Create a collage with a deer in a dark forest in Photoshop

In this lesson, I will show you how to create an emotional scene in a dark forest. The main character we will have a deer. We combine different source images into a single scene in order to create a magic scene, work with adjustment layers, layer-masks, create interesting lighting, shadows and much more.

Source materials:

  • Deer
  • Raven
  • Forest
  • Texture of the Nebula Nebula
  • The texture of the glowing particles (We need only the texture “Starry 4”)

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

Step 1

Create a new document. File – Create (File – New). Set the parameters as shown in the screenshot below:

  • Width: (Width): 894 (pix.)
  • Height: (Height): 708 (pix.)
  • Resolution: 300 (ppi)

Step 2

Open the original image “Forest” then with the tool “Move (Move Tool) transfer to the document created by us, if necessary, transform it. To do this, press the key combination (Ctrl + T), to keep the proportions hold down the Shift key, place the image as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 3

Convert the original image “Forest” into a smart object, to do this, right-click on the forest layer and select “Convert to smart object“(Create Smart Object)

To add depth to our future scene, apply a filter. ”Gaussian blur“(Gaussian Blur) for this go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur-Gaussian Blur) set the blur radius to 8.2 pixels.

Step 4

Select the tool “Brush (Brush tool). The brush is soft, color is black. In the tool settings, set “Opacity“(Opacity) and”Pressure“(Flow) by 30%, then being on the filter mask layer”Gaussian blur”, Start removing the blur effect. The screenshot below highlights the area where you want to remove the blur effect:

And here we have some depth in our future scene:

Step 5

Add an adjustment layer “Brightness / Contrast”(Brightness / Contrast), apply clipping mask, in other words, we have to bind the adjustment layerBrightness / Contrast”To the layer with the Forest. To do this, hold down the key (Alt) and hover the mouse between the adjustment layer “Brightness / Contrast”And with the Forest layer, then just left-click to attach the adjustment layer to the forest layer.

  • Brightness (Brightness): -62
  • Contrast (Contrast): 46

Step 6

Also add an adjustment layer. ”Color Balance“(Color Balance) and apply to it”Clipping mask“(Create Clipping Mask).

Shadows (Shadow)

  • Red (Red): -19
  • Green (Green): -7
  • Blue (Blue): +7

Averagetones (Midtones)

  • Red (Red): -24
  • Green (Green): -21
  • Blue (Blue): +5

Sveta (Highlights)

  • Red (Red): -15
  • Green (Green): -10
  • Blue (Blue): -2

Here is the result that we got:

Step 7

In this step, we need to reduce the yellow tones in the image; for this, apply a correction layer “Selective color correction“(Selective Color) and also do not forget to apply”Clipping mask“(Create Clipping Mask).

  • Colors (Colors): Yellow
  • Blue (Cyan): 100%
  • Purple (Magenta): -4%
  • Yellow (Yellow): -19%
  • The black (Black): 0%

Here is the result of our work:

Step 8

Add an unusual nebula, to do this, open the original image “Nebula” tool “Moving” (Move Tool) transfer the source image to our main document, transform it, to do this, press the key combination (Ctrl + T). To maintain the proportions, hold down the Shift key and place the image as shown in the screenshot below:

Rename this layer to “Nebula”, reduce “Opacity“(Opacity) to 33%, and also change the blending mode to”Screen”(Screen), below you can observe how nebula we added looks unusual:

Step 9

Add an adjustment layer “Hue / Saturation“(Hua / Saturation) to the layer” Nebula “, and also do not forget to apply”Clipping mask“(Create Clipping Mask)

  • Color tone (Hue): 92
  • Saturation (Saturation): 13
  • Check the box “Toning“(Colorize)

Step 10

Open the PSD file with Raven, here you can select absolutely any crow you like, then put it on our main document, and also apply a filter to it “Gaussian blur”(Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) in order to fit the crow into our scene and make it look more realistic.

Step 11

In this step we will create a light source. Create a new layer or use the key combination (CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + N). Name the new layer “Light Source”. Select the tool “Brush (Brush Tool) brush soft, on the top panel, change the settings of the brush, namely: “Opacity“(Opacity) and” Pressure”(Flow) to 50%, change the foreground color to (# 1b3a5d) in the color palette and create a glow as shown in the screenshot below:

Change the blending mode for the “Light Source” layer to “Linear Dodge ”(Linear Dodge), and reduce“Opacity“(Opacity) up to 88%.

Step 12

Add a texture to our scene, from the set of proposed textures, select the texture “starry4” and place the texture on our main document, using the tool “Move (Move Tool) position so that only half of the texture is visible, as shown in the screenshot below:

Change the texture mapping mode to “Screen“(Screen), in order to get rid of the black background and embed the texture in our scene:

Step 13

Slightly change the color of the texture. Add an adjustment layer “Hue / Saturation“(Hue / Saturation), also remember to apply”Clipping mask”(Create Clipping Mask) to the texture layer.

To complete the scene, add some more luminous elements, create a new layer and name it “Glow 2”. Using the tool “Brush The “Brush Tool” brush is soft, the color is white, add glowing dots as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 14

Add a little external glow for the “Glow 2” layer. To do this, double-click the layer with the left mouse button and apply the following parameter: “External glow“(Outer Glow).

  • Blending mode: Lightening basics (Color dodge)
  • Opacity (Opacity): 54%
  • Color classification: (# 166082)
  • The size (Size): 32 pixels.

