Create your own microcosm in Photoshop

In today’s lesson we will be transferred to a fantastic world. You will learn how to create your own micro-society using different images and photos.

In more detail

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1. Let’s start by creating a new document with a size of approximately 1500×1300 px. Try to have your document a little more than the final result, so you can focus on the details. Now, on the Layer Panel add the first adjustment layer – Solid Color (Color), and choose color #7cb8cc. Name the layer “background color”.

Take Ellipse tool (Ellipse) (U) and draw an ellipse in the center of the document (make sure you create the shape, not just the outline). To fill use color #4e412d. Name the layer “top”.

Duplicate (CTRL + J) layer with ellipse. Activate the original and change its color to red. Then take the tool Move Tool (Move) (V) and press ALT + down arrow 10 or 20 times to copy the layer, creating a three-dimensional effect. After that, we merge all the red layers together (CTRL + E) and call the new layer “bottom”.

Step 2. Load the texture and move to the working document. Place it above the “top” layer and press CTRL + ALT + G to create clipping mask. After that we will use the command CTRL + T> Distort (Distortion) to transform the texture in the shape of an ellipse.

Create another adjustment layer above the texture – Curves (Curves). We press CTRL + ALT + G, to create a clipping mask. Remove the layer mask and go Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Adjust the curve as shown below, then use the white soft brush (B) and draw on the mask in the center of the ellipse.

Next, add another adjustment layer – Levels (Levels). We press CTRL + ALT + G to create a clipping mask. To make the texture darker, set the parameters as in the screenshot below.

Next, add Gradient map (Gradient map) using colors from #231d18 to #f3d949. We use CTRL + ALT + G to create a clipping mask. Set the blending mode to Soft light (Soft light) and Opacity (Opacity) by 20-30%. You can also add Color Balance adjustment layer (Color balance) to make the color yellow deeper.

Step 3. Open the texture and transfer to the working paper. We place it immediately above the “bottom” layer, click CTRL + ALT + G to create a clipping mask.

As you can see below, the texture only affects the layer below. Then use CTRL + T> Warp (Warp) to adjust the shape of the texture to the shape of an ellipse.

We continue to add textures to the “bottom” layer, for each we create a clipping mask. To mask the transitions between textures use Eraser tool (Eraser) (E) and Clone satmp (Stamp) (S).

Step 4. This is how the ellipse should look after all the manipulations done.

Now, after we finished adjusting the edges of the texture, it’s time to add more color and depth to our work. Activate the last created layer with the texture (which should be at the very top). Then we create several adjustment layers:

Curves (Curves): RGB, Output (Output) 113 / Input (Input) 151 (or just move the curve slightly down and to the right to add dark colors to the edges), then reduce the Opacity to 10-20%. After that, press CTRL + ALT + G to create a clipping mask.

Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation): Hue (Hue) 0, Saturation + 6, Lightness -8. Then press CTRL + ALT + G to create a clipping mask.

Color balance (Color balance):
Midtones (Mid Tones) – Cyan / Red (Blue / Red) +6, Magenta / Green (Purple / Green) -4, Yellow / Blue (Yellow / Blue) -10.
Shadows (Shadows) – Cyan / Red (Blue / Red) +4, Magenta / Green (Purple / Green) 0, Yellow / Blue (Yellow / Blue) -12. Then CTRL + ALT + G.

Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation): Hue (Hue) 0, Saturation -37, Lightness -25. Reduce the Opacity to 15%. Then press CTRL + ALT + G.

If you could not get the result, as in the screenshot below, try experimenting with the parameters of the adjustment layers.

Activate the last created adjustment layer, in this case Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Create a new adjustment layer – Curves (Curves), make sure that it is above the Hue / Saturation layer (Hue / Saturation). Click CTRL + ALT + G. Remove the layer mask of the adjustment layer and go Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Open the settings Curves (Curves) and move the curve up and to the left, as shown in the image below. Then take a small white soft brush (B) and work on it using a mask, as shown in the first screenshot below.
Add another layer Curves (Curves) and repeat the above process (with clipping mask), but this time we move the curve down and to the right, remove the mask and go to Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). We work on the mask in the places shown in the second screenshot.
Editing the mask, draw a straight vertical line, because otherwise you will not get the desired effect of depth and volume.

