Perform a secret task in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create beautiful and dynamic wallpapers! In this lesson you will learn about the technique that I used to create this picture. Also, I will tell you how to add a sense of realism to the picture and create realistic weather conditions. Take the mouse, a big cup of coffee, because we are going to go to a secret mission. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the lesson, and you will learn about interesting tricks!

Stages of the lesson

OK, we will start the lesson by creating a new document, then we will add an image of the seaport, containers, city, and also change the sky. All this is compatible together, including a few more basic details. Next, we turn to the special forces and military equipment. In the next stage of the lesson, we will work on realistic lighting, as well as on the mood of the whole picture. Finally, we add effects and apply a filter to enhance sharpness. No matter what version of Photoshop you are using, you can complete this lesson.

Final result

Step 1

Create a new document (Ctrl + N) or go File- New (File> New) with the following sizes: 1920 px wide and 1080 px high, set Resolution (resolution) 200 pixels / inch (px / inch). Name the new document “Loading port”. Next, go File – Put embedded (File> Place Embedded) and in the window that appears, select the image “Container Ship”.

Apply scaling to the image, as shown in the screenshot below (Ctrl + T) or go Editing – Free Transformation (Edit> Free Transform). Press ‘Enter’ to apply changes.

Step 2

Place the image with the sky below the container ship layer. Apply scaling according to the size of the working paper.

Further, we will change the color of the sky so that the sky more closely matches the atmosphere of our picture. Create a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) as a clipping mask to the sky layer. Let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Hue / Saturation) or click the button Create a new adjustment or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer) in the bottom toolbar. Set the value Color tone (Hue): +23, Saturation (Saturation) -29, Brightness (Lightness): -3.

Step 3

We return to the layer with the container ship. Choose a tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), in the settings of this tool, set Tolerance (Tolerance): 10, and also enable the option To add to selected areas(Add to selection). Begin to highlight the sky. Try to capture any possible fragment of the sky, but do not pay attention to the remaining small areas, because we will hide them later. Also, try not to allocate parts of the ship. Hold the ‘Alt’ key (to invert the layer mask) + press the button Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask) to remove the sky.

Double click on the layer mask to move to the bookmark. Mask (Mask). In the window that appears, click Edge mask (Mask Edge). In the tool settings window Refine mask (Refine Mask), set the review On black (On Black), and also put a tick in the box Smart radius (Smart Radius). Install Radius (Radius): 4.0px, Shift edge (Shift Edge): -33. Use the brush in the window to remove the remaining areas of the sky throughout the image. Voila, so we hid all the extra plots and got an open horizon of possibilities.

Step 4

Next, add the image “Containers”. Let’s go File – Put embedded (File> Place Embedded). There is no need to resize the image, just rotate the image by -1.35 degrees, press ‘Enter’ key to apply the changes. Arrange the image with the containers so that a part of the image of the containers is hidden outside the boundaries of the working area, and the containers match in perspective with the entire image. In the same way, using the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), select the sky in the image with containers, and then hold down the ‘Alt’ key and add a layer mask to remove the sky. Do not touch the asphalt on the image, it will still be useful to us.

Create a new layer on top of all other layers (Ctrl + Shift + N) or click the button Create New Layer (Create New Layer) through the bottom toolbar. Press the key (D) to set the default colors, and then press the key (X), then press the keys (Ctrl + Del) to fill the new layer with black. Reduce value Fillings (Fill) up to about 20%, and also convert this layer to a clipping mask to the container layer. To convert a layer to a clipping mask, hold the (Alt) key + click with the mouse between layers. Thus, we will remove the extra brightness in the container image.

Step 5

Now let’s add an image of “New York” to the background (position the layer with New York above the sky layer). Slightly reduce the size of the image, and then Flip horizontally (flip it horizontally). Once you apply the transformation, right-click on the image and in the window that appears, select the option Flip horizontally (Flip Horizontal).

Next, with the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), select the sky in the image with the city. Hold down (Alt) + press the button Add layer mask (Add Layer Mask) to remove the sky. To hide the rays in the background, use the tool Refine mask (Refine Mask) with the settings that are shown in the screenshot below.

Duplicate the city layer (Ctrl + J) or go Layer- Duplicate Layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer), and then reduce the size of the duplicate layer (about half). Place a duplicate layer at the farthest part of the port to close the missing background. So, we have already created enough layers to combine them into one group. Select all layers and then click the button. Create a new group (Create New Group) or press the keys (Ctrl + G).

