In this tutorial, I will tell you how you can beautifully put together 3D elements and hand-drawn elements, how to make the right lighting in the picture, how to add shadows correctly, how to adjust colors.
The final result will look like this:
We select the material.
Step 1. Background.
Create a new document. Call it BACKGROUND. Its size depends on what material you are going to use: your own, or what I offer you. If you took my sources, then the document size should be 900×540 pixels. Select Gradient tool (Gradient Tool), then select the gradient as shown below:
Apply the selected gradient on your document. You should have something like this.
Step 2. The sky.
Open the image with the sky and drag it to your document. Name the layer SKY, make sure that it is definitely above the BACKGROUND layer. Add a vector mask to this layer by clicking on the corresponding button at the bottom of the layers palette, or simply by pressing the key F7.
Note: Using a vector mask is a much more convenient method than simply erasing extra parts of the image. Why? Yes, because there is always the possibility to easily return back what you could accidentally erase. After all, when using Tool Eraser (Eraser Tool) you erase the image forever, whereas when using the vector layer mask you only temporarily hide unnecessary parts of the picture, and at any moment you can see the hidden one again.
So add a vector mask to the SKY layer. Then using Tool Brush (Brush Tool) black color those parts that you do not need. In the process, change the diameter of the brush and its transparency to your liking so that the result looks as natural as possible. If you want any part of what you dyed in black, become visible again, just paint it in white.
Step 3. Earth
Let’s create the earth. Create a new layer above all others and name it EARTH TEXTURE. Then find in the archive brushes Velvetcat’s Brush Set and install them in your program. If you know how to do it, I think this lesson will help you a lot.
Take Brush tool (Brush Tool) and select one of the brushes you just downloaded. Set the dark brown color (slightly darker than the brown color on the gradient) and start to draw the ground with this brush, being on the TEXTURE OF THE EARTH layer. This is how it should look like.
Download the image of the earth (if you use my sources, then use the picture number 1) and drag it to your document. Name this layer EARTH 1 and place it on top above all the layers. The blend mode for this layer is set to Soft Light.
In fact, for this layer one could use and Normal blend mode but Soft Light looks much better. Compare:
Add a vector mask to the EARTH layer. After changing the blending mode, your picture should look something like this.
Step 4. Detailing the background.
Now the foreground in our picture looks pretty flat and uninteresting. He would have looked much better if he had more of some small details. So let’s add them. Upload a picture with the earth at number 2 from my sources (if you use them, of course), or your own image, and drag it onto your document. Name this layer DETAILS FORWARD PLAN and place it on top of all other layers. Blend mode for this layer again select Soft Light and add the vector mask again. Then take Brush tool (Brush Tool), brush select a simple round soft. Now set the color black and walk it over the image.
Step 5. Skyscrapers.
Download or paint skyscrapers. You can download them from my sources. Then drag them to your document, name the SKY-SCRAPED layer, then follow the same steps as with the DETAILED FRONT PLAN layer. You can also find online and download brushes with skyscrapers, and put them in the right place on a new layer. Choose the method that is more convenient for you.
Step 6. Create a road.
To give the picture greater integrity, you need to connect the foreground and foreground. Now there is no connection between them. Therefore, we will draw the road going from the city to us. To do this, create a new layer on top of all the others, let’s call it ROAD. Select Gradient tool (Gradient Tool). As the main, select the color under the number # 808080, and fill them with the whole layer. Blend mode for this layer set Overlay.
Take Brush tool (Brush Tool) and select one of those brushes that you downloaded earlier. Choose a light gray color and start painting the road. Then take a darker gray and paint over the edges of the road you just painted. Below you can see how this picture looks with different blending modes.
Step 7. Elephant.
Upload an image with an elephant, separate it from the background. Then drag it onto your document. Keystroke Ctrl + T reduce the size of the elephant. Name this layer ELEPHANT and place it on top of all other layers.
