Fabulous photo manipulation in the style of Matt Paint

Work on creating fabulous photo manipulations is always a pleasure. In these works, we embody all our crazy ideas. In this lesson we will create a fantasy night scene with a Priestess on a stone platform, which will hold a lantern in one hand and a golden lotus from which the ball will rise from the smoke, and small pieces of rock will circle around the priestess in the other hand. The scene will be slightly filled with fog, and several temples will rise above the fog in the background among small hills.

In this lesson, you will learn about the Matt Paint technique, including the use of adjustment layers, as well as an understanding of the nature of the elements of the scene, to apply appropriate effects to create a more natural picture.

Final result

Source materials:

Step 1. Model image

Open the Priestess image in Photoshop. Using tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), create a selection around the model image, and then copy the selected image to a new layer.

Step 2. Draw a gradient

Next, draw a gradient. The gradient color is black and gray. This gradient will be used as a base for further color correction.

Step 3. A stone platform for the priestess

In this step, we will create a platform of stone on which the Priestess will stand.

3.1) Open the stock image ‘Stones’ in Photoshop. Using tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), create a selection around the stone image. Next, copy the selected image to a new layer.

3.2) Next, move the selected image of the stone to our working paper, placing it under the Priestess, as shown in the screenshot below. Since we create a night scene, then we will need to conduct color correction of the stone in order to combine it with our entire scene.

Being on a layer with a stone, we go Image – Correction – Curves (Image> Adjustments> Curves), set the curves as shown in the screenshot below.

3.3) Next, reduce the saturation of the stone image by correcting Hue / Saturation(Hue / Saturation), set the value Saturation (Saturation) -22, and the value Brightness (Lightness) -40.

3.4) Dim the stone image with Exposure (Exposure), let’s go Image – Correction – Exposure (Image> Adjustments> Exposure). Set the value Exposure (Exposure) = -0.57, and the value Gammas Corrections (Gamma Correction) = 0.66.

Step 4. Draw shadows near the priestess’s legs

Choose a soft black brush. Using tool Brush (Brush (B), draw the shadows near the priestess’s legs, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 5. Priestess Color Correction

Next, we will color the image of the priestess using Curves (Curves) and Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 6. Add dark clouds to the background

Add a stock image with a night sky to the background.

Step 7. Priestess Skin Color Correction

In this step, we will color the skin of the priestess with the help of correction layers.

7.1) Using the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), create a selection around the skin of the model, as shown in the screenshot below. Without removing the active selection, add an adjustment layer Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) through the bottom toolbar. Set the value Brightness (Brightness) -35, and the value The contrast (Contrast) 21.

7.2) Repeat the same technique that you used in the previous step when performing color correction, but this time, select the hand area.

Step 8. Add the temple to the background.

In this step, we will add the image of the temple to our scene, placing it in the background.

8.1) Open the stock image with the temple. Create a selection around the temple image, and then move the selected image to our working paper, positioning the temple, as shown in the screenshot below.

8.2) Apply your knowledge in the color correction of the temple so that the temple matches the environment.

8.3) Next, create a selection around the image of the temple, and then fill the selected area with the color tint # 363b48. Next, change the blending mode for the filled layer to Overlap (Overlay), and also reduce the layer opacity to 64%.

8.4) Merge all the layers related to the temple into one layer. Further, by correction Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation (Ctrl + U), decrease the value Saturation (Saturation) to -51, and the value Brightness (Lightness) to -11.

Step 9. Add a landscape to the background.

In this step we will add a mountain landscape to our scene, placing it in the background.

9.1) Open a stock image with a mountain landscape. Separate the landscape from the original background. Move the selected image of the landscape to our working paper, placing it as shown in the screenshot below.

9.2) Next, we will do a color correction of the landscape to perfectly match our scene.

Step 10. Add temples to the background that are located at a distance.

In this step, we will add several temples that will be located at a distance.

10.1) Repeating Step 8, add another temple to our scene. Zoom out of the temple, and position the temple as shown in the screenshot below so that it looks as if it is in the distance.

10.2) When performing color correction of the temple, repeat the same technique that is described in Step 8. Create a new layer, then create an active selection of the second temple, fill the active selection with the color tint # 363b48. Since the temple is at a distance, then the colors will be more muted, so we will not change the blending mode, but simply reduce the layer saturation to 70%.