Step 6

The main horizon line is ready, now we can add some depth. To create the effect of distance, I used the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B). Choose a 300px soft round brush and about 20% opacity, brush color # e1e1e1. Use the brush to create a foggy feeling. Create a new layer on top of the layers with the city, then paint over the lower part of the city. Don’t add too a lot of fog, otherwise, you lose realism. Make one pass with a brush.

Do the same with the city on the left side of the image, and also process the center of the image, where the skyscraper is located next to the crane (here I have reduced the Fillings (Fill) up to 71%). Thus, we have created a foggy city that blends well with the seaport and the sky. According to the concept of my painting, the harsh weather must convey the mood and danger of the situation.

Step 7

For a variety of scenes, let’s add additional elements, such as boxes. Open the original “Drawers” ​​image, apply scaling, and also reflect them horizontally. Using tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), select the boxes, just do not select the boxes themselves, and then using a layer mask, separate the boxes from the background.

Now a logical question arises as to the correspondence of the inscriptions on the boxes. Without hesitation, I used the tool Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool (S), set the following settings for this tool – The size (Size): 35px, Opacity (Opacity): 100% ,, soft round brush, put a tick in the box Alignment (Aligned), and also install Sample (Sample): All layers (All Layers). On a new layer, paint over all the inscriptions. Try to vary the texture on the boxes to create realism (use other boxes as a source), and also try to use a stamp in accordance with the location of cracks and the edges of the boxes, do not remove them with this tool. Convert this layer to a clipping mask for the layer with boxes (hold ‘Alt’ + click between the layers).

Create a new layer on top of the box with boxes, fill it with black (set the background color to black, then press the keys (Ctrl + Del). Convert this layer to a clipping mask for the box with boxes. Set the value Fillings (Fill) for this layer is about 40%. Select the boxes by holding down the (Ctrl) key + click on the thumbnail of the layer mask with the boxes. Create a new layer and using a soft black brush (about 100px in size), paint over the lower edges of the drawers to create shadows in the lower part of the drawers, reduce the layer opacity to about 30%. Try to hold the edge of the brush so that the shading is not too hard.

Step 8

Now it’s time for the stamp! Now that all the key elements of the composition have been placed, we can begin to work on the details. Create a new layer below the box with boxes, select the tool Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool (S), install The size (Size): 50 – 100px, Opacity (Opacity): 60 – 100%, put a tick in the box Alignment (Aligned) select Sample (Sample): All layers (All Layers). Next to the option Mode (Mode) in the top settings panel, there is an icon with a stamp, click on it to display the window Cloning source (Clone Source). Install Scale (Scale) 120%. Fill the empty space in the foreground at the very beginning of the road. Use different areas of asphalt for a variety of textures. In order not to hurt the drawers during work, turn off the visibility of the drawer layer by clicking on the eye next to the layer thumbnail, then remember to turn on the layer visibility when you are done.

Return Scale (Scale) up to 100%, now, temporarily turn off the visibility of the sky layer and the background layer. Using the stamp tool, lengthen the part of the crane. The work with the stamp is completed. You may have noticed a red construction on the right side of the image. I did not do anything with him, because This structure does not really affect the whole image, but if you want, you can restore this structure.

Step 9

Next, we will add shadows to the objects. Once again, create an active selection around the boxes (hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key + click on the layer thumbnail), create a new layer on top of the stamped layer, fill the selection with black color (press the ‘D’ key, then ‘X’, then press the keys (Ctrl + Del). To cancel the active selection, press the keys (Ctrl + D). Reflect the shadow vertically, go Editing – Transformation – Flip Vertically (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical) and then apply the filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), let’s go Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Set the blur radius, approximately 5.0 px, then click OK. Reduce the layer opacity to 25%.

Duplicate the shadow layer (Ctrl + J). Next, we transform both layers with the tool Distortion (Distort Tool), let’s go Editing – Transformation – Distortion (Edit> Transform> Distort), the first shadow should be a little closer to the boxes, and the second shadow should be positioned so that it goes beyond the edges of the working area (do not forget that the shadow should be slightly tilted). Now merge both layers with a shadow (Ctrl + E) and on the combined layer, paint over the brush between the boxes and the asphalt (brush size 150px, brush opacity: 20%. On the same layer, draw a shadow next to the ship and containers.

