Add a cosmic nebula in the photo

Good time to learn something new. Become a Photoshop expert to create images to your liking. If you are new to collage, then welcome!

In this lesson we will learn how to create a surreal effect with a girl who has been enveloped in a cosmic nebula. The effect is achieved quickly and looks amazing.

Final image:

This guide assumes that you have knowledge of basic Photoshop features, such as adjustment layers, layer masks, layer styles.

Step 1

First, we will remove leaves, sticks, and any other trash in the original image.

Remove small leaves with the tool Clone stamp (S) (stamp). To do this, select the area next to the one you want to hide and press the Alt key. Release Alt and navigate to the place that you want to remove.

It is much easier than it seems! Play with him, and if you need more help, there are several guides explaining the tool. Clone stamp (Stamp).

Source Image:

Edited version:

Step 2

Then remove the large twigs and grass with the tool. Patch (Patch). Right click on Healing tool (Retouch tools) and select Patch tool (Patch) Create a selection around the bay leaf in the upper right corner. Click and drag so that it is replaced with water.

Again, this is much easier than it seems! If this is difficult for you, there are detailed lessons on Patch tool (Patch)

Do this to hide the green leaves in the upper and lower right corner.


2. Add contrast

We need to increase the contrast before we add the galaxy.

Step 1

Create a new layer above the model. Set its blending mode Soft light (Soft light).

Using a large white soft round brush, paint on the model’s face and draw the same brush in black at the bottom of her dress and around the hair.

Step 2

Now create an adjustment layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast). Settings: Brightness (Brightness) 51 and Opacity (Transparency) 46%.

Using a black soft round brush, paint on the layer mask to mask the middle part of the adjustment layer. Below in red is shown where it is colored black.

Step 3

Double-click on the layer to open the panel. Layer style (Layer style).

Set preferences Underlying layer (Subject layer) in Blending options (Overlay settings), as in the image below:

Step 4

Then create a new layer. Set the blending mode Overlay (Overlap). Using a small soft brush with a small Flow (By pressing) – about 20%, draw white where the model has glare and black, where it has a shadow. In addition, focus on her make-up and facial features. We want them to be very stylized. Pay attention to her eyes, make the shadows more intense.

Step 5

Now we’ll increase the contrast and brightness of the water, and also remove some colors with a black and white adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient map).

Create a black and white adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient map).

Using a big soft black brush, paint on the layer mask, painting over most of the model. The red below shows what I masked.

Step 6

Create a new layer. Set its blending mode Soft light (Soft light). Using a very large soft round brush, paint with white in the middle of the image and black along the edges. We do it very gently and gently.


Now we will create our water galaxy.

Step 1

Choose a suitable image of a nebula or galaxy. Now put it in our working paper. If necessary, we duplicate it several times and place it around our model.

Step 2

Erase all the corners of the galaxies with a soft round brush so that they merge into one large image. Set these layers to blending mode. Lighten (Replacing light).

Step 3

Select all the layers with the galaxy, merge together (Ctrl + E) and stretch the resulting image using Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) (Transform). Create a new layer and set its blending mode. Screen (Screen). We draw with a brush very large, soft, round spots of blue, orange and pink color in our water / galaxy. Set the layer opacity to 50%.


Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and set its settings for the blue channel, as shown:

Step 4

Fill the layer mask with black. We draw on it with a large, soft round brush of white color in order to bring the blue tone to random places of the image.

Step 5

We place in the group the layers with the image of the galaxy and the correction of the galaxy. Add a layer mask to the group, and mask the galaxy on the model and parts of her dress protruding above the water. The red below shows what I masked.


4. Finishing touches

Step 1

Create a new layer. Set its blending mode Lighten (Replacing light). We draw colored spots, just as we did before, around the model. If you want them on her, draw only on the edges and not in the middle of her body. Lower the opacity to 20%. Duplicate this layer and set its blending mode. Soft light (Soft light).

Step 2

And finally, we got to the final color correction. These adjustment layers are listed from the bottom up, and should be above all other layers.

Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast)

  1. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) Settings: Brightness -21 and Contrast 48.
  2. Color lookup (Color Search) Settings: (Abstract) CobaltCarmine, Opacity 39%
  3. Color lookup (Color Search) Settings: 3Strip
  4. Color lookup (Color Search) Settings: CrispWinter, Opacity 45%

Layer Style:

Color balance (Color balance):


And everything is ready! What do you think of this lesson? Share with us, it’s important for us to know your opinion!

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