Create in Photoshop a funny collage with a cat and fish

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a collage with a cat watching the fish swimming in the air.

To begin with, we will create the basis of the composition using the sky and the wall. After that, add a cat, fish and trees, then combine them into one picture, using adjustment layers, masks and brushes. At the end we will draw a fabulous lighting and add a few more adjustment layers.

Note: The author used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the images to perform the lesson.

1. Create a background

Step 1

Create a new document of 2000 x 1700 pixels with the following settings:

Step 2

Open the picture with the sky. Take Rectangle Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) and select only the sky, then using Move Tool (V) (Move) drag the selection to the working document.

Step 3

Apply filter to sky layer Filter – Blur– Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and set Radius (Radius) by 8 pixels:

Step 4

Duplicate (Ctrl + J) layer with the sky and move it above and to the right. Our task is to move the light source in the sky to the uppermost left point of the document.

At the bottom of the layers panel, press the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask) to add a mask to the copy layer. With a soft black brush (B), we delete the right side of the sky, since we only need the left.

Step 5

Select both layers with the sky and press Ctrl + G to group them. Change the group’s blend mode to Normal (Normal) with opacity 100%. Next, create a correction layer. Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance):

Step 6

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) and slightly reduce the brightness. Using a soft black brush (B), edit the layer mask and remove the effect of the adjustment layer in the lower left part of the image so that the upper right part of the sky is darker and corresponds to the light source.

Step 7

Open the picture with the wall. Via Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (Rectangular Lasso) cut only the wall and transfer it to the bottom of the main document.

Step 8

Above we create a new layer and transform it into a clipping mask. Activate Clone Stamp Tool (S) (Stamp) and remove unnecessary details.

Step 9

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to lighten the wall. With a soft black brush (B) with low opacity (20-25%), edit the layer mask and remove the effect at the bottom of the wall so that this area is not too bright.

Step 10

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

Activate Dodge Tool (O) (Clarifier), set on the top panel Range (Range) on Midtones (Mid Tones), Exposure (Impact) – 10-15%. We draw the instrument along the left upper border of the wall in order to lighten it, since it is closest to the light source. Below in the screenshot you can see the result of the work in the blend mode. Normal (Normal) and Overlay (Overlap).

Step 11

Add an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones) and Highlights (Bright tones). Use soft black brush (B) to edit the mask and remove the effect in the area hidden from the light source, leaving soft lighting only on the upper border of the wall.

Step 12

Add an adjustment layer Photo Filter (Photo filter) to add more warm colors on the wall. Choose color # a4640a.

Step 13

To create a falling shadow from the top of the wall, take Rectangle Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) and create a selection immediately below the top. Fill the selected area with the color # 171516.

Reduce the layer opacity to 60% and apply a filter. Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 4 pixels to slightly blur the shadow.

Using a mask, we adjust the opacity at the bottom of the shadow.

2. Retouch the cat

Step 1

Cut the cat and paste it in the right side of the composition on the wall.

Step 2

Let’s draw a shadow from the cat. To do this, create a new layer under the layer with the cat. Then hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the layer with the cat on the layers panel to load its selection. Fill the selected area with the color # 171516.

We reflect the shadow vertically Edit – Transform – Flip Vertical (Editing – Transforming – Flip Vertically). Then, using the free transformation (Ctrl + T), we compress the shadow vertically and stretch it in length.

Decrease Opacity (opacity) layer up to 70% and apply Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 5 pixels.

Add a mask on a layer with a shadow and delete the excess on the lower half of the wall and tail (we will draw the shadow from the tail on a separate layer).

Step 3

Create a new layer and load the selection for the cat, as we did in the previous step. Press Ctrl + I to invert the selection.

Via Lasso Tool (L) We add the cat’s body to the selection, leaving only the tail unmarked.

Press Ctrl + I again and get the tail selection ready. Repeat the previous step and create a shadow from the tail.

Step 4

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change the color of the dressing around the cat’s neck. Adjust the values Cyans (Blue):

Step 5

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to increase the brightness of the cat. Remove the effect of the correction layer in the shaded areas and on the head.

Step 6

Create a new layer, using a soft white brush (B), draw along the cat’s border and in the shaded areas to increase the brightness of the parts. Change layer blend mode to Linear Dodge (Linear clarifier) ​​with 100% opacity. In order to get a better result, during work, adjust the diameter of the brush depending on the size of the cat details.

