Articles, Blog

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Carve a Face into a Mountain

October 27, 2019

Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV.
I’m going to show you how to carve a face into a mountain. I provided this photo of a mountain that you download, so you can follow along. Its link is located in the video description
or project files. Open a photo of a face that you’d like to use. Choose one that’s lit mainly
from one side, so it casts shadows on the face. To automatically adjust it’s Brightness
and Contrast, you could either press Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + L to invoke “Auto Tone” or
press Ctrl + Alt + L on Windows or Cmd + Option + L on a Mac to invoke “Auto Levels”. Try
both to see which one looks best to you. Remember, to undo your last step, press Ctrl or Cmd
+ Z. If your photo is in color, press Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + U to desaturate it. We need
to make a selection around the face, so we can use it to cut it out from its background.
There are many ways to make selections, but for this example, I’ll use the Magnetic Lasso Tool. I generally like to use a relatively low Width, low Contrast and high Frequency. The Width is the size of the area that Photoshop looks at to find edges. The Contrast amount
determines how much of a difference there must be in color or brightness value between
the subject and its background for Photoshop to consider something is an edge. The Frequency
is the amount of anchor points Photoshop lays down along the edge. Start anywhere on the
face and carefully drag your Tool over the edge. The hair edges don’t have to be perfect. If anchor points get added in the wrong spot, press the Delete key to remove them and then continue along the edge. When you reach the first anchor point, you’ll see a small ring.
If your left-click on your mouse or pen, it’ll close the path and instantly make the path
into a selection. Press Ctrl or Cmd +J to cut the face from its background and copy it to its own layer. To move it into the mountain document, press “v” to open your Move Tool and drag into onto the tab of the mountain. Without releasing your cursor, drag it down onto the image and release. To resize, position and angle it, press Ctrl or Cmd +T to open your Transform Tool. The shadows on this face are pointing in the right direction, however, if the shadows on your subject are pointing in the opposite direction from the shadows on the mountain, go to Edit, Transform and Flip Horizontal. To resize it, go to a corner and when you see a diagonal, double-arrow, press and hold Alt or Option +Shift as you drag it in or out. To reposition it, go to the inside of the Transform and drag it to approximately this area. To angle it, go to a corner and when you see a curved, double-arrow, rotate it to an angle you like. Continue to make adjustments and then, press Enter or Return. Click off the eyeball next to the layer to temporarily hide it and click the thumbnail of the mountain to make it active. We’re to make the mountain into a displacement map to make the face follow the contours of the mountain. To do this, click the icon at the upper, right of the Layers panel and click “Duplicate Layer”. Click “New” and type in “Displacement”. Then, click OK or press Enter or Return. Displacement maps look best when they’re slightly blurred, so go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. Blur it 1 pixel and click OK. Go to File and Save As. Save it to your Desktop as a .psd file and click Save. If you see this warning, click OK. Then, close the Displacement file. Make a copy of the Background by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J. Change its Blend Mode to Soft Light. Drag the copy to the top of the Layers panel
and click off its eyeball to temporarily hide it. Make the face visible and active. Go to Filter, Distort and Displace. Displace it 10 pixels, “Stretch To Fit” and “Repeat Edge
Pixels”. Then, click OK. Click the Displacement file and click “Open”. The face is now wrapping
itself around the contours of the mountain based on its luminance values. Make a copy
of the face. Hide the copy and make the original active. Change its Blend Mode to “Overlay”
and reduce its opacity to 40%. Make the face copy visible and active. Change its blend mode to “Multiply” and double-click its thumbnail to open its Layer Style window. Click “Color Overlay”. Click the color box and type in 3C361D. Then, click OK. Change the Blend Mode to “Color Dodge”. Click “Drop Shadow”. Make the Distance 90 to 95 pixels. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!


  • Reply Angel Marinez November 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Sick I'm gonna do this

  • Reply Henrik Vollstad November 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    ROFL I thought the pic from the thumbnail was Bill Cosby xD

  • Reply OORVOKKI November 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm


  • Reply Tuan Nguyen Phan November 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I dunno if this tutorial can carve my face on Mount Rushmore but I'm gonna try, could be interesting lol. 
    P/S: Thank you very much!

  • Reply Adekunle Ogungbite November 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I love this. Thanks so much, Marty.

  • Reply Shakil Shykh November 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Awesome effect I really like this

  • Reply Ger Prz November 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Effect works well on skin tones on face and hands, but looses it on the black hair. Maybe if you lighten the hair, would that allow for a more seamless blend on the mountain terrain? In any case Marty Thank you.

