Create a fabulous collage in photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a fabulous collage. First we will create a background using a photo of grass and forest. Then add a large tree, an arch, several small trees and steps. After that we will draw a child, grass and perform color correction. At the end we will work with the lighting and add some light effects.

1. Create a background

Step 1

Create a document of 1800 x 1357 pixels with the following settings:

Step 2

Open the picture with the grass. We use Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) to select part of a photo with grass, then a tool. Move Tool (V) (Move) drag the selection to the working document. Place the grass at the bottom of the canvas:

Step 3

Move on Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and set Radius (Radius) 30 pixels:

Activate the filter mask, take a soft round brush of black color and remove the blur effect in the foreground so that the distant part of the picture is out of focus:

Step 4

Move on Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue/ Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation), the key combination transforms the layer into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G). In the drop-down menu, select Master (Master), Yellows (Yellow) and Reds (Red) and alternately customize them:

Step 5

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and reduce the brightness. Use a soft black brush to edit the mask of the adjustment layer so as to lighten the grass in the foreground:

Step 6

Move the picture with the forest on the working paper and place it in the upper part of the canvas:

Add a mask to the forest layer and try to achieve a smooth transition between grass and forest:

Step 7

Apply filter Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 12 pixels. Use a soft black brush to edit the mask of the adjustment layer and remove the blur at the place where the forest transitions to the grass. Here is the result before and after mask processing:

Step 8

In this step we will draw the shadows from the trees. Our goal is to create a source of light in the center of the forest, so there must be contrasting shadows falling from the trees. Create a new layer and using Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular lasso) select the large tree on the right (do not try hard) and fill the selection with black color (Shift + F5).

We reflect the shadow vertically Edit – Transform – Flip Vertical (Editing – Transformation – Flip Vertically) and move it under the tree. Then we activate the free transform (Ctrl + T) and transform the shadows:

Apply to the shadow filter Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 15 pixels:

Step 9

In the same way we create a shadow for other trees:

Step 10

Above the previous layers create a correction layer. Curves (Curves) and increase the brightness. With a soft black brush, edit the mask so that only the central part of the forest is lit.

Step 11

Create a new layer and change its blend mode to Soft Light (Soft light). Soft white brush in the center of the forest add more light.

2. Add a tree

Step 1

Cut a tree and paste it in the center of the working canvas. Activate the free transformation (Ctrl + T) and slightly reduce it.

Add a layer mask and remove hard edges so that the tree smoothly turns into grass:

Step 2

Apply filter Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 4 pixels and edit its mask so that the effect of blurring is only along the contour of the tree and, thus, the tree is harmoniously combined with a blurred background:

Step 3

Create a new layer, change its blend mode to Overlay (Overlap) with Opacity (Opacity) 100% and fill with 50% gray:

Activate Dodge (Clarifier) ​​and Burn Tool (O) (Dimmer) with range Midtones (Mid Tones) and Exposure (Exposure) – 10-15%. We lighten the contours of the tree and darken the central part so that the tree matches the background lighting. Below you can see the gray layer in normal blending mode (left) and Overlay (Overlap) (right):

Step 4

Create an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set Saturation (Saturation) at -62:

Step 5

Create an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones):

Step 6

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) darken the tree. On the contour of the tree we remove the effect of darkening, since these places should be well lit:

Step 7

Create a new layer and a soft white brush with a low Opacity (opacity) (approximately 15-20%) draw along the contour of the tree to add the effect of hazy light:

3. Add the arch and the forest

Step 1

Open the photo with the arch. Remove the inner part and insert it in the bottom of the tree:

Add a layer mask and edit it so that the arch smoothly turns into a tree.

Step 2

Create an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones):

Step 3

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and customize the color of the arch, so that it looks harmoniously on the tree. At the same time, we slightly lighten the inner edges of the arch by editing the mask of the adjustment layer. Remove the bottom, as shown below, because in this place we will add another light source:

Step 4

Duplicate the photo of the forest that we used for the background, and reduce it. Place the copy under the arch layer and above the tree layer.

