Ruslan Khasanov’s Create Tutorial “The Freedom to Move”

by Adobe UK Team

Posted on 06-28-2018

When Adobe asked me to illustrate the concept of multilocalism, the idea of a silhouette of a person with a balloon flying through a city came to my mind almost immediately. To me, it says freedom and movement. I used a multi-exposure technique to express the contrast between the place where we are and where we wish to be, and to show the transition from monochrome reality to a bright dream. In the video clips below, you can see how I went from vision to finished artwork using Photoshop, Illustrator, Dimension, several Adobe Stock images—and paints in oil.

This is my finished piece.

Try bringing your idea to life—download 10 images from Adobe Stock for free.


I begin by searching Adobe Stock for a photo I can turn into a silhouette. I consider many pictures of dancers and jumping people until I find one that suits my idea perfectly.


Rus Khasanov demos how to turn two photos into a vector silhouette in Photoshop and Illustrator.

I license two photos of the woman in different poses because I like the head position in one and the body in another. (Sometimes even a slight difference in hand rotations are important.) In Adobe Photoshop CC, I combine parts from both photos into one rough figure and then open that in Adobe Illustrator CC to draw the silhouette with Illustrator’s Pen tool. I mostly follow the outline of the figure but do change some things, such as a foot, as I go along.

I also license a panorama of the city, a photo of a sunny landscape, and a 3D object of a balloon, all of which I’ll use later in my process.


The next step is drawing hair. Hair is one of the most important details in the illustration; the free and airy hair in this photo was one reason I chose it. It took me more than 90 minutes to draw the hair; you can see a short clip from that process below.


Rus Khasanov demos how to draw hair in Illustrator.

I recommend that you start with larger objects and gradually go to small ones. Using Illustrator’s Pen tool, I outline large curls around which I’ll draw smaller details. On the top of her head, there’s a curl that may look like a horn in the silhouette; I’ll fix that later. For drawing small curls and hair, I create my own Art Brushes. It’s best to make several brushes in different sizes. I draw individual hairs with the Pen tool. If you have a graphics tablet, it’s better and faster to use the Brush tool, but I only work with a touchpad.

When I finish the silhouette, I save the Illustrator file with a transparent background.


I want a few abstract, bright textures to fill the balloons and decide to make them with paints, water, and oil. It’s important to use liquid paint that is not thick. I fill syringes with paints, pour oil on a dish, and play with the colours. Because of the oil, the paint drops don’t spread, but keep the shape of ball. To mix colours, I add water.


Rus Khasanov wants abstract, bright textures to fill the balloons and makes them with paints, water, and oil.

I photograph the results with a Sony a7R2 with a 90mm f / 2.8 Macro G lens, then open the files in Photoshop to crop them and adjust the levels.


Rus Khasanov photographs the results, then opens the files in Photoshop to crop them and adjust the levels.


To make the balloons for the final artwork, I could have just drawn silhouettes and filled them with my paint textures, but I want the balloons to look real, so I begin with a 3D file from Adobe Stock and open that in Adobe Dimension CC, the new 3D application. I make copies of the balloon, group them, and then apply the textures I made with paint.


Rus Khasanov opens a 3D file from Adobe Stock in Adobe Dimension CC and applies the textures he made with paint.

I haven’t worked with 3D for a long time, but Dimension was simple and intuitive.


In Photoshop, I create a new document of 4000×4000 pixels. I copy and paste the city panorama, a bright landscape, the silhouette, and the balloons and arrange the silhouette and balloons. Using a clipping mask, I fill the silhouette with the bright landscape.


Using a clipping mask, Rus Khasanov fills the silhouette with the bright landscape.

I draw ribbons for the balloons with the Pen tool [not shown]. To increase detail in the landscape, I run a filter (Nik Collection Color Efex Pro’s Detail Extractor) and then duplicate the layer to increase the brightness. Later, I apply Gaussian Blur and the Soft Light Blend mode.


To increase detail in the landscape, Rus Khasanov applies a filter.

I want to see more elements, so I add circles cut from the textures with multi-coloured overflows; this also brightens the image.


Rus Khasanov adds circles cut from the textures with multi-colored overflows.

You can find more of Rus Khasanov’s work on Behance and his website.

Topics: Creativity, UK, UK Exclusive, Creative EMEA

Products: Stock