In this lesson we will continue to create a cake that is stylized as layers of soil. It is quite complex and is designed for a confident user. To complete the lesson, you will need basic skills with corrective layers, masks, and layer styles.
- Texture: Sand cliff
- Texture: Rock cliff
- Texture: Gravel
- Texture: Dead grass
- Photo: Wheat field (requiring payment)
- Photo: Grazing cow (extra charge)
- Photo: Grass (charge)
The grass must have roots, so add them. Below the group “Shadows” create a new group. Drag the texture of dry grass on the working paper (GrassDead0042_11_S).
Adjust the grass color with Brightness / Contrast adjustment layers (Brightness / Contrast) and Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).
Fill with dry grass along the entire length of the cake. Then create a layer mask and remove the excess with a soft black brush.
Not bad, but the roots look too blurry. You can increase the sharpness with a filter. Filter – Sharpen – Unsharp Mask (Filter – Sharpness – Contour Sharpness), Amount (Quantity) – 40%, Radius (Radius) – 1, but I recommend using a different method. Copy the layer with the roots and change its blending mode to Overlay. Then apply the filter Filter – Other – High Pass (Filter – Others – Color Contrast), Radius (Radius) – 1. This method is better, since we can adjust the sharpness using the settings Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) and use a layer mask to remove excess.
Repeat the whole process for other parts of the cake.
Now draw the narrow leaves of grass along the edges of the cake. Again we make visible the layer with the cow (in order not to do extra work and not to draw grass where it is still not visible). Rasterize the layer mask of the “Grass” group and draw a grass with a stiff white brush with a diameter of 1 pixel. It is easier to do this with a graphic tablet, but with a mouse it is also possible to achieve a similar result.
We still extend the most visible leaves of grass a little more and adjust the tops with a black brush so that they are pointed.
Now create a new layer in the “Grass” group. Change its blend mode to Overlay (Overlapping) and lighten / darken the contours of the cake using a white / black brush (B).
Now let’s do the same with wheat. Do not forget that spikelets are higher than ordinary grass. We also pass with a black brush on the bottom of the spikelets.
And lighten / darken the edges.
Additionally, I recommend adding a few spikelets, hand-drawn.
Now let’s do the transition between layers of soil. Rasterize the “Top” layer in the “Cake front” group. Using brush (In and eraser (E), make the boundaries of the soil more natural. Try to repeat the texture of the soil.
It looks better, but the middle layer is too flat. Duplicate the layer with the top texture, drop the copy below and bleach it (Shift + Command / Ctrl + U).
Change layer blend mode to Overlay (Overlap). Adjust color with Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast). We try to achieve a neutral shade.
Add one more Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast) and set the Contrast (Contrast) to 100. Using the layer mask, remove the excess from the texture.
Using the same technique, create a transition between the middle and lower layers.
Rasterize mask groups with layers of soil. With the help of a small stiff brush create torn edges. After that, we return to the base shadow of the cake and with the help of Smudge tool (Finger) add irregularities along the bottom edge of the cake.
Now add a scattered shadow around the cake. Duplicate the base shadow layer. Drop it below and blur it with Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) and then filter Motion blur (Motion blur). Apply the Color Overlay layer style (color overlay) (color # 675039) and reduce the opacity to 70%.
Now we will deal with bits of earth around the cake. Copy the texture and adjustment layers of the middle layer of soil and move duplicates to the very top of the “Soil” group.
Merge copies (Command / Ctrl + E). Take Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso) and select individual stones from the texture and copy them to a new layer (Command / Ctrl + J).
Now delete the copy of the texture. Cut out the stones around the cake.
With the help of layer styles, we can add several additional effects. Let’s start with Bevel and Emboss (Chamfer and embossing).
Drop shadow (Shadow)
The grains of earth turned out too light and smooth. Therefore, we will apply the filter High pass (Color contrast) and slightly darken them Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast).
Insert a photo with a cow on the working paper. Cut a cow and adjust the position relative to the cake.
Via Pen tool (P) (Pen) Create a vector mask.
Now adjust the color balance. For best results, hide the vector mask (Shift + click on the mask). So we will see the original color of the grass in the photo with a cow and it will be easier for us to adjust it to the color balance of our work.
Next we need to work with light and shade on the cow. Again make the “Lightning Guide” group visible. Create a new layer with blend mode. Overlay (Overlap) and black and white brush draw shadows / light.
Shadows are not saturated. Add Levels adjustment layer (Levels) and edit the mask to make the shadows darker.
Now add shadows in blend mode. Normal (Normal).
Now let’s take a falling shadow. Draw auxiliary lines that will indicate the direction of the drop shadow.
Create a new group “Shadow” and draw the head and legs of a cow with black.
Distort black shapes with transformation (Command / Ctrl + T).
Match the shadow with the cow.
Now, considering the position of the created figures, we draw the cow’s body.
Merge layers with a shadow (Command / Ctrl + E), create a layer selection (Command / Ctrl + click on the layer thumbnail on the layers panel) and add a mask to the “Shadow” group according to the shape of the selection. Move the group “Shadow” to the group “Grass”. Create two adjustment layers: Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast).
Blur the mask with the tool. Blur tool (Blur) and slightly wipe it with a black brush, in particular areas distant from the viewer.
We draw grass around the edges of the shadow with a small stiff brush, as we did before.
We return to the cow. Remove the old layer mask and add a new one. On the mask draw grass at the feet of the cow.
Due to disharmony in color, the cow stands out a little from the general background. Add a greenish tint to it. Create a new layer in mode. Soft light (Soft light). We use soft green brush in the lower part of the cow, and yellow – in the upper.
We increase the sharpness of the cow with high pass filter (Colour contrast).
6. Final touches
Merge all layers into a separate copy (Alt + Command / Ctrl + Shift + E) and reflect the copy horizontally. Edit – Transform – Flip Horizontal (Editing – Transformation – Flip Horizontally). This will help us notice any flaws in the illustration.
As you can see in the picture below, the spikelets of wheat are too small, the perspective is irregular, the scattered shadow around the cake is barely noticeable, the falling shadow is too dark and the cow gets out of the picture. But we can fix it all.
Repeat the following steps:
- We lighten the falling shadow
- On a new layer in mode Normal (Normal) create an extra layer of diffuse shadow
- Add a shadow on the cow in mode Normal (Normal) and light mode Overlay (Overlap)
Wheat completion will take more time. Via Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso) select the upper part of the layer mask and move it higher. It also does not hurt to slightly increase the texture with wheat.
Activate the mask layer “Wheat drawing” and fill the empty area with wheat. Manually draw separate spikelets.
On a new layer in mode Normal (Normal) draw a shadow and the wheat is ready.
Add a couple more details. For the middle layer of soil create a new Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast). We hide everything with the help of a mask and leave only the individual pebbles visible.
We slightly clean the base shadow under the cake and make the falling shadow from the cow more transparent.
We also add new tufts of grass, especially near the cow’s head. Lighten up some bits of earth around the cake with Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast) (use the same parameters as for the layer with light pebbles on the central layer of the soil). We also increase the sharpness of the top layer of soil.
Again reflect the work horizontally. The cow still does not look 100% harmonious with the background. It’s all about the wrong perspective. But, unfortunately, we cannot turn a cow, as in a 3D space. Most spoil the picture of the legs. It looks like a cow is balancing on one narrow line. But it can be fixed. Hide the legs and correct the shadow. On a new layer in mode Normal (Normal) add a little shadow on the left side of the cow and a bright spot on the right side. We also slightly clean the edge of the falling shadow from the cake and make it more saturated.