Riding a snail in Photoshop

In this lesson we will create a magical scene with a little girl riding a snail. You will learn what methods you can connect objects from different photos. In addition to gluing, we will work on lighting, stage depth, and much more.

We will begin this lesson by creating a background, blurring it and clearing it using basic Photoshop tools. Then we will add a snail, at the same time we will turn its shell into a lawn, on which we will plant a girl, flowers and butterflies. Combine all images into a single composition using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. After that, we add light effects and bokeh textures to give the right atmosphere. At the end of the lesson, we will apply several adjustment layers. I recommend using Photoshop CS5 or later to complete this tutorial.

Final result:

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop (Ctrl + N) with such parameters:

Step 2

Open a background photo in Photoshop. We need to get rid of the plant on the stone. Create a new layer. (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N) and instrument Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool) (S) cover it.

Merge all layers (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E) and instrument Move (Move Tool) (V) Transfer the resulting background to the created document.

Step 3

Create an adjustment layer for the background. Color balance (Color Balance) (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance / Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance) with Clipping Mask (Ctrl + Alt + G).

Step 4

Dim the background with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

On the mask, use a soft brush to erase the blurred part of the photo so that only the stone is dark.

Step 5

Insert a snail into our document, separating it from the background using a layer mask.

Step 6

Create a new layer under it and use a soft brush with 40% opacity to draw a shadow. Name the layer “shadow 1”.

The light source we put on the left side above. Therefore, there must be a shadow behind the snail. Create a new layer under the “shadow 1” layer. Select the snail (holding Ctrl, click on the layer thumbnail).

Fill the selection with black and convert the layer to a smart object. (Filter> Convert for smart filters) (Filter> Convert for Smart Filters). Turn the black silhouette (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical) (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical). Reduce the layer opacity to 60%.

Soften the shadow with a filter Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) with a value of 6 pixels.

Step 7

Create a correction layer for the cochlea. Color balance (Color Balance).

Step 8

Dim the snail with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

On the mask, use a soft black brush to erase the upper part on the cochlea to create the effect of lighting from our light source, which we mentally placed in the upper left corner. Working with a brush, focus on the selected area in the screenshot below.

Create another adjustment layer Curves (Curves) for clarification.

Using a soft black brush, paint over the mask as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 9

Create a new layer for the snail. (Ctrl + Shift + N) in mode Overlap (Overlay), filled with 50% gray.

Choose a tool Dimmer (Burn Tool) (O): Midtones range, 10-15% exposure. Darken the bottom edge of the cochlea. Below you will see the result of working on a layer in the mode Normal (Normal) and Overlap (Overlay)

Step 10

Open the photo of the green field. Tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool) (M) select part of the grass and transfer to the main document.

In mode Free transform (Ctrl + T) change the shape of the grass.

Add a mask and with a soft brush, leave the grass only on the snail shell. To ensure that the edges of the grass are not flat, use a hard 3-4 pixel brush (better if you use a tablet).

Step 11

Change the grass color with the adjustment layer. Color balance (Color Balance).

Step 12

Darken the grass with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

On the mask, using a soft black brush, paint over the upper part like this. so that it is lighter than the bottom.

Step 13

Create a new layer for the grass, filled with 50% gray and in the mode Overlay. Tools Brightener ( Dodge Tool) (O) and Dimmer (Burn Tool) (O) work on the details of the lighting, creating the illusion of irregularities on the surface.

Step 14

Open the photo of the girl in Photoshop. Separate it from the background and transfer it to the main document.

Activate Puppet warp mode (Editing> Puppet Warp) (Edit> Puppet Warp). Change the shape of the girl’s dress so that it lies correctly on the sink.

Step 15

Add a mask to the girl’s layer and a hard brush of 2-3 pixels immerse the dress in the grass.

Create the shadow of the girl in the same way that the shadow of the snail was created.

Step 16

Reduce the saturation of the girl’s color with a correction layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue /Saturation).

Step 17

Create a correction layer for the girl. Color balance (Color Balance), and then on the mask, remove the green shade from the skin.

Step 18

Create a correction layer for the girl. Curves (Curves). Using a mask, erase a part of the shadow from the face and the dress on which, according to our legend, the light falls.

Step 19

Create a new layer in mode. Overlay, filled with 50% gray for girls. Tool Dimmer ( Burn Tool) (O) make a dark patch of the dress near the grass.

Step 20

Open the photos of flowers in Photoshop. Cut the buds, insert them into the main document and place them around the girl. Drop these layers under the girl’s layers. If necessary, duplicate and transform the flowers.

Step 21

Open the photo of flowers in Photoshop, which is listed below. Highlight a flower:

Transfer it to the main document, increase in size and position behind the girl:

In mode Puppet Warp (Puppet Warp) align the stem and correct the petals, making their arrangement more symmetrical.

Step 22

Create a new layer for the flower in the Overlap mode with 50% gray. Create a clipping mask from this layer. Tool Dimmer (Burn Tool) (O) draw more details.

Step 23

Group all the flowers together (Ctrl + G) and return it to normal overlay mode. Inside the group, create a new layer at the bottom. Use a soft black brush with 40% opacity to paint the shadows of some flowers.

Step 24

For the rest of the flowers, create the same shade as the girl and the snail.

Step 25

Inside the group with flowers at the top create an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue /Saturation). Flowers need to be white.

Step 26

Darken the flowers with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

On the mask, using a soft black brush, remove the shading from those colors that are so darker than the others.

Step 27

Now lighten some flowers with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

Paint a big flower on the mask.

Step 28

Insert the grass stems in our document, place them in the bottom of the document.

Apply a filter to them. Gaussian blur, radius 4 pix. (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur).

Step 29

All grass layers are placed in a group. (Ctrl + G). Correction layer Curves (Curves) brighten the grass. Paint the bottom of the mask in black.

Step 30

Open one of the images with the stars. It uses the file “starry 4”. Paste it into our document and set the blending mode. Lighten (Screen).

Add a mask and erase the effect from the snail and the baby.

Step 31

Change the lighting color adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 32

Create an adjustment layer Levels (Levels) and paint over part of the petals of a large flower so that it is not too bright.

Step 33

Insert a few butterflies. Place at least one where the girl is looking.

Step 34

Brighten the butterfly in the middle with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

Step 35

Put the butterflies in a group (Ctrl + G). Change their color adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 36

Brighten all butterflies with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

Step 37

Insert a bokeh effect and set the blending mode Lighten (Screen).

Add a mask and use a soft brush to loosen the bokeh.

Apply filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) with a value of 8 pixels.

Step 38

In conclusion, we will work on a common color. Create an adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map) at the top:

Set the blending mode Soft Light.

Step 39

Add more yellow with adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance).

Step 40

Brighten the whole picture with a correction layer. Curves (Curves).

On the mask, remove the brightness from a large flower and a snail.

Final result:

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

PSD file

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