Step 10

Next, we will perform a standard color correction of the entire image. Create a new adjustment layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) on top of the “Seaport” group layer (or click the button Create a new adjustment or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer) and in the menu that appears, select the option Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast ”). Set the value Brightness (Brightness) at -40, and the value The contrast (Contrast) at -5.

Next, add another adjustment layer. Color search (Color Lookup). Select the “3DLUT file” option and in the drop-down list, select the “NightFromDay.CUBE” option. Change the blending mode for this adjustment layer to Hard color (Hard Light), and also reduce the value Fillings (Fill) up to 40%. The basis for the night scene is created, now we can continue the photo montage.

Step 11

Create a new group (via the lower toolbar), name the new group “Sturm”. Add the image “Soldier 1 ?. Apply scaling to the soldier, the soldier should not be larger than the boxes (the helmet of the soldiers should be higher than the boxes). Using tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), create an outline around the image of a soldier. Once you are done, add a vector mask through the top toolbar by clicking Mask (Mask). Repeat the same for the second soldier and the helicopter.

Position the second soldier a little closer to the observer, making him a bit larger (to create driving dynamics). Also flip the image vertically. Now the helicopter. Position the helicopter as shown in the screenshot below. After removing the background, convert the layer with the helicopter into a smart object (right-click the layer and in the window that appears, select the option Convert to smart object (Convert to Smart Object). It is very important that the blur filter does not spoil the mask), then apply the filter Motion blur (Motion blur), let’s go Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur). Change Angle (Angle) at 40 degrees and also set Bias (Distance) 16 px. To give realism, with a black brush, hide the filter effect on the filter mask in front of the helicopter.

Repeat Step 9 to add shadows to the soldiers (the principle remains the same). The main thing here is not to overdo it so that the shading is not too bright and hard.

Step 12

Once we created the night scene, further, it would be great to create light effects. Create a new group, and a new layer inside the created group. Each lamp will include three degrees of illumination — the main light source (brush size: 20px, brush opacity: 100%), glow (brush size: 50px, brush opacity: 30%), and diffuse light (brush size: 100px brushes: 30%, painted with the edge of the brush from the center of the light source). Using a soft round brush, brush color #ffffff, paint the lighting effects according to the diagram, as shown in the screenshot below. Reduce brush size for remote light sources. You can also draw red lights on the ship (# ff0000).

Create a new layer, select the tool. Rectilinear lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool (L). Create a selection resembling an elongated triangle shape coming from the helicopter. Fill the active selection with white (press the ‘D’ key to set the default colors, then press the keys (Ctrl + Del), then press the keys (Ctrl + D) to deselect the selection. Blur the layer to get a soft diffused light. Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur). Install Radius (Radius) blur 30 px. As a result, we get a good stream of light. You can enhance the light source with a brush.

Repeat the whole process to create diffused light from the lanterns on the tower crane. Since At the moment, we have a foggy background, then accordingly reduce the value Fillings (Fill) up to 52% for this layer.

Step 13

To make the picture more interesting, let’s add the effect of rain and puddles to enhance the atmosphere of the picture. Let’s start with puddles. Using a soft brush (Size: 35-80px, Opacity: 30%, Shape oscillation (Roundness): 13% (press the ‘F5’ key to change the brush settings), brush color: #ffffff), draw puddles on the sections at your discretion. Try to create abstract forms in various places, reduce the size of the brush to draw small puddles in separate areas. Add color shades to add depth to the puddles.

Next, we will create a reflection on the puddles. Go to the layers palette. Select all layers with groups, except for the group with lighting and adjustment layers. Press the keys (Ctrl + J) and then (Ctrl + E) to duplicate and merge the entire image, reflect the merged image vertically, go Editing – Transformation Flip Vertically (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical), move the merged layer to the top, placing it on top of the layer with puddles, then convert this layer to a clipping mask (hold ‘Alt’ + click between the layers). Next, with the tool Move (Move Tool (V), shift the image so as to get a suitable reflection on the puddles. There is one problem – how to create a reflection of the boxes on the puddles, because no matter how you move the image, in any case the necessary details will be missing. Therefore , duplicate the merged layer (Ctrl + J), and then convert the duplicate layer with a clipping mask. Now, shift the duplicate image so that it fits the reflection of the boxes, then add a layer mask and using a soft black brush, remove all the extra areas reflected i.

