Final Result

Step 1 Preparing the image

Separate the girl from the background. Select the Pen tool and start tracing around the edge of the face.

Step 2 Setting up the stage

Give the image a stronger contrast by using levels. The levels panel can be activated by  (Cmd / Ctrl L). Experiment with the values and use the ones that best fit your image. Rename the layer as guide layer and reduce the opacity of the layer to 20% The values i have used are 0, 0.47, 216. Create a new layer and put this below your image layer and call it background. You can fill that with any colour or gradient that you like.

Step 3 Setting up the brush

Open a new document and make it 100 pixels square. Fill the canvas with black, Edit>Define Brush Preset. Name the brush ‘Pixel Brush’ and click OK. Select your brush tool and open up the Brushes palette. Follow the settings which i have used. Select Brush Tip Shape and set the Spacing to 300%. Check the Shape Dynamics box, check Scattering box and set to 500%. Click on the page icon at the bottom of the palette to create a new brush. Name it Scatter Brush.

Step 4 Pixels creation

Add a new layer below the guide layer and name it Level 1. Select Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. With the scatter brush selected, start to paint along the image, following the contours of the image. Continue to fill in the rest of the face, neck and body. Do alternate between the brush sizes giving it a good spread of different sized pixels.

Step 5 More pixels

Duplicate the Base layer and name it Level 2. Select the layer mask and fill it with black to clear the mask. Then start painting in more pixels to the gaps between the base layer pixels. I would recommend using a smaller brush size for this

Step 6 Adding some vibrance, Hue

Duplicate the Level 2 layer and fill the mask with black. Name the layer Level 3. Disable the layer mask and activate Colour Balance (Cmd/Ctrl B). The settings which i have used are +38, -12, +40. This step is to bring abit more variations to the colour on the image, giving it more life. Then enable the layer mask and start to paint the pixels again.

Step 7 Mosaic variations

Duplicate the base layer and name it Level 4. Fill the layer mask with black then disable the layer mask and go to Filter>Pixelate>Mosaic. The cell size which i have used is 5, this varies depending on the image you have used. Now enable the layer mask and start painting again.

Step 8 Drop Shadow

Now select the Layer Level 4 and apply a drop shadow to it. The settings which i have used are 5 pixels spread and an opacity of 50%.

Step 9 Adding some depth

Duplicate the base layer again and move this layer to the top of the stack. Delete the layer mask and desaturate the image. Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. By using Levels(Cmd/Ctrl L) we increase the contrast of the image. The settings i have used are, 0, 0.53, 220. The change the blending to Overlay and the Opacity of the layer to 30%.


Note: Should you have any questions just drop us a comment.

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