Duplicate the “Glow 2” layer with the key combination (Ctrl + J) and position the luminous point in different places of our document as you see fit. Here is an approximate result that you should get:

Step 15

And now it’s time to add the Deer to our dark forest, Open the original image with the Deer and using the selection tools you know, remove it from the background and place it on our main document. Transform it, to do this, press the key combination (Ctrl + T) to maintain the proportions, hold down the Shift key, place the image as shown in the screenshot below:

Mask the deer’s legs with a layer mask to show that the deer is standing in the grass and that it looks realistic in our scene:

Step 16

We continue to work on the deer, in this step we will create a shadow falling on the grass. Since the original light source falls right on the back of the deer, therefore, we need to create a shadow that falls from the paws onto the grass. Create a new layer, name it “Shadow”, the layer should be located above the layer with the deer. Use the “Brush (Brush Tool), the brush is soft, the color is black, in the tool settings, set the level “Opacity“(Opacity) and”Hazh”(Flow) up to 30%, then draw a shadow that falls from the paws of a deer on the grass, as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 17

Reduce the saturation of the Stag, add an adjustment layer “Hue / Saturation“(Hua / Saturation), change the parameter”Saturation”(Saturation) to -34. And also do not forget to apply “Clipping mask”(Create Clipping Mask) to the layer with the Stag.

Step 18

At the moment, we don’t match the brightness of the Stag with our scene, for this add the following adjustment layer “Curves“(Curves), don’t forget to apply.”Clipping mask”(Create Clipping Mask) to the layer with the Stag.

Here is the result of our adjustment:

Step 19

Adjust “Color balance”Deer, in order to fit it even better into our scene. Add an adjustment layer “Color Balance”(Color Balance).

Shadows (Shadow)

  • Red (Red): -20
  • Green (Green): -17
  • Blue (Blue): -15

Averagetones (Midtones)

  • Red (Red): -29
  • Green (Green): -3
  • Blue (Blue): +12

Sveta (Highlights)

  • Red (Red): +11
  • Green (Green): +7
  • Blue (Blue): +6

Apply “Clipping mask“(Create Clipping Mask) to the layer with the Stag.

Here is our result:

Step 20

Create a new layer above all layers and name it “Lighting”, in the color palette change the foreground color to (# 2b5463), use the tool “Brush“(Brush Tool), soft brush,”Opacity“(Opacity) and” Pressure”(Flow) about 30%, draw the original light source, which falls on the back of the Deer. For a clearer view, see the screenshot below:

Then change the blending mode for the “Lighting” layer to “LinearClarifier“(Linear Dodge) and reduce it”Opacity“(Opacity) up to 55%

As you can see, we managed to fit the Stag very well into our scene.

Step 21

Add a little more light to our scene, using the same methods as in step 11. Brush color (# 1d506d). Name the layer “Forest Lighting”

Step 22

Change the blending mode of the “Forest Lighting” layer to “Replacementbright“(Lighten) and”Opacity“(Opacity) at 66%

Step 23

Let’s do the final adjustment of our scene.

Add an adjustment layer “MapGradient“(Gradient Map) click on the color bar of the gradient and adjust the specified colors:

Left (# 000000)

Right (# 143d4e)

Simply put, from black to dark blue.

Change the blending mode “CardsGradient” on “LighteningThe basics”(Color Dodge) to lighten the gradient.

Step 24

Add an adjustment layer “Customcorrectioncolors“(Selective Color) and configure the following parameters:

Colors: Green

  • Blue (Cyan): 100%
  • Purple (Magenta): 100%
  • Yellow (Yellow): -100%
  • The black (Black): 0%

Colors: Yellow

  • Blue (Cyan): 13%
  • Purple (Magenta): -26%
  • Yellow (Yellow): -5%
  • The black (Black): 0%

This is necessary in order to remove excess green.

Here is our result:

Step 25

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

  • Brightness (Brightness): -67
  • Contrast (Contrast): 32
  • Reduce “Opacity“(Opacity) up to 64%.

Next add a correction layer. ”Color search”(Color Lookup). Please note that in “Finding Colors”I used a preset:“ Kodak 5218 Kodak 2383 ”and I don’t know if it is in earlier versions of the CC version of the program, for those who do not have Photoshop CC, try to achieve a similar result using the same adjustment layer“Brightness / Contrast“(Brightness / Contrast). Reduce the opacity level for the adjustment layer. ”Color search”(Color Lookup) up to 55%.

Here is our result of applying corrective layers:

Step 26

Finally with the addition of adjustment layers, add the last adjustment layer. ”Brightness / Contrast“(Brightness / Contrast).

  • Brightness (Brightness): -49
  • Contrast (Contrast): -1

Here is the result:

Step 27

Being on the last adjustment layer “Brightness / Contrast“(Brightness / Contrast) we need to get rid of the surplus, for this go to the mask layer of the adjustment layer, use the tool”Brush”(Brush Tool), a brush is soft, color is black, in order to keep the glow of some lights in the center:

Our result:

Step 28

Note that in the previous step we left the lights in the center priority. What if I tell you that I want to make even less glowing lights. There is no need to again take the “Brush” tool and correct it with white color on the layer mask. I simply double-click the left mouse button on the layer mask of the “Brightness / Contrast” adjustment layer, you should see this window:

All I need to do is reduce “Density”(Density) co 100% to 65% by dragging the slider to the left. As the density decreases, the color of the black mask layer changes to gray, which means the effect of the adjustment layer is displayed. Simply put, we paint in white on the mask of the Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer.

Let’s look at the final result of our work:

As you can see, we have reduced the brightness at the center of our scene, using the density of the layer mask. Always remember that by dragging the slider of the mask layer to the left, you would paint it with white color, and dragging the slider of the mask layer to the right with black.

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