How to create a Dragan Effect: steps 6-10
6 Blend the layers
Change the blending mode of the ‘Dragan 2’ layer to Overlay, using the drop-down menu in the Layers panel (it’s set to Normal by default). The inverted look will vanish, and detail will be sharpened. Use the Opacity slider at the top of the Layers panel to control the strength of the overall effect. We set the ‘Dragan 1’ layer to 50% to restore some colour, and the ‘Dragan 2’ layer to 30% to tone down the detail.
7 Adjust the Levels again
Add a second Levels adjustment layer, and this time set the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights sliders to 25, 1.00 and 230 respectively: this boosts the contrast further, and increases the colour saturation, too. The highlights are clipped a little too much now, so select the Brush tool, click the new layer’s mask thumbnail and brush detail back into the highlight areas of the face with a black brush.
8 Crop to suit
We’ll crop the image, because there’s lots of empty black space on each side. Press C to select the Crop tool, click and drag to draw a crop, then hit Enter to apply the crop. Our Dragan makeover has revealed a few sensor spots, which we’ll need to clone out. Click the top layer, and press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E again to create another merged layer.
9 Clone out blemishes
Select the Spot Healing Brush tool (J) and make sure that Sample All Layers is checked in the Options bar. Adjust the brush size by tapping the [ and ] keys, and click once on each of the specks on the black background to remove them. Finally, we’re going to clone out some of the rough edges that the Dragan effect has created.
10 Clone out fringing
Around the ear and nape of the neck you’ll notice some nasty, blocky fringing. We can remove this with the Clone Stamp tool. Press S to select the tool, and make sure Sample All Layers and Aligned are selected in the Options bar. Alt-click to sample background pixels, and carefully clone out the fringes using a small, hard-edged brush.
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