Create a warrior in Photoshop

In this lesson you will improve your skills in creating a mystical composition with a female warrior. You will learn useful techniques for mixing, blending, digital drawing, lighting, sketching, and more. At the end of the lesson, we should have a spectacular composition with a mystical warrior.

Final image

Download the source materials for the lesson

Step 1

In this step, we are going to create a background scene. Place image River bank on a working canvas and position it as shown below. Then soft Eraser (Eraser) blur the top edge of this image.

Now place the image Clouds on the working canvas and position it behind the previous image.

Step 2

In this step, we will correct the colors of both images. Select layer River bank and apply an adjustment layer to it Exposure (Exposure), specify Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 0.81

Now apply an adjustment layer to it. Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and lower the level Saturation (Saturation) to – 47. Since the atmosphere of our scene is cloudy, we do not need bright and saturated colors, we want it to look dramatic.

Apply adjustment layer Curves (Curves) as shown below.

Step 3

In this step, we will correct the colors of the sky and improve its combination with the river bank. Select layer Sky and apply an adjustment layer to it Curves (Curves) with the settings shown below:

Now apply an adjustment layer. Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation), specify the value Saturation (Saturation) -61.

Next to improve the shadows on the layer Clouds, apply adjustment layer Exposure (Exposure), specify Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 0.81

Step 4

In this step, we are going to extract the model from the original image, while trying to keep the maximum number of details. Open the stock image with the model and select it with the tool Pen too l (Feather) or Lasso Tool (Lasso). Leave difficult areas for further processing using the edge refinement option.

Now select the mask around the model and open the option Refine edge (Refine Edge). Set the following settings. Adjust edge (Edge settings). Then using Refine radius (Refine radius), paint over the most complex areas in the image, allowing the tool to do all the hard work for you. When you are happy with the result, copy it to a new layer.

Step 5

In this step we are going to integrate the model image into the scene. Place the model image on the working canvas and position it as shown below.

Apply an adjustment layer to the model layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) and lower level Brightness (Brightness) to -92

Now apply an adjustment layer. Hue/Saturation (Hue / Saturation), specify the value Saturation (Saturation) -65.

Modify the shadows on the model. Add adjustment layer Exposure (Exposure). Set parameters Exposure (Exposure) -0.02 and Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 0.75

Apply an adjustment layer to the model layer. Curves (Curves) with the settings shown below.

Step 6

In this step we will draw some shadows by hand. I recommend using a graphics tablet for this purpose.

Create a new layer on top of all layers, and darken the scene with a brush, as shown below.

Now create a new layer above the layer. Model and take a soft round Brush (Brush), activate the option Pen pressure (Pen pressure). Then draw the shadows carefully as shown below.

Step 7

In this step, we will add bushes to our scene, placing them in the foreground to give some depth and a more natural look to the scene. Place an image on your work canvas. Bushes and place them at the bottom of the scene, as shown below.

Go to layer Bushes and apply a filter to it Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) through the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), specify a blur radius of 9.1px.

Similarly, add a few bushes to the scene, as shown in the image below.

Now create a new layer under the bushes and draw a light mist at the bottom of the scene, as shown in the image below.

Now place a high grass image on the canvas, positioning it as shown in the image below. This layer should be placed under the fog layer.

Apply again Gaussian blur (Blur according to Gauss) by setting the blur radius: 1.5px

Step 8

In this step we will deal with the color correction of the added plants. Combine layers with bushes and grass into one group, and apply an adjustment layer to it. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Enter value Saturation (Saturation) -35.

Now add an adjustment layer. Exposure (Exposure). Set the value Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 0.69.

Step 9

In this step we will create distant mountains in the background. Place an image on the stage Far mountains, place them on the horizon line, as shown in the image below. Then using tools Magic Wand (Magic Wand) and Eraser (Eraser) erase areas of the sky and other unnecessary areas of the original image.

Apply to layer Far mountains adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Enter value Saturation (Saturation): -73.

Then apply an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) with the settings below

Since the scene is filled with fog and clouds, distant mountains should almost merge with the fog. Therefore, add an adjustment layer. Exposure (Exposure), specify the parameters Offset (Shift) +0.1589 and Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 1.25.

Step 10

In the next steps we will create high hills. It is better to have a rough sketch or concept of a similar element before proceeding to the creation. Take Line Tool (U) (Line) and draw auxiliary perspective lines, as well as a sketch of a hill on a new layer, as shown below.

Step 11

In this step, we are going to create a high hill based on the concept created in the previous step. Cut out the contour of one of the hills in the stock image and transfer it to your working canvas. Then cut it along the previously indicated contour:

Create a new layer above the mountain layer, and draw a shadow on the left side of the mountain, as shown in the image below.