Step 5. Now let’s work on the edges. As can be seen below, some areas need correction. If this is not a great need, you can do without it, since in the future we will cover the surface with grass. However, we cannot know which areas will be covered. Therefore, I would recommend that you work on this with Stamp tool (Stamp) (S).

Next, take brush (B) 1-2 pixels in diameter, hold down ALT and take a light brown sample from the “top” layer, release the ALT to the zetas to return to the brush. Create a new layer and paint with a brush around the edges, as shown below.

Step 6. Next we will use a special brush from the archive . At the moment, the land we have created looks good, but it still lacks realism. To fix this, go to the “bottom” layer and create a layer mask for it by clicking the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask) at the bottom of the layers panel. Then select one of the loaded brushes and draw in black with a mask. In darker places, work more intensively with a brush.

Below is the result of this brush.

Step 7. Next we need a photo of the grass. We load the selection of the ellipse and cut a part of the grass by its shape. To do this, hold down the CTRL, click on the thumbnail of the “top” layer, then go to the grass layer and click on the button for creating a layer mask at the bottom of the layers panel.

Repeat Step 6, use the same brush to edit the edges of the grass. To do this, take a white brush and work it on the mask.

Step 8. Again, use the same brush, to remove part of the grass. Adjust mask black brush as shown below.

Then add Curves adjustment layer (Curves) under a layer of greens. Remove the mask and go Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Then we apply the parameters, as in the screenshot below.

Next white soft brush (B) Medium-sized working on the mask of the adjustment layer to create the shadow of the grass.

To draw a shadow correctly, look at the screenshot below. Where the red line we do not see the shadow, so in these places it is not needed.

Step 9. So far with the flying island finished. Do not worry, we will return to it later.
Let’s go to the background color layer. Add to it a layer mask and a big soft brush Create your own microcosm in Photoshop (B) black click in the center of the document. To make it work just like me, under the “background color” layer there should be a layer with white fill. If not, create one.

Create a new adjustment layer – Solid Color (Color) with color # 4a5f6d. Call it “background color 2”. Change the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication). Remove the layer mask and go Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Then edit the mask with a white brush in the corners of the document to make them darker (this is necessary in order to focus attention in the center of the composition).

Next, add a Gradinet Map adjustment layer (Gradient Map). Use colors from # 200e3b to # f7da83. Change the layer blending mode to Soft Light.
Note that the Gradinet Map layer should act only on the background, so it must be located above the background layers.

Step 10. Now we define the place where the shadow of the earth will fall.

Take brush (B) with Hardness (Hardness) 1% and Flow (Push) 1%. Change the color to # a5d5d5, create a new layer above the last created Gradinet Map adjustment layer and set the blending mode of the new layer to Multiply (Multiplication). After that we start to paint with a brush in the place where there will be a shadow.
At first glance, you may not notice the changes, but if you look closely, you can see a bright blue spot under the island.

Next, select the dark blue color (# 445f61), create a new layer above the previous one, change its blending mode to Multiply (Multiply) and use the brush again with the same parameters to add a shadow.
Now pay attention to the three red arrows below, they indicate the places where the light source acts from behind. In the center of the composition the light is the brightest, so in the places indicated by arrows the shadow should be less intense.

Step 11. Now, having determined the source of light, we can “light up” our islet. Create a new adjustment layer – Curves (Curves) above the grass layer. Then create a clipping mask for it (CTRL + ALT + G). Remove the layer mask and go Layer – Layer Mask – HideAll (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Adjust the curve, as shown below, and draw on the mask in the place indicated in red.

Repeat this process, create a new one. adjustment layer – Curves (Curves) and move the curve down and to the right. Now we will add shadows.
The red arrows show where to add the shadow. The yellow arrows show where the light falls.

