Rise of ghosts in Photoshop

Create an otherworldly scene inspired by a comic book publisher. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create night manipulation with customizable Photoshop brushes, 3D text effects, how to apply adjustment layers and Matt Paint. You will also learn how to save time on finding resources for any work with photos.

Final result

Source materials:

STEP 1. Sketch a rough sketch of the plan that you conceived before starting to search for resources. Because, it will simplify the search for resources. We are going to create a ghostly scene with a scarecrow, inspired by comic magazines, for this, we sketched a rough sketch of the scene in Photoshop.

STEP 2. After creating a sketch, carefully look at it to mark the elements that were involved in it. Next, create a list of all the elements that are necessary for the plan, it can be a list consisting of keywords, elements that we will look for in resources.
Once the list is made, start your search through websites like Deviantart and sxc.hu using the keyword list and select the most appropriate image that fits perfectly with our scene.

STEP 3. 1) Upload the Scarecrow image in Photoshop using the tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W) create a quick Scarecrow selection and select the option Refine edge (Refine Edge) through the menu Selection – Refine Edge (Select> Refine Edge) or by pressing Ctrl + Alt + R. Next, select the option On black (On Black) through the drop-down box to clearly see the edges.

2) Set tool size Refine Brush (Refine Radius Tool (R) at 127 and option Cut on (Output) select New layer (New Layer). Using tool Refine Brush (Refine Radius Tool) process the edges and click OK to get a clearly cut image of the scarecrow on a new layer.

STEP 4. Next, create a new document in Photoshop for our scene sizes in width (Width) = 2560 px and in height (Height) = 1440 px.

STEP 5. Move the Scarecrow image onto our created document and position it on the left side of the scene, as in the screenshot below.

STEP 6. In this step we will create a farm land in the background.

Select the image of the corn field and move it to our working paper, placing it behind the scarecrow.

STEP 7. As we already described earlier, we will have a night scene, so we need to make a background color correction in order to get a night effect.

1) Select the layer with the corn field and go Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation (Image> Adjustment> Hue / Saturation) and set the value Saturation (Saturation) = -62 and value Brightness (Lightness) = -9.

2) Next, using Curves (Curves) Ctrl + M correct the color shades of the corn field, as in the screenshot below.

3) Next, we will make the background darker with Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast). Set the value Brightness (Brightness) = -42 and value The contrast (Contrast) = 25.

STEP 8. As we can see, the field is flooded with light, so in this step, we will make the field much darker.

Using tool Brush (Brush (B), set the soft round brush to black, process the bottom of the image as shown in the screenshot below and lower the layer opacity to 61% to achieve the next effect.

STEP 9. Repeat Step 7 for the color correction of the scarecrow so that the color shades match the night scene we created.

STEP 10. Choose a tool Dimmer (Burn Tool (O) and select the grunge brush in the brush palette. Next, process the scarecrow to give it a shabby look.

STEP 11. Next, add shadows to the bottom of the scarecrow, as shown in the screenshot below.

STEP 12. Using tool Eraser (Eraser Tool (E) delete the sky of the corn field, then, load the image of the Dark Sky and move it to our document, placing it in the background below all layers, as shown in the screenshot below.

STEP 13. In this step, we will work with the adjustment layer to evenly correct the color shades of the entire scene.

1) In the lower tool palette, select Corrective layer – Curves (Adjustment layer – Curves) and set the curves, as in the screenshot below, to get a uniform balanced color correction.

2) Same, create adjustment layers Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and Exposition (Exposure) to get a great night image.
– Value Saturation (Saturation) in Color Tone / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) set -32 and value Gamma Corrections (Gamma Correction) at 1.04 in Exposure (Exposure).

STEP 14. In this step we will add a farm house to the background.
1) With a tool Pen (Pen Tool (P) select the farm house, then save the selection on a new layer and move the layer with the farm house to our working document, place it as shown in the screenshot below.

2) Perform color correction farmhouse.

3) Using soft round Brushes (Brush (B) draw the shadows to the farmhouse as in the screenshot below.

STEP 15. Select the Trees brush, set the foreground color to black, and draw a dried tree, as shown in the screenshot below.

STEP 16. In this step, we will create light coming from the window of the farmhouse.

1) Create a selection in the form of a window and fill it with a color gradient from the combination of color shades # fabe1c and # faa41c, as in the screenshot below.

2) To show that the light comes from the window, we need to create a glow effect. Apply the tool Brush (Brush Tool), by setting a soft round brush, color tint # fabe1c and reducing Opacity (Opacity).

STEP 17. In this step, we will create a fog around the scarecrow.
Create a new layer and on the new layer draw a mist, as shown in the screenshot, using the Mist brushes, set the brush color to white.

