Dancing in the forest

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create emotional photo manipulation. You will learn how to combine and merge various stock images into a collage, adjust the light and use layer masks, control the light, work with groups and much more.

What will you create?

We will begin the lesson by creating a scene of an autumn forest from two stock images. Then we will do color correction, shadow and light, and also add a dreamy effect. Later we will add a model to the scene, we will replay it so that it will be in harmony with the scene. After that, we will use two stock images to add light special effects. In the end, add a few adjustment layers to improve the final result. You will need Photoshop CS3 or later.

Final image

Source materials:

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the following settings:

Step 2

Open the image “Forest”. Using Move Tool (V) (Move) drag it to our document.

Go to menu Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal)

Step 3

To add some depth to the background, go to the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) and set the radius to 6 px:

Step 4

To make the background lighting go to menu Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Curves) and set the settings as shown below.

On the mask of the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) use a soft black brush to erase the left side of the layer.

Step 5

Use another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the left side:

On the mask of this adjustment layer Curves (Curves) Take a soft brush of black color and paint over it the right part of the image to keep its brightness.

Step 6

Open the Earth image. Press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N to create a new layer. Activate the tool Clone tool (S) (Stamp) and use it to hide the branches on the ground.

Step 7

Press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to merge the background and the stamped layer. Move the merged layer into our document.

Click the second icon at the bottom of the layers panel to add a mask to the “Earth” layer. Use soft black brush to erase the trees and combine the soil with the background.

Step 8

Apply filter Gaussian blur (Blur according to Gauss) 4px to the ground.

On the filter mask with a soft black brush, remove the blur effect from the foreground:

Step 9

To change the color of the earth, add an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) with clipping mask. To do this, go to the menu Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation):

Step 10

Continue to change the color of the earth with an adjustment layer. ColorBalance (Color balance)

Step 11

Apply adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to add a little light to the earth:

On the mask of the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) with a soft black brush, erase the left side and make the right part brighter.

Step 12

Add another adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the left side:

On the mask of this adjustment layer, erase the right side to preserve its brightness.

Step 13

To add a vibrant, vibrant color earth Selective color (Selective color correction)

Step 14

To add to the earth a fabulous effect, go to the menuLayer> New Fill Layer> Solid Color (Layer> New Fill Layer> Color):

Lower Opacity (Opacity) of this layer up to 30%, and also using a soft black brush, remove this effect at the top and lower it on the ground.

Step 15

To add a light haze throughout the scene, create a new layer, take a soft brush of white color and move it along the right side of the image. Change the blending mode to SoftLight (Soft light) with Opacity (Opacity) 50%.

Step 16

On a new layer, using the same brush with Opacity (Opacity) 30% and Flow (Push) 30%, paint over the whole picture. Change the blending mode to SoftLight (Soft light) with Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 17

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers:

Step 18

Using an adjustment layer ColorBalance (Color balance) add more colors to the scene:

Step 19

Apply adjustment layer SelectiveColor (Selective color correction) for the same purpose

On the mask of this layer, go around with a soft black brush to reduce the effect on some trees.

Step 20

We are still in the process of adding color to an image. On the new layer, paint the right side with a soft brush with color # 6e9299. Set the blending mode HardLight (Hard light) with Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 21

Create a new layer and, using the same brush, paint the right side of the ground. Set the blending mode HardLight (Hard light) with Opacity (Opacity) 30%.

Step 22

To give the earth even more fantastic effect, take a soft brush with color # d2f0bb, and walk it along the right side of the image. Change the blending mode to SoftLight (Soft light) with Opacity (Opacity) 40%.

Step 23

Open the stock image with the model, separate it from the background.

Step 24

Create a new layer and using Clone tool (Stamp) hide the tattoo on the model’s leg.

Step 25

In this step, we will add more hair to the model. Create a new layer and set up a simple hard brush with color # e9e1cc. To change the settings for this brush, press F5:

Draw a few strands of hair at the crown and behind:

On a new layer, change the brush color to # f5f2e6. Draw long, flowing strands. Remember to use the [and] keys to reduce and increase the size of the brush while drawing.

Use a new layer and white brush when drawing some light strands.

Step 26

Combine the layer with the model, the cloned layer and the layer with the hair. Place the merged layer in the center of the document.

