Conflict of nature and technology

Final image
Such collages are commonly used in the film industry to create an illusion of the environment. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a realistic panorama from ordinary photos.

Necessary materials:

Step one. Download VOEST Steel Factory, Linz. If you choose another picture for work, try to find one on which the sky would be as clean as possible. In the future, this photo will be easier for us to edit.

We load the photo in Photoshop and increase the size of the canvas from all sides except the bottom. But first, right-click on the layer and select Layer From Background (Layer of background). Name the new layer “panorama”. Then go Image – Canvas Size (Image – The size of the canvas) and exhibit Width (Width) at 3250 and Height (Height) at 1450 pixels. Make sure the middle bottom rectangle is selected and click OK.

Step 2. Now we will fill the transparent area. Duplicate the “panorama” layer and using the tool Move Tool (Move) (V) drag the duplicate 200 pixels to the left. Make sure the option Show Transform Controls (Show controls) is active. Then we increase the size of the layer to 101% by pulling at the top of a small square. What is it for? Have you noticed a white thin line at the bottom of the photo? We must superimpose both images so that the seams are as visible as possible, so the two lines in both pictures should be at the same level.

Next we need to smooth out the sharp edges of the top photo. To do this, activate the “panorama” layer and in the Layers Palette click on the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask). Take Brush tool (Brush) (B) with a soft round brush of 200px and remove the extra areas on the layer. The background color should be black, the opacity (opacity) and flow (push) 100%. Activating the mask by clicking the mouse, we begin to work with a brush.

Step 3. The left side still looks like a duplicate, to fix it we will use Clone stamp tool (Stamp) (S). To start, create a new layer above all the previous ones, then take Stamp and in the parameter Sample (Clone) set All layers (All layers). Select a large round soft brush and set the opacity to 50%. I recommend practicing with different brush sizes before starting to get the most optimal result. Hold the ALT key once and click on the area we want to clone.

After that, release the ALT key and click on the area on which we want to overlay the cloned one. Try not to overdo it. If you are not satisfied with the result, cancel the Stamp action (CTRL + Z), since then you will not be able to correct your mistakes.

Step 4. Again take Stamp and draw the same method on the right side of the document. Here you can not try hard, later we will close this part with trees and shrubs.

Step 5. Create a new layer and turn Image – Apply Image (Image – External channel), apply the parameters as in the image below and click OK. Now we have to fill in the remaining empty areas. Move on Edit – Free Transform (Edit – Free Transform) and stretch the image until it fills the entire canvas.

Next, create a layer mask and erase the central part of the image until the original layer appears. Due to the fact that we slightly stretched the work, the quality of the picture deteriorated, but thanks to the above actions, it began to look better. Try to blend the layers as we did in the second step. You may need again Stamp , to fix bad places and abrupt transitions.

Step 6. In this step we will add some more smoking pipes. Create a new layer and turn Image – Apply Image (Image – External channel). Thereafter Edit – Free Transform (Editing – Free Transform), right click on the image and Flip horizontal (Flip horizontally). Then we erase everything, leaving only smoke. Instead of the old ones, we will add new pipes. Use the photo of Power Plant 1, which you downloaded at the beginning.

We import the image onto the document and erase everything except the pipe itself. Create a new adjustment layer Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation):
Hue (Color tone) = -108
Saturation = -43
Lightness = -14

Next, right-click on the adjustment layer and select Create Clipping Mask (Create clipping mask). Due to this, Hue / Saturation will only affect the new pipe. If you want to add more pipes, repeat this step again. Can change Blending mode (Blend Mode) layer on Darken (Replacing dark). I also lowered the opacity to 40% to create the illusion of nebula and smoke for a new pipe.

Step 7. Using Clone stamp tool (Stamp) (S), draw the smoke in the upper right corner. Pay attention to the light and shadow. The light source is on the right, so all objects are illuminated from the right side. When working with a stamp, do not forget about it. This will give more realism to our work.

