In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a scene with a cat in a garden that watches a cloud-fish. I will show you the image processing technique, retouching, combining, working with a group and much more.
Create a new document 1000 x1000 px, but you can set the size of the document at your discretion. For the background content, I set the color white. Open the stock image ‘Heaven’. I selected part of the image of the sky and further, using the tool Move (Move Tool (V), moved the selected part of the sky to our working paper. Apply scaling, as shown in the screenshot below.
Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N). Using a soft white brush (brush size about 500 px), opacity and brush pressure of about 50-60%, paint over the sky at the bottom to lighten this part of the image. Reduce the opacity of this layer to 70%:
Open the stock image ‘Clouds’. Select a part of the clouds, as shown in the screenshot below. Move the selected part of the clouds to our working paper. Apply scaling to the selected part of the clouds in accordance with the size of the document.
Change the blending mode for the layer with the selected part of the clouds to Lightening (Screen), opacity 70%. In the bottom toolbar, click Add layer mask (add layer mask), so we add a layer mask to the cloud layer. Using a soft black brush with an opacity of about 60%, blur the left side and a little bottom.
Using the selection tools, separate the image of Tree 1 from the background, placing it in the left corner of our composition. Next, go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter-Blur-Gassian Blur) and choose a blur radius of 2 px. In this step, we add some details and add depth of field to our scene.
Next, open the stock image ‘Fence’. Cut out the fence image by moving this image to the forefront of our composition. I arranged the image so that only the top of the fence was visible.
To remove the yellowish hues present in the image of the fence, I used an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask to the layer with the fence. Let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Hue / Saturation).
Create a new layer (as a clipping mask to the layer with the fence), change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), the opacity of the layer is 100%, and then fill this layer 50% gray (50% gray). Choose a tool Dimmer (Burn Tool (O), install Range (Range) on Mid tones (Midtones), Exposition (Exposure) approximately 20%, and then with the help of this tool, slightly darken the right side of the fence. In the screenshot below, you can see where I applied this tool during blending mode. Normal (Normal) and Overlap (Overlay (result).
Open the stock image ‘Green hedge’. I selected a part of the hedge, copied, and then pasted the copied image of the hedge onto our working paper, placing it on the right side of the fence.
I called this layer “Hedge 1”.
Duplicate the hedge layer by moving the duplicate layer to the left. Flip the duplicate image horizontally, for this we go Edit – Transform – Flip Horizontal (Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal), then, to the duplicate layer, add a layer mask and using a hard round brush (do not use a soft brush), remove the rest of the hedge, having processed the upper part.
I used an adjustment layer Curves (Curves) as a clipping mask to the “Hedge 1” layer to darken the hedge.
Next, open the stock image ‘Kot’. Cut out the image of the cat by moving this image to our working paper, placing the cat on the fence on the right side of the composition.
Create a new layer below the cat layer. Using a soft black brush with an opacity of about 60%, draw a shadow on the fence below the cat image.
Create a new layer (as a clipping mask for the cat layer). Choose a soft white brush. Using this brush, paint over the cat’s contour to lighten and remove dark areas left after the image cutting process. Change the mode for this layer to Linear Dodge (Linear Dodge), layer opacity is 100%.
Create a new layer with the same settings as shown in Step 7, then use the tools Clarifier and dimmer (Dodge and Burn Tool), create chiaroscuro on the image of a cat.
Translator’s Note: don’t forget to change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay).
I used adjustment layers as a clipping mask for the cat layer to change the color of our cat.
Create a new layer (but not as a clipping mask), using a brush of 2-3 px, brush color # f7f2ed, recreate the cat’s mustache.
So, we come to the most interesting part of our lesson. Create a new layer on top of all layers. Set the foreground color to white. Press the F5 key to customize the brush.
Using tool Lasso (Lasso Tool), create a selection in the form of a fish shape, set the blending value = 10, and then paint it with the previously set brush inside the selection.
Name this layer “fish base”.
Create a new layer, select the Cloud # 403 brush. With the help of this brush, paint over the lower part of the fish base, and then to this layer, add a layer mask and on the layer mask, delete the extra areas.
Create a new layer using brush # 357, paint over the fish base and also hide the extra areas.
Once again create a new layer, select brush # 442. Paint over with a brush, apply a transformation to the drawn clouds (Ctrl + T), apply a layer mask to hide the extra areas. Next, duplicate the layer and flip vertically, for this we go Edit – Transformation – Flip Vertically (Edit-Transform-Flip Vertical), as well as process the eraser or blur the areas that you do not like.
Translator’s Note: The screenshot shows brush # 403, most likely it is a typo.
Create a new layer, select brush 403 and 357 (brush opacity approximately 50%). Paint over the torso and tail of the fish-cloud and, as usual, hide the extra areas on the layer mask.
Create a new layer, select a large diameter 357 brush with 100% opacity. Paint over the head of the fish, then duplicate the layer, move the duplicate down, rotate the duplicate and use the layer mask to create the outline of the lower fin:
Create a new layer, use brush # 271 to complete the “mouth” of the fish.
Once again, apply brush # 403 to fill the fish’s “torso”.
Use brushes # 357 and # 238 in the tail section of the fish.
Use brush # 743 and 238 to complete the tail.
Create multiple layers on top of all layers. Change the foreground color to # deebf8 and use Clouds with brushes, also add cloud textures to our cloud fish.
I called the layers with clouds from 1 to 23, and then merged them into one group (Ctrl + G). Name the cloud-fish group. Change the blending mode for this group with Skip (Pass Through) (default group mode) on Normal (Normal), opacity 90%:
Create two adjustment layers inside this group to slightly change the color of the created effect (Selective color correction (Selective color) and Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).
On the layer mask of the adjustment layer Selective color correction (Selective Color), I used a soft black brush to process the middle part.
Create a new layer. Apply tools Clarifier and dimmer (Dodge and Burn Tool) to create light and shadow on a cloud-fish.
Open the stock image of “Butterflies”. Add four butterflies around the fence to decorate our scene.
Group the layers with butterflies into one group, just like you did with the clouds. Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves), lighten butterflies.
Create a new layer on top of all layers and using a soft white brush, paint over the upper left side of the composition, and then reduce the opacity of the layer to 70%.
Select the ‘Tree 2’ image, then move the selected image onto our working document, placing it on the right side of the composition.
I used an adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to enhance red hues.
Create several adjustment layers on top of all layers. Gradient Map (Gradient Map), Color Balance (Color Balance) and Photo Filter (Photo Filter).
Change the blending mode for the adjustment layer. Gradient Map (Gradient Map) on Soft light (Soft Light), layer opacity is 100%.
I used adjustment layers Levels (Levels) and Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to darken and enhance the contrast of the entire image. I used a soft black brush on the layer mask of the adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) to hide and weaken the effect of correction on some parts of the image, as shown in the screenshot below.