Translator’s Note: unfortunately, the image with the elephant provided by the author of the lesson has been deleted and the link to it is unsuitable. Therefore, I myself have found the source for you, see the archive
Pay attention to the elephant. Now it looks too saturated compared to everything else, too bright, it has very sharp shadows. At the moment we have a very big contrast between the light and the shadow on the elephant. With all this “baggage”, he is completely knocked out of our picture. Need a little soften the light. To do this, create a new layer, select Gradient tool (Gradient Tool) and fill this layer with gray color (something like this # 808080). Blend mode for this layer set Overlap (Overlay) and create for it Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask). To do this, right-click on the layers palette and select Create clipping mask. Thus, it will only affect the layer that is under it, that is, the layer of ELEPHANT.
Select Brush tool (Brush Tool), as a brush, select a simple round soft brush. As the main one, set black color and paint over all those places on the elephant where the light is especially bright.
We corrected the light a little, but the elephant’s lower legs still remain too light, and this is very striking. To fix this, create a new layer, place it on top of all other layers and create Clipping Mask. Select Brush tool (Brush Tool), Brush take a simple round soft. Reduce the transparency of the brush to 15 %, choose a bit darker color than the elephant itself. Begin to paint the brightest parts of the legs. How it should look like look at the picture below. To make it easier to see, there is a black background underneath the drawing layer (you do not need to do this).
So, with legs basically finished. But the elephant itself must still be darker. To darken it, create a new adjustment layer. Levels (Levels). Set the level values to 0; 0.57; 255. Then create Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask).
Translator’s Note: if you are using the wrong image of the elephant that the author of the lesson uses, set the level values based on the brightness of the photo you use.
Now the elephant needs a little lower color saturation. To do this, add a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation, set the saturation of all colors set -40. Click OK, then create Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask). Now add a new adjustment layer. Gradient Map and choose a black and white gradient. Blend mode for this layer set Lightness (Luminosity), then create Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask).
You probably noticed that there is an elephant under the head, and on one of its legs there are still too sharp dark shadows that are not at all characteristic of global illumination in our entire picture. To remove them, create a new layer on top of all the others and create Clipping Mask. Select Stamp tool (Clone Stamp Tool) and clone the parts of the elephant’s skin that are above these darkest shadows that we want to remove. If you do not know how to use this tool, then this lesson will help you understand it. After working with a stamp, you should have something like this, as shown in the picture below.
Translator’s Note: in the process of working with a stamp, change its diameter and rigidity, this will help you to achieve a more natural result. And here is another lesson on working with a stamp in Russian.
Step 8. Shadows under the elephant.
The picture above shows very well that the elephant is not firmly on the ground, it seems to be hovering over it. This is because there is no shadow under his feet. Now we fix it. Add a new layer, place it under the ELEPHANT layer and name it ELEPHANT SHADOW. Then select Brush tool (Brush Tool), take a simple round soft brush. Choose black and paint the shadows under the elephant’s feet. Here’s what this layer looks like on a white background (you don’t need to add a white background).
The darkest shadows are those that are directly under the elephant’s feet.
Step 9. Cube.
Download an image with a cube and drag it onto your document. Put this layer on top of all the others and name it KUBIK. Now you need to add a shadow between the elephant and the cube, otherwise the cube will also “hang” in the air. To do this, create a new layer, name it SHADOW OF CUBIC. Then select Brush tool (Brush Tool), take a simple round soft brush. Choose a dark gray color and lower the transparency of the brush to 80%. Paint a narrow strip right under the cube. After that, reduce the transparency of the brush to thirty % and draw a shadow falling from it.
When compiling any collage, it is important to remember one thing: all the objects that you add to your collage must have a shadow, otherwise your entire work will look “sticky”, it will not have integrity. On the cube you need to slightly adjust the colors. First, lower the contrast by adding a new adjustment layer. Levels (Levels). This layer must necessarily be above the CUBIC layer. Level values set as follows: 0; 0.74; 255. Create Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask). Then add a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), and set the saturation value -60. Create another one Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask).
Step 10. Belt.
Upload a picture with a belt and drag it onto your document. Place this layer on top of all others and name it BELT. Then go to the menu Editing> Transform> Warp (Edit> Transform> Warp), and try to bend the belt along the contour of the elephant’s body. When you are satisfied with the result of the deformation, just click Enter . If you do not know how to use this function, then this video tutorial will help you.
Step 11. Shadows under the belt.
As mentioned above, each element of the collage must have a shadow. The belt at the moment looks “stuck”, so you just need to add a shadow to it. To do this, create a new layer and place it right below the BELT layer. Call it SHADOW’S SHADOW. Then Ctrl+ click on the BELT layer icon, it will help activate the mask of this layer.
