Draw a Christmas composition in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn how to create a beautiful Christmas composition with berries on a holly leaf. We will add a subtle sophistication to the composition, creating a mirror shine.

Final Result:

Step 1. Create a Holly Leaf

Draw your sheet using any drawing tool you prefer to work with. I chose the tool Pen (Pen tool (P)). Hold the (Alt) key + add contour anchor points to each sheet spike before creating curved lines.

Translator’s Note: first, the author creates spikes along the contour of the sheet, adding anchor points, and then using the tool Angle (Convert Point Tool), the author creates curved paper lines.

Once you have created a sheet outline, press the keys (Ctrl + Enter) to convert the outline into an active selection. Create a new layer, set the foreground color to a bright green color, then press the (Alt + Delete) keys to fill the selected area with the selected color tone.

Step 2. Add Shading

Choose a tool Clarifier and dimmer (Dodge and Burn tools (O)) to add a little shading. In the tool settings, set Range (range) to Sveta (Highlights) as well as set the value Exposure (exposure) approximately 50% (if you use a tablet, then install pressure (pressure) 100%). Using a large soft brush, draw the shadows on the sheet. Using tool Clarifier (Dodge tool), add light highlights. If you hold and release the key (Alt) during machining, you can switch the shading tool to the bleaching tool.

Step 3. Add Details to the Sheet

Using tool Pen (Pen tool), draw the outline of the stem in the middle of the sheet, bent at the top of the sheet. Once again, press the keys (Ctrl + Enter) to convert the outline into an active selection. Choose a tool Dimmer (Burn tool), in the settings of this tool, setting a large soft brush. Paint over the edge of the brush, slightly darkening the bottom of the selection. Next, go Selection – Inversion (Select> Inverse) to select the other half and using the tool Clarifier (Dodge tool) brighten the top edge. Thus, we will create a clear outline in the middle of the sheet.

Step 4. Add Gloss

To add a gloss effect to the sheet, add a layer style to the sheet layer. Stamping (Bevel and Emboss) by clicking on the corresponding icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Set the following settings:

  • Inner bevel (Inner Bevel)
  • Depth (Depth) about 150%
  • The size(Size) 7 px
  • Circuit gloss(Gloss Contour) – Ring

Set the contour as shown in the screenshot below. Click on the small arrow to enter the contour selection window, select the N-shape contour. Thus, we will add a gloss effect to the edges of the sheet, creating a three-dimensional look.

Step 5. The Far Edges of the Sheet

The problem with the gloss on the edges that we just added is that the far edges look too massive, they need to be made a bit thinner to create a natural look. Duplicate the sheet layer, go back to the layer style settings, then reduce the emboss size to just two or three pixels.

Step 6. Combine Bevel

So, we have two layers with leaves: one with a large bevel / embossed, and the second, which is located above – with a small bevel. On the duplicate layer that you just edited, let’s go Layer – Layer Mask – Show All (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All) to add an empty layer mask. Using a soft brush, paint over the bottom half of the sheet in black to hide the image on the layer and to show the original sheet, which is located below. The bevel of the edge now looks more realistic, having a three-dimensional look.

Step 7. Create Shadow

To create a shadow, you first need to create a new layer below the layers with leaves. Hold down (Ctrl) + click on the thumbnail of one of the layers with leaves to load the active selection around the sheet image. Next, set the foreground color to dark green. Press the (Alt + Delete) keys to fill the active selection with the selected color shade. Next, go Editing – Transformation – Deformation (Edit> Transform> Warp). Warp the shadow so that the ends of the leaf look slightly raised. Next, move the shadow a few pixels down.

Step 8. Soften the Shadow

To soften the edges of the shadow, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Next, either using the black brush on the new layer, or simply using the tool Eraser (Eraser tool), paint over the edges of the shadow to create a smooth disappearance of the shadow as it moves away from the sheet.

Step 9. Create Berries

So, we have created a sheet, now we can go to the creation of berries. Create a new layer, select the tool. Oval area (Elliptical Marquee tool). Hold down (Shift) + draw a perfect circle. Set the foreground color to dark red, and then press the (Alt + Delete) keys to fill the active selection with the selected color shade. Do not fill with too bright color, because later we will add light highlights.

Step 10. Add chiaroscuro to the Berry

Using tool Clarifier and dimmer (Dodge and Burn tools), in the settings of this tool, set low exposure (exposure) – about 50%, add chiaroscuro to the image of the berry. At this stage, you are not required to create realistic shadows, all you need is to create a diffused reflection of light on the berry. Just give the berry a light texture.

