Create an arctic frog in Photoshop

Photoshop is a great tool for creating compositions that can not or do not exist in real life. In today’s lesson we will learn to combine several stock images and effects to create a fictional, arctic, snow frog. On the image you can see the unfortunate friends of the frog, which are already frozen in the ice and its food, which is also frozen and is outside the access zone.
Here is this fictional, snow frog, which is devoted to today’s lesson.

And now let’s start!
Images that we need:

Step 1. Open the ice image in Photoshop. This will be the background.

Step 2. Create two adjustment layers for the background by clicking on the corresponding icon in the bottom menu of the layers palette. Select Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and Levels (Levels). Adjustment layers allow you to change your settings in the future and therefore they are convenient to use. In order to apply the correction only for the base layer (the background layer in this case), you need to create clipping mask (create clipping mask). To do this, select the adjustment layers (make them active), right-click and select Create clipping mask (Create Clipping Mask). Next, apply the settings for each adjustment layer, as in the screenshots below.

Step 3. Group the background layer with adjustment layers and duplicate the created group. To group several layers, select them and click the folder icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Merge the duplicated group and apply to the resulting layer FilterBlur – Blur on the surface (Filter – Blur – Surface Blur.).

Note translator: To merge a group, I usually select the option Convert to Smart Object. Or by creating an empty layer at the bottom of the group, merge them using the option Merge layers (Merge Groups).

Step 4. Set the blending mode for the blurred layer to Screen (Screen) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 90%. Add a layer mask to this layer using the icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask) and touch it with a large soft brush on the right side of the image. To set the brush shape to an ellipse, in the Brush Settings palette, change the setting Forms (Roundness) Percentage.

Step 5. Add adjustment layer Levels (Levels), and just like in step 2, create a sorting mask for it. Make the blurred layer lighter using the following settings.

Step 6. Paste the second ice texture, and in the menu Editing – Transform (Edit-Transform) Flip Vertically and horizontally (Flip Vertical and Flip Horizontal). Then select the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool) and click on the outline of the ice to set the starting point. Continue to lead around the indicated red area to indicate the points of the subsequent segments. To close the selection, click on the starting point. Now, to improve the quality of the edges of the selection, use the function Refine edge (Refine Edge), which is on the toolbar.

Step 8. To hide an unnecessary part of the texture, click on the button. Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask). After this, only the part that we selected is visible.

Step 9. Add two adjustment layers again by clicking on the corresponding icon in the lower menu of the layers palette. Select Gradient map (Gradient Map) and Levels (Levels). And you also need to create clipping mask (create clipping mask). To do this, select the adjustment layers (make them active), right-click and select Create clipping mask (Create Clipping Mask). Next, apply the settings for each adjustment layer, as in the screenshots below.

Step 10. Insert the image of the frog.

Step 11. Separate the frog from the background using the tool. Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool). To improve the quality of the edges of the selection, use the function Refine edge (Refine Edge).

Step 12. Copy the selected frog to a new layer and name the layer – frog shape. Duplicate the original with a frog, and make the original invisible, it will be useful to us in future steps. And make a copy in black and white, it will serve us to create a shadow. To make this layer black and white, go to the menu Image – Correction – Black and White (Image- Adjustments-Black and White). To hide the white background, set the blending mode to Multiply (Multiply). Opacity (Opacity) of a layer reduce to 75%.

Step 13. Add a blue tint to the black and white frog layer using an adjustment layer. Photo filter (Photo Filter), and also add a clipping mask.

Step 14. To improve the separated outline of the frog, we will mask minor defects by adding layer styles to Internal glow (Inner glow) with the following settings.

Step 15. This step is very similar to Step 9. In order to create a blue skin effect, add a correction layer again. Gradient map (Gradient Map) with clipping mask. Opacity set to 96%. Settings below.

Step 16. With a large soft brush, touch the area of ​​the frog’s face, standing on the mask layer Gradient map (Gradient Map).

Step 17. Find in the heap of your layers the original layer with a frog, select the eyes, copy and paste them over the layers with the blue skin. Add adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo Filter) with setting Under water (Underwater) and add a clipping mask.

Step 18. Make your eyes shine in marked areas with a tool Clarifier (Dodge Tool). To do this, use a soft brush.

Step 19. Let’s make the frog sharper and more glossy. Go back to the layer with the original frog and load the selection of its silhouette. To load the selection, you can use the already selected frog by pressing the command Ctrl + click on a miniature layer with blue skin. Now with the selection already loaded, standing on the original layer with the frog, make a copy Ctrl +J and place it above all layers. Now go to the menu Filter – Other – Color Contrast (Filter-Other-High Pass). Set the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay) and add a layer mask. Fill the mask with black color and soft white brush. Walk around the areas indicated on the screenshot.

Step 20. Open the image of the frog with your mouth open and erase the background around your mouth. Make a duplicate, we will use one of the copies to create the language.

Step 21 Now go to the menu Editing – Transform – Rotate (Edit- Transform- Rotate), turn your mouth a little, and then use Free transformation (Free Transform) to stretch it.