Step 14

Next, I added the rain myself. The principle is the same as when creating snow. Therefore, we need to create a new group “Rain” on top of the layer with the group with lighting. Fill the new layer with black color (set the background color to black, then press the keys (Ctrl + Del). Next, go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Install amount (Amount) by 30%, then apply another filter. Motion blur (Motion blur), let’s go Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur). Change Angle (Angle) at -75 degrees, and also set the value Offsets (Distance) by 15 px. Change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening (Screen).

One layer will not be enough to create realistic rain, so duplicate this layer (Ctrl + J), set the value Fillings (Fill) to duplicate a layer by 50%. Try to mentally divide the image into four equal parts, then use the tool Free transformation (Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) + holding the ‘Shift’ key, reduce the image to one quarter of the picture. Next, use the tool Move (Move Tool (V) + hold down the ‘Alt’ key, move a quarter of the image, closing 1/4 of the rain effect, then repeat the action three more times.

Change the blending mode for the “Rain” layer to Lightening (Screen). After creating additional layers with the effect of rain, the whole image is covered with a gray haze. To clean this, add an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels), for this, click Create a new adjustment or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer) in the bottom toolbar and in the menu that appears, select the option Levels (Levels). Set the value for the black slider 45, for the gray slider 1.08, and for the white slider 145. With this adjustment layer we will increase the number of black tones, which will help us remove the haze and make the raindrops more visible.

Step 15

Next, we will enhance light and shade to create more realistic lighting for our picture. Hold the ‘Alt’ + key and click on the button. Create new layer(create new layer) in the bottom toolbar. In the window that appears, set the blending mode for the new layer Overlap (Overlay), and also put a tick in the box Fill in the neutral color of the “Overlap” mode (50% gray) (Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray). Now, apply the tool Clarifier (Dodge Tool (O), holding down the ‘Alt’ key, you will switch to the tool Dimmer (Burn Tool (O). Set the following settings for both tools – Range (Range): Mid Tones / Shadows (Midtones / Shadows), Exposition (Exposure): 5 – 10%. Optionally, you can use a black / white brush with a low degree of opacity. To add light and shade to certain elements of the scene, simply select them, for this, hold down the ‘Ctrl’ + key and click on the thumbnail of the corresponding layer.

Create a new adjustment layer. Color search (Color Lookup) on top of the adjustment layers that you created in Step 10. Select the “3DLUT file” option and in the drop-down list select the option “Candlelight.CUBE”. Change the blending mode for this adjustment layer to Overlap (Overlay) and also reduce the level Opacity (Opacity) up to 35%. This adjustment layer will enhance the colors, which will help create a dramatic effect. To soften the effect, go to the adjustment layer mask. Color search (Color Lookup) and using a soft black brush with low opacity, soften the effect in the center of the image.

Step 16

To make the lighting more realistic, I added a few highlights. In the original folder with highlights a large number of highlights, you can choose any favorite highlight to your liking. Create a new group, name this group “Glare”. Arrange the highlights as shown in the screenshot below. For the lanterns, I used the image with the flare “OpticalFlare29 ?, change the blending mode for this layer with the flare on Lightening (Screen), reduce the size of the glare, place the glare on the lights next to it. To speed up the process, use the tool Move (Move Tool (V) and the ‘Alt’ key. To remove the edges of overexposed highlights, simply add a layer mask to the layer with the group, and then use a black brush to hide the edges.

For signal lights on the helicopter and on the ship, I used the original image “15”, but first create a new group inside the group with highlights, add highlights to the created group, placing them in the right places. Next, add an adjustment layer. Color tone / Saturation(Hue / Saturation). Set the value Color tone (Hue) approximately +108 (you can set a different value to get more saturated colors). And don’t forget to convert this adjustment layer to a clipping mask through the bottom toolbar.

Step 17

This step is optional. The picture is ready, but I decided to add a bit of contrast to make the night darker. It’s easy, press the keys (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E) to duplicate the whole image, then change the blending mode for the merged layer to Soft light (Soft Light), and also reduce Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 25%.

Step 18

This is the final step, I recommend you do it. Using filter Colour contrast (High Pass), we will enhance the brightness of all the details. Once again, create a duplicate from all layers (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E), and then go Filter – Other – Color Contrast (Filter> Other> High Pass), set Radius (Radius): 0.7px. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay). You can use a larger radius, but then you have to change the value Opacity (Opacity) layer to make the effect look more harmonious.

And we have completed the lesson! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new today.

Final result

Link to PSD lesson file

Author: Maria Semelevich

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