Contemplation in Photoshop – Part 2

We continue our lesson in creating a surrealistic work with a Buddhist monk and soaring sphere. First partthe lesson you will find here.

The lesson will teach you techniques by which you will be able to create a cave of simple stones, as well as interesting weaving of ropes using a 3D cube shape.


Step 9. Cube of ropes

In this step, we will add ropes that will follow the contour of the 3D cube. Before we begin working with ropes, we’ll add a cube to our collage that will help us create the desired shape.

To do this, download the archive from source. Unzip it and open the PSD file. Stand on the group “spine highlights”, and then press the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E, This will help you create a single copy of the underlying layers. Now the PSD file with the cube has the following layer scheme:

Standing on the combined layer with the cube, press the combination Ctrl + A, to create a layer selection, and then copy the selection by pressing Ctrl + C.

Go back to the main working document, create a new layer on top of the previous ones. Press the key combination Ctrl + V, in order to put a cube in a working canvas.

PSD file with cube, now you can close. In this paper, he no longer needed.

Place the cube layer under the planet layer.

Activate Free transform (Ctrl + T) and use it to transform a cube and move it to a position as in the screenshot below.

Now we can proceed to adding ropes. Switch to: File – Post (File – Place) and in the source folder select the rope (download and unpack the rope archive first).

Duplicate the rope layer four times using the combination Ctrl + J, or simply dragging a layer with a rope to the “Create New Layer” icon.

Let’s place the layers with the rope for further work, according to this scheme: place one copy layer above the layer with the planet, and the rest – under the layer with the planet.

Stand on a copy layer, which is located immediately below the layer with the planet. Activate the tool Free transform (Ctrl + T). Move, scale and modify the rope so that it repeats the contour of the right side of the cube.

Go to the copy layer below and repeat the transformation process. But this time, you need to repeat the contour of the left side face of the cube.

The third copy layer will be needed to create the face that is furthest from the viewer. Use the same technique as for the previous ropes. For convenience, temporarily turn off the visibility of the planet layer by clicking on the image of the eye next to the layer icon.

The copy layer that we placed above the layer with the planet will serve to create the near face of the cube.

Thus, we have all the side faces of the rope ready:

A great advantage when working with smart objects is that we can at any time increase the previously reduced image without losing quality. Therefore, you do not need to add the image of the rope to the collage again. Just create four more copies (Ctrl + J) layer, which is located above the layer “Planet”.

All new copy layers need to be selected and moved under the “Planet” layer.

Using these copies of the rope, we will create the faces of the bottom base of the cube. The technique for placing the pieces of rope remains the same: select the layer-copy and using the Free Transform (Ctrl + T) we modify the rope.

When creating inner edges, turn off the visibility of the planet layer.

Side and bottom faces of the cube are ready:

It remains to add upper edges.
You have already got a good practice on working with ropes and cube faces. Therefore, I will not describe further actions in detail. Focus on the images and form the upper parts of the cube of ropes.
Layer Layer:

Transformation scheme:

In order not to clutter up the working space of the layers panel, we will group the layers with pieces of rope. First select all the layers above the “Planet” layer and then drag them to the folder icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Name the resulting group “Ropes outside the cube” (Ropes in front).

Then select the layers with the rope parts under the “Planet” layer and press the key combination Ctrl +G group them together under the name “Ropes in the back”.

Remove the layer with the yellow cube by dragging it onto the “Delete Layer” icon.

Now the cube of ropes is ready completely:

Layer of layers after this stage:

Step 10. Add ropes

In this step, we will continue to add ropes.
Go back to: File – Post (File – Place) and in the source folder select the rope.

Create four copies of this layer (Ctrl +J).

Select the top copy layer, hold down the key Shift and left-click on the last copy layer (in order to select all new layers with ropes). Then click Ctrl +G, in order to link the selected layers into a group.

Name the new group “Ropes holding the cube” and place it between the “Sky and Clouds / Mountains” group and the “Cave Sketch” layer and the group.

Open a new group (by clicking on the arrow next to the group name). Stand on the top copy layer and activate Free Transform (Ctrl + T). Modify the rope and place it at the lower left corner of the cube. Of course, you can place the ropes quite differently than me.

Below are images of how I changed (transformed) the ropes. The technique is similar to the one we used earlier when creating the cube.

We are almost done composing our collage. At this stage you will have a similar result:

Layer Layer:

Step 11: Adding Nodes

Add details to our weave. Open the “Knot” source and save it to the working folder with the resources for this lesson. Switch to: File – Post (File – Place) and add a photo with a node to your canvas.

Activate the tool Fast selection (Quick Selection (W)). Form a selection around the outline of the node. Do not worry if you did not manage to create the perfect contour, this can be corrected later.

Quick Selection Tool Tips:

  • in order to completely select an object, click on its unselected areas;
  • in order to remove the extra highlighted area, hold down the Alt key and click on it.

After you have created a selection, click on the third icon (“Add Vector Mask”) at the bottom of the layers panel.

Activate the Free Transform tool (Ctrl + T) and reduce the size of the node. Then place it at the intersection of the ropes in the corner of the cube.

Here’s what the connection will look like when zooming the canvas:

Create six copies of the small node (Ctrl +J).

For each node, apply Free Transform (Ctrl + T): rotate, scale, move them so that they are as close as possible to the intersection of the ropes at the corners of the cube.

