Snake charmer in Photoshop

Final result

Source materials:

STEP 1. Create a new document (1000X1000px).

Download the image from the Taj Mahal at the link at the beginning of this lesson, then move the image to our document.

I want to improve the color shades and enhance the contrast of the image with the Taj Mahal, which will be our back background image, for this, apply adjustment layers Levels (levels) and Color balance (color balance). Do not forget to use adjustment layers as clipping masks, unless another action is specified, since we want to apply the correction only to the underlying layer.

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Level):

12 / 0.94 / 255

Settings for the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance):

Sveta (Highlights): +1 / +2 / -5
Mid tones (Midtones): +4 / +8 / -16
Shadows (Shadows): -11 / +2 / -1

STEP 2. If you look at the image, you will notice that objects at a distance are too sharp, and the bottom part is a bit blurred, because It is located closer to us.
I highlighted this area in red in the screenshot below:

To fix this, select the layer with the background and both adjustment layers (when selecting more than one layer, hold down the shift key). Press Ctrl + G to group all three layers into one group.

Duplicate this group.

Next, make sure the group is active, let’s go Filter- Convert for Smart Filters (filter> convert for smart filters). Thus, the use of filters will not affect the quality of the overall picture.

After the transformation, we go Filter – Sharpness – Contour Sharpness (filter> sharpen> unsharp mask). This will allow us to apply the contour sharpness to our image with the background.

Filter Settings Contour sharpness (Unsharp Mask Filter):

Effect (Amount): 240%
Radius (Radius): 0.7 px
Threshold(Threshold): 0 levels(levels)

In the screenshot below, you can see our image after applying the contour sharpness. However, in reality, we wanted to apply sharpness only to the bottom corners of our image in order to focus them. The rest of the image already has too much sharpness:

To fix this, to the duplicate with the smart filter, apply a layer mask. Using a large soft black brush, hide all areas on the layer mask where there is too much sharpness, except for the lower corners of the image (which we want to focus).

In the screenshot below, I showed in red the areas that need to be brushed:

The screenshot below shows the result. So, the whole image with the background looks great with sufficient sharpness, including the bottom corners of the image that were previously out of focus:

STEP 3. Download the image of ‘Cobra’ from the link at the beginning of the lesson.

Separate the cobra from the background (this should be easy, because the background of the image is absolutely white). Move the selected image of the cobra to our document, placing it in the lower right part of the document, zoom in the cobra, we want this cobra to be gigantic!

To better align the cobra with the background, apply adjustment layers. Levels (levels) and Color balance (color balance):

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Level):

20 / 1.00 / 230

Settings for the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance):

Sveta (Highlights): +13 / +1 / -29
Average tones(Midtones): +25 / +5 / -23
Shadows(Shadows): +8 / -5 / -12

The result is in the screenshot below:

We need to stretch the cobra’s tail in the left corner of our image, for this, simply copy / paste a part of the snake of the original image by placing the copied part of the tail in the lower part of the corner. Apply the same adjustment layers for a similar alignment with the background.

Do not worry if a gap has formed in the middle, we will fill this area in the next step!

STEP four. Download the ‘Stones’ image at the beginning of this tutorial.

Place the stones approximately in the lower center of the image, after you separate them from the background:

Apply adjustment layers Levels (levels) and Color balance (color balance):
to layer with stones:

Settings for the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance):

Sveta (Highlights): -4 / +5 / -4
Mid tones (Midtones): +9 / +6 / -12
Shadows (Shadows): +1 / +4 / -12

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Level):

45 / 1.05 / 236

The result is in the screenshot below:

STEP five. Download the ‘Lichen’ texture from the link at the beginning of this lesson, and then move it to our document.

Duplicate the layer with lichen, and hide the layer with the original. We still need the layer with the original, we will duplicate it several times.

Select the visible layer with lichen, apply scaling. To texture covered one of the lower stones. Next, go Editing – Transformation – Deformation (edit> transform> warp). We deform the texture with a lichen to the shape of a stone so that the texture does not look flat:

Add a layer mask to the layer with lichen, and then select the default coarse grunge brush that is in the standard Photoshop set (remember to set the brush color to black) and brush the edges of the stone with a lichen texture on the layer mask to create a smooth transition lichen with a stone surface.

To further improve the alignment, reduce the opacity of the texture layer to about 90%.

So apply the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance).

Settings for the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance):

Sveta (Highlights): +22 / -13 / -8
Mid tones (Midtones): +19 / +32 / -26
Shadows(Shadows): -1 / +6 / -12

Result after applying color correction:

STEP 6 Repeat the technique of adding texture with lichen, add texture to the rest of the stones:

STEP 7. Create a new layer, name this layer ‘a shadow at the bottom’ and use a big soft black brush to draw the shadow along the bottom of the image.

Reduce the layer opacity to 10%:

STEP eight. Download the image ‘Snake Charmer’ from the link at the beginning of the lesson, move the image to our document. Position the image so that the caster is about to sit on the rocks:

So, we need to get rid of the background, so apply your favorite method of selecting objects. As for me, I prefer the technique without damaging effects, so I used a layer mask to hide the background.