Select Brush tool (Brush Tool), take the black color and draw it on the mask of the layer BELT SHADOW. Then click Ctrl + D, to take off the mask. Then take Move tool (Move Tool) and move the shadow down a bit to the left. Now go to the menu Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) and set the blur value to 0.2 pixel. Thus, the shadow will become softer. Click OK. In the picture below, you can compare what a belt looks like with a shadow, and without it.
Step 12. Put the light on the belt.
When compiling a collage, it is very important to immediately determine the source of light, and correctly apply light and shadows to all objects. Pay attention to the picture below. It is very clearly shown where the global source of light is and how it falls on the belt.
So let’s start adding light and shadow. To do this, create a new layer on top of the BELT layer. Call it LIGHT ON THE BELT and create Clipping Mask. Now take Gradient tool (Gradient Tool), select gray (something like this) # 808080) and fill them with a layer. Take Brush tool (Brush Tool), select a pure white color and start drawing light. In the process, you can experiment with the transparency of the brush, so you get a more natural result and the light will fall better. Then take the black color and paint the shaded areas in the same way.
Step 13. Girl.
Download a picture of a girl and drag it to your document. Transform if necessary. Name this layer GIRL and place it above all other layers. Now you need to slightly adjust the color using the color balance, and slightly adjust the contrast of the girl so that she does not “fall out” of the overall picture. First you need to increase the contrast quite a bit. To do this, add a new adjustment layer. Gradient Map above the GIRL layer, select a black and white gradient and click OK. For this layer, create Clipping Mask. Then change the layer blending mode to The brightness of the light (Luminosity).
You need to make the girl a little darker. Add a new adjustment layer Levels and set the level values to 0; 0.78; 255. Click OK. Now create Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask). Now you need to slightly remove the color saturation on the girl so that she does not seem brighter. Than everything else in the picture. To do this, add a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation and set the color saturation value to -20. Click OK and create another Clipping Mask (Clipping Mask). In the picture below you can see how the above described manipulations have affected the image of the girl.
Step 14. Change the light and shadow on the girl.
General lighting on girls in principle corresponds to the global coverage of our picture, but it would not be superfluous to make the contrast between light and shadow stronger.
On top of all layers create a new layer. Select Gradient tool (Gradient Tool), and fill the layer with color # 808080. Blend mode for this layer set Overlap (Overlay). Select Brush tool (Brush Tool), select white as the main color. Brush transparency 15 %. Now, with the help of this brush paint over those parts of the girl’s body that should be lighter. Then choose black color, and in the same way slightly (!) Paint on those parts of the body that should be shaded.
Step 15. Add shadows under the feet..
The picture below clearly shows that at this stage of our work it does not at all seem that the girl is directly ON the ground, she is rather ABOVE her. It is necessary to fix this by adding a shadow under her feet. Under the GIRL layer, create a new layer and name it SHADOW’S STEP. Select Brush tool (Brush Tool), select black as the main color. Brush transparency 0%. Now draw a thin strip of shadow right under her feet. In the picture below you can see how approximately the shadows should be drawn.
Step 16. Add the rope.
Now we need to add a rope on which the girl leads the elephant. To do this, create a new layer on top of all the others, and name it ROPE. Select Line tool (Line Tool) and as the main one, put such a brown color, which, in your opinion, should be a rope. The width of the line, set the way you want to see the rope. After you have set the width you need, draw a vertical line. Then go Filter> Distortion> Curvature (Filter> Distort> Shear) and set the values as shown in the figure below.
Click Ctrl + T, and turn the rope so that it looks like it has one of its edges in the girl’s hand, and the other one goes to the elephant’s belt. Duplicate the layer with the rope, then with the help of free transformation, turn it so that you can see that this is another rope that is a little further away than the first one. Add a vector mask to the layer, and with a black brush paint over those places of the rope that should be behind the elephant.
Step 17. Add birds.
Download any picture with birds. You can also use clipart. Then drag them to your working paper. Place them as shown in the picture with the final version. Those birds that are farther from us should naturally be smaller than those that are closer. To reduce them, press the key combination Ctrl + T, and boldly reduce. To make them brighter, type the key combination Ctrl + L , causing the correction window using levels, move the sliders, trying to make the birds brighter.
