Create in Photoshop an illustration with light effects.

The author of the video lesson: Elena Vinogradova

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you how to use stock images to create a digital artwork with nice colors. All you need is a package of my textures and a model.

Materials for the lesson:

I found a model on the deviantArt website. You can take the image in the archive. If you want to use another stock image, try using the ISO Stock gallery, there you will find very good stock images. For this tutorial, I will use the image of the girl you see on the preview.
So, open Photoshop, we start!

Step 1. Open our model in Photoshop and use the tool Feather (Pen) circle the outline around it, just make sure that the Pen is set in your mode Contours (Paths). I advise using the technique of cutting with Pen (Pen), because its use gives the most accurate result. Also, when you work with a high-resolution image like this, try to create a contour on an enlarged scale, this will allow you to achieve a quality result. After you trace the outline without switching the tool, right-click inside the outline and select “Create a selection” (MakeSelection). Remove the background.

Note translator: Make sure that it is the background that you hit the selection area, not the girl herself, that is, inside the selection should go along the silhouette of the girl, and outside – along the perimeter of the canvas. If the selection you have is only on the contour of the girl, it means that when you press Delete, you will not remove the background, and the girl. To avoid this, you must invert the selection, for this you need to press the key combination Ctrl+Shift+I or go to the menu Allocation – Invert (SelectInvert), and then press Delete or Backspace to remove the background.

Create a new document with a size of 1500? 2026 px and paste a girl into it, name the resulting new layer Model. Create a new layer under the Model layer, use the tool Gradient (Gradient) and draw them from the upper left corner of the canvas to the lower right. Use light gray 66686b as the foreground color and 474b4e as the background color. Look at the image below.

Note translator: To change the color of the gradient, double-click in the gradient settings (at the top of the screen) to follow the pattern of the gradient line. You will see a gradient editing window (GradientEditor), click on the lower left marker below the gradient line to activate its settings. Click once on the color option (color) and in the window that appears below, enter the number indicated by the author in the column #, click OK. Do the same with the right marker. Then apply the resulting gradient according to the author’s instructions.

Step 2. Now we will slightly adjust the color and contrast, and also add a little shadow. Make a little color correction and increase the contrast of the girl. I used Adjustment layers (AdjustmentsLayers), since they do not destroy the image, in other words, you can remove the adjustment layer or transform it, without affecting the original image in any way.

Note translator: Adjustment layers do not directly affect the image, but are created in a separate layer, which can always be corrected by double-clicking on it, working with a layer mask that automatically appears with it, or such layers can be simply deleted if you find the result inappropriate. For ease of use adjustment layers (adjustmentslayer) rendered to the layers palette in the form of a black and white circle, this is where you can find all the parameters that the author indicates below.

Settings Levels (Levels) to increase contrast.

Settings Saturation (Saturation) for color correction.
(Note Translation: This parameter can be found in the Hue / Saturation adjustment layer.

After making corrections, add some shadows under the girl to make the picture more realistic, as now the girl seems to be hanging in the air.
To add shadows like I did in the image below, use the tool. Brush (Brush) different sizes on different layers. For contacting shadow use brush (brush) from 35% stiffness (hardness) and diameter (diameter) 30px. Install push (flow) and opacity (opacity) brushes (brush) 40-45%, create a few strokes at the inner edge of both feet.
To make a shadow on the floor, use brush (brush) bigger size. Try to do something similar to the image below. The next lesson will be entirely devoted to the technique of creating a shadow, so do not worry if you have something not quite right.

Step 3. This is where fun and creativity begin! I provide links to images that we will use, but if you want, you can use other images. Download the Colors in Motion Kit and a set of Cosmic Lights PNG images (links in the archive).
The first image I used is from the Cosmic Lights set. Open the image “18-star-radiation” and paste it on a new layer under the layer with the girl, but above the layers with shadows, change it Blend Mode (BlendingMode) on Lighten (Screen), and if this layer is barely noticeable, duplicate (duplicate) or increase it saturation (saturation), to show colors.

Note translator: Blend Mode (Blendingmode) layers is located in the layers palette to the left of the parameter Opacity (opacity).
To duplicate a layer (create a copy of it), right-click on it and select Duplicate Layer (DuplicateLayer), or simply drag it to the icon to create a new layer (createnewlayer) in the layers palette window (located slightly to the left of the trash can icon).

Now open the image of “11-cosmic-rays” from the same set flip it vertically (flipvertical), paste above the layer with the girl, change it Blend Mode (BlendingMode) on Lighten (Screen), like the previous image. You should have something like the image below.

Note translator: To display the layer vertically / horizontally, go to the menu Edit – Transform – Flip Vertical / Horizontal (EditTransformFlipvertical/horizontal).

Take advantage of soft brush (brush) from 75-85% opacity (opacity) and on the new layer, under the two previous light effects, click once with a brush, changing Blend Mode (BlendingMode) layer on Basis lightening (ColorDodge). I used the color bc7a39.

Now you have to do the same thing, but using a larger brush, another Blend Mode (BlendingMode), and this time the layer should be located above the layer with the girl. As a color, I used e2a02d and Blend Mode (BlendingMode) Lightening (Screen). The way the next light effect can be done is to create two strokes. The first is using a 650px and 50% brush. Opacity (opacity), and the second – on the same layer in the center of the first stroke with a brush 350px 100% Opacity (opacity).

Open the “stock 4” image in Photoshop and paste it above the previous layer with the light you just made, just at the beginning reflect (flip) its like in the image below. After that, change the blending mode to Lighten (Screen).

Open “red_light.jpg” and paste it into the document, overlapping the left foot and change Blend Mode (BlendingMode) on Lighten (Screen). As you can see, we use this technique for all stock images with a black background.

