In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a surreal collage with balloons in the shape of the moon. To begin with, we will create a base using a photo of the sky and the park. Then add the child and merge it with the background, using adjustment layers, mask and brushes. After that draw the balloons and add a tree. At the end we will apply several adjustment layers.
1. Create a composition base
Create a new document of 2000 x 1816 pixels with the following settings:
Open the photo of the sky. Drag it to the working document using the tool MoveTool (V) (Move).
Move on Layer – NewAdjustmentLayer – Curves (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves) and reduce the brightness, as we create the night composition.
Open the picture with the background. Place it at the bottom of the working canvas and activate the free transformation (Ctrl + T) to reduce the height of the image. After that, click on the layer with the right mouse button and select ConverttoSmartObject (Convert to smart object).
Move on Edit – Transform – FlipHorizontal (Editing – Transformation – Flip horizontally) to match the direction of the tracks with the direction of movement of the child, which we will add later.
At the bottom of the layers panel, click on the button. Addlayermask (Add layer mask). Take a soft round brush (B) in black, click on the mask on the layers panel and carefully remove the trees.
Move on Filter – Blur – GaussianBlur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and set Radius (Radius) by 8 pixels.
Edit the filter mask and remove the blur on the tracks (especially on the left side), leaving it only in the background, foreground and edges.
On the background and the left track there are extra details that need to get rid of. Create a new layer and transform it into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G). Take CloneStampTool (S) (Stamp) and remove the details noted below.
Add an adjustment layer Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and decrease Saturation (Color tone) to -58:
Add an adjustment layer ColorBalance (Color balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones):
Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and reduce the brightness. Edit the mask of the adjustment layer: take a soft black brush and delete the area of the left track where the child and the balloon will be located.
Create another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to increase the brightness of the left track area. When working with color correction, try to ensure that the whole picture has one level of brightness.
2. Add a child
Open the picture with the child. Cut it from the background and transfer it to the beginning of the left track.
Use corrective layer Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and decrease Saturation (Saturation) to -60:
Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to lighten the child. Later we will add a big balloon from which the light emanates from above the child. Use a soft black brush to edit the mask to remove the effect of the adjustment layer in the shaded areas.
Create a new layer, change the blend mode to Overlay (Overlap) with opacity 100% and fill it with 50% gray (tick the box to add a new layer):
Activate the tools Dodge (Illuminator) and BurnTool (O) (Dimmer), Range (Range) set to Midtones (Mid Tones), Exposure (Impact) – by about 30-35%. We work with these tools to enhance the light and make the shadows more saturated. Below you can see the difference between the blending mode. Normal (Normal) (left) and Overlay (Overlap) (right):
Now we have to add a shadow under the model. Create a new layer under the layer with the child. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the layer with the child on the layers panel to load its selection.
Fill the selection with black and flip it vertically Edit – Transform – FlipVertical (Editing – Transformation – Flip Vertically). Use the free transformation (Ctrl + T) to make the shadow narrow and short, since the light source (balloon) is located directly above the child’s head.
Reduce the opacity of the shadow layer to 60% and apply a filter to it Filter – Blur – GaussianBlur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) c Radius (Radius) 8 pixels.
Create a new layer and a black brush of medium hardness with an opacity of 30% strengthen the shadow under the child’s feet.
3. Add a balloon
Cut the moon and place it above the child. Activate the deformation Edit – Transform – Warp (Editing – Transformation – Deformation) and stretching the bottom of the moon so that it looks like a balloon:
Duplicate (Ctrl + J) this layer three times and reduce the size of the copies. We distribute them on the upper part of the working canvas (on the sides and in the center).
Double click on the moon layer to apply layer styles. InnerGlow (Internal glow) and OuterGlow (External glow). Set the glow color to #fcfcfc. Then right click on the layer and select CopyLayerStyle (Copy layer style), then alternately click on the copies of the moon with the right button and select PasteLayerStyle (Paste layer style).
Apply to the copy of the moon on the left filter GaussianBlur (Blur according to Gauss) with a blur radius of 3 pixels, to the right copy – 4 pixels and the central copy – 5 pixels. This will enhance the depth of the composition and give realism.
Select all the layers with the moon and press Ctrl + G to group them. Change the blending mode of this group to Normal (Normal) with opacity 100%. Create a new layer and use a soft brush (color # b6baae) to draw on the largest ball to add more glow. Then change the layer blending mode to Screen (Brightening) with opacity 100%.
Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to make a big ball brighter. Edit the mask of the adjustment layer with a black brush so that the effect does not apply to the other copies of the ball.
4. Add threads on the balls
Under the group with the balls add a new layer. Via PenTool (P) (Pen) draw a line down from the big ball, turn off the fill color and turn on the stroke 2 pixels wide.
In older versions of Photoshop, you need to first set up the brush (B): set the desired color, Hardness (Hardness) at 100% and Size (Size) 2 pixels. Then activate PenTool (P) (Pen), draw a line, click on it with the right mouse button and select StrokePath (Outline stroke). In the pop-up window in the drop-down menu, select Brush (Brush), remove the check mark from SimulatePressure (Simulate pressing) and click OK.
Duplicate this layer three times. We move the copies to the other balloons and do not forget to adjust the size (Ctrl + T). Apply filter to copies GaussianBlur (Gaussian Blur) with a blur radius of 2 pixels.
5. Add a tree
Open the picture with the tree and use MoveTool (V) (Move) to place it on the right side of the composition.
Apply the filter to the tree GaussianBlur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 12 pixels, as it is out of focus.
Add a correction layer to the tree Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set Saturation (Saturation) at -58:
Create an adjustment layer ColorBalance (Color balance) to add a light bluish tint:
Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to darken the tree, as it is in the dark part of the scene.
6. Final touches
Create an adjustment layer GradientMap (Gradient map) above all previous layers. Use colors # 251706 and # a9f3fa. Reduce the layer opacity to 50%:
Add an adjustment layer PhotoFilter (Photo filter), use color # 7a9dd9:
Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to make the composition darker. Use a soft black brush to edit the layer mask to return the brightness around the child and the balloons. The effect of the adjustment layer is left only at the edges of the image.
Add another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to increase the contrast of the entire composition. On the lighted areas of the balloons and the child, we hide the effect’s effect in order to preserve their brightness.
Create a fill layer with color # 130000. Change its blend mode to Exclusion (Exception) with opacity 100%.
And add the last adjustment layer Vibrance (Vibration).
Congratulations, we are done!
I hope you liked my lesson and you learned something useful for yourself. Feel free to share your ideas or results in the comments below.