Using the mask, we delete a part of the forest that goes beyond the arch.

Step 5

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to enhance the lighting inside the arch and create a hazy light effect:

4. Add steps

Step 1

Place the steps in the foreground of the working paper. Use the free transform (Ctrl + T) mode Warp (Deformation) to slightly change the shape of the steps.

Step 2

Using a layer mask, we remove the edges of the steps:

Step 3

Double duplicate steps and reduce the size of copies. Place them inside the arch and in the middle of the forest. Remember, the further the object is, the smaller it is.

Step 4

Select all layers with steps and press Ctrl + G to group them. Change the group’s blend mode to Normal (Normal). Create a new layer and using Clone Tool (S) (Stamp) delete unnecessary objects on the steps.

Step 5

Using the adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance) adjust the color of the steps to match the overall mood of the composition:

Step 6

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to darken the steps a bit, as they look too bright compared to the grass. In the upper part of the steps (the area inside the arch and the forest) we remove the effect of the corrective layer, since this place should be lit.

Step 7

Add another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to enhance the effect of hazy light at the top of the steps. Edit the mask to remove unnecessary steps in the foreground.

5. Add a child

Step 1

Cut the child and place it on the step, on which we removed the plant in the previous section.

Step 2

Below the child create a new layer and a black brush with medium hardness and low Opacity (opacity) (20%) draw a shadow. Since the child is too far away from both light sources, the shadow should be sufficiently light and soft.

Step 3

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and decrease Saturation (Saturation) to -38.

Step 4

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) darken the child. In areas that are directed to light sources, we remove the effect of the correction layer, and leave the rest dark.

6. Add grass

Step 1

Open the picture with the grass. Since it already has a transparent background, we simply drag it onto the working document and place it in the bottom corners of the document:

Step 2

Apply a filter to each grass layer Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with Radius (radius) 8 pixels.

Step 3

We merge layers with grass in the foreground into a separate group and apply an adjustment layer to them. Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change their color:

Step 4

Use corrective layer Curves (Curves) to slightly darken the grass. In the areas highlighted in the screenshot below, we remove the effect of the adjustment layer.

7. Apply basic correction

Step 1

Create a color fill. At the bottom of the layers panel, click the button Create new fill or adjustment layer (Create a new fill or adjustment layer) and select Solid Color (Colour). To fill use color # 160101. Change the blending mode of this layer to Exclusion (An exception).

Step 2

Create an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones) and Highlights (Shine):

Step 3

Add an adjustment layer Channel Mixer (Channel mixing) and tune the channel Red (Channel):

Step 4

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and slightly change the color using the channel Blue (Blue):

Step 5

Use another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) and enhance the light in the center. In the rest of the document we remove the effect of the correction layer:

Step 6

We continue to customize the color and apply the adjustment layer. Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Step 7

Create an adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo filter) and select the color # 01ec96:

Step 8

Create an adjustment layer Vibrance (Vibration) to enhance the effects. On the tree and steps remove the effect of the adjustment layer to reduce the blue tint.

8. Add lighting

Step 1

Open the texture set with lighting effects. Select the image “starry 4” and drag it to the working document. Change layer blend mode to Screen (Lightening):

Use the layer mask and remove the lighting effect on the tree to make it softer.

Step 2

Create an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change the tint color from red to pink:

Step 3

Next we change the color of the forest inside the arch to create the effect of a parallel world. Activate Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso), set Feather (Feather) at 30 and select the forest. Move on Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Channel Mixer (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Channel Mixing):

Step 4

Create a new layer and use a medium hard brush (color # ffadc4) to draw a pink light that comes from the forest and reflects on the inside of the arch and steps inside the arch.

Step 5

Use corrective layer Curves (Curves) to adjust the light and contrast of the entire composition, darkening the edges, but removing the effect in the central part of the canvas.

I hope you learned something useful for yourself and take advantage of this in your future projects.

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