Mystical illustration in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a dark scene with a burning devil figure in the mirror. You will learn how to create a scene using several images, how to add smoke and fire to the devil figure, how to make color correction. This technique, you can apply to his other works.

Final result

Baseline materials

Step 1

Create a new document (Ctrl + N) in Photoshop with the following dimensions: Width (Width) 2000, Height (Height) 2424.

Choose a tool Gradient (gradient tool), set the type of gradient Linear gradient (linear gradient). We will fill the background with a gradient. Make sure the foreground color is set to # 151723, and the background color to # 423e43. Click + hold the mouse button + drag the gradient from top to bottom, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 2

Next, place the ‘Window’ image in our working paper.

Activate the tool Free transformation (free transform tool (Ctrl + T) to zoom in. Position the image so that the window takes up most of the background.

Step 3

Next, we change the color of the wall. To do this, we simply duplicate the original image four times. Change the blending mode for the original layer to Multiplication (multiply), layer opacity 100%, for the first duplicate layer on Lightening (screen), the layer opacity is 20%, for the remaining three duplicates on Soft light (soft light), layer opacity is 100%. Finally, select all the layers, and then press the keys (Ctrl + G) to group them into one group. I called this group ‘Sten’.

Result:

Inside the created group, go to the original layer with the window. Add a layer mask to this layer. Using a soft black brush, hide the top of the image, which is indicated in red in the screenshot below.

Next, go to the first duplicate layer. Also add a layer mask to this duplicate layer. Using a soft black brush, hide the bottom of the window image, as shown in the screenshot below.

The result should be as in the screenshot below:

Step 4

Open the image with the raven. Create a selection around the raven image.

Translator’s Note:Raven 1, Raven 2, Raven 3.

Move the selected raven image to our working paper. Apply scaling, placing the crow on the back of the chair.

Being on a layer with a raven, we go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (layer> new adjustment layers> hue / saturation). Do not forget to convert this adjustment layer to the clipping mask for the raven layer by checking the box Use previous layer to create clipping mask. (Use The Previous Layer To Create A Clipping Mask) in the appeared window when creating a new layer.

Apply the settings shown in the screenshot below. Select the raven layer and the adjustment layer, and then press the keys (Ctrl + G) to group them in one group. Name this group ‘Crow’.

Step 5

Next, we will color the window in the background. Create a new adjustment layer on top of the ‘Crow’ group. Let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Vibration (layer> new adjustment layer> vibrance). Set the settings that are shown in the screenshot below:

Step 6

Next, open the stock image with the model. Create a selection around the model image, and then move the selected image to our working document. Position the model layer above the adjustment layer. Vibration(vibrance). Using tool Free transformation (free transform tool), apply scaling to the image, placing in the center of the image window. Create a new group for the model layer. Name this group ‘Model’.

Being on the layer with the model, go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Exposure (layer> new adjustment layers> exposure). Convert this adjustment layer to a clipping mask. Set the settings that are shown in the screenshot below:

Next, add a new adjustment layer. Color Balance (color balance) as a clipping mask.

Step 7

Next, we add light and shadow to the image of the model. For this purpose, create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) on top of the adjustment layer. Color Balance (color balance) within the created group ‘Model’. Make sure there is a tick in the window Use previous layer to create clipping mask. (Use The Previous Layer To Create A Clipping Mask), also tick the box Fill 50% gray (fill 50% gray), blending mode Overlap (overlay).

Choose a soft round brush with an opacity of 10-20%. Paint it with white strokes on the bottom of the model’s cap to create light highlights. And vice versa, use black strokes on the areas to add shadows to them. In the screenshot below, you can see the result of processing in the mode Normal (normal) and the end result under mode Overlap (overlay).

Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) as a clipping mask over the layer with light and shadows inside the created ‘Model’ group. While on a new layer, draw twilight dust on the model image. To do this, select the Particles brush and use this brush to draw white dust around the model image where the red arrows point.

Next, to the layer with the ‘model’ group, add a layer mask. Using a layer mask, hide the bottom of the model.

Step 8

In this step we will add color to our scene. Create a new layer below the layer with the ’model’ group. Choose a soft round brush. Set the foreground color to # feef08. Paint over the brush behind the model. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay), 100%. I called this layer ‘yellow’.

Create two more new layers on top of the ‘yellow’ layer. Using the same brush color (# feef08), add another soft yellow color behind the model image, as well as above the model’s head. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay). Finally, to add more vibrant color, add a yellow color behind the model’s waist. Change the blending mode for this layer to Spot light (pin light). Experiment with the opacity of this layer to get the desired glow.

Next, draw smoke around the model image. To do this, create a new layer on which to draw the effect of smoke. Select all layers with a yellow tint and a layer with fog. Press the keys (Ctrl + G) to group them into one group. I called this group ‘Yellow’.

