Egypt was not built in one day. But this does not apply to the collage in our lesson, because it can be created in just a couple of hours!
Today we will create a dramatic portrait with a beautiful Egyptian goddess. For work, we will use stock photos and filters.
More resources can be found at GraphicRiver.
Note: The author used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the images to perform the lesson.
What we need to know to start
Each photo manipulation is individual, and before starting work you should carefully consider the details so that there are no problems in the process.
Above, you can see the final result and several stock photos that we will use to create a collage.
Recently, I was very interested in the computer game Assassin’s Creed Origins, so it’s not surprising that the style of Ancient Egypt inspired me to create this work.
You can read more about Ancient Egypt in the article History of Art: Ancient Egypt.
Before starting work, I would like to share with you my notes. Do not forget to refer to your knowledge and observations to make the collage more authentic.
I highlighted a few points:
- The ancient Egyptians built tombs and architectural buildings with hieroglyphs on the walls.
- Not a single ray of light penetrated the tombs, so you need a torch or another source of light.
- They loved to decorate themselves with lots of jewelry, fabrics and makeup.
- Egypt has a rich nature, so do not forget to add some vegetation!
Do not forget about these features and then you will better understand what you need to work. Save yourself more stock photos and experiment.
1. Create a background
To begin, we will combine several images, and then we will add shadows and light effects.
Create a new document (Ctrl + N) with a size of 1663 x 1920 pixels.
Copy and paste the first stock photo – Egyptian wall 1 – on the working document on a separate layer.
Activate the free transformation (Ctrl + T), adjust the size and correct the distortion in perspective so that the wall is flat.
Let’s adjust the colors. Move on Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue/ Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation) and customize:
- Hue (Color tone): -13
- Saturation (Saturation): 0
- Lightness (Brightness): -4
Copy and paste the second Egyptian wall on a new layer.
Set the layer blending mode to Darken (Blackout). The result of the imposition of two walls was barely noticeable, but in the end you will see the difference.
2. Retouch photos of women
As part of this lesson, I specially selected free stock photos so that you could see by living examples that you can work with any type of images.
But with free photos it can be difficult to work because of a strange style or body position, but this does not mean that nothing can be done with such resources.
As the main character for our illustration, we will use a photo of a woman.
I really like this picture, but the tattoo and clothes do not correspond to the Egyptian theme. In addition, I would like to make this woman a hot little thing, so we will slightly adjust the facial features.
Go to Photoshop and open the photo in a separate window.
Run Filter – Liquify (Filter – Plastic).
Take the tool Forward Warp Tool (W) (Deformation) and do the following:
- Slightly straighten the lower lip so that it is less pointed.
- Smooth a sharp transition on the cheek; one gets the impression that this photo has already been unsuccessfully retouched.
- Also raise the brow and forehead.
See the difference? Careful development of the body of the character can drastically change the atmosphere of work.
We continue to retouch the photo. Some details of her outfit suit us, while others violate the integrity of the image. I decided to remove the nose ring with a tool. Clone Stamp Tool (S) (stamp). We clone the adjacent areas of the skin and try to hide the ring as accurately as possible.
Now take Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular lasso) and select the woman. Copy (Ctrl + C) and paste (Ctrl + V) the selected area on the working document above the background layer.
Let’s change the color of the jersey.
Above the layer with the woman add a new layer. Click on it with the right mouse button and select Create Clipping Mask (Create clipping mask). Then with a stiff brush (B) paint the clothes using the color # d1bbab.
Change the blending mode of this layer to Hue (Color tone).
In this step we will remove the tattoo. You can leave her, but I believe that she does not fit into the Egyptian style of work.
I advise you to save several different shots of the main model of the collage, they can be useful.
I found a suitable picture with this model, where you can cut out a part of your hand and cut off the tattoo.
For this using Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular Lasso) select the arm, then copy it and paste it on the working document on top of the tattoo. Adjust the edges with a mask.
To remove excess areas, paint over them with a soft brush (B) of black color and to restore it with white.
To correct the skin color, go Image – Adjustments – Hue/ Saturation (Layer – Correction – Hue / Saturation). On the settings panel, enter the following values:
- Hue (Color tone): -1
- Saturation (Saturation): -25
- Lightness (Brightness): 4
Perhaps, with the shading of the hand, we went a little too far, but that’s okay.
Let’s add beautiful long curls to further fill the composition.
Via Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular Lasso) select model hair. Copy (Ctrl + J) them on a new layer.
With the help of free transformation (Ctrl + T), we adjust the hair size and increase the length, then add a mask to refine the details.
At the moment you should have a general understanding of the principles of combining stock photos. Now let’s add a bracelet on the arm.
To begin, cut out the necessary details – a bracelet and a scarab. Then we insert the beetle on the bracelet and transfer it all to hand. Using a mask, we modify the shape of the bracelet.
We try to combine both parts of the accessory with the highest quality and accurately so that in the future we don’t waste precious time on additional refinement.
Do not forget the earrings!
Open the stock photo and cut out the earring. Copy and paste it on the working document on a separate layer, then press Ctrl + J to duplicate it.
With the help of free transformation (Ctrl + T), we adjust the size of the earrings and combine them with the hair. For convenience, combine (Ctrl + E) both layers with earrings together.
Our goddess already looks amazing!
Let’s add makeup!
3. Add dramatic makeup
Now you have a unique opportunity to unleash your potential as a beauty blogger!
We add two new layers above the model and transform them into clipping masks (Ctrl + Alt + G).
We take a round rigid brush and on the first layer apply a pinkish tint on the lips # d76459. Switch the layer blending mode to Soft Light (Soft light).
