How to add interesting lighting in Photoshop

In this lesson you will learn how to add interesting lighting to your composition. Various ways of combining complex objects, such as translucent material, will be explained. Let’s start!

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Final image

Step 1. Preparing the background

Let’s start by creating a new document in Photoshop. Go to menu File> New (File> New). Install Width (Width) 600px, Height (Height) 900px and Resolution (Resolution) 72Pixels / inch. Click OK.

Take Paint bucket tool (Fill) (G) and fill the background layer with a dark blue color. I used # 2b2b32.

Step 2. Library placement

Download the library image shown at the beginning of the lesson and drag it onto your work canvas. Place it above the background layer and name it. Library. Press Ctrl + T to activate FreeTransformation (Free Transform) and adjust the image to fit the canvas. To keep the proportions hold down the Shift key. Press the Enter key after you finish to apply the changes.

Step 3. Decrease saturation

Add a new adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set the value Saturation (Saturation) -40. To effect only a layer Library, Create a clipping mask from the adjustment layer by clicking the icon at the bottom of the adjustment layer palette (see below).

Let’s take a look at the order of the layers.

Step 4. Adding a floor

In the next steps, we will add a model image to the bottom left corner. Therefore, you do not need to place the floor there, but there is an empty space in the lower right corner. Fix it. Take Lasso Tool (Lasso) (L) and highlight the floor (see picture below).

Press Ctrl + J to copy and paste the selection. Place this new layer on top of all other layers and name it. Floor. Take the tool Move Tool (Move) (V) and move it to the location shown in the following figure.

Step 5. Sex Saturation

You need to lower the saturation of the floor just as you did with the library. Add a new adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set the value
Saturation (Saturation) -40. Create a clipping mask from this layer so that it only affects the layer below it (= Paul). After you finish, your composition should look like this.

Step 6. Darkening the room

To make the room a bit mystical, in this step you darken it. Add a new adjustment layer Curves (Curves) on top of all layers and set the settings as shown below.

Step 7. Adding a model

Upload a model image. Place it on top of all layers and name the layer. Model. Press Ctrl + T to activate FreeTransformation (Free Transform) and resize to the appropriate. To keep the proportions do not forget to hold down the Shift key. Press the Enter key after you finish to apply the changes.

Step 8. Model correction

We need the model to blend in better with the rest of the image. Add a layer mask to the layer Model. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B). Install Hardness (Hardness) brush by 50%, and Opacity (Opacity) 100%. Choose black and start drawing on a gray background, making it disappear (Make sure that the layer mask is active by clicking on it). You should get something similar in the image below. You do not need to be precise about female hair. This area will be covered with other hair in the following steps.

Step 9. Adding a skirt

Download the image of the skirt on the working canvas, place it on top of all layers and name it Skirt. Fortunately, this image is already separated from the background. Press Ctrl + T to activate FreeTransformation (Loose transformation) and rotate the skirt as shown in the following image.

Step 10 – Creating a Hair Style

At this stage we will create a hairstyle. Follow the outline of the numbered images below to create a great surreal hairstyle. Place all layers on top of all current layers.

Step 11. Correction hairstyles

Now it’s time to gently connect each part of the hair with the rest of the hairstyle. Moving from layer to layer, add a layer mask to each layer, and then paint over the edges of the hair you want to hide with a black brush. Use the same brush settings as before: Hardness (Hardness) 50% Opacity (Opacity) 100%. Take a look at the following figure to understand how to work.

Step 12. Dress correction

Correction of the edges of women’s dress is quite complicated. This is a translucent fabric on a rather dark background, so you cannot apply a correction. Levels (Levels) as in most cases. To create a truly realistic result, I came up with a new, slightly unusual mixing technique. I hope that this will help you in such cases, as it happened to me. First, you need to hide all layers where there is a model, dress, hair, only the image of the library should be visible.

Press Ctrl + A on the keyboard to select the entire image. Press Ctrl + Shift + C to copy its union, and then press Ctrl + V to paste it. Place this new layer on top of all layers and name it. Dress Retouch. Add a layer mask to this new layer and fill it with black to make it invisible. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B). Install Hardness (Hardness) 0% and Opacity (Opacity) 10%. Choose a white color and carefully paint over the translucent areas of the dress. Look at the picture below to get an idea how you should draw. These areas are highlighted in red.

Take your time with the mix. Try different brush sizes to get the most realistic results. After this step, your work with the image should look like the image below.

Step 13: Add Fog

At this point, we will add a little fog behind the model to create a more magical atmosphere. Download brush fog and install them in photoshop. Add a new blank layer under the layer. Model. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B), select one of the brushes that you just installed, set Opacity (Opacity) 30% and specify a light yellow color (# e4e1c9). Now draw a very gentle mist. Take a look at the image below to get an idea of ​​how things should look.

Step 14. The light behind the hairstyle

To separate the hair from the background, in this step, make the area brighter. Add a new adjustment layer Curves (Curves) under the layer Model and set the settings as shown below.

