I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for Marvel’s new Black Panther movie that’s coming out in 2018!
To commemorate what is sure to be a spectacular film, let’s learn how to create an epic Black Panther-inspired portrait. Learn how to recreate the famous African warrior portraits from the movie.
Get inspired! Find more resources for your portraits on Envato Market.
The following assets were used in the production of this tutorial:
- Man Stock
- Clouds and Sky
- Clouds and Smoke
- Armor and Fur
- Aztec Neck Piece
- Wooden Necklace
- Metal Headpiece
- Metal Spike
Finding Inspiration & Stocks
For this manipulation, I was inspired by this series of movie posters I found on Google, particularly the styling of the character, M’Baku, and his dramatic fur piece. Knowing that I wanted to incorporate some fur, I gathered references with this futuristic warrior in mind.
We’ll be building the entire outfit from scratch, so it’ll be a good idea to write down some key notes when thinking about the character’s style. Here are mine:
- Pick a portrait with a strong, glaring expression.
- Build the outfit with a mixture of indigenous pieces and actual armor.
- Make sure your clothing fits the angle of the original subject.
- Create an overall cool tone with bluish hues for more drama.
Look back through your notes often in order to maintain consistency. You’ll be so grateful you did!
Now let’s get started!
1. How to Set Up the Black Panther Portrait
Let’s begin with a New Document at 1396 x 2016 pixels. This is not an official poster size, but feel free to use one if desired.
Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to extract our subject from the Man Stock. Copy and Paste the subject onto the new document, adjusting the size for a typical bust portrait using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).
Now add the sky background.
Copy and Paste the Clouds and Sky stock onto a New Layer behind the subject. Adjust the size again using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) and position it a little higher on the canvas.
Blur the background to show depth of field.
To do this, select the clouds layer and go Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Add a Radius of 10 Pixels and hit OK.
Here is how it looks so far.
2. How to Style the Portrait
Now for the fun part! Wardrobe! For this warrior’s style, we’ll use a mix of indigenous-like pieces and authentic metal armor.
However, keep in mind that this is a fictional character, so the result is really up to you!
Let’s work our way from the bottom up, starting with the neck piece.
Copy and Paste the full Aztec Neck Piece onto the canvas above the man stock. Add a Layer Mask, and then paint black onto the mask to remove the upper neck portion. Do the same for the arms.
Continue painting onto the mask to help form the piece around our subject. It works out pretty perfectly since the reference is wearing gray too! Yay!
Now let’s add the fur!
- Make a selection of the fur from this Armor and Fur stock using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L).
- Copy and Paste the fur onto the canvas, resizing it with Free Transform (Control-T).
- Here is the result!
We can feather the edges to appear like real fur by using Liquify.
With the fur layer selected, go to Filter > Liquify. Then use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to push the sharp edges of the stock outward to appear more like fur. Continue to shape the fur around the subject for a more authentic look.
If the edges are still too harsh, just use the Eraser Tool (E) to feather out the edges even more.
Here is the result so far.
Copy and Paste them onto two New Layers above the original man layer, adjusting their size with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T). Feel free to add Layer Masks to either layer to help clean up any excess.
Now for the arm. To build a metal arm, select the metal mesh part from the Armor and Fur stock. Copy and Paste it onto the canvas, and then adjust the size to fit the arm.
Duplicate the layer if necessary to make sure you have enough metal to cover the arm completely, Mergingany copies together with the original.
We’re almost done with wardrobe!
The last items we’ll add to this outfit are the shiny spikes connected to the necklace. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select the Metal Spike from its reference.
Copy and Paste the spike onto the canvas, above all the other layers. Position it underneath the center wooden circle, and then adjust the size using the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).
Feather out the edges with a simple Layer Mask.
Continue to create more spikes by Duplicating (Control-J) the spike layer several times. Position each new spike under the corresponding wooden circle. Angle them outward for a cool effect!
These last pieces complete the style portion of the manipulation. Time to adjust the colors and lighting!
Here is the result so far.
3. How to Adjust the Lighting
We now have a bunch of components we need to figure out the lighting for. Let’s address this while also tackling the color scheme.
Start with the background. Create a New Adjustment Layer of Curves and set it as a Clipping Mask to the background clouds layer.
Lower the curves for the RGB and Blue Channels to make the sky darker.
Let’s move on to the subject. We’ll try to match the lighting to the background clouds, so we’ll need a few adjustment layers.
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Hue and Saturation as a Clipping Mask to the man stock layer.
Adjust the values to the following:
- Hue: 0
- Saturation: -18
- Lightness: -22
Now add a New Adjustment Layer of Curves. Again, set it as a Clipping Mask to the man layer.
Set the curve for the RGB Channel like the one below to darken the lighting of our subject.