Create a new layer as a clipping mask and using a soft brush color # ccc8cb Walk around the model’s dress to soften the light. Set the blending mode of this layer. Multiply (Multiplication) with Opacity (Opacity) 70%.

Step 27

Add adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to reduce saturation of the model:

Step 28

Apply adjustment layer ColorBalance (Color balance) to add a blue tint to the model. Using a soft black brush, reduce this effect on the model’s skin.

Step 29

Add adjustment layer Photo filter (Photo filter) to the layer with the model and, using a black soft brush, reduce its effect on the skin of the model.

Step 30

To reduce illumination on the model, apply a correction layer. Curves (Curves) and work the brush on the mask.

Step 31

Add adjustment layer Levels (Levels) to brighten the right side of the model, work on the mask of this layer after adjusting:

Step 32

At this stage using a soft brush with color # 6e8799 Walk through the hair model to add a blue tint to them. Set the blending mode for this layer. Color (Chromaticity) c Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 33

Create a new layer as a clipping mask, change the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) with Opacity (Opacity) 100% and fill it with 50% gray:

Take Dodge (Clarifier) ​​and Burn tool (Dimmer) with the following settings: Range Midtones (Mid Tones), Exposure (Exposition) 20% to emphasize the play of light and shadows on the model. Below you can see how it looks in the blend mode. Normal (Normal) and result mode Overlay (Overlap).

Step 34

To highlight the lips, on a new layer with a soft brush with color # bc8a78 Lip your lips. Set the blending mode for this layer. SoftLight (Soft light) c Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 35

To make the background light reflect on your legs, create a new layer and use a soft brush with color # 6e9299 walk your legs. Set the blending mode for this layer. Vivid light (Bright light) c Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 36

Open the texture archive “Light 1”. Select image 6 as a star and place it in the upper right corner of the scene. Change the blending mode for this layer to Screen (Screen) cOpacity (Opacity) 100%.

Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to erase the hard edges of this texture.

Step 37

Add adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change the color of this light

Step 38

Add adjustment layer Levels (Levels) to this layer with light to reduce a bit of illumination area. Erase it in the center (on the model’s arm)

Step 39

Open the image “Light 2”. Since it has a transparent background, just drag it with Move Tool (Move) on the raised hand model. Change the blending mode for this layer to Screen (Screen) c Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 40

Open the leaf image. Select the leaves you like and add them to the scene around the model, try to achieve a chaotic effect. Here is the result:

Step 41

Add large leaves around the edges of the picture and apply to them. Gaussian blur (Blur according to Gauss) 8px.

Step 42

Select all layers with leaves and press Ctrl + G to create a group for them. Change the mode of this group to the default Pass through (Skip) on Normal (Normal) 100%. Add adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) on top of a group with leaves to match their color with the leaves on the background and ground:

Step 43

Add adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to make the leaves lighter

On the mask of this adjustment layer Curves (Curves) with a soft black brush, erase the leaves on the left side so that they look darker than the leaves on the right:

Step 44

Right-click on the Leaves group, select from the list Duplicate group (Duplicate group). Right-click on the duplicate, select Merge group (Merge group) and we have a new layer with selected leaves. Turn off this layer.

Step 45

Create a new layer on top of the rest. Press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking on the layer with the selected leaves to load its selection:

Using a soft brush with color # a2ced7, create more light and dreamy effect for them. Change the blending mode to HardLight (Hard light) c Opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Step 46

It is time to color the image. Create an adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient map) above all layers.

Change the blending mode of this layer to Soft light (Soft light) 100% and use a soft black brush to remove the effect from the left side:

Step 47

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to add a light yellow hue to the scene

Step 48

Increase the saturation of the scene with an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation)

On the mask of this layer using a soft black brush, clean the area of ​​the head, legs of the model, her hands and the ground.

Step 49

Strengthen color and light on stage with Vibrance (Vibration):

Here is the result on the layer mask and on the picture.

Step 50

Use Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to adjust the color of some leaves on the right side of the ground and add more blue to the scene:

On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase those areas that you do not want to affect at this stage:

Step 51

Finally, create a new layer with the same settings as in step 33, but uncheck the option Clipping Mask option (Clipping mask). Use Dodge tool (Brightener) to brighten the trees on the left, as they need to be brighter.

Final image

Author: Jenny Le

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