Your result should be like this.

Step 12. Now open the image of the city. Buildings that we transfer to the island should be in the same place and in the same position.
Take Pen tool (Feather) (P) and we cut out several buildings for our work (they should be located above all previous layers).

Create a new layer under the buildings, set the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication). Then take a very soft brush color #63522b. Add a narrow shadow at the bottom edge of the buildings.

Create another new layer with blend mode. Multiply (Multiplication). We use the same brush (# 63522b) to draw a shadow, but this time it should be longer and softer. This will be the shadow that the light source creates from behind.

Step 13. Now, no matter what buildings you use, they need to be adjusted. I don’t really like what the two roofs look like, so I took Pen tool (Feather) (P) and created the shapes according to their shape.

Then I selected a suitable color for them, which I took from a different roof. Then I slightly reduced the opacity level so that the texture on the original was visible.
You can also do everything with Stamp tool (Stamp) (S) or in any other convenient way for you, I chose the easiest for me.

Step 14. Now create several adjustment layers for the buildings:

Selective color (Selective color correction):
Cyans (Blue): Cyan (Blue) +5, Magenta (Purple) +100, Yellow (Yellow) -29, Black (Black) -47
Blues (Blue): Black (Black) -5
Neutrals (Neutrals): Cyan (Blue) -9, Magenta (Purple) +3, Yellow (Yellow) +21, Black (Black) -9
Blacks (Black): Cyan (Blue) +2, Magenta (Purple) +10, Yellow (Yellow) +11, Black (Black) -5
Create clipping mask (CTRL + ALT + G)

– Color Balance (Color Balance):
Midtones (Mid Tones): Yellow / Blue (Yellow / Blue) -7
Shadows: Cyan / Red (Blue / Red) +8, Yellow / Blue (Yellow / Blue) -1
Create clipping mask (CTRL + ALT + G)

Use Step 11 and Curves adjustment layer (Curves) to create shadows in the lower part of houses (do not forget to apply a clipping mask).

Again we use Step 11 and Curves (Curves), but this time to create light at the edges of the buildings (and this time we do not need to use a clipping mask).

Repeat this process using the adjustment layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast). Set the Brightness to -81. Remove the layer mask and apply Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Now add the shadows as shown below. We draw a white brush on the mask in the places shown below. Do not forget about the clipping mask.

Step 15. And a few more recent corrective layers for buildings, for each use a clipping mask:

– Selective color (Selective color correction):
Neutrals (Neutrals): Magenta (Purple) -1, Yellow (Yellow) -14, Black (Black) -4
Blacks (Black): Magenta (Purple) +9, Yellow (Yellow) +6, Black (Black) -1

– Gradient map (Gradient map):
set the colors from # 281b0c to # ffc34f, change the Opacity (Opacity) to 30% and set the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap)

– Color balance (Color balance):
Midtones (Mid Tones): Cyan / Red (Blue / Red) -4, Magenta / Green (Purple / Green) +6, Yellow / Blue (Yellow / Blue) +5
Highlights (Light): Magenta / Green (Purple / Green) -45, Yellow / Blue (Yellow / Blue) -26

Step 16. Now add clouds. Move the photo to the working paper and transform it a little with CTRL + T. In my case, the image is too wide, so I moved the lateral nodules to the center. Place it under layers with buildings and call it “clouds”. Then duplicate (CTRL + J) and call the copy “cloud texture”, then hide this layer by clicking on the small eye on the layers panel.

Then click CTRL + SHIFT + U, to discolor the clouds and change the layer blend mode to Screen (Lightening).

Further we use Levels (Curves) to adjust the depth of black and white. Eraser (E) remove excess parts of the clouds, especially those in the background.

Step 17. If you stop now, the clouds will not be better. They look good, but still not perfect. This is because they are too transparent. Fix it.

That is why we created the “cloud texture” layer. Move it over the “cloud” layer.