Step 9

I decided to hide the effect of the adjustment layer Vibration (vibrance), which we created in Step 5. Using a soft black brush, hide the vibration effect on the layer mask around the window image.

Step 10

Next, we will add another shade to our scene, it is red. Set the foreground color to # ff0607. Create a layer below the ‘Wall’ layer. Choose a soft brush, brush size approximately 1900 px. While on a new layer, click on the area marked with a red circle, as shown in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay), 100%. I called this layer ‘red’.

Create a new layer on which we add red color (# ff0607) at the bottom of the model. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay), 100%.

In the screenshot below, the result that I created after adding the red color behind the model’s shoulders and on the window. To create this effect, create a new layer, and then change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay).

Step 11

In this step, we will add a fire effect to the model. First, create a new layer on top of the layer with the ‘Model’ group. Select Particle brush, paint over the model’s shoulder. To create this effect, use the brush color # fc6703. I named this layer ‘right shoulder’.

Next, open the stock image ‘Fire’. Move this image to our working paper, placing it over the right shoulder. Apply scaling to the image with fire, and then convert this layer to a clipping mask.

Do the same with the left shoulder, add to it the same effect of fire.

Create another new layer. Add particles around both shoulders. Brush color # fc6703. Change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening (screen), layer opacity 77%. Select all the layers and then group them all in one group. Name this group ‘Fire on the shoulders’.

Step 12

Next, we will draw a fire effect over the model’s head. Create a new layer on top of the ‘Fire on the shoulders’ layer. While on a new layer, using a white brush, paint particles of fire and fire around and over the model’s head.

Duplicate the fire texture layer (Ctrl + J), place a duplicate layer on top of the new layer created. Apply scaling to the fire texture layer, and then convert to a clipping mask:

In conclusion, duplicate the background layer (translator note: layer with gradient). Place a duplicate layer on top of the layer with fire (translator note: layer ‘fire over head’). Name the duplicate layer ‘gradient’. Convert this layer to a clipping mask, then, change the blending mode to Overlap (overlay), and also reduce the layer opacity to 40%. Select all layers to group them in one group. Name the new group ‘Fire overhead’.

Step 13

Open the texture with sparks. Move this texture to our working paper, placing the layer of caviar on top of the layer with the group ‘Fire above your head’. Zoom out the texture with the sparks, and also apply the warp to reshape the texture. Next, change the blending mode for the texture layer to Lightening basics (color dodge), 100%.

Step 14

Create a new layer on top of the sparks texture layer. Fill this layer with black. Next, change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening basics (color dodge). Choose a soft round brush with an opacity of about 5%. Being on a new layer, paint over with a white, yellow, orange tint, thereby adding light highlights to the model image.

The result at the moment …

Step 15

Next, add particles to our scene. Place the particles around the devil image. Blend Mode for Particle Layer Normal (normal), the opacity of the layer is 25%.

Step 16

Create a new layer on which we will draw lighting effects on the model’s face. Choose a soft round brush; brush color is red (# fc6703). Paint over the face area, which is highlighted in the screenshot below. Next, change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (soft light):

Create another new layer. Paint it with a yellow brush on the face area, which is highlighted in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (soft light), 100%. This will add more vibrant lighting to the face. Finally, group all these layers with lighting effects into one group. Name the group ‘Effects of lighting on the face’.

Step 17

Next, we’ll add a light effect to the devil’s fingertips. We use the same technique that we used in the previous steps when adding colors to the scene. Let’s go Layer- New – Group (layer> new> group) to create a new group for light effects. I called this group ‘light’. Inside the folder, create a new layer. Choose a soft round brush with an opacity of approximately 40 px. On a new layer, draw a yellow highlight on your fingertips by clicking on this area with your brush. Next, change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay), 100%. I called this layer ‘yellow’.

Inside the ‘light’ group, create a new layer on top of the ‘yellow’ layer. Using a white soft brush, draw a light flare, reduce the brush size so that the brush size is smaller than the brush size when we painted the yellow flare.

Step 18

Duplicate the ‘light’ group several times as necessary. Duplicate layers with light highlights, we use on candles, adding light effects to each candle. To enhance the brightness of the candle, use two duplicate with a light effect, placing them on one candle. Select all the layers with duplicated folders, and then group them into one common group. I called the general group ‘candlelit’.

Step 19

Next, we will add a dark atmosphere to our entire scene, which will make reds more vibrant. To do this, simply duplicate the gradient layer (Step 12), move the duplicate layers to the very top, placing it on top of all other layers in the layers palette. Set the blending mode for the first duplicate to Overlap (overlay), 100%, and for the second duplicate layer on Overlap (overlay) layer opacity 25%. Using a soft black brush, hide the gradient on the layer’s masked layer, as shown in the screenshot below. Select both layers with gradient, and then group them into one group. I called this group ‘Gradient’.

