For all of you photographers out there looking to take your images to an artsier level, the disintegration effect and technique is one of the more drastic and profound editing tricks at your disposal. Whatever statement you’re trying to make with your photo, the disintegration effect is sure to get people’s eyes glued to your creation. Here’s how to pull off this super cool effect in an easy to follow, step-by-step instruction guide.
1. Open the image you wish to edit in Photoshop. Click the “Quick Selection” tool, making sure “Add to Selection” is checked off.
2. Open your Brush Picker and use the following settings: Size – 35px, Hardness – 100%, Space – 25%
3. Select the entire subject of your image and duplicate it by pressing Cltr + J. Hide your “Background” layer and then create a new layer and place it just below your original image.
4. Select the “Paint Bucket” tool and make sure the foreground color is white. Fill in your background and duplicate this layer by pressing Cltr + J.
5. Go back to your previous layer that you just duplicated and click on “Filter” and then “Liquify.” Use the following settings for your brush: Size – 500, Density – 100, Pressure – 100, Rate – 0.
6. Click and drag on your image to determine the size of the distortion effect you wish to create. You can adjust the opacity in order to see it better. Once you’re done, click “OK.”
7. Create a “Layer Mask” for this layer and then select the “Paint Bucket” tool. Make sure the foreground color is black, then click to fill in the mask.
8. Select the duplicated layer above this one and add a mask to it. Click the “Brush” tool and select your favorite particle brushes. It’s best to start with a smaller brush when applying the effect. Then, gradually increase the size and rotate the brush pattern so it doesn’t look repetitive.
9. Click on the layer mask below the layer you’ve been editing and select another particle brush to start adding the effect to the mask. Increase the size of your brush to add larger disintegration particles to your image.
10. Select the “Move” tool and add a cracked texture to your image (download one here). Simply drag and drop the texture using the “Move” feature. Select the texture by pressing Cltr + T and lower the opacity to see it better. Make it smaller by dragging in the corners, then right click on your selection and hit “Warp.” Keep dragging the corners inward to essentially wrap the texture around your image subject. Hit “Enter” when finished.
11. Bring the opacity back up and then change your “Blending Mode” to “Soft Light.”
12. Create an Adjustment Layer and attach it to the layer you were working on. Then, click on “Hue/Saturation.” Make the Saturation = -100 and the Lightness = +4.
13. Go back to the layer where you added the cracked texture and add a layer mask. Select the Brush tool and pick a large brush with soft edges to erase any cracks in the image you don’t want.
14. Merge all visible layers by clicking Ctlr + Shift + Alt + E. Move this new layer to the top, then click “Filter” followed by “Select Camera Raw Filter.” Increase the Clarity to +45 and adjust your temperature slider to achieve a dominant color effect you want. Once finished, hit “OK” and marvel at your awesome disintegration image!