Step 12

In this step we are going to create a reflection of the hill, on the surface of the water. Duplicate the previously created hill and mirror it vertically and position it as shown below.

Now erase the reflection of the hill. On the stage, the reflection does not have to be very clear, but the better the details are worked out, the more likely the final result will be.

Merge all the layers related to this hill. Apply an adjustment layer to the merged layer. Exposure (Exposure). Specify parameters Offset (Shift) +0.0346 and Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 1,06

To add depth to the scene, apply a filter to the hill layer. Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) through the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), specify a blur radius of 1.6px.

Step 13

Similarly, add a couple more hills to the scene, as shown below, based on the concept sketch.

Step 14

Now create a new layer over all the layers with hills, and draw a light mist on it, as shown below. Use downloaded brushes Fog.

Step 15

In this step, we will create another hill. Sketch a new hill on a new layer, as shown in the image below.

Now upload the image of the rock whose texture we will use. Place it on the stage as shown below.

Take Lasso Tool (Lasso) and select the texture area along the contour of the sketch created earlier

Create a new layer and draw a shadow on the left side of the texture, as shown in the image below.

To make this rock better match the surrounding scene, apply a correction layer to it. Exposure (Exposure). Enter a value Exposure (Exposure) -0.02 and Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 0.75

Step 16

In this step we are going to create a dome on top of the previously created rock.
Take Magic wand (Magic Wand) and with its help separate the dome from the original background in the stock image. Position this dome on top of a hill as shown below.

Now create a new layer above the dome layer and draw a thick shadow on its left side, as shown in the image below.

Step 17

In this step, we are going to adjust the color of the dome so that it fits better with the atmosphere of the composition.

Apply a correction layer to the dome. Exposure (Exposure). Specify Offset (Shift) +0.0483 and Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 1.24

Next, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and reduce Saturation (Saturation) dome to -55.

We do not need the dome to look too bright, so apply a correction layer to it. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) and reduce Brightness (Brightness) to -46.

Step 18

In this step, we will finish the construction that holds the dome on top of the cliff. Using color # 4d4d4d, draw the supports as shown in the image below.

Now create another new layer on top of the layer with the dome and draw on it several boxes arranged in a random order. Imagine that a dome is actually a warehouse where cargoes from arriving merchant ships are stored.

Step 19

In this step, we will draw several details for the dome and the rock.
Using color # 50524f, paint bushes on the surface of the hill and near it with a brush of your choice.

Now merge all the dome-related layers into one layer. Apply a filter to the resulting layer. Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) through the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), specify a blur radius of 1.0px.

Step 20

In this step, we will create a leaf ball, floating in the air just above the model’s left hand. Create a new layer on top of the model layer and draw a sketch of a leaf ball as shown below.

Now create another new layer under the sketch layer and draw the leaves on it as shown below. This is a somewhat time consuming process, but the result is worth it.

Using soft round Brush (Brush) Draw a thick shadow on the left side of the ball, as shown in the image below:

Step 21

In this step, we will add texture to each sheet of the ball individually. This is also a very laborious process, but at the same time, it is quite fascinating, so you will not notice how time flies by.

Load the texture with the sheet and position it as shown in the image below.

Now cut it to the shape of one of the leaves of the ball.

Perform the same procedure on each sheet and complete the texturing of the ball.

Merge all layers with leaves into one group, including textures, and apply an adjustment layer to it. Exposure (Exposure). Enter a value Exposure (Exposure) -0.57 and Gamma correction (Gamma Correction) 0.70.

Now add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and reduce Saturation (Saturation) to -35.

Step 22

Slightly reduce the intensity of black on the stage by increasing the value. Offset (Shift) +0.0023. This correction, which is hardly noticeable now, will allow adding a dramatic effect to the composition.

Step 23

In this step, we will create leaves flying in the direction of the ball in order to create the illusion that the ball is formed from random leaves around. Like how the hero Goku from the movie Dragon Ball (Dragonball) created his energy ball.

Load the sheet image onto the working canvas and position it on the left side of the scene, as shown in the image below.

As the sheet flies towards the ball, apply a filter to it. Motion blur (Blur in motion), specify Angle (Angle) 60, and Distance (Distance) 31px.

Apply a correction layer to this layer. Exposure (Exposure). Specify Offset (Shift) +0.0299. This will be enough to perfectly match the sheet with the environment.

Similarly, add a few leaves to the scene.

Final image

Author: Santhosh Rao

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