Night ghosts in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a night scene with a ghost. We use various methods of combining a variety of images to create a complete picture, as well as consider working with masks, color correction, groups, create lighting effects and much more.

Final result

Source materials:

Step 1

Create a new document with dimensions of 1100? 1000 px, fill it with any color shade at your discretion (without hesitation, you can use any size to your taste). Open the stock image “Sky 1”. Using tool Move (Move Tool (V), move this image to our working document. Next, using the transformation (Ctrl + T), rotate the image, and also apply scaling:

Step 2

Next, open the stock image “Sky 2”. Also using the tool Move (Move Tool (V), move this image to our working document. Using transformation (Ctrl + T), make the image look like it is shown in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light), layer opacity 100%:

Add a layer mask to the second sky layer by clicking the button Add mask (add a mask) in the bottom toolbar. While on the layer layer mask, apply a soft black brush to the upper left of the image. You can see the result of my processing on the layer mask in the screenshots below:

Step 3

Press the keys (Ctrl + Shift + N) to create a new layer. Using a soft brush, brush color # 66686a, paint over the edges of the image to darken these areas. Change the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply), 50% layer opacity:

Step 4

Create a new layer. Using a soft brush, brush color # bbbfc7, lighten the areas in the sky that are shown in the screenshot below. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light), layer opacity 100%:

Step 5

Next, move the stock image “Landscape” to our working paper, change the mode to overlay for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light), layer opacity 100%:

To the layer with the landscape, add a layer mask. Using a soft black brush, process the hard edges of the image to create a smooth transition, as well as to combine the landscape with the background:

Step 6

To create a shallow depth of field, we blur the landscape. Being on a layer with a landscape, we go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter-Blur-Gassian Blur), set blur radius (radius) 5 px:

Step 7

Open the stock image “Model”. Create a selection around the model image, and then move the selected image to our working paper, placing it in the center of our picture. You may have noticed that I did not select the cutting part of the spit:

Step 8

Add a layer mask to the model layer. Using a soft black brush, about 30-40% opacity, process the lower part of the model to combine with the background:

Step 9

I decided to carry out a small retouch of the main character. Create a new layer as a clipping mask for the model layer. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay), 100%. Fill up 50% gray (50% gray):

Choose a tool Clarifier / Dimmer (Dodge and Burn Tools), install Range (Range) Mid tones (Midtones) value Exposure (Exposure) approximately 20-25% to darken the handle of the scythe and lighten the upper part of the cape. I also used this tool to add details on the Ripper’s Cape. You can see the result of retouching in the screenshots below under the blending mode Normal (Normal), as well as the result when the overlay mode Overlap (Overlay):

Step 10

In this step, we will add lighting effects to the Ripper image. Create a new layer as a clipping mask for the Ripper layer. Next, hold down Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of the model layer to load the active selection:

Next, go Editing – perform a stroke (Edit-Stroke), set the color tint # ced1d1, brush size 18 px:

Apply Gaussian blur (Gassian Blur), blur radius 20 px:

Using a layer mask, reduce the intensity of the glow:

Step 11

Create a new layer. I used the same brush with opacity (opacity) and by pushing (flow) approximately 50 -55% to paint over the shoulders and right hand to make them a little lighter:

Step 12

Create another new layer. Repeat Step 10, but this time set the brush size to 5 px and the radius Gaussian Blur (Gassian Blur) set 3 px:

Using a layer mask, hide or reduce the intensity of the glow to create a more natural look:

Create a new layer. Do the same thing, but this time reduce the brush size to 3 px to enhance the lighting effects:

I called the data 4 layers from “light 1? to “light 4? respectively:

Step 13

In this step, we will add a cloud effect to our scene. Open the stock image “Clouds”. Using tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), create a selection around the clouds, set the value Feathering (feather) 30:

Press the keys (Ctrl + J) to duplicate the selection on the new layer. Move the highlighted part to our working paper. Apply the transformation with (Ctrl + T):

Using a layer mask, hide the hard edges of the image to align the clouds with the entire scene:

Select / copy a small part of the clouds. Paste the copied image on the right side of the image, as shown in the screenshot below. Apply a layer mask to get the result, as in the screenshot below:

Step 14

To correct all layers with clouds, select the specified layers, and then press the keys (Ctrl + G) to merge all the layers with clouds into one group. Change the blending mode for the created group from Skip (Pass Through) (default group overlay mode) per mode Normal (Normal), 100%. I called the clouds created clouds “clouds 1? and “clouds 2 ?. Being on a layer with “clouds 2”, we go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Curves):

Next, using the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), reduce cloud saturation:

Since we changed the blending mode for this group from Skip (Pass Through) to mode Normal (Normal), the created adjustment layers will affect only the layers within the created group (group with clouds).