  • Reply Zomber Flames November 23, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Good result. Did you see my father's result in his tutorial? Thanks for the video.

  • Reply Lenmil November 23, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Wow amazing.

  • Reply OZHKAR1 November 24, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Another nice tut!

  • Reply GHitman November 24, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Why did you disable a rating bar? Don't you interested in likes anymore? 😉

  • Reply RiceGawd November 24, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Can you do a tutorial on an object to a background and making perfect lighting

  • Reply Ali Morjan November 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you my dear ♥

  • Reply Frank Giannantonio November 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    These tutorials are pretty awesome, man. It's almost like paint by numbers the way you do it. I don't think there is anyone on YouTube who can do it short and sweet but still fully comprehensive like this. Real stoked I found BLTV. Cheers!

  • Reply Christian Thwaites November 24, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I get stuck at the Distort section (4.58). It doesn't give me that option (every other but not that one!)

  • Reply Omar Mohammed November 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm


  • Reply AzovPort November 24, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Cпасибо очень интересная идея. Можно пофантазировать и на другие темы.

  • Reply Ndala PROD November 25, 2014 at 12:09 am

    You are the best ever about tutorial, thanks again

  • Reply ™قعقاع الصحراء November 25, 2014 at 5:16 am


  • Reply Soudery Abbas November 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    great tutorial but that man's pose is mysterious. why is he smelling his hands lol

  • Reply diwist1 November 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Hat erst beim 2. Mal funktioniert. Thanks

  • Reply gencar2 November 25, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    great video as always . "I'd like a tutorial on how to create an effect Mount Rushmore and another on how to standardize the colors and tonalities in a photomontage

  • Reply itwasntmyshout November 28, 2014 at 7:04 am

    great tutorial!!! worked perfectly aswell!… just  a question if I wanted to do this on something else e.g a car… would the only different step I would need to do is the colour sample??

  • Reply Thinhle November 29, 2014 at 8:13 am

    nice tutorial

  • Reply Cathy Neary November 30, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I love all your tutorials! They're very detailed. Thank you for sharing all of your videos. Love 

  • Reply So Mao November 30, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Thank you

  • Reply Adika Fc November 30, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Which video editor are you using…will you please tell me???

  • Reply David Loest November 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    How To videos are like a virtual holiday gift, thanks Marty 😉

  • Reply SI-AHMED Fahima December 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    U ARE THE BEST !!! thanx a lot 

  • Reply Thom Keach December 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    What a fun video.  

  • Reply LearnThaiGood December 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Dear Blue Lightning TV,
    Thank you very much for sharing this. You have plenty of helpful VDOs. You are very kind & also having a great voice dubbed in narrations.
    I'd like to have your favour, I love this kind of pic very much

    Do you have any totorial to easily make it?
    Best regards,

  • Reply Xantaxia December 6, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Great tutorial as always 🙂
    One question, did you forget the copy of the background with the blend mode set to soft light? 😉

  • Reply Nicole LeBlanc December 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you for your tutorials!! They are so helpful! Could you do one of a face made up of different objects? I need to make a face made up of building materials and I am at a loss. 

  • Reply Nshuti Yvan December 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    thnx for ur tuto

  • Reply streetfighter1966 December 12, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    These tutorials are THE BEST, they are clear and informative and go at a pace everyone can follow easily .

  • Reply K1ng December 20, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Reason why I subscribe to this guy is he makes the tutorial very easy for any level of learners that wants to learn the trick.

  • Reply Tristan k December 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    why do i need to pay for the photo of the man?

  • Reply Mir Rom February 14, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Nice tutorial. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Masih HFZ February 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    perfect work

  • Reply Freddy Acosta March 5, 2015 at 5:41 am

    This guy rocks! The best photoshop tutorial ever. Thank you for taking the time to make your tutorials and for such easy explanation.

  • Reply Alfredo Rivera March 17, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Marty you are the best. Another awesome tutorials. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Rubick K. May 22, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Make a Tutorial on how to transform yourshelf in GTA V character plz!

  • Reply Ayham Alasaad May 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    what is the benefit of the mountain layer with soft light blending mode?

  • Reply WILL June 22, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    by far the easiest video to follow i have yet seen on youtube!

    thanks 1!!!

  • Reply Daniel Ortega July 9, 2015 at 3:34 am

    I have been using this technique on a mount Rushmore project I'm doing but I came to a dilemma. I don't want to change the black areas into more of a gray so it can look more like stone. Can you do a tutorial of putting someone's face on Mount Rushmore with possibly showing how to change the facial hair aswell to look like it is actually stone and not just black? All other tutorials I see are not that good into detail.