Then apply Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to the “cloud texture” layer. Set the Hue (Color tone) +198, Saturation (Saturation) 15, activate the option Colorize (Toned). Now, make sure that the “cloud texture” layer is active, and go Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All).

Now use a soft white brush and draw on the mask to make the cloud texture visible. We work in the places indicated below.

Do you see changes? Now everything looks great.

Step 18. Now we diversify the composition with birds. Place the image with the birds on the working paper and change the layer blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication).

Activate Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L) and select several birds, then hold down CTRL to cut this area.

Erase the rest of the extra birds.

Step 19. Now open the image with the plane. Cut it out and make a small correction with Clone stamp (Stamp) (S).

Reduce the object using CTRL + T, Then we have somewhere on the island. Create a new layer under the airplane layer and set the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication). Take color #6b6a17 and draw a shadow under the plane.

Create a new layer above the plane layer (apply the clipping mask CTRL + ALT + G to it), set the layer blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) and draw in the places shown below in the screenshot. This will add the necessary shadows and create the illusion of reflection of grass on the smooth surface of the aircraft. To complete, add two more adjustment layers:

– Selective Color (Selective Color Correction):
Reds (Red): Cyan (Blue) -6, Black (Black) -5
Cyans (Blue): Cyan (Blue) -30, Magenta (Purple) +68, Yellow (Yellow) +37, Black (Black) +100
Blues (Blue): Cyan (Blue) +6, Yellow (Yellow) +100, Black (Black) -74
Neutrals (Neutrals): Cyan (Blue) +2, Magenta (Purple) +7, Yellow (Yellow) +31, Black (Black) +10
Blacks (Black): Magenta (Purple) +5, Yellow (Yellow) +14, Black (Black) -17
(use the clipping mask Ctrl + Alt + G)

Gradient Map:
colors from # 85c051 to # ff7c00, layer blending mode – Soft Light, Opacity 50%
(use the clipping mask Ctrl + Alt + G)

Step 20. Next, open the image of the road. Move it to the working paper. We use CTRL + T> Distort (Distortion) to create a distortion of the road in perspective, as if it crosses the entire island. This layer should be above the grass layer.

Again we use brushes, with the help of which we edited grass and earth. Choose black and create a layer mask for the road. Then we draw on the mask in those places where the grass should block the road.

Create a new layer under the road layer, change its blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) and choose a color # 745e23. Then we start adding shadows with a soft brush, as shown below.

Then add shadows to the road, under the grass. Create a new layer above the layer with the road. Change the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication). Take a small soft round brush (B) color # 544827 and draw a shadow. To prevent the drawn shadow from going beyond the road limit, apply a clipping mask to it (CTRL + ALT + G).

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves). We edit it as shown below (it is not necessary that all parameters be strictly the same, just try to configure it in about the same way as mine). Then remove the adjustment layer mask and go to Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). Then use a soft white brush (B) to adjust the mask and add light to the road (in the places indicated by the yellow arrows). Do not forget to apply a clipping mask (CTRL + ALT + G).

Step 21 I wanted to add something funny to the composition, a car falling from the edge of the island is exactly what you need. Open the image of the truck. Cut it with Quick selection tool (Fast selection) (W). After that use CTRL + T to rotate the truck in a falling position. Then apply Image – Adjustments – Shadows / Hightlights (Image – Correction – Shadows / Light).

Next, apply adjustment layerSelective color (Selective color correction):

Reds (Red): Cyan (Blue) +10, Magenta (Purple) -26, Yellow (Yellow) +21, Black (Black) -28
Yellows (Yellow): Cyan (Blue) +5, Magenta (Purple) +100, Yellow (Yellow) +50
Cyans (Blue): Cyan (Blue) -17, Magenta (Purple) -25, Yellow (Yellow) +21, Black (Black) -7
Blues (Blue): Magenta (Purple) +1, Yellow (Yellow) +61, Black (Black) -3
Neutrals (Neutrals): Magenta (Purple) +10, Yellow (Yellow) +15, Black (Black) -10
Blacks (Black): Magenta (Purple) +12, Yellow (Yellow) +12, Black (Black) -7

Create light and shadows with Curves (Curves), as in Step 11. One layer for the light (move the curve slightly up and to the right), the second – for the shadows (slightly move the curve down). Perform already known mask manipulations to draw a shadow (indicated below in red) and light (indicated in yellow).