Take Brush tool (Brush) (B), select a soft round brush and set Opacity (Opacity) 80%. Choose a white color and draw two large white dots on the mask of the adjustment layer under the hair. In the following picture you can see the result of this step.

Step 15. Coloring

Add a new adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) on top of all layers and set the gradient as shown below.

To merge this layer neatly with the rest of the image, change the blending mode to Color (Chroma) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 20%.

Step 16. Add plasticity

It’s time to add more plasticity to your image. This basically means that you want to make the lights brighter and the shadows darker. Add a new blank layer on top of all layers and name it. Plastic. Change the blending mode Soft light (Soft light).

Take Brush tool (Brush) (B), select a soft round brush, select black color and set Opacity (Opacity) 10%. Color the shadows in the picture to make them darker. After you’ve finished, switch to white and paint over the highlights. To get a better idea of ​​where you should paint, let’s take a look at the following image. You should black out the area highlighted in red and walk white over the blue areas.

In the following illustration, you can compare how the composition looks before and after this step.

Step 17. Create an interesting light.

To make your composition more interesting, in this step we will add some light behind the model. Start by adding a new blank layer on top of all layers and name it. Lighting. Take a look at the following image to see your order of layers so far.

Change layer blending mode Lighting on Color dodge (Lightening the basics). Take a soft round Brush tool (Brush) (B) and set Opacity (Opacity) 10%. Choose an orange blossom (# b68854) and walk around the edges of the model’s hair, face and dress. Walk also around the light source behind the model. Take your time with drawing and create a light effect slowly to get the most realistic result. Take a look at the image below to figure out where to draw. These areas are highlighted in red.

Step 18. Retouching

There are still some areas of the image that need to be brighter or darker to get a more balanced atmosphere. In this step we will complete with this. Add a new blank layer on top of all layers and name it. Retouch. Change the blending mode to Soft Light (Soft light). Take Brush tool (Brush) (B). Use the same settings as in the previous step, just switch to black. Paint over the areas highlighted in the following image. As you can see, you should make the bottom of the image and the bottom right corner a little darker to draw attention to the model. There are also some too bright details in the hair that should be a little darker.

After you are done, indicate the white color and paint the highlights in the woman’s hair. So you give them a healthy look. For an example, see the image below.

In the next image, you can compare how the composition looks before and after this step.

Step 19. More light

At this stage, we will add even more light behind the model to create a more magical atmosphere. Download brushes sun rays and install them in photoshop. Add a new blank layer on top of all layers and name it. Sun rays. Change the blending mode to Color dodge (Strangement basics). Take Brush tool (Brush) (B) from the set of brushes The rays of the sun that you just set, specify Opacity (Opacity) 25% and bright orange color (# b9a587). In the image below you can see where you should draw.

The sun’s rays should not be visible on the face and body of the model. To hide this, add a new mask to this layer. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B), take a soft round brush, select black color and set Opacity (Opacity) 100%. Paint the face and body to hide the light. After this step, your composition should look like the image shown below.

Step 20. Light on the hair

To make the light effect on the model’s hair look more realistic, you need to paint the left side a little more. Add a new blank layer on top of all layers and name it. Light on hair. Change the blending mode to Color dodge (Blackout basics). Take Brush tool (Brush) (B), select a soft round brush, set Opacity (Opacity) 20% and specify a bright orange color. Walk along the edge of the left side of the hair and face of the model. In the following picture you can see where they should draw.

Step 21. Adding Dust

At this stage, we will add more details to the picture, adding Dust texture behind the model. It will also help create the atmosphere of an old, forgotten library. Download Dust texture. Place it at the top of all layers and name the new layer. Dust. Press Ctrl + T to activate Free transform (Free Transform) and rotate the texture to the left (see image below). Press Enter to apply the changes. Right click on the layer Dust and select the option Duplicate layer (Duplicate layer). Click on the layer you just copied, press Ctrl + T on the keyboard and turn it to the right.

Change the mode of both layers to Screen (Screen) to connect them even better with the rest of the image. Lower Opacity (Opacity) textures on the left are up to 40%, and Opacity (Opacity) textures on the right to 20%. For the best combination with the rest of the composition, add a layer mask for both of them. Take Brush tool (Brush) (B), select black color and set Opacity (Opacity) 40%. Paint over the model and her dress to hide the texture there. Paint over the edges of the texture to create smooth transitions.

Step 22. Final darkening and lightening.

At this stage you will use one texture to darken and lighten your image. Download texture lighting. Place it on top of all layers and name it. Blackout. Change the blending mode to Subtract (Subtraction) with Opacity (Opacity) 15%. Right-click on the layer and select the option Duplicate layer (Duplicate layer). Place this new layer on top of all layers and name it. Lightening. Change the blending mode to Subtract (Subtraction) to lighten up. Install Opacity (Opacity) 5%.

Final image

Download the source materials for the lesson

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