Now, apply a correction layer to the snake charmer layer. Color balance (color balance), to better combine the image with a man with the rest of the image:

Settings for the adjustment layer Color balance (Color Balance):

Sveta (Highlights): -13 / 0 / -8
Average tones(Midtones): +4 / +13 / -15
Shadows(Shadows): 0/0/0

Result:

STEP 9. Create a new layer, name this layer ‘shadow under the man’.

Using a soft black brush with an opacity of about 10%, draw a shadow between a man and a stone. Creating a shadow, we create a more natural image, because the caster sits on a rock and creates a natural shadow:

STEP 10. Download the image of the “little snake” from the link at the beginning of the lesson.

Separate the snake from the background, and then move it to our document, positioning it as if it appears from the snake charmer’s pipe:

Change the blending mode to Lightening (screen):

Next, apply adjustment layers. Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation) and Levels (Level):

Settings for the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation):

Color tone (Hue): 0
Saturation (Saturation): -100
Brightness (Lightness): +23

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Level):

53 / 0.77 / 198

You can see the result in the screenshot below:

STEP eleven. Our snake at the moment looks too monolithic to appear from the pipe in the form of smoke, therefore, select the tool Finger (smudge tool), set the opacity to about 25% and smear the areas of the snake to match the background as if it were smoke.

This should create a softer effect.

To add some smoke, download the ‘smoke’ image from the link at the beginning of the lesson.

Place the smoke layer on top of the snake image:

Change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening (screen) to hide the black background and the smoke itself to be visible:

STEP 12. Download the ‘Gemstone’ image from the link at the beginning of the lesson, separate the stone from the background. Next, move the highlighted gem to our document, placing the caster in front of the turban.

Next, go Editing – Transformation (edit> transform) and apply scaling to resize the stone, placing the stone on the man’s turban. Reduce the size of the gemstone to give the impression that it is part of an accessory for a male turban.

Next, apply a correction layer to the gem layer. Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation):

Settings for the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (hue / saturation):

Color tone (Hue): +95
Saturation (Saturation): 0
Brightness(Lightness): +2

STEP 13. Create a new layer, name this layer highlight ’.

Fill this layer with black color, then change the blending mode to Lightening (screen). This mode will hide the black fill, while there will be a light glare without a destructive effect.

Then go Filter – Rendering – Blick (filter> render> lens flare) and apply Lens type (Zoom flare) 50-300mm, Brightness (brightness) 100%. Try to position the highlight at the exit of the caster’s pipe:

In the screenshot below, you can see the layer with the light flare in the blend mode Normal (normal):

The same ‘highlight’ layer during blending mode Lightening (screen):

STEP 14. Next, create a new layer, name this layer “bleaching / darkening”.

To lighten / darken the image without losing picture quality, let’s go Editing – Fill (edit> fill) and fill the layer with 50% gray. Then, change the blending mode to Overlap (overlay). This mode will hide your fill with 50% gray, but will allow you to make light correction without harming your image.
Usually use a soft black brush with low opacity (about 10%) to create shadows and a soft white brush with low opacity (about 10%) for lightening.

We need to try to create a more unified light source. In this image, we see that the main light source is on the right side of the document. Therefore, try to add light highlights on the right edges of your objects, and shadows on the left edges.

In the screenshots below, you can see the ‘bleaching / darkening’ layer under blending mode Normal (normal) and overlay mode Overlap (overlay):

STEP 15. To accent the light of the sun falling on the stones, create a new layer, name this layer ‘a highlight on the edge of the stone’.

Let your new layer remain active, just in the layers palette, hold down the key, Ctrl + click on the layer with the original image of stones. This will create an active selection around the shape of your stones.

This will allow you to paint over the inner edge of your stones and will not allow you to brush up on the background.

Using soft white brushes , draw a light flare along the edge of your stones:

To make this light effect subtle, change the blending mode to Overlap (overlay) and reduce the layer opacity to 30%.

STEP sixteen.The left part of our stones looks too light, considering the lighting of the common part.

To fix this, create a new layer, name this layer ‘shadow on the stones’.

Using a soft black brush (about 20% opacity), draw the shadows on top of this area of ​​stones:

STEP 17 Apply a couple of final adjustment layers, but this time DO NOT use them as clipping masks, since we want the correction to apply to the whole composition.

Settings for the adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map):

Gradient (Gradient): within the range of color shades from purple to orange (ranging from purple to orange)
Blend mode (Blend Mode): Normal (Normal)
Opacity (Opacity): 10%

Settings for the adjustment layer Levels (Level):

9 / 1.00 / 238

The result after applying these adjustment layers:

STEP 18. Finally, in order to complete our work, we will apply sharpening to our image so that it is a little clearer.

Let’s go Layer- Run down (layers> flatten image). Select the created merged layer, and then copy it.

In the layers palette, in the tab Story (history) cancel this information, because we certainly want to keep all our original layers.

Next, paste the copied image onto a new layer by placing it on top of all layers.

Let’s go Filter– Transform for smart– of filters(filter> convert for smart filters). Next, go Filter – Sharpness – Contour sharpness(filter> sharpen> unsharp mask). Apply the following settings:

Filter Settings Contour sharpness (Unsharp Mask Filter):

Effect (Amount): 35%
Radius (Radius): 0.5 px
Threshold (Threshold): 0 levels

And we finished the lesson!

You can view the final result below. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your opinion on the technique of performance and the result.

Final result

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