Step 22 Change your mouth on the menu Editing – Transform –Deformation (Edit-Transform-Warp). Adjust the contour of the mouth with a small brush on the mask layer, or just use Eraser (Eraser Tool).

Step 23 Brighten some areas of the mouth with a tool. Clarifier (Dodge Tool) to balance the lighting between skin tone and mouth.

Step 24 Create two adjustment layers for the mouth by clicking on the corresponding icon in the lower menu of the layers palette. Select Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and Levels (Levels). Add a clipping mask to these layers.

Step 25. To leave the mouth pink, activate the layer mask. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and a soft black brush touch in the mouth area.

Step 26. Group all the layers with the frog except the mouth, copy the group and merge it. Erase all around the lower lip and place this layer above the mouth layer.

Step 27. Transform your lip into the menu. Editing – Transform –Deformation (Edit-Transform-Warp).

Step 28. Remove minor defects extending beyond the contour of the mouth.

Step 29. Make active the original layer with the mouth. Select a language area, copy and paste it on a new layer.

Step 30. Go to menu Editing – Transform – Flip Horizontally (Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal), then rotate it, as in the screenshot below and drag it along the length.

Step 31 Apply Deformation (Warp) to the layer with the language.

Step 32 Improve the language of the menu Filter –Plastics (Filter> Liquify). In the filter window, select the tool Deformation (Forward Warp Tool) and use different brush sizes for different parts of the tongue.

Step 33 Adjust the color. To do this, create a new adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance) with these settings:

Step 34 Now we need to create a texture for the language. The author used the texture of the skin of the frog. Arrange the skin in the shape of the tongue and apply Filter – Sharpness – Smart Sharpen (Filter- Sharpen- Smart Sharpen).

Step 35 Make the skin texture black and white in the menu Image – Correction – Black and White (Image-Adjustments – Black White). Create for skin layer clipping mask (create clipping mask). To do this, activate this layer, right-click and select Create clipping mask (Create Clipping Mask). Apply blend mode Overlap (Overlay) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 90%. Erase small areas on the mask with the skin to make the structure more natural.

Step 36 Load the selection layer with the language and fill with any color on the new layer. Decrease Fill layer (Fill) to 0%. Apply layer style Stamping (Bevel and Emboss).

Step 37. Merge all the layers with the tongue and process the area marked with green tool Dimmer (Burn Tool) to make a shadow.

Step 38 Copy the tip of the tongue and paste it on a new layer, moving it slightly to the left. Load the selection of the original language layer and remove the selected area from the copy. Again shift the copy a little, just leave a very small space between the tongue and the reflection. Decrease Opacity (Opacity) to reflect up to 44%. Then repeat the previous steps and create a second layer with reflection. Set the blending mode to it. Multiplication (Multiply) and erase the area underlined by hatching with a soft brush.

Step 39. Insert a dragonfly image and rotate it.

Step 40. Apply blend mode Multiplication (Multiply) for this layer and Opacity (Opacity) 70%. Add adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) with clipping mask and with the same settings as for the blue skin of the frog. Add a layer mask for the dragonfly layer and fill the mask with a linear, black and white gradient. Load the selection of the created mask by clicking on it with the key pressed CTRL, and invert it in the menu Selection – Inversion (Select – Inverse). Now go to the menu Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian blur) and set the settings as in the screenshot.

Step 41 Insert an image with a mosquito and set this layer to overlay Multiplication (Multiply). Add adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo Filter) with clipping mask. To give the impression that the mosquito is in the ice, create a mask and process it with a translucent Brush (Brush Tool) using Opacity (Opacity) brush approximately 10 – 15%.

Step 42 To submerge a frog in ice, use a similar method. And also correct the white background. Levels (Levels).

Step 43 Set blending mode for this layer. Multiplication (Multiply) to hide the white background, and play with opacity. Adjust the frog layer with a correction layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map), as for blue skin and a layer with a dragonfly.

Step 44. For other frogs besides the correction layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) and overlay mode Multiplication (Multiply) apply filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur).

Step 45. Merge all the layers except the frog layer that we left to create the shadow, and duplicate the merged layer twice. Place copies under the original frog layer. Apply to both copies Filter – Distortion – Glass (Filter – Distort – Glass). Settings, see below for no screenshot.

Step 46 In order to create a reflection, you need to flip one layer. To do this, go to the menu Editing – Transform – Flip Vertically (Edit-Transform-Flip Vertical. Move this layer down, add a layer mask and fill it with black. Choose a large soft brush and erase the spot, as in the screenshot. For the second copy, apply Editing – Transform – Flip Horizontally (Edit- Transform- Flip Horizontal) and move it to the left. Try to attach the tips of the tongues of the original layer with the frog and reflection. Add a layer mask to this layer. Fill it with a linear black and white gradient, as in the screenshot below.

Step 47. Merge all layers. Then go to menu Filter – Distortion Correction (Filter-Lens Correction) and apply a vignette effect. Duplicate this layer and align the brightness in the menu. Image – Correction – Align Brightness (Image – Adjustments – Equalize). Set the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 12%.

Finally, the lesson came to an end, you got a lot of fun studying it, and made the same frog as the author of this lesson.


(click to enlarge image)

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