Now let’s develop the lighting for the outfit.
Start with the neck piece.
- Create a New Layer and set it as a Clipping Mask to the neck piece. Use a Soft Round Brush to paint a dark blue color
#0d1d22underneath the necklace for shadow.
- Follow up with a New Adjustment Layer of Hue and Saturation. Set the values to 0, -100, and -70. Then set the Layer Blend Mode to Hard Light.
Now relight the fur!
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Hue and Saturation as a Clipping Mask to the fur.
Adjust the values to the following:
- Hue: -18
- Saturation: -55
- Lightness: -36
Continue this process for the metal shoulder piece.
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Hue and Saturation to the layer. Lower the Lightness to -38 to help blend it into the rest of the outfit.
Since the mesh armor on the arm seems to blend well into the lighting scheme, we won’t need to adjust it. So all we have left to tackle is the wooden necklace.
- Create a New Layer and set it as a Clipping Mask to the necklace. Use a Soft Round Brush to paint black shadow above the necklace. This will represent the shadow caused by his chin.
- Then set a New Adjustment Layer of Hue and Saturation as a Clipping Mask as well. Set the values to -40, -68, and -67.
4. How to Adjust the Color Scheme
With the lighting all set, let’s fix the colors!
To go along with the original reference, I’ll be going for a nice blue tone for optimal impact.
First, set a New Layer as a Clipping Mask to the metal shoulder piece. Use a Hard Round Brush to paint a dark teal color
#122b2d onto the metal. Then change the Layer Blend Mode to Hue to color it. Feather the edges with the Eraser Tool (E).
Let’s create a more unified color scheme.
Select all the layers belonging to the man and his outfit. Then place them into a New Group.
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Curves as a Clipping Mask to the group. Adjust the curves for the RGB,Blue, and Red Channels like the following for a bluer color scheme.
Now create a New Layer above all the others.
- Fill the layer with light blue
#a5c7ffusing the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and Erase the areas you don’t want affected, like the face and chest.
- Lower the Opacity to 25%, and then set the Layer Blend Mode to Subtract.
Continue using more Adjustment Layers.
Create a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup above all the others. Set the 3D LUT File to filmstock_50.3dl before setting the Layer Blend Mode to Luminosity.
As we start to use more adjustment layers, we’ll need to balance the lighting again.
Set a New Layer to Multiply.
Use a Soft Round Brush to paint brown
#2e2523 shadow all over the scene. Try to fill in the spaces that need a little more blending with this step.
Let’s brighten the subject’s face with more light!
Create a New Layer and use a Soft Round Brush to paint a light cream color
#ffebdd all over the subject’s face and body.
Set the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 50%.
On another New Layer just above this one, paint light brown
#9e7e57 onto the face and arm using a Hard Round Brush. Then set the Layer Blend Mode to Soft Light and adjust the Opacity to 50%.
5. How to Finish the Manipulation
You’re almost there!
To finish this manipulation, we’ll need to add just a few more details and adjustments.
Let’s start with the face scarring.
Face scarring is typical of West African cultures. It’s often used as a means to symbolize an important milestone in any man or woman’s life.
To create a realistic scarring effect, paint one brown
#704d4b circle on the canvas. Then paint a light brown
#c7836c highlight in the center. Duplicate (Control-J) this circle several times, making rows of scars that you can apply directly to the skin.
Merge the layers together and position them onto his cheek. Warp the scars with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) so that they appear real.
Duplicate this layer, and then Flip the copy by going to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Soften the effect with the Eraser Tool (E).
Let’s adjust the colors some more.
Create a New Adjustment Layer for Color Balance.
Add the following values for Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights. Then set the layer to Lighter Color and the Opacity to 54%.
Follow up with a New Adjustment Layer for Levels.
Add the following values for the RGB, Red, and Blue Channels. Then set the layer to Overlay and the Opacity to 20%.
Here is the result when you’re through. Now we have a more bluish-green color scheme similar to the original movie posters.
Let’s kick up the intensity! Now add a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup.
Set the 3DLUT File to Beach Bypass.look, and then change the Layer Blend Mode to Luminosity. Lower the Opacity to 30%.
Take this time to clean up any messy areas with the Brush Tool (B). Simply paint over those areas to make the lines much crisper and cleaner. The areas around the necklace will need this step the most.
Then set a New Layer to Overlay and paint bright yellow
#d2d4d0 highlights all over the sky and subject. Add another layer for crisp white highlights to show that the subject is backlit.
Let’s finish this manipulation!
Extract the bottom clouds from the Clouds and Smoke reference and place them in the bottom right corner. Feather the edges with a Layer Mask or the Eraser Tool (E).