STEP 18. In this step, we will focus on Depth of Field.
1) How can we observe that the farm house is located far from the scarecrow, so we need to apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) value Radiusand (Radius) 1.1px.

2) Assume that the tree is located a little closer to the scarecrow. Objects closer to the focused object appear slightly blurry, so apply to the tree Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) value Radius (Radius) 0.8 px.

STEP 19. The ghost scene will not be considered complete without a full moon, therefore, in this step we will add an image of the full moon.

1) Cut out the image of the moon from the original image and place it on our working paper, arranging it as in the screenshot below.

2) To ensure the depth of field of the scene, apply to the layer with the moon Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), setting a radius of 1.0 px.

3) Next, do color correction with Curves (Curves) for a more perfect combination with the overall scene.

STEP 20. Usually with a full moon, you can observe the reflection of moonlight from the clouds. For this, in this step we will draw in the sky white clouds reflecting the moonlight.

Using the Clouds brushes, setting the color white, paint several clouds in the sky, as shown in the screenshot below.

STEP 21. A ghost scene is always considered unfinished without a raven. Therefore, in this step we will add a crow to our scene.

1) With a tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W), select the crow, then use the Refine Edge option via Selection – Refine Edge (Select> Refine Edge) and cut out the crow with precise edges.

2) Next, place the image of the crow on our working paper, as in the screenshot below.

STEP 22. In this step, we will apply two filters. Motion blur (Motion blur) and Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), because the raven is not so far from the scarecrow and the flapping of wings occurs at a certain speed. Therefore, we need to apply Motion blur (Motion blur) to show that the wings are in motion.

1) With a tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L) create a selection along the edges of the wings and tail, then apply Feather Radius (Feather of Radius) 20 px.

2) Next we go Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur) and set Angle (angle) to 10, and the value Offsets (Distance) at 19 px.

3) Next, apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) 1.5 px radius value to match with Depth of Field.

STEP 23. To give the scene a dramatic effect, we need to draw a few leaves that are circling in the wind. In order to create such an effect, we will create our own brush. First, we need to create a sheet shape.
Using tool Brush (Brush Tool) draw an approximate shape of the leaf, then using the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P) select our leaf and fill the selection with black color.

STEP 24. Once you have created the shape of the leaf, go Editing – Define a brush (Edit> Define Brush Preset ..), further, in the appeared window Name brush (brush name) enter a name for the Sheet and click OK to save the shape as a brush. Next, open the brushes palette and select the brush we just created.

STEP 25. In this step, we use the brush settings to increase the number of leaves and their spread according to the air dynamics to create the perfect demonstration of swirling leaves under gusts of wind.

1) Next, open the Brushes settings and select Brush Print Form (Brush Tip Shape) and set Diameter (Size) to 61 px and swap Interval (Spacing) by 626%.

2) Next, go to Dynamics forms(Shape Dynamics) and change the settings as follows Swing size(Size Jitter) = 100% Minimum diameter(Minimum Diameter) = 97%, Swing corner(Angle Jitter) = 84% Swing forms(Roundness Jitter) = 5%, Minimum the form(Minimum Roundness) = 25% and tick the boxes Flip X and Fluctuation y(Flip X Y Jitters) to rotate the leaves in different directions.

3) To scatter leaves, select the option Scattering (Scattering) and set the scattering value to 617%, Counter (Count) = 2 and Counter oscillation (Count Jitter) = 17%.

STEP 26. 1) Next, draw the leaves using a previously customized black brush, as in the screenshot below.

2) Since we previously assumed that the leaves are circling everywhere, we will have to apply to the leaves Motion blur (Motion blur) to create natural depth.
Go to the leaf layer and apply a filter Motion blur (Motion blur) Angle (Angle) = 10 and Bias (Distance) = 26 px.

STEP 27. In this step, we will add some wheatgrass to the foreground in front of the scarecrow to create an environment that scares the farmland. In this step we will also learn another technique of cutting out the image with very fine details.

1) Upload the image of wheat germ in Photoshop and in the tab Channels (Channels) scroll Red channel (Red layer), then we go Image – Calculations (Image> Calculations) and specify Red (Red) in the window Channel (Channel) as in Source 1 (Source 1) and in Source 2 (Source 2). As soon as you click OK, create Alpha channel (Alpha layer) in Channel Palette (Channels Pallet).

2) Next we go Selection – Load Selection (Select> Load Selection) and select Alpha 1 (Alpha 1) from drop down box Channel (Channel) and click OK to create a selection of wheat germ.

3) After selecting the wheat germ, copy to a new layer and move it to our working paper, arranging it as in the screenshot below.

