 Point) April 26, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I love this! Thank you so much for making this tutorial!! Now I know how to use some of the tools on this program…..there’s so many!! =)

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    Lady PSD (1 Point) March 30, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    great tut.. you’re my favourite author, i love all of your books. tnx bro, i’m proud with u.. indonesian graphic designer

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  22. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลง (1 Point) March 29, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Great tip, Thank you for share these!

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  23. Add point Subtract point

    Tut yang bagus bos, tp gambar cari yang free dong. ato stock photo punya km aja. abis imagesnya gak free. jadi susah praktekan tuts anda.

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  24. Add point Subtract point

    best tutorial I ever made!!! very good explanation and stunning :)

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  25. Add point Subtract point
    kingman (1 Point) March 4, 2010 at 2:12 am

    wow…superp one..u r great

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  26. Add point Subtract point

    thnkz…lot..itz nice vrk to lern

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  27. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    great i never seen before.53

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  28. Add point Subtract point
    ฟังเพลงออนไลน์ (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 2:42 am

    great i never seen before.41

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  29. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงmp3ฟรี (1 Point) January 30, 2010 at 10:53 am

    its very nice. Great post

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  30. Add point Subtract point
    anton jundi (1 Point) January 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Dia raja desain dari palembang, indonesia

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  31. Add point Subtract point
    المسلم (1 Point) December 11, 2009 at 8:45 am

    You are really a professional designer …. And Thank God .. Ahmed Lord God, and the religion, but Khalk Slaam … What is type in the Google Alaslaaam?? You’ll find a lot about it .. Peace be upon you .. Subhaan God

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  32. Add point Subtract point

    i love it, that is my favorite instrument

    great work

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  33. Add point Subtract point
    evilkitty75 (1 Point) November 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I love followin ur tuts there easy to copy thxxx

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  34. Add point Subtract point
    Biju Subhash (1 Point) November 3, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Great Tutorial
    Thank you for sharing… :D

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  35. Add point Subtract point

    so beeutufull modling i am happy your work and you very dangres man.

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  36. Add point Subtract point
    rodolfo (1 Point) October 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    otro gran tutorial de una buena composicion, en su ejecucion se aprende autilizar las diferentes herramientas muy didactico.

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    Gajanan andhale (1 Point) October 8, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Beatifull! great……!

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  38. Add point Subtract point

    Great job Jay. Awesome tutorial!

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  39. Add point Subtract point

    thanks a lot! had a good time learning it ^^

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  40. Add point Subtract point

    That’s very nice. Great tutorial.

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  41. Add point Subtract point

    Best tutorial ever seen.Very well explained.thanx for sharing.

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  42. Add point Subtract point
    Coji Lee (1 Point) August 14, 2009 at 12:03 am

    Thanks a lot~~ I really love it ,your tutorial is so well-orgnized and clear,and at the same time you offered the free material that is going to be used in the work~ I really appreciate your effort ~!!

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  43. Add point Subtract point
    koerniawan (1 Point) August 10, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    i’m very interested…it’s very beautifull

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  44. Add point Subtract point

    Nice tutorial

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  45. Add point Subtract point
    Article Directory (1 Point) August 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Excellent website.. Nice approach

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  46. Add point Subtract point
    Luiz Alberto (1 Point) August 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm


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  47. Add point Subtract point
    Xavier (1 Point) July 31, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Simple and beautiful, thanks for sharing.

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  48. Add point Subtract point
    djelyas (1 Point) July 20, 2009 at 8:56 am

    damn thank you alot ….tahts what i been looking for in like one year

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  49. Add point Subtract point
    Andre (1 Point) July 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    keren! You make us proud dude

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  50. Add point Subtract point
    nodisturb (1 Point) July 10, 2009 at 10:12 am

    really nice piece of art great effort
    thanx for you time

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  51. Add point Subtract point
    vico (1 Point) July 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    its a nice tutorial, thanks.

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  52. Add point Subtract point
    James (1 Point) July 8, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    great piece. I just wanna know the name of the font used in the header example of this tutorial. Does anyone know which font that is?

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  53. Add point Subtract point
    Manuela (1 Point) July 6, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Very very nice work, I love the design.
    How can you have such fantasy?
    Thank you very much.