Add one last Adjustment Layer for Curves and continue to paint white highlights where they’re needed on the face and armor.
I also decided to paint a few white dots in the air for added atmosphere.
Check out the final result below!
All Done, Great Job!
With a little patience, you can create amazing photo manipulations from scratch. Continue creating more beautiful effects inspired by your favorite movies!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! Feel free to add your comments and share your results with us below.
For more fun photo manipulations, check out these great tutorials:
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a dreamy scene featuring a calm forest with a glowing lantern using photo manipulation techniques in Adobe Photoshop.
First we’ll build the base scene using an image of stairs and several stock forest images. Later we’ll add the stream, bird, arch, and lantern, and we’ll blend them together with adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. We’ll use several adjustment layers and paint the lamp’s light to complete the final effect.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
- Forest 1
- Forest 2 also available on Envato Elements
- Forest 3 no longer available, try this one as an alternative
1. How to Build the Base Scene
Create a new 2000 x 2000 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:
Open the stairs image. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select the stairs area and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Place it in the lower half.
There are some unwanted light areas on the steps. To fix it, create a new layer above the stairs layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Activate the Clone Tool (S) to remove the indicated details.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation (set as Clipping Mask). Decrease the Saturationvalue to -67:
Drag the forest 1 image into our main document using the Move Tool. Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Select a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to erase the bottom and reveal the steps.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the forest a little.
Go back to the stairs and create a Curves adjustment layer above the Hue/Saturation adjustment one. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with a lowered opacity (about 15-30%) to refine the lightness on the steps. You can see the results on the mask and on the picture.
Create another Curves adjustment layer to reduce the light on the stairs again. On the layer mask, paint on the upper steps as they get more light from the background than the lower so should be a bit brighter.
Add a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray.
Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 15-20% to brighten the highest step and darken the shadow area of the lower ones. Also paint the shadow for one of the lower steps. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.
2. How to Complete the Forest Background
Move the forest 2 image into our main document and add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove the lower half, both sides, and the foggy middle area to leave a blended result like below:
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to the maximum.
Add the forest 3 image to our canvas and set the far foggy background to the middle section of the existing forest. Use a layer mask to leave only the foggy area visible.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and bring the Saturation value down to –100:
Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken this part of the forest a little.
3. How to Import the Stream
Add the stream image to the lowest area of the scene and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). Use a layer mask to mask off the top, leaving the stream with the rocks and lower vines visible.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the stream, rocks, and vines.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the lightness of the stream.
Add a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Burn Tool to darken the rocks more.
4. How to Add the Bird
Isolate the bird from the background and add it to the upper middle section. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to make it much smaller to create an impression of distance.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the bird.
Use a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the bird’s visibility, making it fade out into the foggy background.
5. How to Retouch the Arch
Cut out the arch from the original image and place it above the stairs. Use a layer mask to erase the bottom and blend it with the existing ground.
Make a Hue/Saturation and bring the Saturation value down to the minimum.
Create a Curves adjustment layer to decrease the light on the arch. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase or reduce the dark effect on the areas which are dark enough.
Add another Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the arch’s contour. Paint on the rest so it won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.
Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge Tool to paint more light for the contour and the Burn Tool to strengthen the shadow and details within the arch.
6. How to Add the Lantern
Isolate the lantern from the background and place it above the stairs.
The lantern should be hazier to fit the foggy background. Create a Curves adjustment layer and decrease the contrast of the lamp.
Make a new layer below the lamp layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray (non-Clipping Mask). Use the Burn Tool to paint a shadow for the lamp on the steps.
7. How to Do the Basic Adjustments
Create a Channel Mixer adjustment layer on top of the layers and change the Red settings:
Make a Color Fill layer and pick the color
#21031e. Alter this layer mode to Exclusion 100%.
Add a Curves adjustment layer to give the edges and sides a stronger contrast. Paint around the entrance and foggy forest so it won’t be darkened by this adjustment layer.
8. How to Paint the Light
To paint more light for the lamp, create a new layer on top of the layers and use a soft brush with the color
#210402 to paint on the lamp and the area around it. Change this layer mode to Linear Dodge 100%.
Use a new layer and a soft brush with the color
#d7a650 to paint highlights for the lamp, steps, the details on the ground, and the contours of the arch. Alter this layer mode to Overlay 100%.
On a new layer, use a soft brush with the color
#ee9463 to make the highlight inside the lamp stronger. Set this layer mode to Hard Light 100%.
Congratulations, You’re Done!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new for your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!
Subscribe below and we’ll send you a weekly email summary of all new Design & Illustration tutorials. Never miss out on learning about the next big thing.
Envato Tuts+ tutorials are translated into other languages by our community members—you can be involved too!