10.3) In the same way, add the third temple, placing it between the first and second temple, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 11. Create a ball of smoke

In this step, we will create a ball of smoke that is formed from the smoke emanating from the golden lotus in the priestess’s right hand.

11.1) Create a new layer. Choose a tool Oval region (Ellipse Marquee Tool (M), set the radius Feathering(Feather Radius) = 25px. Using tool Oval area (Ellipse Marquee Tool (M)), create a selection, as shown in the screenshot below, inside the created area, apply the Smoke brush, the brush color is white.

11.2) Next, add smoke streams, as shown in the screenshot below, to show that smoke exudes the Golden Lotus.

11.3) Since we know that smoke is scattered in different directions, so draw the smoke around the ball to get the next effect.

Step 12. Makeup model

In this step we will carry out the makeup of the priestess.

12.1) Using the Hair brush, the brush color is black, draw the hair locks on the priestess’s left cheek, as shown in the screenshot below.

12.2) Next, using a soft brush, brush color is black, draw the eyeliner around the eyes, and also darken the mole above the upper lip.

Step 13. Add the fog effect.

With the Fog brush, the brush color is white, add a fog effect to our scene.

Step 14: Add Depth of Field with Blur

We know that the farther objects are located from the focused area, the more blurry they become, the degree of blur depends on the distance of removal. Since the second and third temple are at a distance, they should be blurred to add depth of field to our scene.

14.1) Being on the layer with the second temple, we go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), apply a blur radius of 0.8px.

14.2) In the same way, blur the third temple with a filter. Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 0.5px.

Step 15. Add the snow effect.

In this step we will create the effect of circulating snow.

15.1) Open the texture with snow, move this texture to our working paper. Place the texture in the lower right corner of the scene, as shown in the screenshot below.

15.2) Next, change the blending mode for the snow texture layer to Light replacement (Lighten)

15.3) Further, using correction Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), change the color of the texture to match it with the whole scene. Set the value Color tone (Hue) 210, and the value Saturation (Saturation) -10 to get the desired result.

15.4) To show the dynamics that snow particles are spinning, we need to apply a filter to them Motion blur (Motion blur). Being on a layer with the texture of snow, we go Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur), set Blur angle (Angle) -28, and also set the value Offsets (Distance) at 29px.

Step 16. Strengthen the effect.

In the same way, add more particles to our scene.

Step 17. Add a lantern

From this step we will start creating a lantern that the priestess will hold in her hand.

17.1) Open the stock image ‘Lantern’. Move this image to our working paper. Position the flashlight as shown in the screenshot below.

17.2) Using a soft black brush, draw the shadows on the lantern.

Step 18. Light the lantern

In this step, we will create a fire that burns inside the lantern.

18.1) Load the selection of the flashlight, hold down the (Ctrl) key + click on the thumbnail of the flashlight layer. Without removing the selection, create a new layer, position this layer below the lantern layer. Paint over the active area with the color shade # fca000, as shown in the screenshot below.

18.2) Next, reduce the size of the brush, and then paint over the white brush in the center.

18.3) Next, we will add a glow effect to the edges of the decorative frame of the lantern to show the intensity of the light that comes from the lantern.

18.4) Since the main light source is located in the middle of the lantern, then in the upper and lower parts of the lantern there will be less light emission. Therefore, add a little light at the top as well as at the bottom of the flashlight, using the technique we used in the previous step.

Step 19. Glow from the lantern

To create a glow effect around the lantern, with a soft brush, brush color # fca000, paint over the lantern. Reduce the layer opacity to 15%.

Step 20. Add chains to the lantern

Next, we add the chains that hold the lantern.

20.1) Open the image with the chains, separate the chains from the original background. Move the chains to our working paper by placing them above the three lantern mounts, as shown in the screenshot below.

20.2) Duplicate the layer with the chain, and then with the help of deformation, deform the chain in such a way as to create a feeling that the chains are clamped in your hand.

Step 21. Add shadows to the chains.

Since If the chains are held in hand, we need to add shadows to the chains next to the priestess’s fingers.