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  54. Add point Subtract point
    Brandon (1 Point) July 4, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Great tutorial! And some very interesting techniques for achieving various effects!

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  55. Add point Subtract point
    Lupu Andrew Paul (1 Point) July 4, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Very cool the tutorial, thx :)

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  56. Add point Subtract point
    Christina (1 Point) July 2, 2009 at 2:54 am

    This tutorial looks awesome. I will try it out tomorrow and let you know how it goes :)

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  57. Add point Subtract point
    Richtofein Kroeger (1 Point) July 1, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Muchos gracias amigo!!!
    Damn I had been ignorant about these brushes till now!
    Awesome design n tip man!

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  58. Add point Subtract point
    Eric Shafer (1 Point) June 29, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t really like the text, but the overall design and composition is great!

    Featured here:

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  59. Add point Subtract point
    Dead Man (1 Point) June 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Cool job bro…tnx a lot..

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  60. Add point Subtract point
    Shaii (1 Point) June 27, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Great tutorial. Instructions are easy to follow and the outcome was awesome. Thankyou!

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  61. Add point Subtract point
    maike (1 Point) June 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    hey…its a great tut but i do have a question…i’m asking myself whether the suddenly brushes and so on is just for photoshop cs2 or something like that? because i couldnt replace the brushes because it wasnt comptible…i would be relly hapyy if you’ll help me

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  62. Add point Subtract point
    Cyrus (1 Point) June 26, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Awesome tut , keep it up :D .. <3

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  63. Add point Subtract point
    Aneslin (1 Point) June 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    awesome tutorial bro
    gonna try it now :)

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  64. Add point Subtract point

    Beautiful tutorial!

    The result is stunning and I love the way it is explained. Great job!

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  65. Add point Subtract point
    William (1 Point) June 24, 2009 at 12:37 am

    wow great tutorial.
    the final result looks cool.

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  66. Add point Subtract point

    thanks everyone! as for the text, i do agree it doesn’t fit the theme :) next time will be better…

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  67. Add point Subtract point
    Idowebdesign (1 Point) June 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    This is amazing, I will give it a try !

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  68. Add point Subtract point
    David (1 Point) June 23, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Great tut. Easy to follow and do.

    Would be nice to have a bloody font or make the text look like it’s dripping blood :P

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  69. Add point Subtract point
    Jad Graphics (1 Point) June 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    WOW! Neat tutorial!

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    Todd Pitts (1 Point) June 23, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Wow, very cool Jayan! Some orchestra member needs to get this tattooed on their back, seriously.

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  71. Add point Subtract point
    Fatin Pauzi (1 Point) June 23, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I’ve done the tutorial. Thanks a lot!
    I’m noob about using psd, but I’ve learn slowly from your website. Thanks a lot!

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  72. Add point Subtract point
    g3niuz (1 Point) June 23, 2009 at 7:36 am

    the Result is really nice…

    great Techniques, too – good Tutorial

    from Germany

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  73. Add point Subtract point

    Awesome tutorial, and beautiful end result!! Lots of techniques learned here – thanks!!

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  74. Add point Subtract point
    Mishka (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Fantastic tut!!! impressing result

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  75. Add point Subtract point
    gNcWebmaster (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Really Good work.. tHanks

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  76. Add point Subtract point
    Grafpedia (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Excellent tutorial. Keep up the good work

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  77. Add point Subtract point
    [unknown] (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 11:09 am

    great tutorial, thanks. reminds me of some of apocalyptica album artwork.

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  78. Add point Subtract point
    om ipit (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 11:06 am

    good work
    im from Indonesia too :-)

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  79. Add point Subtract point
    Michael (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 10:37 am

    the text on the end is a failure :/ whole pict is v.nice but that font :/

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  80. Add point Subtract point
    Vasili (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I really like the final product, but I don’t like the way that the text just looks slapped on there. A swirly font would fit so much more.

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  81. Add point Subtract point
    harry (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 6:31 am

    keren mass…
    sharing lagi ya tutorialnya
    two thumbs up

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  82. Add point Subtract point
    Travis (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 6:05 am

    That came out extremely well, thanks for the inspirational piece.

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  83. Add point Subtract point
    Elinix (1 Point) June 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

    awesome, the out come is incredible

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