Colorful illustration with a girl in photoshop

This collage of the Serbian illustrator Becha was created for Faar’s high fashion article called Silent Spring. The magazine features a collection of bright colors and shoes from designer Ana Ljubinkovic, which fit perfectly into the collage you create.

The elements of the collage were shot by photographer Miloš Nadazdin in his studio. Hand-drawn elements were created by Becha herself.

In this lesson you will learn to reunite all these elements into one common image, to achieve an atmosphere of surrealism inspired by nature. Becha will explain how to create a mask made of ceramics to cover the model’s face and how to give a vector label a three-dimensional look.

It will also show how textures can be used to recreate the atmosphere, and how unusual elements can be created using adjustment layers.

Lead time:
3 hours

Photoshop CS3 and up

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1

First you need to create a new document with a size of 25 cm in width and 31 cm in height, resolution 300 dpi.

Create a gradient fill. Layer (Layer) – New layer fill (New Fill Layer) – Gradient (Gradient). Click on the standard gradient to edit it – change the opacity of the two sliders to 100%, then use the color # dfe8d7 for the slider on the left and # 68acbd for the slider on the right. Thus, we will create a heavenly background. Set the parameter value Position (Location) by 70%. Click “Ok” and make sure that the gradient passes from light to dark from top to bottom.

Then apply the filter Noise (Noise) Filter (Filter) – Noise (Noise) – Add noise (Add Noise) with a value of 4%, parameters Uniform (Uniform) and Monochrome (Monochromatic) must be activated. This will make the background cleaner.

Step 2

Among the files for the lesson, open a snapshot of the model in Photoshop. We need to separate it from the background and best of all do it with a mask. Then invert the mask so that only the girl is highlighted. So, using the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand) with Threshold (Threshold) 30 select the background by double-clicking and holding Shift. So you added it to the selection area.

To select the details around the pearls and colors, switch to mask mode and, using the brush tool, paint over the areas that should be included in the mask. Turn off mask mode, go to menu Allotment (Select) – Invert selection (Inverse Selection) (Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + I). Then copy and paste the model into our main composition.

Step 3

In order for the model to be in harmony with the background, you need to give it an appropriate color tone, for which you need to reduce the contrast. Go to menu Picture (Image) – Correction (Adjustments) – Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) and reduce the contrast to -30.

Duplicate the model layer (Cmd /Ctl + J), select the top layer and use the filter Filter (Filter) – Blur (Blur) – Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 45 px. Apply to this layer Blend mode (Blend Mode) Hard light (Hard Light). This action creates a diffused light effect behind the model, as if it really stands in front of this background.

Step 4

Then open the file Deer.jpg from the file folder you downloaded. Create a selection of the deer’s head, its horns and colors, according to step 2, without grabbing the shoes.

Copy and paste these objects into the main composition under the layers with the model and adjust the size as shown in the image. Go to menu Picture (Image) – Correction (Adjustments) – Levels (Levels) and move the middle slider Input Values ​​(Input Levels) by 1.5 so that our new objects harmonize with the overall composition.

Step 5

Now is the time to add some more flowers. From the source folder for the work, select and open the Flowers.png file (for which I have already clipped), copy and paste it into our document with the model under the other layers. Arrange it as shown in the image. Then open the file Rose.jpg and create a rough selection around them using the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso) (L). Use one of the flowers to mask the deep neckline of the dress model.

Step 6

To give a contrast, we turn to warmer colors and different shapes. Add some branches. Miloš (Miloš) took pictures of blue branches, but we will change their color to red.
Open each file with branches in a separate document and create a selection using the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand) with Tolerance (Tolerance) 50.

Go to menu Selection (Select) – Inversion (Inverse) (Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + I) and place the branches in the main composition. To change their color, apply a correction. Hue / Saturation Hue / Saturation (Cmd / Ctrl + U) and set Saturation (Saturation) at 180, then apply Levels (Levels) (Cmd / Ctrl + L) to increase their brightness. Install Input values (Input Levels) at: 0 / 1.18 / 229.