Step 7

Create a new layer, change its blend mode to Overlay (Overlap) with opacity 100% and fill with 50% gray. Via Dodge (Clarifier) ​​and Burn Tool (O) (Dimmer) finalizing the cat’s light-and-white patches.

Step 8

Add an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance). Adjust the values Midtones (Mid Tones) and Highlights (Bright tones):

Step 9

Create a new layer and do NOT transform it into a clipping mask. With a small tassel of medium hardness and bright yellow color (# fef5dc) we draw a cat’s mustache.

3. Add fish

Step 1

Cut the fish 1 and paste it over the cat. Duplicate (Ctrl + J) the layer with the fish and slightly increase (Ctrl + T) the copy. Move it to the right side of the working canvas.

Step 2

Cut out the rest of the fish and place them in a group from left to right. Duplicate some fish and adjust the size of the copies so that they differ from the original. Make sure that the copies are not too large or too small compared to the originals. Fish 7 is placed so that it corresponds to the direction of the cat’s eye. This is what my result looks like, but you can show imagination and make it your own way.

Step 3

As you can see, all the fish are almost the same color and slightly different shades. I will briefly describe the process of retouching fish in order not to repeatedly describe the same actions. On some fish we will add orange color, and the rest will have a purple / pinkish tint.

To start, create a layer in clipping mask mode and using Clone Stamp Tool (S) (Stamp) we modify the copied fish so that they differ from the originals. You can change the eye, fins and other body parts.

Step 4

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to discolor some fish. The settings below are used for fish 1, but they can be applied to the rest of the fish. You can adjust the values ​​depending on the color saturation of the fish.

This is the result after applying the layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 5

Add an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance) to change the color of the fish. The settings below I used for fish that I want to add an orange tint. Increase Blue (Blue) for Midtones (Mid Tones) and Yellow (Yellow) for Highlights (Bright tones).

Below the settings for the rest of the fish (increase the value Cyan (Blue)). Do not forget to adjust the settings for each individual fish, if necessary.

Step 6

We unite all the fish in the group (Ctrl + G). At the moment, the fish are too dark, so we apply a correction layer to them. Curves (Curves) to increase the brightness and contrast.

Use a soft black brush to edit the mask and reduce the brightness on the front of the body of the fish and in the shaded areas.

Step 7

Via Dodge (Clarifier) ​​and Burn Tool (O) (Dimmer) modifying light and shade. On fish that are closer to the left or darker than the others, we add more light.

Step 8

Create a new layer and a soft white brush with a size of 2 pixels add glare inside the fish’s eye 7. This will emphasize the appearance of this fish and create a connection with the cat.

4. Add trees

Step 1

Insert tree 1 in the lower left corner of the canvas and apply to it Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 8 pixels.

Step 2

Add an adjustment layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and adjust the value Hue (Color tone) mode Master (Master):

Step 3

Add Color Balance (Color balance) and customize Midtones (Mid Tones):

Step 4

Add another layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and customize Yellows (Yellow):

Step 5

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) we increase the brightness and add a bluish tint to the trees.

Step 6

To the right of the wall we add tree 2 and apply to it. Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 8 pixels.

Step 7

Add another layer Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and adjust the parameters Master (Master):

Step 8

We continue to adjust the color of the tree using the layer Color Balance (Color balance).

Step 9

Via Curves (Curves) brightens the tree.

5. Add the final touches.

Step 1

To create fabulous lighting, we first add a new layer at the very top of the layers panel. Paint a working canvas with a soft light brush (# e9cfbd), and then change the blending mode of this layer to Screen (Lightening) with an opacity of 20%.

Step 2

Use the mask to remove the effect in the lower and upper right parts of the canvas, so that fabulous lighting is around the light source.

Step 3

Add an adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map) and select colors # 48517d and # b68760. Change the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light (Soft light) with 100% opacity.

Step 4

Add an adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance), then customize Midtones (Mid Tones) and Highlights (Bright tones):

Step 5

Add the last adjustment layer Vibrance (Juiciness). Use a soft black brush to edit its mask and reduce the amount of blue at the bottom of the wall, because here the color is too saturated.

Congratulations, we are done!

I hope you liked my lesson and you learned something new for yourself. Feel free to share your results and leave comments below.

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