Step 11. Shading the Shading

To complete the shading effect, duplicate the berry layer and then mirror duplicate layer vertically (flip vertically).

Step 12. First Hard Edge

One of the things that makes reflections on glass surfaces convincing is the hard edge between light and dark areas. (Look at any picture on the iPhone and see how it works efficiently). To create this effect yourself, select the tool Oval area (Elliptical Marquee tool). Using this tool, create a circular selection, then move the drawn circle from the center up and to the right. Next, go Selection – Inversion (Select> Inverse) to invert the selection so that everything is selected except for the circle. Create a new layer using the berry layer as a clipping mask. Using a large soft brush, paint over with a black brush inside an unselected circle. This way you create a soft shading effect on one side and a hard edge on the other.

Step 13. Slight Shadow

Upload a berry image as an active selection. Using a soft brush, add shadows on the other side of the berry. Do not overdo it, do not add shadows to the bottom edge. If you leave a light area in the lower right part of the berry, this will create a feeling of reflected light from the table on the lower part of the sphere.

Step 14. Light Glare of Gloss

To add a highlight, create a new layer. Create a circular selection and go on Selection – Transform Selection (Select> Transform Selection) to rotate the circle so that it is at a slight angle to the berry. Using a large soft white brush, paint over the outer edge of the round selection so that only the edge of the brush passes through the inside of the active area. Add a highlight to the right upper part of the selected area, as well as along the edge of the selected area, but not around the entire contour. Do not add flare to the bottom left, leaving a gap.

Step 15. Reflected Blick

Create a new layer. Using a small soft brush, paint a yellow spot. Next, reduce the diameter of the brush, and then click on the center of the drawn yellow spot with a white brush to create the first highlight.

Step 16. Add Reflective Glare

Duplicate the highlight with the tool Free transformation (Free Transform), apply distortion to the glare, stretching it out and making it thinner, observing the slope of the angle of the edge of the berry, place duplicates of the glare on different sides of the berry. The distortion will create a reflection effect of light around the sphere of the berry, which will make the appearance of the berry more voluminous.

Step 17. Add another reflection.

Create a round selection on the new layer, the size of the selected area is about 2/3 of the berry size. Paint the black soft brush over the top right of the selected circle. Decrease opacity (Opacity) of this layer to create the feeling of another reflection below the light glare.

Step 18. Second Berry

Select all the layers with the berry and then go Layer – Group Layers (Layer> Group Layers). Next, duplicate the group with the berry; move the duplicate of the group with the berry down, placing it below the original group with the berry. To make the duplicate berry not look exactly like the original berry, reflect the original layers with shading vertically or horizontally, but light highlights and shadows should remain in their places.

Step 19. Reflecting Berry

Duplicate the original group with the berry, and then right-click on the duplicate group and in the appeared window select the option Merge group (merge group) to create a merged layer. Move the merged layer to the group containing the second berry, placing it on top of the main layer in this group. Next, go Layer – Create Clipping Mask (Layer> Create Clipping Mask) so that the layer is visible only where it overlaps with the underlying layer. Using tool Free transformation (Free Transform), apply the distortion to the merged layer so that the reflection of the first berry is reflected on the surface of the second berry. Reduce a bit opacity (Opacity) layer, it will add realism.

Step 20. Add Reflection to the Sheet.

Duplicate both groups with berries, then merge each duplicate group. In this way, you will have two new merged layers that will represent the reflection of the berries on the sheet. Reflect the merged layers vertically, shifting them down so that they are right below the original images of the berries.

Step 21. Reflect Glossy

To make the reflection more realistic, select both the combined layers of berries, and then go Layer – Group Layers (Layer> Group Layers). Change the blending mode for the created group from Normal (Normal) to mode Hard light (Hard Light), so you can see the image of the sheet through the reflection of the berries. (If you just changed the blending mode for each merged layer with a berry to Hard light (Hard Light), then you could see one reflection of a berry through another reflection of a berry, it would look unrealistic).

Step 22: Shade Reflection

Add a layer mask to the group with the reflection of the berries and using a soft black brush paint over the bottom of the layer mask to shade the reflection and create a smooth transition of the reflection dispersion.

Step 23. Additional highlights

To liven up the whole composition, create a new layer, fill it with black color. Next, go Filter – Rendering – Blick (Use Filter> Render> Lens Flare), position the highlight approximately in the center of the top part of the first berry, then click OK to apply the filter. Change the blending mode for this layer with a highlight on Lightening (Screen) to hide the black background, leaving only the highlight visible. Shift the highlight if necessary so that the highlight is correctly positioned on the berry. Duplicate the flare layer by adding the same effect to the second berry. And we have completed the lesson! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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