To enhance the effect, create a new layer above the curves, use a clipping mask (CTRL + ALT + G). Change layer blend mode to Multiply (Multiplication), take a soft brush (B) with color # 706221 and draw in places marked with red arrows (to add a shadow). Then we repeat this process, but this time we create a new layer above the previous one and apply a clipping mask to it (CTRL + ALT + G). Change the blending mode to Soft Light (Soft light), take soft brush (B) with color # f6eecc and paint in places marked with yellow arrows to add light.
If you do not know in which places you need to add light / shadow, use the image from the previous step.

Step 22 Merge all layers with a truck into one (CTRL + E) (all layers must be selected). Duplicate the truck (CTRL + J) and move it slightly to the left to make it easier to work. Take Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L). Then select a small part and, holding CTRL, move it slightly higher. Repeat the process several times to create the effect of destruction.
We used the same technique when we cut out the birds.

Select all the small particles we created and move them to the original truck, then delete its duplicate on the left.

Step 23 You can name the trash layer. Create a new adjustment layer – Curves (Curves) above the “garbage” layer. Apply clipping mask CTRL + ALT + G. Adjust the curves as shown below. Then remove the layer mask and apply Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). After that use a white soft brush (B) to add shadows in the places indicated below.

Again create a correction layer – Curves (Curves) above the previous one. Apply clipping mask CTRL + ALT + G. Adjust the curves as shown below. Then remove the layer mask and apply Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). After that use white soft brush (B) to add light in the places indicated below.

When working with shadow and light, don’t be afraid to experiment. The garbage that we created consists of very small details; if you add shadows and light from different directions, this will create a depth effect.

Step 24 Also note the proportions of the truck and its position in space. Arrange it in front of the road. If you do this, you will need to add a shadow at the bottom. Therefore, we create a new layer under the truck, change the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) and use color # 284143 to draw the shadow. We will need brush with Hardness (Hardness) 1% and Flow (Push) 1%. Remember that the shadow should be soft and slightly oblong, as shown below.

Next, create another new layer under the truck, change the blend mode to Multiply (Multiply) and use color #284143, to draw a shadow. We need a brush with Hardness (Hardness) 1% and Flow (Push) 1%. This time the shadow should be at one point, like a blur.

Step 25. To finish this composition, add a few adjustment layers:

And the final result:

Step 26. What would you like to add more? Yes, you are right, there are more objects, but in this tutorial I just wanted to describe the basic process of creating this composition. You can add more details and light sources, for example, this fantastic world can have its own sun. The task of the lesson was to let you understand the basics of how everything works and interacts with each other.
Let me explain everything on the example of the screenshot:

– The red dot in the center and the arrows are the main source of light. This means that each object in the scene will interact with this light. Also, the red arrows show which areas the light will act on. Therefore, all objects will have a different angle of incidence of the shadow.

– Object 1. It is closest to the viewer, so it must be larger than those farther away. Yellow is the area where the light will fall.

– Object 2. The farther the object is from the viewer, the smaller it is. The arrow will help to determine the correct light source at the top left.

– Object 3. This object does not have to be smaller. Suppose it is a large building and it may seem rather large, even though it is far away. The arrows indicate that the light will be in the upper left, which means the shadow will fall in the lower right.

– Object 4. It is far in the background, so it is very small and it is hard to see. It will receive light mainly from below depending on its position and inclination.

Now, if you want, you can replace these objects with real elements, airplanes, balloons, etc. Correctly putting light and shadows, you will get a fantastic result!

Like this post? Please share to your friends: