Create in Photoshop an illustration with a witch

In this lesson we will create a fantasy scene where the witch holds sacred letters in her hands. In this tutorial, we will learn how to work with textures, blending modes, lighting effects, object highlighting techniques and typography.

Final result


(click on image to enlarge)

Source materials:

STEP 1. Create a new document in Photoshop, set the following dimensions Width (Width) = 2489 px and Height (Height) = 3872 px.

STEP 2. 1) So, load the model image in Photoshop and create a mask around the body using the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P). When creating a mask around the hair, create a rough selection, because in the future we will use a different technique for the detailed selection of hair.

2) Create an exemplary mask, as shown in the screenshot, around the hair and open the option Refine edge (Refine Edge), let’s go Selection – Refine Edge (Select> Refine Edge) and set the option Conclusion (output) to New layer (New Layer) select tool Refine Brush (Refine Radius Tool) and paint over the edges of the hair to recognize the fine details of the hair.

Next, click OK to separate the model to a new layer already with fine details.

STEP 3. 1) Download the image of the Wall texture to our document and place the texture layer on top of the layer with the background and apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), Radius (Radius) = 1.6 px.

2) Now upload the Retro Wallpaper image to the background and reduce Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 74%.

STEP 4. In this step we will add the forest background to the background.

1) Upload the image of the Forest to the background.

2) Next, convert the image with the forest into a black and white image, go Image – Correction – Black and White (Image> Adjustments> Black White).

3) Now, change the blending mode of the forest layer to Overlap (Overlay) and reduce the opacity of this layer to 35%.

STEP 5. In this step, we will create cracks in the background using textures.

1) Download the cracked image to our document and position it as shown in the screenshot below.

2) Now, change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay).

3) Next, reduce the brightness of the cracked layer to -38, using Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast).

Next, just add some more cracks to our image to give our background a touch of antiquity.

STEP 6. In this step, we will make a color correction of the model to combine it with our scene.

1) Select the layer with the model, and then go Image – Correction – Curves (Image> Adjustments> Curves) and set the curves, as shown in the screenshot below.

2) Now, darken the shadow of the model using Exposure(Exposure). Select the layer with the model, and then go Image – Correction – Exposure (Image> Adjustments> Exposure) and set the value Shear (Offset) = -0.0102 and Gamma Corrections (Gamma Correction) = 0.90.

3) Decrease saturation with Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to -30.

STEP 7. In this step, we will create an adjustment layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) to align the scene with the color correction aligned.

In the bottom toolbar, click Create a new adjustment or fill layer (Create a new adjustment layer or fill) and in the menu that appears, select the option Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast), next, set the value Brightness (Brightness) layer at -45.

STEP 8. As we see, the edges of the hair are not distinct enough, they lack sharpness, therefore, to achieve the desired effect, select the tool Dimmer (Burn Tool (O) and paint over the edges of the hair so that the edges of the hair become distinct.

STEP 9. In this step, we will add a fountain bowl at the bottom of the image.

1) With a tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), select the part of the fountain and copy to the new layer.

2) Next, move the selected image to our document and position it at the bottom of the image, as shown in the screenshot below.

3) Now, color-correct the fountain using Curves(Curves).

STEP 10. As we can see, the light is currently concentrated in the left upper part of the image, therefore, we need to create a shadow of the fountain bowl to match the general lighting of the scene.

So, create a selection in the form of a fountain bowl shape, then create a new layer on top of the fountain bowl layer, and with the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B) add shadows.

STEP 11. In order to show the space between the background and the model and create volume, we need to create a shadow of the model that is reflected in the background.

1) Duplicate the model image and convert the image into a silhouette using Curves (Levels).

2) Next, place the layer with the shadow below the original layer with the model and move it slightly to the right. As shown in the screenshot below.

3) Since there is space between the model and the background, the shadow should not be distinct, therefore, reduce the opacity of the shadow layer to 70% and apply to the shadow layer Blur by Gauss (Gaussian Blur), Radius (Radius) blur = 22.2px.

STEP 12. In this step, we will clean the texture of the glove material, i.e. make it smooth.

1) With a tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), create a selection of gloves, as shown in the screenshot below and copy the selection to a new layer.

2) After selecting the layer with gloves, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) and apply a blur value of 5.5px.

3) With the help of Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) reduce glove saturation to -14.

STEP 13. In this step, we will apply another technique to isolate objects without losing quality.

1) In line Channels (Channels) select Blue channel (Blue Channel), let’s go Image – Calculations (Image> Calculations) and dropdown menu Channels (Channels) select Blue (Blue). Next, click OK and in the channel palette, the Alpha channel will appear.

2) After selecting the layer with the Alpha channel, let’s go Image – Correction – Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels) and set the levels as shown in the screenshot below to create the perfect silhouette.