Step 20

Next, we will make a color correction of the entire scene. Let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Photo Filter (layer> new adjustment layers> photo filter). Blend mode for this layer Normal (normal), layer opacity is 100%. Make sure that this adjustment layer is located on top of all other layers and groups in the layers palette. Apply the settings that are listed below, as well as the result of the image at the moment:

Next, duplicate the adjustment layer once. Photo filter (photo filter). Change the blending mode for duplicate layer to Chromaticity (color), 100%. Finally, group the adjustment layers with the photo filter into one group. I called this group ‘photo filter’. Add a layer mask to the layer with this group. Using a soft black brush, hide the photo filter effect around the image of the devil and the window so that red shades appear on them.

Step 21

Go again Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Channel Mixing (layer> new adjustment layers> channel mixer) to add a new adjustment layer on top of all layers. Apply the settings shown in the screenshot below:

Finally, go to the layer mask of the adjustment layer. Channel Mixing (channel mixer), hide the correction around the image of the devil, the bottom of the window and the candlelight.

Step 22

Next, we will correct the entire scene. First, we will create lighting effects around the candles, as well as add lighting effects to the posts on which the candles are mounted. Create a new group below the layer with the ‘light’ group we created earlier (Step 17). Name this group ‘lighting effects on the wall and on the stand’. Inside the created group, create a new layer. Choose a soft round brush, paint it with a soft yellow tint (# fecb04) on the wall around the candles. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (soft light), 100%.

Create a new layer on top of the previous layer inside the created group. Fill (shift + F5) this layer with black. Change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening basics (color dodge), 100%. On this new layer, draw yellow light highlights. This will enhance the effects of lighting on the wall.

Finally, create a new layer on top of the two previous layers inside the same group. Using a soft round brush with an opacity of 20-25%, paint over the rack on which the candles are installed, adding red highlights to the rack.

Step 23

Next, we will fix the look of the chair. The wooden part of the chair looks too dark. We will fix it. To do this, we simply duplicate the layer with the window, and then place the layer with the duplicate window on top of the ‘Wall’ group (Step 2-3). Blend mode for this layer Normal (normal), 100%. Add a layer mask to this duplicate layer and using a black brush, hide the entire image except for the image of the wooden part of the chair.

Step 24

Next, we will add lighting effects to the raven image. Go to the ‘Crow’ folder (Step 4). Create a new layer as a clipping mask on top of the adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation) inside the specified folder. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay). Using a soft round brush with an opacity of 20-25%, paint it in a red tint around the crow to enhance the lighting effects. You can experiment with layer opacity to choose the degree of brightness of the lighting effects. In the screenshot below, you can determine the degree of staining with a red brush in the mode Normal (normal), further, I reduced the opacity of this layer to about 65%.

Create another new layer on top of the previous layer inside the same group. Being on a new layer, once again paint it with a red tint in the image of a crow. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (soft light). In the screenshot below, you can determine the degree of staining with a red brush in the mode Normal (normal), then, I reduced the opacity of this layer to about 70%.

Step 25

Finally, we will correct the window by adding lighting effects. Basically, we use the same technique that we used in the previous steps. Move to the ‘Wall’ layer. Go to the folder. Inside the group, create a new layer as a clipping mask on top of the topmost layer with the window. Fill this layer with black and then change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening basics (color dodge). While on a new layer, paint with a soft red and then yellow brush around the top and left side of the window. In the screenshot below, you can determine the degree of brush stroke in the mode Normal (normal), then, I reduced the opacity of this layer to about 70%.

Create another new layer as a clipping mask on top of the previous layer inside the same group. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (overlay). Using a soft round brush with an opacity of about 20%, paint over a red brush around the window image where the red arrows point as a guide. Duplicate the layer to make the lighting effects more vivid.

This is how the order of the layers in the layers palette will look.

Result:

Step 26

Final step: go to the topmost layer in the layers palette (layer with adjustment layer Channel Mixing (channel mixer). Press the keys (Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E) to merge all visible layers into one new layer. Being on the combined layer, we go Layer – Smart Object – Convert to Smart Object (layer> smart object> convert to smart object). This action converts the merged layer to Smart object (smart object). Next, go Filter – Other – Color Contrast (filter> others> high pass). Apply the settings shown in the screenshot below:

Change the blending mode for the filter layer Color contrast to Multiplication (multiply), layer opacity about 60%.

Result:

Next, go to the layer mask. Smart Filter (smart-filter). Using a soft round black brush, hide the filter correction. Colour contrast (high pass). The brush processing area is highlighted in red in the screenshot below.

And we completed the lesson:

Thank you for being with me until the end of the lesson. Hope you learned something new today.

Final result

Author: Dek Wid

Link to the PSD file of the lesson

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