Create a “Knots” group from the layers with nodes. (Ctrl +G).

We have completed the last step of adding collage elements. Hooray!

Step 12. Rope correction

Let’s unite two groups.
Stand on the “Knots” group and drag it to the “Ropes in front” group. Arrange the placement procedure as shown below:

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves).

Notice that the adjustment layer is located above the “Ropes in front” group.

You can adjust the settings for the adjustment layer yourself, or use mine (see the picture below). Apply the “Curves” layer as a clipping mask to the “Ropes in front” group.

After adding a correction, you will get a similar result:

Create two copies of the adjustment layer (Ctrl + J).

Drag one layer of the “Curves” copy over the “Ropes in the back” group.

Apply the adjustment layer as a clipping mask to the lower layer group. To do this, hold down the Alt key and hover the mouse between the layers.

Apply the second copy of Curves as a clipping mask to the “Ropes holding the cube” group.
After adjusting the curves, we got this picture:

Step 13. Grouping the workspace

Select the “Ropes in front” layer group and the Curves adjustment layer above it. Press combination Ctrl + G to merge selected layers into a group. I called the resulting group “Ropes” (“Ropes”).

In the same way, create a group from the “Curves 2” copy layer and the “Ropes in the back” group under it. The name of the new group is also “Ropes” (“Ropes”).

As you guessed, you also need to merge the second layer-copy “Curves 3” and the group “Ropes holding the cube” into a group. The name of this group is “Ropes” (“Ropes”).

Select the Monk’s Shadow layer (Monk Shadow), Cave Lighting (Cave Lighting), Cave Walls group and Cave Sketch (Cave sketch) layer, and then combine them into the Cave \ Monk’s Shadow group. (Cave / Monk Shadow).

As you can see, the image itself has not changed, but the workspace looks much neater and clearer.

Step 14

In this step, we will add some depth to our collage, which will make it more attractive.
Above the “Planet” layer add a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it “Black” (Black). Overlay mode for this layer change to Chromaticity (Color), and lower the opacity to 75%.

Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)). Choose a soft, round, black brush with a size of about 300 pixels, and an opacity of 50%.

Standing on the “Black” layer, trace the area inside the cube and the space between the ropes.
I temporarily set the black draw layer mode to Normal so that you can see the area I painted

In overlay mode Chromaticity (Color), the collage looks like this:

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) above the layer “Black” and name it “Purple”. Purple overlay mode – Chromaticity (Color), opacity (opacity) – 8%.

As you guessed, we will use purple on this layer. Go to the color picker and set the color number in it – # 8400ff.

Activate the tool again Brush (Brush Tool (B)), use the same settings as in the previous step. Paint the space inside the cube.


Step 15. Final Adjustments

We got to the final step in which we will deal with the general color correction.

Start by adding a correction layer. Black and White (Black White).

In the settings, select “High Contrast Red Filter” and set these values:

Lower the opacity of this layer to 27%.

Above Black and White Corrective Layer (Black White) create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) under the name “Gradient” (Gradien). Blending mode of the new layer – Soft light (Soft Light), opacity (opacity) – 35%.

Activate the tool Gradient (Gradient Tool), gradient type – linear.

Go to the gradient editor and create a new overflow of colors from blue to yellow in it.

Stand on the “Gradient” layer. Drag the gradient line so that the upper half of the canvas is colored blue, and the lower one is yellow (for clarity, the image below shows how the layer with the gradient looks in the Normal blending mode)

This is how the work looks after adding a gradient

Add an adjustment layer Brightness \ Contrast (Brightness / Contrast).

Now apply the adjustment layer. Selective color correction (Selective color):

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Stand on the top layer and press the key combination. Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E, to create a merged layer. Blend mode of this layer change to Screen (Screen), and lower the opacity to 15%.

Standing on this layer go to: Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). Blur radius – 80 pix.

This simple device allowed us to create a pleasant light nebula:

Duplicate the blurred layer (Ctrl + J). Change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light), and opacity at 25%.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N), on top of all the previous ones and name it “Vignette” (Vignette).

Set the default colors (black and white) by pressing the key D. Standing on the “Vignette” layer, press the key combination Alt + delete, in order to fill the layer with black.

Activate the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool), with a brush size of 2000 peaks. And gently erase the central part of the black layer. You should have only black areas along the edge of the canvas, which will give us a beautiful vignette effect.

Layer Layer:

Create a new layer on top of the previous ones and name it Lens Flare. The blend mode of this layer is Screen (Screen). Fill the layer with black.

Switch to: Filter – Rendering – Blick (Filter – Render – Lens Flare). Set the brightness to 100% and the lens type to Start of the video (Movie Prime).

Add a layer mask to the glare. Use the black, soft brush and hide patches of light that fall on the cave.

You should have a similar result:

It remains to add texture. To do this, go to: File – Post (File – Place) and in the source folder select “Texture 1”. Texture Blend Mode – Overlap (Overlay), opacity – 25%.

On the new layer, place the image “Texture 2”. Activate the tool Free transform (Free Transform Tool). Expand the texture on 90? and stretch it so that it covers the entire canvas.

Change the blend mode of the “Texture 2” layer to Soft light (Soft Light) and lower the opacity to 25%.

Now … we can admire the final result, because we have just finished the last step!

Do not forget to select all the layers related to color correction and texture layers and merge them into a group. You can name a group, for example, “Final Adjustments”.

All is ready!

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