Completing the portrait with lighting effects in Photoshop

In this tutorial, the designer from Brazil, by Murilo Maciel, will show you how using Photoshop you can create a fashionable photo illustration with beautiful lighting effects. You will learn how to use the retouching tools, also the author will share some methods of applying lighting that will give extra shine to your artwork. And finally, he will demonstrate how Adjustment layers can help you quickly change your overall mood.

In the archive for download you will find an image with 3D shapes, which the author specially prepared for this lesson. Three photographs from a paid resource were used in the work, therefore, if necessary, you can replace them with your source code, taking into account how the author of the lesson states that the model should be fairly well lit. Working with your material will bring you no less benefit. After all, by adapting techniques at different jobs and source codes, you will gain more experience that will help you create something new and unusual.

Final result

Lesson details

  • Used software – Photoshop CS5 and higher
  • Download the archive with materials for the lesson

Note: The author used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the images to perform the lesson.

Step 1

Find the image with the model or use the suggested author. Open it in the program. Create an outline around the model using the tool. Pen (Pen). Pass the area around the hair with a margin, in the rest of the image be accurate in creating the contour. After you close the path, go to the panel Contours (Paths) and click on the icon below Load outline as selection (Load path as selection). Then press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + I to invert the selection.

Step 2

Go to the menu Selection – Modification – Feather (Selection> Modify> Feather) and set a radius of 2 px. This will soften the edges and help enter the image of the model relative to the background.

To separate the area around the hair, we will use different techniques. First, activate the tool Fast selection (Quick Selection) and highlight the area around the hair. Then on the options bar, click Refine edge (Refine Edge).

Step 3

Check the checkbox Smart radius (Smart Radius) and increase the radius value until the background starts to fade. Play with other settings of this function to get a better understanding of the tool, then click OK if you are happy with the result.

Invert the selection and, at the bottom of the layers palette, click on the icon Add layer mask (Add New Mask) to hide the background. Activate the mask and use a soft, round Brush (Brush) to add or remove patches of hair and background as needed.

Step 4

Create a new layer and set it to blend mode. Overlap (Overlay) or Soft light (Soft light). In the dialog box, check the box Fill in neutral color (gray 50%) (Fill with neutral color (50% gray)).

Now use the tools Clarifier (Dodge tool) and Dimmer (Burn tool) to highlight shadows and highlights. In the options panel, decrease the value Exposure (Exposure) up to 15%, so you can better control the process of working with these tools.

Step 5

Now create a new document in RGB mode with a size of 40 x 29 cm and a resolution of 300 dpi. Copy and paste the group with the model and top layers into this document and reduce its size relative to the document. Fill the background layer with warm color, the author, for example, chose such R190 G151 B147 and set the model for the future composition as shown in the screenshot.

Step 6

Change the background color to a darker R175 G127 B123 and a large round Brush (Brush) add on the new layer color variations for the background. Now open the image with the park and place it in your document. If necessary, change its size and position as you like. In the layers panel, place a layer with a park between the model and the background. Reduce him Opacity (Opacity) to 40%, then change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft light).

Step 7

Open the Northern Lights photo and place it in your document. Activate the tool Eraser (Eraser) and a soft round brush erase the areas of the image to leave only the glow visible. This will help him merge with the rest of the elements in the composition.

Now press the key combination Ctrl + U, then the correction dialog will appear Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Set the value Color tone (Hue) at 12, but Saturation (Saturation) at 30. Place this layer below the model and position it as shown below.

Step 8

Create a new layer, select soft, round Brush (Brush) blue to draw the imprint of the sky. Add a mask to this layer, activate the tool. Gradient (Gradient Tool) and drag them over the mask so that the bottom of the brush print disappears.

Then create a group of layers below the model to which we will add decorative elements for the composition.

Step 9

Open an image with 3D shapes and / or create your own, select them with the tool Pen (Pen Tool) or Magic wand (Magic Wand), as it will be more convenient for you and place them in the group you just created. Use layer masks to fit the shapes in the composition.

Step 10

Using tool Polygonal Lasso (Poligonal Lasso Tool) create a V-shaped selection as shown in the screenshot. Choose soft, round Brush (Brush) with a size of 2500 pixels. Paint it around the edges of the selection so that it looks like a fading glow.

Step 11

Now create a new layer, create another figure selection and use the brush to paint over its edges using the same technique as above.

Draw several leaves, select their size, and then place them in different parts of your composition. Blur some of the leaves using filters. Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) and Motion blur (Motion blur) to add extra depth and movement to your photo illustration.

Step 12

Create a new layer and reduce it. Opacity (Opacity) up to 65%. Choose soft, round Brush (Brush) pink and make an imprint on the dress model. Again create a new layer and a small soft, round brush of white color add a small glare along the edges of the silhouette.

Step 13

To create a more interesting, visual light effect, select a brownish tone (R125 G73 B0) and on a new layer add a small glare on the edge of the model image with a brush. Change the layer’s overlay mode to Lightening basics Color Dodge.

Now duplicate the flare layer several times, alternately scaling the copies and placing them above and below. Put these highlights around your model, in the screenshot you can see how the author arranged it. If desired, change the opacity and intensity of the highlights.

Step 14

Choose a big white Brush (Brush) and set Opacity (Opacity) up to 5%. Start drawing over the model and background to better integrate the elements into the composition.

Open the photo with the stars. If you wish, you can download any of these from Nasa. Place the layer with the stars above the model layers and position it at the bottom of the image. Change the blending mode to Screen (Screen) and remove the background with correction Levels (Levels Ctrl + L), as shown in the screenshot.

Step 15

In order to make the composition warmer and brighter, increase its overall contrast, mood, apply adjustment layers.

Create an adjustment layer in the layers palette at the top. Gradient map (Gradient Map) with a gradient from dark blue (R0 G40 B116) to yellow (R250 G170 B0). Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light).

Step 16

Next, create an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) and tune it.

RGB tab with the following input values: 30,1,255;

Red channel – output values: 5, 255;

Blue channel – output values: 45, 220.

Finally, create another adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) and adjust the RGB channel with the values: 70, 1, 255. The author added a layer mask to this correction and erased saturated areas so that the overall contrast is increased evenly.

That’s it, the lesson is over. All success, inspiration and interesting work!

Author Murilo maciel

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