I would like to add that in this case it is better to use this method in levels, since the correction layer will give not quite the same result as we would like.
Step 18. Blur in motion.
To make the movement of birds more realistic, we will use Motion blur (Motion Blur). I will show how this can be done on the example of one bird, with the others, I think, you can handle it. So duplicate the bird layer. Place a duplicate under the layer with the bird itself. Now go Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur). Set the offset to 15px (generally it depends on the size of the document on which you work), determine the angle, respectively, the angle of the bird’s flight, and click OK. Repeat the same with the rest of the birds.
Step 19. Add mysticism.
Now we will add a certain mysticism, mystery to our picture … For this we need special brushes. You can use these brushes. Download them and install them in your Photoshop. Now create a new layer on top of all the others. Call it MGLA. Select ToolBrush (Brush Tool), pick up one of the brushes you just installed. Take a pipette color from a light area of the sky, and start using our brush to apply our so-called “mystic effect”. I recommend that you use different shades and different transparency of the brush. This will help you achieve the most realistic option. Avoid pure white, since the result obtained by using it is completely unrealistic.
Step 20. Global coverage.
At this stage, all elements of our collage are already placed in their places. Now we will focus on determining the source of global illumination in our picture. And also we will be engaged in the general color correction. To begin with, add a highlight to the center of our image. This will help us determine the main source of light. To do this, create a new layer on top of all the others and name it GLICK. Select Gradient tool (Gradient Tool) and fill the layer with black. Now let’s go Filter> Rendering> Blick (Filter> Render> Lens Flare) and there choose any of the highlights you like. We used a highlight in our collage. 105 mm. So, select the highlight and click OK. To make the glare look more realistic, it needs to be slightly blurred. For this we go Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur), approximately diameter value 1 px. Click OK. Blend mode for this layer select Lighten (Screen). So the highlight will look much better.
Step 21. Chiaroscuro.
At this stage, the foreground objects and the earth are a little short of light and shade. To fix this, create a new layer on top of all the others, and fill it with gray color (# 808080). Blend mode for this layer set Overlap (Overlay). Take Brush tool (Brush Tool), From the list of brushes, select a simple round with low stiffness. Reduce the transparency of the brush, and white color, go to those places in the picture, which should be more light. Do the same with black in places where there should be more shadows.
Step 22. Improving the light source.
Now we need to make our global light source more visible. To do this, create a new layer on top of all the others and fill it with gray color (# 808080). Now go Filter> Rendering> Lighting Effects (Filter> Render> Lightning Effects), and select such settings as shown in the picture below. Blend mode for this layer set Overlap (Overlay).
Step 23. First global correction.
In this step, we will begin to make the first global correction of our collage, we will continue in the next step. First you need to enhance the contrast of the image as a whole. Create a new adjustment layer Gradient Map, Make sure this layer is above all others. Select a black and white gradient, click OK. Blend mode for this layer set Overlap (Overlay). Now add adjustment layer Hue / Saturation, saturation value -20.
Step 24. The second global correction.
The picture you see above looks pretty dark. It needs a little clarify. To do this, create a new adjustment layer. Gradient Map, and choose a gradient like the one below.
Change the blending mode for this layer to Brightening basics (Color Dodge). To increase the contrast and introduce a couple of new shades, create another adjustment layer. Gradient Map, and choose such a gradient, as shown in the picture below.
Change the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light. Personally, I like it when the overall tone of the image is in cold tones. Therefore, I will do so. To do this, create a new fill layer. Color (Solid Color), and fill it with color # 7c7f9f. Make sure that this layer is necessarily above all others. Change the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light.
Step 25. Texture.
If you like the light scuff effect, you can add a grunge texture to your picture. Download any texture of this type, and drag it to your working document (you can take any texture from this set). Now you can play with different blending modes and transparency until the result satisfies you. Here blend mode was used. Soft Light layer opacity reduced to 60%.
Step 26. More contrast.
To increase the contrast on top of all other layers, create another adjustment layer. Gradient Map. Choose a black and white gradient and blend mode Glow (Luminosity).
And finally, the result:
(click on image to enlarge)