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Apr 05, 2016

How to Create a Gritty Sports Portrait in Photoshop

How to Create a Gritty Sports Portrait in Photoshop

Sometimes it’s better to be nasty, as in the case with sports portraits. Learn how to make a sports portrait even more gritty by using dodge and burn and advanced sharpening in today’s episode.

Create Different Levels of Sharpening

A great way to help define detail in an image is to add sharpening. To create a gritty sports portrait, use different levels of sharpening to enhance both small and large details.

Start by creating a duplicate of the background layer and desaturating it by pressing SHIFT + CMD + U. This will make sure that it only effects sharpening and not color. Then convert this layer into a smart object so it can be used with smart filters. Change the blending mode to either ‘soft light’ or ‘vivid light’. Next, go to Filter – Other – High Pass. Choose a small radius to start.

This will create the first sharpening layer. To add more sharpening, simply duplicate this layer and change the radius on the high pass filter. Because the layer is a smart object, the high pass filter is applied as a smart filter, allowing it to be changed at any time.

11 Comments


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    Rod Arroyo

    I use high pass filtering all the time, but I’ve never tried it using a smart object. Thanks for the tip

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    James Rowan (aka Jimmy Knuckles)

    Yet another great learning session from you guys at PHLEARN! I think I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to remember techniques from other tutorials that are quite different, but somehow incorporate the knowledge into new projects and testing.

    Here, I found this image of American actor Aaron Paul that I thought looked very suitable for this “gritty” tutorial, but I also wanted to add some cinematic color grading to my results. Animated GIF below shows the major developmental changes that inspired my next steps…

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    James Rowan (aka Jimmy Knuckles)

    Actor Aaron Paul Part 2: Once I saw the dramatic and darkly moody effect that my previous results showed, I now started to think that Aaron’s image reminded me of the Martin Sheen close-up from Apocalypse Now in which he slowly rises from the water at night with mud on his face and that same piercing look in his eyes.

    Once I had that image in mind, I also love the bleach-bypass desaturated look that Steven Spielberg achieved in Saving Private Ryan. Armed with a new mission, I set out to create this animated GIF’s series showing an endless array of moods from some rather minor changes.

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    James Rowan (aka Jimmy Knuckles)

    Actor Aaron Paul Part 3: Going full tilt texture crazy on this one! I find that in any creative work, allow yourself permission to go “too far” and stretch your boundaries and explore – all it costs you is a little more investment in time…then edit yourself back into some more tasteful editing refinements….perhaps?

    This animated GIF series looks to me like a cross between some folky Tramp Art that was left on the floor of Jackson Pollock’s painting studio! (no drips however)

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    Martijn

    Hi there Phlearn team,

    Learned a lot from you and teaching my daughter who is a big fan too. She asked me to make a lion look fierce. I’ve been color grading, dodging, burning, sharpening and stuff. One humans it’s a fun but getting a lion to look fierce is something I can’t seem to get a hang of. Maybe a nice idea for an episode and I could surely use some tips. One of her photo’s is enclosed. It’s a small jpeg version of the original RAW. Maybe you can give us some ideas

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    Amanda Schulz

    I used this tutorial and the one on making a sun with this bird. … It seemed like the thing to do at the time. 🙂 Thanks!!!

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    Gregg Patrick Boersma

    I knew I’d be doing a fitness shoot with an aspiring model today, so I watched this last night. Awesome tutorial. This is my first use of this technique. Thank you so much for providing these!!!