Tie dying isn’t only for big white t-shirts and hot summer days. Now you can get that multi colored, hippy inspired effect on your favorite portraits with just a few simple steps in Photoshop.
Start by opening your portrait in Photoshop. This works best with a strong, interesting pose, rather than just a classic head shot. The effect will also be most successful if your subject is against a simple patterned background. Something like strips or bricks will work well.
Duplicate the background copy by right clicking on the layer in the right side panel and selecting Duplicate Layer.
Right click on the new layer and select Convert to Smart Object. Double check the two small squares in the bottom left corner to make sure the foreground is black.
Then, go to Filter>Filter Gallery, and you’ll see an editing box pop up. If you’re foreground isn’t set to black, you won’t see much detail in your image showing up in the editing box. Click Cancel, change the foreground to black and reopen the Filter Gallery.
Click on the Sketch dropdown menu and select Torn Edges. You’ll see your image switch to a rough black and white portrait.
Play around with the Image Balance, Smoothness and Contrast until you like the balance of white and black in your picture. Don’t worry if you think there are too many black sections of the image – this is where the tie dye effect will go, so more is better. In this example, I set my Image Balance to 35, Smoothness to 13 and Contrast to 12, but these numbers will differ for every image. When you’re happy with the effect, click OK.
Then, click on the small black and white circle in the bottom right corner to create a new adjustment layer, and select Gradient.
Click on the Gradient Presets and select a color combination you like. I went with the orange, green and purple effect. You can use the sliders at the bottom of the editing box to tweak the hues and how much of each color shows up in the gradient.
Click on the small gear tool above the different presents and select Color Harmonies 1. A popup box will ask if you want to replace the current gradients from Color Harmonies 1. Select OK.
Then use the Gradient Fill editing box to change the angle, style and scale as you see fit. Select OK.
In the dropdown menu next to the opacity setting, change the blending mode to Lighten. You’ll now see the tie dye effect coming through the portrait.
You can go back into the gradient effect and tweak the settings by double clicking on the Gradient Fill layer on the right side.
This effect will bring back you back to those nostalgic days of tie dying clothes with your friends in the garage, but without any of the stained fingers or cleanup.