Lonely girl in Photoshop

Welcome to one more lesson on photo manipulation. This time we will conduct a simple, but beautiful and dramatic manipulation. You will learn how to create shadows and how to combine multiple images and apply the correct correction to create beautiful manipulation.

Final result

Source materials:


STEP one. First, let’s start by creating the background. Open image with stony shore. A girl will sit on this rocky shore. I called this layer of Rock.

I cut out the bottom of the image to get rid of the inscription information about the author. The exact size of my document is 2388 px in width and 3272 px in height, but you can choose the size of the document to your liking.

Now open the image with the sea, copy and paste it on our document. Place the image with the sea on top of the rocky shore layer. If you set the small size of the document, then you have to zoom out a little with the sea. I used the original sizes. I called this layer Sea.

Next, apply a layer mask to the layer with the sea and on the layer mask using the brush tool, hide part of the sea. See screenshot below.

STEP 2. The background structure is ready, so let’s get down to creating a dramatic atmosphere with corrective layers.

For the Scale layer, I used an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to reduce the saturation of the rocks, then applied an adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient map) gradient from black to white (Black / White), then changed the blending mode for the gradient map to Soft light (Soft Light) and reduced the opacity of the layer to 30% to give the rocks more contrast.

Correction layers for the Rocks layer

For the Sea layer, I applied only the adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) to add more contrast to the water, while I did not adjust the color shades.

Correction layers for the Sea layer

Later we will add even more adjustment layers, but at the moment we have prepared the foundation.

STEP 3. Open the image of the girl and separate the girl from the background with any selection tool you like. I almost always use the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), because, in my opinion, the most accurate selection can be obtained with this selection tool.

Once you have separated the girl from the background, copy and paste on our document on a new layer. I called this layer Girl. Do not worry too much, if you are unable to select the hair accurately, we use another stock image to make the girl’s hair look better and hide the roughly marked ends of the hair.

STEP four. It’s time to create a shadow from the girl. When it comes to shadows, it is also about light. In the Manipulation Secrets Series, I told you that when you create shadows, you must consider the position of the main source of light.

In our case, I assumed that the light falls from the upper right corner of the image (so I placed the girl face in the direction of light). In this particular case, I created only soft shadows with a brush.

Therefore, select the brush tool, set the average size of the brush to black, and start painting with the brush along the edges of the girl’s dress. For more information on the staining method, see one of the sections of the Manipulation Secrets Series. I drew the shadows on a new layer, which I called the Shadow on the ground, placing the layer with the shadow below the layer with the girl.

STEP 5. In order to add more realism, you can add more soft shadows on the girl’s dress. For this, I created a new layer as a clipping mask and called this layer Shadow on the dress.

Next, I also used the low opacity brush tool (about 30-40%). I walked with a black brush at the bottom of the dress, where it touches the ground.

STEP 6. So, let’s apply the correction to the layer with the girl, I slightly reduced the light shades using Curves (Curves) and then reduced saturation using Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). See screenshot below.

STEP 7 In order to correct the edges of the hair, I used another stock image with painted hair from Dezzan (the link is indicated at the beginning of the lesson). Consequently, I pasted two images with painted hair over the model’s hair and arranged them so that they look natural, further, I combined these images with the main one using a layer mask and a soft brush.

Next, I applied the correction. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) to change Color tone (Hue) and Brightness (Lightness) while the drawn hair did not coincide in shades with the girl’s natural hair. I grouped the drawn hair into one group, which I called Drawn Hair.

STEP eight. So, we come to the part that I really adore: lightening and darkening. For this picture, I created lightening and darkening on 2 separate layers. For the girl layer, I created a clipping mask, which I filled 50% Gray (Gray) and applied blending mode Overlap (Overlay) (for more information about this technique, see the Secrets of Manipulation Secrets), and then on a separate layer, I applied brightening and darkening to the background. You can do all this on one layer if you want.

As you can see from the screenshot, I duplicated the layer with lightening and darkening to enhance the effect and of course you should change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay), in the screenshot blending mode Normal (Normal) to make it easier for you to see where I brightened and where I darkened.

Next, I applied the same lightening / darkening technique to the background.

Again and again I repeat that with the help of tools Clarifier / Dimmer (Dodge / Burn tool), you can create pretty amazing things. In the screenshot below, you can see the capabilities of this tool.

STEP 9. I want to add a delicate shadow behind the girl, for this, I used a correction layer Gradient (Gradient), gradient type from black to transparent. I changed the blending mode to Hard light (Hard Light) and reduced the opacity of the layer to 30%.

STEP 10. I created the fog with a soft low opacity brush. You can apply a small Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) and Motion blur (Motion Blur) angle of 0º for shading edges.

STEP eleven. I applied a couple more corrections using Vibration (Vibrance) to create a kind of “reverse saturation”, in other words, I increased the value Vibrations (Vibrance) and reduced saturation.

STEP 12. The final touch is a filter. Effects lighting(Lighting Effects filter), my favorite filter in Photoshop. When you are satisfied with the result and are ready to apply the filter, select the topmost layer in the layers palette and press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to flatten the layer, i.e. to create a merged layer. To the new layer, which I called ‘The total result’, I applied a filter Lighting effects (Lighting Effects filter) with settings as in the screenshot below.

That’s all, we finished the lesson. I hope you enjoy the end result. Feel free to comment and share your work.

Final result

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