To make the effect more gentle, I reduced the opacity of the layer with this group to 50%:

Step 15

In this step, we will create a black face for the Ripper. Create a new layer on top of all other layers. Using tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L), create a selection around the model’s face, fill the selected area with a color tint # 171313:

Using a layer mask, align the created “face” with the cape:

Step 16

Create a new layer as a clipping mask for the black fill layer of the face, apply the same settings that you used in Step 9. Using the tool Clarifier / Dimmer (Dodge and Burn), add details to the face image:

Step 17

Cut out the image of the Crow 1. Place this image of the crow on the Ripper’s hand:

Step 18

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) (do not forget to convert to a clipping mask for the raven layer), darken the crow a little, then, using a soft black brush, while on the layer mask of the adjustment layer Curves (Curves), hide the blackout effect on the right side of the crow, because This part is illuminated by the background:

Step 19

Use the same technique you used in Step 10 to add lighting effects to the raven image, select a 3 px brush size for the stroke, and also apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 10 px. Using a layer mask, hide the lighting effect on the crow’s paws:

Step 20

Create a new layer as a clipping mask for the raven layer, apply the same settings you used in Step 9. Using the tool Dimmer (Burn) darken the crow’s paws:

Step 21

I decided to add lighting effects to the raven image, for this, double click on the raven layer, and in the window that appears Overlay options (Blending Options), set the following values:

Step 22

Open the next image with the raven 2. Also create a selection around the raven 2. Place the selected raven image on the top left of our scene:

I used an adjustment layer Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) to slightly change the contrast of the crow:

Step 23

Apply the Inner Shadow effect to add a lighting effect to this raven image:

Step 24

Create a selection around the image of Crow 3. Place the selected image of the crow in the lower left side of our scene:

Apply to this image a crow Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 2 px to add depth of field to our scene:

Step 25

Using the adjustment layer Curves (Curves), brighten this crow image a little. Next, using a soft black brush with an opacity of about 30-40%, process the wings and tail (while on the layer mask of the adjustment layer Curves (Curves)):

Step 26

Place the Crow 4 in the upper right side of our scene. Create a duplicate raven layer, and then apply a transform to the duplicate raven layer. Place a duplicate layer in the bottom right of our scene, and then apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 2 px:

Step 27

Apply the Inner Shadow effect to the raven image at the top of our scene:

Step 28

Group all the layers with the crows (4 crows), just like we did with the clouds. Next, I used an adjustment layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) inside the created group to add a small lighting effect to them. And then using a soft black brush, process the crow located at the bottom of our scene on the layer mask of the adjustment layer to hide the effect of the adjustment layer Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast):

Step 29

Create several adjustment layers on top of all other layers to change the color of our entire picture (Gradient Map (Gradient Map) and Curves (Curves):

Result:

Step 30

Open the stock image “Fire”. Separate the fire from the background (no need for selection accuracy):

Select a part of the image of the fire, place the selected part of the fire on the Ripper’s right hand, change the blending mode for this layer with fire to Lightening (Screen), 100%:

Using a layer mask, hide the hard edges of the image:

Double-duplicate the image with fire by placing duplicates of fire, as shown in the screenshot below. I also called them as 1, 2, 3:

Step 31

Group all layers with fire, do not forget to change the blending mode for the created group to Lightening (Screen), 100% (it is very important to keep the created effects in the same form as before creating the group). Being on the 2nd duplicate of the layer with fire, we go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Hue / Saturation):

Step 32

Separate the image of smoke from the background. Move the selected smoke image to our working paper, placing it on top of the Ripper’s head, change the blending mode for this smoke layer to Lightening (Screen) 100%:

Use a layer mask to remove or blur unwanted areas:

Duplicate the smoke layer 4 times, apply a transform, and then, duplicate the layers around the head, shoulders, Ripper’s hand. If necessary, use a layer mask:

Step 33

Cut out the image of the skull, place the skull on the handle of the spit:

Create a new layer below the skull layer. Using a soft black brush opacity (opacity) and by pushing (flow) 30-40%, paint over the image of the skull below to create shadows under it.

Step 34

Next, add adjustment layers. Curves (Curves) to change the color and brightness of the skull to combine it with the whole scene:

Being on the layer mask of the 2nd adjustment layer Curves (Curves), brush the left side of the skull with a soft black brush to create a beautiful contrast:

Step 35

Add lighting effects using the same technique you used in Step 10, but this time apply a brush size of 12 px, color # 36aff4, and also apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 14 px. Also using a layer mask, hide the lighting effect on the left side of the skull, since this part should be darker than the rest of the skull:

Repeat the same technique on a new layer, but this time reduce the brush size to 6 px, and also apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), blur radius 3.5 px:

Step 36

Create a new layer on top of all other layers. Using a soft brush, brush color # fe0a0a, draw a point inside the eye socket of the skull. Duplicate the layer, apply the transformation, and move the duplicate towards the second eye socket:

I called these layers “eye 1 ?,“ eye 2 ?.

Step 37

Create two new layers below the eyes layer. Using the same shade of color, paint over the skull, shoulders and cloak, as these areas reflect red light from the orbits of the skull. Change the blending mode for the first layer to Chromaticity (Color), the opacity of the layer is 60%, and for the second layer on Chromaticity (Color) 100% layer opacity:

Step 38

Now we need to change the color of the fire / smoke next to the red glow, this will help create a realistic effect. Double click on layer 3 inside the group fire to activate the option Overlay options (Blending Options):

Do the same with the smoke layer on your left shoulder:

Step 39

Create a new layer on top of all other layers. Using the brush, the color of the brush # fe0a0a, paint the red eyes of the crows to give them a devilish look:

Create another new layer. Using the same brush, draw two red dots on the black face to create a terrifying look. Next, using a layer mask, hide part of the eyes a little, because part of the eyes is covered by the hood of the cape:

Step 40

Final step: add adjustment layer Levels (Levels) on top of all other layers to enhance the contrast of the entire image:

And we have completed the lesson!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Final result

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