Create in Photoshop an illustration filled with magic.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we will touch on the methods of combining different photos and textures to create a rich, color surreal image. This lesson will be useful to those who own Photoshop at an average level, and advanced users of the program. We will use layer masks, brushes made from an image, adjustment layers, etc.


Images used in the lesson

Step 1: Isolation and preparation of objects for a collage
Start by looking for stock photos that show someone meditating or practicing yoga. I purchased this stock photo on Bigstock, which is called Yoga in the Caribbean.

Separate the object from the background using your favorite selection technique. I did it with a tool. Pen (Pen tool), as the background in the photo is not uniform. White and solid background should be removed so that we can continue to work with the image, remember this, choosing a stock photo.

Step 2: Create a basic background
Create a size document 1000Х1415 pixels, fill the layer with magenta (# 4f193d). Place the selected girl in the document, center horizontally.

Soft brush (Brush tool) (B) draw white areas at the bottom of the image on a new layer that is above the background. Set the foreground color to black, create a new layer and paint over the black area at the top, creating a concave effect.

Layer with white and black color set blending mode Overlay with an opacity of 50%.

Step 3: Adding a more interesting effect to the background.
We should still work with the background, make it more intriguing. First you need to add a bright spot behind the girl. To do this, create a new layer, place it below the layer with a meditating girl, a round soft brush (B) white click once. Set the layer blending mode Overlay. This diversifies the background so that it is not covered with a solid purple color.

Find the right paper texture. Try a set of cards from the Design Instruct website. What texture you have not chosen, you should make it barely perceptible and unobtrusive by changing the blending mode; try Soft light with an opacity of 20%.

Step 4: Creating a shadow under the girl
We will create a shadow under the main object of our composition in order to achieve the effect of a girl hovering above the ground. On the new layer, which is above the background, soft black round brush (brush) (B) draw a circle. With help Free transform (Ctrl / Cmd + T) clown circle After that, change the opacity of the layer to about 70%.

Step 5: Creating a brush of clouds
Now we have to create the brush ourselves. Find a stock photo of some beautiful clouds (look at this collection of clouds on Six Revisions).
Open the selected image with clouds in Photoshop, discolor it – Image> Correction> Discolor (Image> Adjustments> Desaturate) or using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + D. Using Levels (Image) Image> Correction> Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels) (Ctrl / Cmd + L) correct the image, giving it an interesting effect.
I have achieved this result (you can download it if you want).

Tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool) (M) create a selection around the parts of the image with clouds, then go to Edit> Define Brush (Edit> Define Brush Preset) and save the brush by giving it a name.
Click F5 or Window> Brushes (Window> Brushes) to open the palette of brushes. Find your saved brush and apply the appropriate settings to it (Form dynamics – Shape Dynamics, Scattering and others).
Set the foreground color to white. Create a new layer for the girl. Brush (Brush) (B) with clouds click on the canvas.

Step 6: Adding Magic Gems
Find interesting objects and objects suitable to the magic theme to which we aspire. For example, find stock photos of stones that will fit into our image.
Here is an example of stones that you can use: Stones at a Pier.

Just cut the stones with the tool. Pen (Pen tool) (P) in mode Paths, convert the outline into a selection by right-clicking on the image and selecting from the drop-down menu Make a selection, Copy the selected stones to our work file.
Place the stones under the girl, given the perspective and their remoteness. Create shadows under the stones, as we did with the shadow of the girl (soft round black brush – brush, Free Transform – Free Transform for flattening).

If the stone is not in the foreground, use Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with different radius settings to create the illusion of remoteness and the effect of image depth.

Step 7: Adding Leaves
Find some stock photos of the leaves, place them in the image close to the main object – in our case it is a girl. Consider perspective and depth.

Step 8: Creating a cosmic glow effect on the hands of a girl
For the effect of the cosmic glow in the hands of the girl, you need to find a beautiful stock photo of a cosmic nebula or an abstract view of the cosmos; for example, watch it from Shutterstock. You can also try a picture with Wikimedia Commons:
Tarantula nebula detail.

NGC 3603 Nebula.

Open your space image and highlight the most beautiful part, which has a lot of interesting things. Copy the selection and paste on top of the girl’s hands. Set the blending mode to layers with space. Screen (Screen). Some parts of the light effect may look rude and inelegant, so you can use the tool. Eraser (Eraser Tool) (E) or a layer mask to remove unwanted parts.

Step 9: Creating a cosmic light effect
We will create a cool bright smoky light effect that comes from the stone in front of the girl, making the image magical and mystical.
We can use the same photographs of the cosmos that we had in the previous step.

Select a part of the texture that resembles a smoky effect; create a selection around it. Place this piece above all layers. Go to Image> Correction> Color / Saturation (Image> Adjustments> Hue / Saturation), tick on Chromaticity (colorize) apply the color you like – red, green, yellow, etc.

Change the blending mode to Screen (Screen). Go to Filter> Plastic (Filter> Liquify) and change the haze so that it seemed as if it stretches out of the stone up. Do this several times using different colors and transformation options.

Step 10: Adding Design Elements for Residual Completion
It’s time to complete our magical image. We can make the scene more attractive by adding more design elements. I decided to add a tree (left) and an hourglass (right).
To work with an hourglass, you first need to discolor it. (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd +U). After that apply Image> Editing> Color Balance (Ctrl / Cmd + B), To fit the image under the background – more blue tones, less green.

Using the techniques we used in the previous steps, add more leaves and light effects on new elements of your design.

Lesson summary
The graphic design lesson involves the use of different techniques, with which you can assemble several graphic elements into one harmonious image. We created an interesting background, using mainly Brush (B), blending modes, self-made brush of clouds, etc. We added stones and leaves, paying attention to the depth of the image, blurring objects with the Gauss Blur filter, which are supposedly distant from us (Gaussian Blur). Using the Plastic Filter (Liquify filter) we created light effects from cosmic nebula textures using space stock images.

(click on image to enlarge)

Author: Wojciech Magierski

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