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Create A Frozen And Burnt Face

Using a mixture of simple techniques, we are going to blend 2 different elements to a face. By adding minor details like Icicles and Melting Plastics, we are able to portray an extreme freezing effect on one side, and give a blazing hot effect to the other.

Before & After:

I’ve found these sets of images that would help enhance the outcome I have in mind.

Image ID: 180793 © Keith Levit

Image ID: 796296 © anikasalsera

Image ID: 3606327 © Alexandr Ozerov

Image ID: 4285088 © Sergey Kolesnikov

Image ID: 619633 © Dmitriy Chistoprudov

Image ID: 20074934© i3alda

Image ID: 266347 © Nikolajs Strigins

Image ID: 4833366 © rozaliya

Part 1: Creating a Shade that will work as a Displacement Map

First and foremost, open your face image and duplicate a layer.

De-saturate the layer (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate).

Gaussian blur the layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur: 5~10px). Copy and paste this picture into a new file, change it to gray scale (Image > Mode > Grayscale), flatten the image and save it as “displace.psd”

Now go back to your main work space, apply Displace filter (Filter > Distort > Displace) and select “displace.psd” as your displacement map. Apply the following settings – Horizontal scale: +5, Vertical scale: +5, stretch to fit, repeat edge pixel.

Add contrast to the shade. Go to Levels (Ctrl+L – input levels: 53, 1.06, 236). Rename it as Shade1.

Duplicate the background layer (rename it as layer1) and mask it. However, do not apply the masking now as we will be needing it throughout the tutorial.

Part 2 : Creating Frozen Effect

When you are done, import the first supporting image (#796296) to the workspace as texture1. Desaturate (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate) the texture and set blend mode to Multiply. Next, have it clipped to layer1 (Alt + Click).

Reveal shade1, set blend mode as Soft Light and clip it to texture1. Mask off any excessive texture on the hair.

At this point, I’ve decided to add on more cracks on the face by importing another 2 textures (both of which are from the same image but adjusted to different sizes and brightness – #4285088).

1)Start off by De-saturating the textures. Using Selective Color, I’ve also removed a vast amount of black from the upper texture to reveal more skin color. Set its blend mode to Multiply.

2)For the texture covering the lips, use Overlay blend mode.

For these layers, mask away any unnecessary textures/areas that are visible on the hair and inside the mouth.

Before proceeding, be sure to group those textures together for easy reference (Ctrl + G).

Part 3 : Creating Frozen Skin Color

We can now proceed to coloring the skin. I’ve downloaded a grunge brush by Zellow @ deviantart for this purpose.

Select layer1’s mask (Ctrl + Click) and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation). Tick Colorize and set Hue: 205, Saturation: 12, Lightness: 0.

Mask out areas that we don’t wish to color and try to reveal some skin color in between the cracks. This is my sample of a masking map.

This is how it should look like for now.

Part 4 : Adding Frost to Eyebrows

1)Draw a selection on the brow of background layer and duplicate it (Ctrl + J). 2)De-saturate the layer 3)Invert the area (Ctrl + I) 4)Double click the layer to access Blending Option (Edit the gray slider within blending option – hold alt to split and drag the sliders. Drag around until most of the black are removed). 5)Click on the masking icon (or go to Layer > Layer mask > Reveal all). Mask it using same grunge brush. 6)Result.

Part 5 : Brushing Frozen Skin Color

Create a new layer. Select 3 different colors and paint the portrait as you see fit.

Set blend mode to Overlay.

Part 6 : Brushing Hair Color

Create another new layer. Using the grunge brush, paint some white over the hair.

Set blend mode as Softlight.

Part 7 : Creating The Frozen Eye

Import image #20074934 and align it to the center of left iris. Increase the contrast and decrease the brightness to make the cracks darker.


1) Set blend mode to Multiply. Mask so that the texture is only in the eye.

2) Use Hue/Saturation (Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation: check “Colorize”, set Saturation to 65) to change the lines to red.

3) Create a new layer above your cracked texture and set it to “Overlay”. With a soft round brush paint white in the white part of the eye and paint a very light pale blue in the iris of the eye.

Part 8 : Creating Icicles

1)Draw a selection using the lasso tool to resemble the shape of an icicle. 2)Fill it with black. 3)Now create a new layer of  rendered clouds (Filter > Render > Clouds). Resize the clouds so that it looks compressed. Clip it to the icicle shape you just drew and merge them. 4)Head to Filter > Filter Gallery and apply Plastic Wrap (Highlight strength: 20, Detail: 12, Smoothness: 8). 5)Use hue/saturation (Colorize, Hue: 198, Saturation: 30, Lightness: 30) to alter the color 6)Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/contrast to edit its contrast.

I’ve duplicated a few more, resized, and placed it on areas of the face to my liking.

Group the layers and mask the right side clean for the next effect. Hide the freezing effects for now.

Part 9 : Creating Burnt Effect

Import image #3606327 as texture2. Place it on the face and set blend mode as Multiply. Apply layer1’s masking.

Duplicate another layer of shade1 (Overlay). Clip it with texture2 and add in a little brightness.

Part 10 : Creating Burnt Scars

1)Copy a portion of your supporting image (#4833366). Rename it as texture3. 2)Desaturate the image. 3)Clip another copy of Shade1 to it. 4)Apply Overlay blend mode to texture3 and mask away unwanted areas. This acts as a base of the skin peeling effect that we are attempting to achieve in the following steps.

Part 11 : Skin Peeling Effect

1)By referring to texture3, draw a similar but more jagged selection from the source and copy it. 2)Change it’s color and contrast (using Hue/Saturation and Brightness/Contrast Adjustments). Transform and warp as you see fit. 3)Give some tone to it by darkening and lightening the peeling skin. Burn tool helps darken and dodge tool brightens.

Proceed to the forehead and add in skin-peels using the above method.

1)Draw a selection. 2)Transform it. 3)Color it and add a little shadow (go to blending option and enable drop shadow).

Using the Burn tool again, darken areas that requires more shadow. I’ve had the scar (big and small) darkened and desaturated by a little.

Part 12 : Brushing Burnt Skin Color

Adding skin color to this is similar to the frozen effect. Use the same brush and select 3 suitable colors to produce the result. Create a new layer and start brushing.

When done, set the blend mode to Vivid Light with opacity around 50%.

Part 13 : Adjusting Hair Color

The right side of the hair is a bit too dark and has no details in it. Copy a portion of the hair from the left and place it on the right. I’ve also increased the contrast, brightness, and adding some red and yellow tones to my hair.

Part 14 : Adding Sparks of Flame

Import this picture(#619633).

Access it’s blending option. Drag the sliders and set blend mode to Screen.

Mask/erase areas that are deemed excessive. Group the burn effect when done.

Reveal the 2 groups (frozen and burnt) and balance out the masking.

Add in backgrounds that suits the nature of each side. For my final image, I’ve decided to add in an icy terrain to the frozen side and a volcanic lava image on the burnt side. This is it:

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