21.1) Add shadows to the chains, as shown in the screenshot below.

21.2) Using the previous technique of adding a chain, add a fourth chain for the fourth lamp mount.

Step 22

Create a new layer. Using tool Gradient (Gradient Tool (G), draw a gradient on a new layer. Gradient colors from black to # 8492a7. Next, change the blending mode for this layer with the gradient to Multiplication (Multiply), and lower the layer opacity to 43%.

Step 23. Add a bell

In this step, we will add a bell to the foreground, which hangs in a gust of wind.

23.1) With a tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), create a selection around the bell image to separate it from the original background.

23.2) Move the selected bell image to our working paper, placing it as shown in the screenshot below. Further, by correction Curves (Curves (Ctrl + M), make the bell color correction to match it with the whole scene.

23.3) Since our night scene, therefore, the colors should be less saturated, we need to reduce the saturation of the bell image. Being on a layer with a bell, we go Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation (Image> Adjustments> Hue / Saturation), set the value Saturation (Saturation) -75.

23.4) As we said earlier, the bell is located close to the observer, so it should be blurred, i.e. he is not in the main focus area where the priestess is located. To the layer with the bell, apply a filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius = 6.6px.

23.5) Next, we will add light highlights to the bell, which come from the light from the lamp. Reduce the opacity of the highlight layer to 20% after you paint the highlight.

23.6) Draw a shading on the left side of the bell, as shown in the screenshot below, because light falls on the right side of the bell.

Step 24. Add a red ribbon to the bell.

In this step, we will add a red ribbon to the bell. In order to qualitatively separate the tape from the original background, we use a complex technique of selecting objects.

24.1) Open the stock image of the ribbon in Photoshop. Go to bookmark Channels (Channels), and then select the blue channel.

24.2) Next, let’s go Images – Calculations(Image> Calculations). In settings Channel(Channels), select the option Blue(Blue).

24.3) Being on a layer Alpha 1 (Alpha 1), make sure the tape is completely black and the background is completely white.

Note: If black and white contrast is not achieved with Levels (Levels), then use the tool. Brush (Brush Tool) to get the perfect silhouette.

24.4) Next, let’s go Selection – Load Selection (Select> Load Selection) and in the drop-down menu Channel (Channel) select option Alpha 1 (Alpha 1) to activate the mask around the ribbon image. Next, copy the active selection to the new layer.

24.5) Move the selected tape image to our working document. Place the ribbon, as shown in the screenshot below, next to the bell. Next, reduce the saturation of the tape image to -61 by using the correction Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

24.6) Because Since the ribbon is not in the main focus area and develops in the wind, then we need to add blur to the ribbon. To the ribbon layer, apply a filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 7.4px.

Step 25. Add lighting effects to the priestess dress

Since Since the lamp is located very close to the priestess, then we need to add lighting effects to the dress of the priestess.

Using a brush, brush color # fca000, add lighting effects to the dress of the priestess, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 26. Add fragments of stones that circle around the priestess

In this step, we will add fragments of stones that circle the entire scene.

26.1) With a tool Move (Move Tool (V), move the image with asteroids to our working paper, arranging the image as shown in the screenshot below.

26.2) Next, duplicate the asteroid layer several times, arranging the duplicate layers so as to create the feeling that the asteroids are circling due to the cosmic force that comes from the priestess.

26.3) Since the stones move in the air at a certain speed, then we need to add to them a small Motion blur (Motion blur) to create natural depth. But before we apply the filter Motion blur (Motion blur) we need to create a depth of field. We have already mentioned that the main scene is focused on the priestess, so the stones next to the priestess will be in focus and will appear sharper and more blurred as they move away from the main focus.

Combine all the layers with the stones, then create an active selection, as shown in the screenshot below, with Feathering (Feather of Radius) 35px, and then, apply the filter Motion blur (Motion blur), Bias (Distance) 27px, Angle (Angle) 10.

Step 27. Add light highlights to the stones

As we said earlier, the stones are circling next to the priestess, therefore, we need to add light highlights to the stones that are circling next to the lamp. Using a brush, brush color # fca000, add light highlights to the stones, as shown in the screenshot below, to create a natural depth.

Final result

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