Step 7
We need to form branches so that they resemble the tops of the trees. We use the tools Transformations (Transform) (Cmd / Ctrl + T) to resize and rotate branches. When you achieve the perfect result, select all the branches and merge them into one layer (Cmd / Ctrl + E).

Step 8

Now we need to add some details to the branches so that they become more interesting. The dress of the model already has pearls, use them as inflorescences.

Open file Pearl.jpg from the source folder, select the pearl with the tool Oval selection (Elliptical Marquee) (M). Copy and paste it into our main file. Make it glow with the layer style. Glow (Glow). Install Opacity (Opacity) 72, color # d9f1fd and size 46. Right click on the layer in the layers panel and select Rasterize Layer Style (Rasterize Layer Style). Thus, the effect applied will change in proportion to the pearl when you change its size.

Duplicate the pearl several times. Cmd / Ctrl + J, then resize each one and place on branches. Place a few of them at the top to create an effect as if they are floating in the air.

Step 9

I wanted to add something organic – something that would emphasize the naturalness of this work. For this, I created a sketch on paper, which I used as a basis for creating a vector image in Illustrator. Then I copied it and pasted it into Photoshop as a smart object. You can find my drawing among the files for this tutorial (Silent_Spring_Drawing.jpg). You can create some sort of similar font using your favorite method.

Apply layer styles to text, giving them depths and the appearance of clouds. I used the style Stamping (Bevel and Emboss). I also applied the style Color overlay (Color Overlay) and chose # faf2dc as the color.

Step 10

The letters have acquired the correct color and volume, but they need to add shadows. To do this, create a new layer above the text, then Cmd / Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of the text layer in the layers panel to load the selection. To draw shadows, use a gray brush with soft edges and Opacity (Opacity) 50%, By pushing (Flow) – 30%. This technique will add a three-dimensional effect to the letters.

Step 11

Create a halo over the model’s head. As in the case of the font, you need to give it a “handmade” look. Download the file from the source folder. Circlescan.jpg or draw your own. Copy and paste the image into the main composition. Since we need a white drawing, we invert the existing Picture (Image) – Correction (Adjustment) –Inversion (Invert) (Cmd / Ctrl + I), and then set Blend mode (Blend Mode) Screen (Screen), which allows to leave only the drawn elements. This white is too bright, so reduce Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 80%.

Step 12

To create a ceramic mask on the face of the model, we first use the tool Pen (Pen) to carefully draw the outline around her eye. Go to menu Window (Window)> Contours (Paths), hold down the Cmd / Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the working path to load the selection based on the path. Create a new layer and fill it with white (Shift + F5).

Then load the selection of this layer, go to the model layer and press the Cmd / Ctrl + J key combination to duplicate the selected area from the layer. Place this part above the white shape layer. Bleach this layer with Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + U.

Again, load the selection of our mask on this layer and go to the menu Filter (Filter)> Blur (Blur)> Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) set a radius of 5. Apply a correction Levels (Levels) set the white slider to a value of 198. Now you need to apply some shadow correction to make the mask realistic.

Choose a soft edge brush and color # 8b6952. Install Opacity (Opacity) at 40% and draw the shadows on the new layer with the blend mode set Multiplication (Multiply). It’s best to use a pen tablet and pen, but if you don’t have them, just work the mouse more carefully.

Step 13

To create the effect that the model is doused with paint, follow the same principle as in step 12. This time you will need to create shadows for the smudges. Carefully paint the shadows using the same brush as before. Be careful where the light gets brighter.

Step 14

For a final stroke, open Texture.jpg from the source file folder for the lesson, copy and paste the texture into the main document. Use the blending mode Soft light (Soft Light). The task of this texture is to visually merge all the layers. It is very useful at times to experiment with various kinds of textures and blending modes to get an interesting result.
Finally, correct the color by going to the menu. Layers (Layer) – New Adjustment Layer (New Adjustment Layer) – Curves (Curves). Select the green curve and set the value Exit (Output) 179 and Login (Input) at 169.

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