STEP 28. Since wheat germs are located very close to the observer, they need to be washed away, so we will have to apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) to wheat germ to maintain Depth of Field. Select the wheat germ layer and apply the filter Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 2.2 px.

STEP 29. In this step we will add another scarecrow unlike the main one on which we focus our attention.
1) With a tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W) select the Scarecrow 2 and save the selection on a new layer.

2) Usually scarecrows on farms stand on poles or supports. Therefore we will create the same here. Since scarecrow’s legs are separated by a small space, then we have to connect them together.

Using tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L) cut the lower parts of the legs into two new layers.

3) Next, with the tool Move (Move Tool (V) slide them together, as shown in the screenshot below.

STEP 30. In this step, we will create a pole or support for the second scarecrow.
1) Upload an image of trees in Photoshop; this will be a scarecrow pole using the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P) select the part of the tree and copy to the new layer.

2) Next, position the pole, as shown in the screenshot, to demonstrate that the scarecrow is suspended on a pole.

STEP 31. In this step, we will make a color correction of the pole and scarecrow to match the shades of the rest of the image.

1) Go to the pole layer and go Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation (Image> Adjustments> Hue / Saturation) and reduce Saturation (Saturation) to -57.

2) Create a new layer on top of the layer with a pole and draw the shadows, as in the screenshot below.

3) Usually the scarecrow is stuffed with dry grass and we will draw the same sticking dry grass from the scarecrow sleeves and other open spaces. In order to create a similar effect of grass sticking out of the sleeves, we will use black grass brushes.

Translator’s Note: Create a new layer below the scarecrow layer 2 and paint the grass with the Grass brush, experiment with the brush opacity.

4) The same color correction we will conduct for the scarecrow. Will reduce Saturation (Saturation) to – 42 with Color Tone / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Then, increase Blue channel (Blue) using Curves (Curves) for a more perfect combination.

5) Since we create a night scene, the scarecrow will look dark in the night, so we will create a dark shadow on the scarecrow, as shown in the screenshot below, then combine all the layers together and name the combined layer “Scarecrow 2”.

STEP 32. 1) Next, move the Scarecrow 2 onto our working paper and position it like in the screenshot below.

2) Since the Scarecrow 2 is at some distance from the main character, we apply Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 0.7 px.

3) If we take a close look, we can notice that the wheat sheaves on the field are muffled or more vague, so we will create the same effect here. Go to the “Scarecrow 2” layer and then go Image – Correction – Exposure (Image> Adjustments> Exposure) and set the value Exposition (Exposure) = -0.03, Shift (Offset) = +0.0061 and Gamma – Correction (Gamma Correction) = 1.00.

STEP 33. In this step, we will create fiery particles that fly in the air. This gives an extra dramatic feeling to our composition.

Download the Light Glare image to our working paper and change the layer blending mode to Light replacement (Lighten) Next with the tool Eraser (Eraser Tool) remove excess particles of fire.
Repeat this step until the scene is filled with enough light highlights.

STEP 34. In this step, we use texture, which is always the perfect seasoning for scary and dramatic scenes.

1) Now load the texture of the old paper on our working paper and change the blending mode of the texture layer to Multiplication (Multiply) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 82%.

2) Repeat the same previous step and add a grunge texture to the scene.

STEP 35. In this step, we will create 3D text using texture and Layer styles (Blending Options).
1) Print the text on your working paper using the Scarecrow font.

2) Next, load the metal texture onto our document and place it directly on the text, then create a text selection and copy the selection to a new layer, name this layer “name”.

3) Next to the layer “name” apply Layer styles (Blending Options), select the option Stamping (Bevel and Emboss) and set the following values, Style (Style) = Inner bevel (Inner Bevel), Method (Technique) = Hard cut (Chisel Hard), Depth (Depth) 368%, Direction (Direction) = Top (Up), The size (Size) = 16% and values Shading (Shading) leave the default.

4) Next, select the option Circuit (Contour) and select the Gaussian contour from the drop-down list Circuit (Contour).

5) Next, select the option Texture (Texture) to add texture to the text, and set the values Scale (Scale) to 89% and Depths (Depth) = + 280%.

6) Next, select the option Gloss (Stain) to make the text darker and to fit the overall scene. Set the following values Mode Overlays(Blending Mode) = Multiplication(Multiply), Opacity(Opacity) = 42%, Angle(Angle) = 19, Bias(Distance) = 38 px, The size(Size) = 14 px.

7) As the last detail to the text, select the option Overlapping pattern (Pattern Overlay) and set Blend mode (Blending mode) on Light replacement (Lighten) and leaving other defaults.

Final result

Posted by: Santhosh Koneru

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