3) So, let’s go Selection – Load Selection (Select> Load Selection) and select the Alpha channel in the window that appears in the Channel line and click OK to create a mask around the tree.

4) With the active mask, remove the sky from the background.

STEP 14. 1) Next, cut the tree to a new layer with the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L).

2) So, upload the branch to our working paper on the left side of the image, as shown in the screenshot below.

3) To create the effect that the branch is closer to the observer, we need to apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius = 9.9px to provide Depth of Field (Depth Of Field (DOF).

STEP 15. Now, using the Rock Drawings, create cave paintings in the background, as shown in the screenshot below, so that the background resembles a stone age background.

STEP 16. In this step, we will create sacred letters in the hands of the model.

1) Load the Log image and select the middle part of the log using the pen tool, copy to a new layer.

2) Next, move the resulting wooden block to our working paper and place it as in the screen below, so that you can see that the model is holding this wooden block.

3) Now, perform the color correction of the wooden block with Curves (Curves) to align with the image.

STEP 17. In this step we will make a wooden block more realistic and natural.

1) Create a selection of parts of the old tree, copy to a new layer and place on top of our wooden block, as shown in the screenshot below.

2) Stand on the wooden block and click on the thumbnail of the layer with the broken old tree to load the selection and use the eraser tool to remove the edges of our sacral block to get a split outline.

Do the same procedure for the bottom of the wooden block.

STEP 18. Using tool Dimmer (Burn Tool (O), darken the edges of the wood block to increase the depth of field of the broken edges.

STEP 19. Sacred objects are never considered complete without inscriptions on them, but in our case, we ourselves will create a design of sacred inscriptions,

1) With a tool Brush (Brush Tool), draw a design that fits the size of a wooden block.

2) Next, with the tool Pen (Pen Tool) create a selection in the shape of the created design that we just drew and cut the selection to a new layer.

STEP 20. 1) Now, select the layer that you created in the previous step, with the carved wooden parts of the design and convert them to black and white, go Picture– Correction – Black and White (Image> Adjustments> Black White).

2) To show the depth of the design, we need to create shadows to the letters for the light correspondence of the entire image.

With soft tool Brush (Soft Brush), draw shadows to the letters.

3) Similarly, draw shadows to all the letters on the entire wooden block.

STEP 21. Since sacred objects are considered ancient, their edges must be worn and darkened, so to get the same effect here, darken the edges with the dimmer tool.

STEP 22. Now, on a new layer, create a shadow on the wooden block, as shown in the screenshot below, to match the entire image with light.

STEP 23. In this step, we will create a shadow from the wooden block that falls on the model and is reflected on the wall.

1) Duplicate the image with a wooden block and transform it into a black silhouette using levels.

2) Next, place the layer with the shadow of the block of wood under the layer with the original wooden block and slide it down a bit, as in the screenshot below, taking into account the angle of incidence of the rays of light.

3) To layer with chump shadow, apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 25.1px.

STEP 24. In this step, we will create symbols on our image.

1) Using the Dark Crystal font, type the letters ‘S’ and ‘C’ on two different layers.

2) Next, with the tool Move (Move Tool (V), shift the letter ‘C’ and place it above the letter ‘S’, as shown in the screenshot below. This way we will get a logo that represents the letters in the word ‘SACRED (SACRAL)’.

It may be difficult at first sight to recognize these letters, so take your time when choosing letters.

STEP 25. In this step, we will create the typography of our logo using branches of a dead tree.
Follow Step 13 when cutting a tree. Then, using the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool) cut a few branches of a dead tree on a new layer.

2) So, place the branches on our logo and arrange the branches in accordance with the design of the logo.

3) Keep posting until you get the shape of the logo.

4) After you have created a logo from the branches of a dead tree, add two branches on each side of the logo as support to show that the logo is hanging from the dead tree of our image.

STEP 26. Next, move the image with the logo that we created in the previous step onto our working paper and arrange it as shown in the screenshot below.

STEP 27. In this step, we will add part of the branch of the dead tree to the upper right part of our image, which will serve as support for the snake, which we will add in the next step.

1) With a tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), select the branch of the dead tree and copy to a new layer.

2) Next, move the selected branch image to our working paper and position the branch in the upper right part of the image.

3) Now, color the branch to match the rest of the image.

STEP 28. 1) So, move the snake image onto our working paper and position it as in the screenshot below.

2) Next, use the eraser tool to remove the snake part near the branch to show that the snake has wrapped around the branch.

3) Using the brush tool, draw the shadows on the snake and the branch, as in the screenshot below.

STEP 29. In this step, we will add a texture to the face of the model.

1) Upload an image with a fish scale texture and place it on the model’s face, as shown in the screenshot below.

2) Change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay).

3) Next, apply an abstract brush in the form of a hair at the upper edge of the eye, as in the screenshot below.

Final result

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