On the next layer, we add a golden hue to the lips. Repeat the same steps and apply the yellow color # b9b768. Switch overlay mode to Multiply (Multiplication) and decrease Opacity (opacity) layer up to 75%.
The combination of several shades with blending modes will give us a beautiful golden shade that is suitable for our work.
Over the previous clipping masks add a new layer. Carefully work through the skin and add a natural shade of tan # d1a390 in problem areas. We work with a soft round brush (B) with an opacity of 30-60%.
Also note that I have refined my eyebrows. To create bright dramatic eyebrows, I used a dark brown color and a pointed brush (B).
We draw arrows on the eyes and, if necessary, using Eraser Tool (E) (Eraser) smooth the result.
To add shadows, switch to a soft round brush (B).
Draw in brown color # 593834, then switch the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication). To make the result look neater and softer, adjust the level of opacity.
Before we start working with lighting, let’s add a slight shadow on the decorations. This will make them more realistic and voluminous.
Above the layer with earrings, add a new layer and transform it into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G).
With the help of a soft brush (B), we use brown # 5d3429 on the earrings. Switch the layer blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) to soften the result.
We do the same with the bracelet on the arm.
This time for shadow use dark brown color # 471d09. With a soft brush, we begin to work on the outer edges, then we bring the document closer and add details on the inner elements.
We get this result.
4. Create lighting
Before adding new stock photos, we must decide where the light source will be.
Do not forget about the notes that I wrote at the beginning of the lesson! The tombs are very dark, so we need a torch!
First, determine the location of the light source. I chose the upper left corner, since this position corresponds to the lighting model.
Cut out the silver base of the torch. More precisely, we need the upper part and a little flame.
Insert the torch on a new layer. Above we create an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) and transform it into a clipping mask. Adjust the RGB channel to reduce the brightness of the torch.
Under the layer with the torch add a new layer and draw on it a triangle of dark green color # 2b2601.
We put in more fire. Via Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso) Cut the flame out of the stock photo. Insert it above the torch and switch the blending mode to Lighten (Replacing light).
Let’s add the first layer of shadows.
Using tool Gradient Tool (G) (Gradient) on the new layer we fill it with a linear gradient from brown # 140702 to transparent. If necessary, adjust the layer opacity.
Before you continue, add the remaining stock photos. We start with palm leaves.
Copy and paste them on a separate layer immediately above the background. With the help of free transformation (Ctrl + T), we adjust the scale and perspective. In total, I added five leaves, but you can create more or less.
Now the bugs. The ancient Egyptians considered the scarab beetle a symbol of rebirth.
Cut the beetle, capturing some red fabric from the stock photo, on which the shadow falls. This will later make an interesting shadow effect.
Then we copy and paste the scarab several times on separate layers. For each copy we apply a free transformation (Ctrl + T) to adjust the size, rotation and embed it in the composition. In total, I created seven copies of beetles.
Switch the mode of mixing layers with beetles on Darker Color (Darker) to blend the red fabric with the golden wall. We finish problem areas with Eraser Tool (E) (Eraser).
Have you given up yet? We continue further!
Let’s continue to refine the lighting.
Add a new adjustment layer Color Lookup (Search color). On the settings panel install 3D LUT File (3D LUT-file) to Kodak Fuji F125 2395, then switch the blending mode to Soft Light (Soft light). Reduce the layer opacity to 62%.
With the help of blending modes, you can drastically change the lighting and add new interesting effects.
Above the previous adjustment layer add a new layer. Set its blending mode to Linear Burn (Line dimmer). Then take a soft round brush with an opacity of 20-50% and brown color # 642f04 apply shadows on the wall and models.
Add shadows on the leaves.
Please note that adjustment layers are key to creating realistic lighting in our collage.
Add Color Balance (Color balance). Customize Highlights (Light) and Midtones (Mid Tones):
- Midtones (Mid Tones): 21, 1, -11
- Highlights (Light): 11, 7, -18
Then create a new layer and fill it with # 022b25 green.
Switch overlay mode to Difference (Difference) and reduce the opacity to 25%. Adjust the effect with a mask.
Next, add an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels). Configure the RGB channel:
- 0 – 0.82 – 192
- Output Levels (Output Values): 0 – 255
5. Add the final touches.
Great job, we are almost done!
In this section, we will improve the lighting and make it more atmospheric.
To make the flame more realistic, we will add sparks. Cut them from the stock photo, transfer them to the working document and switch the blending mode to Screen (Lightening).
The light from the torch should be reflected in all objects of the scene.
Create a new layer in overlay mode. Overlay (Overlap). Soft brush (B) with yellow color # fdf261 paint over the lighted areas. It is best to work with a large brush to capture additional areas of the collage with the edges of the brush. Decrease Opacity (opacity) layer up to 25%.
In the final steps throughout the scene, add more white and yellow highlights. Because of this, the work will literally shine.
Take a soft round brush (B) and start at the top of the model and necklace.
Then we take a cone-shaped hard brush and add clear glare on the hair and body to create a highlight effect.
We check that all elements of the composition look harmonious and fit together. I also added a dark brown shadow under the torch so that it does not look soaring in the air.
Merge all layers together (Ctrl + E).
To increase the clarity of the image, duplicate (Ctrl + J) the merged layer. Then apply Filter – Other – High Pass (Filter – Other – Color Contrast) and set the radius to 4 pixels. Switch the layer blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and reduce the opacity to 40%.
Congratulations, we are done!
Now you know that the quality of a collage depends largely on the work plan and the appropriate source code. Do not be afraid to apply all your knowledge in Photoshop to create professional and high-quality photo manipulation.
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Feel free to share your results and leave comments!
Posted by: Melody Nieves