  • Reply Cathy Neary July 20, 2015 at 5:00 am

    Thank you! <3

  • Reply William Tongsiri August 8, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Why !?

  • Reply Trevor Souza September 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    great tutorial once again. I would like to try this one with a pic of my own and was wondering how did you know which shade of brown to use?

  • Reply Lisa Maier September 23, 2015 at 4:34 am

    AWESOME …Thank you so much.

  • Reply Nguyễn Duy Cương Hyakky Dororo October 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    WOW…. but, i failed when following your tutorial. I don't understand why you choose 3c361d color. Teach me, pleaseee ….

  • Reply h4ck3r Zone October 27, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    nice tuto…

  • Reply ADIL A. November 9, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Hi Marty, DISP.MAP: I found the answer in this video, thank you ..

  • Reply Md SLM December 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm


  • Reply Zed A January 8, 2016 at 3:00 am


  • Reply Mr Rockstar January 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Hello blue lighting I was wondering how do you get the discount for photoshop.

  • Reply Jewin Torino March 3, 2016 at 12:19 am

    i dont hav it in cs3…heck!

  • Reply Josephat Kennedy May 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Martin, why did you make duplicate of the background copy (soft light) and at the end of the lesson you didn't click the eye boil visible?

  • Reply Tauyb Ali May 14, 2016 at 8:24 am

    You really a big Boss. I pray for you.

  • Reply Neko June 7, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    very interesting 🙂

  • Reply maia mclaughlin June 16, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Didnt see the need in copying the background, editing it, hiding it and then not even using it. i could have finished this piece 3 minutes earlier if i didn't do that for no reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply oktavianus kusuma Asl June 23, 2016 at 5:04 am


  • Reply Pious Hadebe July 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Wow.. this is nice. I tried it and it looked pathetic.

  • Reply Erjay Valledor July 30, 2016 at 3:52 am

    Thanks For This. Your a GREAT Teacher
    I can now make my VERSION of HOKAGE 😀

  • Reply Mario L. Pineda A. October 17, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for your nice tutorials, for the first time i found a easy to follow guide there you can see and hear clarly each step !! 🙂

  • Reply saruar360 November 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Hi, i am drawing artist. I see your all video and subs your channel my good idea in your tutorial. Thanks

  • Reply Nath Aston February 26, 2017 at 9:56 am

    good Climb man! Keep up the vids, I recently did a climb up the Lloyds Building in London that was featured on the News. Links on my channel if you want to check it out

  • Reply Ali Babar March 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Great work. .your tutorial are very helpful and precise. thanks

  • Reply leif mortensen April 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Awesome tut !

  • Reply Jari Ullah May 6, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Amazing effect.

  • Reply z.yüksel cep May 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    That was the best tutorial I have ever seen. Very very good job, ty^^

  • Reply Kishore Kk June 12, 2017 at 8:42 am

    every tutorial each and every point is understanding sir… verry supper…

  • Reply Bob Baker September 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    The most information on flash

  • Reply ورد جوري October 24, 2017 at 11:08 pm


  • Reply jeetu gupta December 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

    its 2 good amazing

  • Reply Divesh kd January 6, 2018 at 5:09 pm


  • Reply AdoMovies February 1, 2018 at 1:21 am

    triet but nothing happened ….. doesnt look even close to this 🙂

  • Reply Viary Stash February 11, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Hi Marty,
    When you colour dodge 3c361d – what lead you to derive that particular one? I noticed in your Tree camourflage vid a different number is used.

    Any tips for choosing this colour for different backgrounds?

  • Reply Ibrahim Muhammad June 29, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I really enjoy the fun :0, Thanks

  • Reply Redah pecah July 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    help.. anyone . imma following and just stuck at color overlay, i cant see that color picker ( overlay color )at that dialoq box on
    my cs6 🙁

  • Reply Carlos Rodriguez September 4, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Gracias, I DID THIS TOO.

  • Reply Nasreen Shaikh September 24, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Superb … Amazingly done 👏👏👏

  • Reply Babayo Damisa November 15, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    A great tut. Thank you

  • Reply JaZ KyS17 November 19, 2018 at 4:21 am

    Can you tell me the procedure here in the comments

  • Reply Cloud Dancer January 16, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Did Every step and did not work for me. It must depend on the images that are blended.

  • Reply Patrick Boulanger February 17, 2019 at 8:48 am

    superbe tuto merci

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