Step 8. We still have enough free space in the picture, so let’s add another pipe. Import image Factory in Photoshop. The photo is discolored, so we have to make it colored. Move on Image – Adjustments – Color Balance (Image – Correction – Color Balance) and Image – Adjustments – Brightness / Contrast (Image – Correction – Brightness / Contrast).
First start with Color Balance, then go to Brightness. Do not change the order, as this may change the result for the worse! After that, drag the pipe on the document with a panorama and erase all unnecessary. I recommend using a large soft brush with different levels of opacity.

Step 9. The new pipe still does not look very harmonious. Fix it. To start, create a new layer above the layer with this pipe and change Blending mode (Blend Mode) on Soft light (Soft light). Take a small round soft brush (about 20 pixels) and reduce its opacity (opacity) to 30%. Select white and paint with a brush on the right side of the pipe to make this part lighter. Next, create a new layer with Blending mode (Blend mode) Multiply (Multiplication) and draw on the other side of the pipe to darken it. This time, when working with a brush, be careful, because in this blending mode, the brush effect is more intense than in Soft light (Soft light). Set the opacity to 10%, the color to black or dark gray. And, finally, the third time we create a new layer with Blending mode (Blend mode) Multiply (Multiplication), but this time take a large soft brush (about 100 pixels) with the color # f0b5aa. Brush adjust smoke: light, shade, color … Change the opacity (opacity) and brush size to get a more realistic result.

Step 10. Now we will add the missing elements of the foreground: shrubs and trees. We load two images: 1 and 2.

First, open image 2 and drag it onto the working document. The new layer should be above all previous ones. Due to the fact that the background of this photo is white, it will be easier for us to get rid of it. For this we will use Color range (Color range). Move on Select – Color Range (Highlight – Color range) and make sure that the pop-up menu is selected Sampled colors (Color test). Then left click on the white area. Fuziness (Blur) set to 95, activate Invert (Invert) and click Ok. After that we create a layer mask by clicking on the button. Add layer mask(Create layer mask) at the bottom of the layers panel. If you did everything correctly, the branch will be almost completely freed from the background. If you notice, there is only a white border, but do not worry, as a result of the subsequent correction this will not be visible.

Step 11. I want to draw your attention to the most important aspect in our work: all elements of the composition have a similar play of light and shadow. The simplicity of this work is the correct selection of images with similar light and shade aspects. The elements of the foreground (shrubs) are too dark, so we need to reduce the contrast so that the bushes look harmoniously with the background. Create several adjustment layers as in the image below.
Once again I want to remind you that you do not need to change the order of adding layers! After that, for each adjustment layer we create clipping mask (right mouse button on the layer and Create Clipping Mask (Create clipping mask)). Reduce the opacity (opacity) of the layer with bushes to 85% and change Blending mode (Blend Mode) on Darken (Replacing dark). Now the white edges are no longer visible.

And at the end of this step we need to mirror the shrub with Edit – Free Transform (Editing – Free Transform) or CTRL + T. Then right click on the job and select Flip horizontal (Flip horizontally) and move it to the upper right corner.

Step 12. Now open image 1 and try to make the trees darker and get rid of the purple hue, slightly discoloring and lowering the contrast. I recommend that you experiment with corrective layers yourself. If you do not get a result similar to mine, then use the following parameters of adjustment layers, then drag the finished photo onto the main working document. Place the trees under the shrub layer. Change Blending mode (Blend Mode) on Darken (Replacing dark). In this tutorial, we only work with the right half of the image, the left side I give your imagination.

Step 13. Activate the tree layer and erase with the big soft brush the part that is marked in red. Via Dodge tool (Brightener) (O) brightens the part that is marked in green. Make sure that Range (Range) set to Midtones (Midtones), and opacity (opacity) is about 15%. I do not advise to greatly abuse the Brightener, as they can discolor the image, but we do not need this.

