Surreal photo manipulation with nebula

In this tutorial, the author will tell you step by step how to create a dark surreal photo manipulation with the nebula effect in Photoshop. The author also warns that you should have enough knowledge and certain skills in the program. And yet, newcomers can also try to pass this lesson!

With the passage of the lesson, we will use simple techniques of retouching, work with brushes, adjustment layers, and filter Plastics (Liquify) to create special effects.

On the preview below you can see the final result of the lesson.

And now let’s get started!

For the lesson you will need the following materials:

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1. Create a new document with a black background and a size of 800×1100 pixels. Open the proposed texture in Photoshop and move it into your document. Using tools Free transformation (Free Transform), squeeze it down and set the perspective.

Activate the tool Eraser (Eraser) with a soft brush, Opacity (Opacity) and By pushing (Flow) about 50%. Then erase the edges of the texture as shown in the screenshot below. This method will help give the image a depth effect.

Add three adjustment layers to the texture. Do not forget to include a clipping mask on these layers, right-click on the adjustment layer and select the item Create clipping mask (Create Clipping mask).

Black-white (Black and White)

Levels (Levels)

Curves (Curves)

You should get something like this.

Step 2. Create a new layer and make a few prints loaded with brushes previously. For better effect add filter Clouds (Clouds) on the menu Filter – Rendering (Filter-Rendering).

Open the image with the model in Photoshop, separate the girl from the background and move it into your document with the work.

Now we will add effects to the model using the filter Plastics (Liquify). Open this filter in the filter menu, activate the tool Deformation(Forward Warp Tool) and apply the following settings:

Apply plastic on the model’s skirt and on other parts of the figure, as shown in the screenshots below.

You should get something like this.

Step 3. Above the girl layer, add three adjustment layers. Turn on clipping masks on these layers by right-clicking on the adjustment layer and selecting Create clipping mask (Create Clipping mask).

Black-white (Black and White)

Levels (Levels)

Curves (Curves)

Choose a tool Brush(Brush) and a soft black brush draw a shadow under the model’s legs.

It turns out about the result.

Step 4. In this step we will draw the girl’s hair, making it more interesting. To start, configure Brush (Brush) size of 3 pixels and Toughness (Hardness) 100%. Now create a new layer and tool Pen (Pen Tool) draw a winding path.

Right-click on the contour and select Outline the contour (Stroke Path). In the dialog box, check the box Simulate pressure (Simulate pressure).

Duplicate the hair layer several times and adjust with Opacity (Opacity) where more and where less for each layer. This will give volume to the hair.

Group hair layers for convenience Ctrl +G. Duplicate the group several times, resize the strands in different groups and attach them to different parts of the model’s hair.

Step 5. Now let’s add a simple nebula effect around the model. Create a new layer and use a soft white brush to draw a large white spot over the model.

Activate the tool Eraser (Eraser) and a brush from the previously loaded set, erase some areas of white spots, especially at the edges and in the center. How it should look look at the screenshot below.

Now open the filter Plastics (Liquify) in the filter menu, activate the tool Deformation(Forward Warp Tool) and move the center of the cloud to the edges. You should have this effect.

Erase the left half of the cloud and leave only the part processed by the Plastic filter. You should get something like this.

Duplicate this layer several times, resize the copies and place them around the model as shown below.

Step 6. Let’s add flying creatures to our work. The author decided that these would be eagles. Open the image with the eagles in Photoshop, cut out two of them and paste into the working paper with the model. Reduce the size of the eagles and position them above the cloud with the nebula as shown below.

If the edges of the carved eagles are rather rough, you can correct them in the option settings. Refine edge (Refine edge) and smooth out these shortcomings, pre-selecting this layer in the layers palette.

Above the bird layer, add two adjustment layers. Turn on clipping masks on these layers by right-clicking on the adjustment layer and selecting Create clipping mask (Create Clipping mask).

Black-white (Black and White)

Levels (Levels)

This result you should have.

Step 7. For some interesting effect, the author decided to add small flashes of light around the girl’s hair. Use a soft white brush and paint these flashes as shown below.

To add a surreal effect to the image, the author used Feather brushes and painted falling feathers.

Finally, to obtain color shades, add a few adjustment layers. Color balance (Color balance) at the very top of the layers palette.

Above all layers add the first adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance) which will give the image a yellow-orange tint. Use the correction settings in the screenshot below to add this shade. Then invert the mask – the color effect is completely hidden. Make an active mask and a white soft brush with different opacities develop a color effect in the desired areas.

Now create the second adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance), which will give the image a purple tint. Use the midtone settings as in the screenshot below. Just as before, invert and process the mask of this layer, displaying a purple color shade in certain areas.

Third adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance) will give the image a bluish tint. This color is almost invisible in the image, but it is. Work with him according to the previous scheme, manifesting it only to a minor extent in some areas.

Finally, if desired, to enhance the contrast above all layers in the palette, you can create an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves).

And we get this result!

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