Step 4. All the light effects that we added in step 3 look great, but we can make them a little better by adding some light effects on the floor and on the girl’s body. We will do this manually and start with the left foot, where we just added red_light.jpg.
Find the layer with the model in the layers palette and click on the layer thumbnail while holding down the Ctrl key to highlight the edges of the girl. As soon as the edges stand out, create new layer (newlayer) above the model layer and create for it layer mask (layermask). I called this layer “External Light”. This is necessary so that we create light only on the body.

Change blending mode (Blendingmode) layer “External Light” on Brightening basics (Color Dodge). Take a brush with soft edges with a diameter of about 90px and install Opacity (Opacity) brushes by 20%. As I said, we will start with the left foot, so the light we need should be mixed with the red color of the stock image we used in step 3. But since the layer blend mode is set to Lightening basics (color dodge), we need to use a brighter and less saturated color, I used e0446c. Use a soft brush to paint over the edge of your left foot.
You need to make a bright light in the lower part of the leg by holding the brush on this place several times, and then reduce the effect with a smaller number of brush strokes so that the light gradually dies away. On the same layer, do the same with the right foot, but for it use not too bright green and yellow colors.

Note from translator: As you know, any light tends to reflect from the surface with which it comes in contact, which is why the author uses this technique. He simulates the reflection of light effects from the floor and the clothes of the heroine so that they look more realistic in this collage. Do not forget about such trifles, when in the future you will create something similar, it is they who set the atmosphere of integrity and realism in work. The same goes for the shadows.

Create a new layer above the layer with the model and set it blending mode (Blendingmode) on Brightening basics (Color Dodge). Paint the floor with a soft brush of color 8c0548. Decrease opacity (opacity) layer if the effect is too pronounced. Look at the image below.

Now let’s move to the upper body and use more stock images from the sets mentioned earlier, let’s add more light.
On my hand, I used the image Color_gradient (15) , located in the “smoother gradients” folder from the Colors in Motion set. Change again blending mode (BlendingMode) on Lighten (Screen) and duplicate the layer for more effect.

Add another light effect to the hand from the same texture set. I used the Color image (13) and changed it. Color tone (Hue) through Image – Adjustments – Hue / Saturation (Image> Adjustments> Hue / Saturation), to combine the colors with the first image that we applied to the hand in the previous step. This time I did not duplicate the layer.

Use the same technique to add a Color_gradient image (18), as shown in the image below.

Step 5. Everything will look even brighter if we add some bright spots in this step. You can draw these spots above all the layers in the layers palette.
From now on, to create these bright spots you will need a large brush with soft edges. We will start from the bottom.
Set the brush color to 534906 and using a brush with a diameter of 600-750px with opacity (opacity) 65%, click once at the bottom of the right leg, where we added the first light effects at the beginning of this lesson, and set blending mode (blendingmode) on Basis lightening (ColorDodge). This will make the light effect even brighter. Look at the image below.

Change the brush size to 800px, create a new layer and set 064953 as the base color. Create another light effect on the girl’s back and change blending mode (blendingmode) on Linear brightening (LinearDodge (Add)).

Do the same on the arm, but use other colors and other meanings. Opacity (opacity). For the first stroke, use a 500px brush with the color 5a4f34. Install opacity (opacity) brushes at 100%, and stiffness (hardness) by 0%. Create a new layer and click once on the girl’s finger area. Decrease opacity (opacity) layer to 65% and change it Blend Mode (Blendingmode) on Basis lightening (ColorDodge).
Create a new layer above the previous one and increase the brush size to 960px. Change the color to 574739 and click once on top of the spot you made earlier. Leave opacity (opacity) layer at 100% and change it Blend Mode (BlendingMode) on Linear brightening (LinearDodge (Add)). You should have something like the image below.

Download a set of particles from the Media Militia website and open two images similar to an explosion, insert them at the base of the right foot above the light effect that we created in the previous step. Change Blend Mode (BlendingMode) both images on Linear brightening (LinearDodge (Add)). Depending on the image you selected, you can use another blending mode (BlendingMode), which fits better.

Step 6 – Editing
We are almost done. In the final step, we need to shift the main lighting on the image using the filter Lighting effects (Lighting Effects). This is something that I would recommend you always do, because you always get the best result. We will also reduce the size of the image. If you remember, in the first step we set the resolution to 1500? 2026px, but now we will make it a little less. It is better to always work with a high-resolution image, and then reduce it. Then you could control it better, for example, at the moment when the image was cut out.

Save the work, as we will work in the new document. There are two ways to create a copy of the final result. First: select the topmost layer in the layers palette and press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to create a single image, and then paste it into a new document. The second way: select the entire canvas using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + A, and then go to the menu Editing – Copy merged data (Edit> Copy Merged).

Now create a new document by pressing the key combination Ctrl + N or go to the menu File – New (File> New), The new document must be the same size as the image that you copied to the clipboard. Paste the image into a new document and resize it (Ctrl + Alt + I) to 1000? 1351. I added a highlight to the hand, but this is up to you. Go to menu Filter – Render – Glare (Filter> Render> Light Effects) and apply the settings that are presented below:

Now make the image sharper. Go to menu Filter – Sharpness – Unsharp Mask (Filter> Sharpen> Unsharp Mask) and apply the settings shown below twice.

Note translator: Apply the filter with the specified settings, and then press the key combination Ctrl+ F or go to Filter – Last Filter (FilterLastFilter), this action repeats the last applied filter.

Here’s how to make a cool digital collage. I hope you enjoyed the lesson, and you learned something useful from it.

Posted by: Andrei Oprinca

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