Step 14. There is still a small area that needs treatment. Create a new layer above the tree layer and change it. Blending mode (Blend Mode) on Color (Chromaticity). Now we take a purple sample from the background of our work with the tool Color picker tool (Pipette) (I) (I took # a08999) and draw in the part that is circled in yellow. After that we create clipping mask and lower the opacity to 75%.

Step 15. As you, I think, noticed, on the treetops, which we added, there are not enough leaves, some are shabby. Fix it. Load the Umbrella photo and drag it to the main document. Create a layer mask Add layer mask (Create layer mask) and activate Brush tool (Brush) (B).
Photoshop has a wonderful set of standard brushes. We will use the one that is in the shape of a maple leaf. Set the parameters for the brush as in the figure below. Select the black color and draw on the layer mask. This technique is not very accurate, so vary the brush opacity, size and scattering to get a good result. Reduce the opacity of the layer to 80%.

Step 16. We continue to add more trees and bushes to the forefront using the technique described in steps 10-15. It is very important to try to close those areas that look bad. I do not advise simply, using the copy-paste commands, to move the vegetation, with which we have just worked, to the left half. This absolutely does not give realism and spoil the overall atmosphere of the work.

Step 17. Now we need to restore some lines that were erased in the process. For owners of a graphics tablet, this will be done very simply. If you do not have it, then we will use Pen tool (Feather) (P). To begin with, we create a new layer, then take the Feather and click once in the right place. A little knot appeared. Now click in the place where you want to finish the line. Activate Brush tool ( Brush) (B) with a stiffness of 100% and a size of 3 pixels. Pipette (I) take a sample of the color from the line (# 857082). Again we return to Peru, make sure that the path we have created is still there, click on the line with the right mouse button and select Stroke path (Outline stroke). From the pop-up menu, select Brush (Brush) and click OK. Repeat this with other lines.

Step 18. The main part of the work is finished, it remains only to add small details. The remaining steps are optional and need not be performed. You can stop after step 17, if the result you are satisfied with.

Download the Harbor of Rotterdam. Note that this is a dark silhouette on a bright background. Photo mode Darken (Replacing dark) will look most impressive.

Apply Image – Adjustments – Hue / Saturation (Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation). Reduce the opacity to 60%. You can add several factories to the background, the contrast and color tone should be similar, do not forget about it.

Step 19. Now let’s add animals to our composition. Our work depicts a typical conflict of nature and technology, so it would not be superfluous to add something like sticking stumps, rotten and burnt trees. Download some photos and start experimenting:
Flying bird
Still standing
Do not forget to pay attention to the light and shadow aspects when adding new elements. We use adjustment layers and blending modes.

With one element, I will help you. We load and drag a photo with a snag to our work. We place it in the place where it looks best. Do not forget to add purple hues. Create a new layer on a layer with a bark and apply a clipping mask to it. Pipette sample color from the light part of the smoke in the background. We draw on the right side of the snag, then change Blending mode (Blend Mode) on Overlay (Overlap).

Apply this technique to the rest of the objects you want to add. You can experiment with blending modes. I would recommend using Soft light (Soft light), Overlay (Overlap), Screen (Lightening) and Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Step 20. We are almost done. In this step, we will add several adjustment layers, this will give the composition more atmospheric. Starting with Curves (Curves):

Step 21 You can leave everything as it is, if you like some kind of surreal night. Otherwise, we will add a few more layers to turn the night into a day.

Step 22 A small area on the left is strongly striking. Fix this by creating a new layer with Blending mode (Blend mode) Color (Chromaticity). Choose color # 6b6254 and paint over these areas with a brush. After that, reduce the opacity (opacity) to 75%.

Also add rays of light. Create a new layer, activate Paint bucket tool (Fill) (G) and fill it with black. Then take a big soft round brush and add orange. Then go Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion). Angle (Angle) set at 45 degrees, Distance (Distance) – 999, then click OK. After that we change Blending mode (Blend Mode) on Linear dodge (Linear Dodge). You can copy and warp this layer if you want to add more rays. It’s all!

Final image

Author: Erik Schumacher

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