The mystery of the magic crystal in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create an interesting surreal collage with fantasy elements using Photoshop. In this paper, we will use various photo sources, work on light and shadow, add adjustment layers and much more!
As a result, we will have such an interesting collage:

Resources for the lesson:

Step 1

Open the original Background image in Photoshop. Using the tool Frame (Crop Tool), crop the image, making it more rectangular.

Step 2

As you can see in my image, the bright cloud is unevenly located around the center of the canvas.

Create a selection around the bright sky area.

Then add a shading to the selection, depending on the size of your image (selection). In my case, I use the value 50.

Translator’s Note: the transition path to the parameter Shading: Selection – Modification – Shading.

Then right-click on the selected area and in the appeared submenu use the function Copy to new layer (Layer via Copy). Move the light area a little to the right so that it is located approximately in the middle of the canvas. Then add a layer mask to this layer. Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool). In the settings, set the color to black, the stiffness to 0%, and lower the opacity. Use this brush on a layer mask and hide hard transitions between the original and the copied sky.

Step 3

In this step, I will show you how to darken the clouds.
Create a new layer on top of the previous ones. Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool). Set the color in the brush settings696b68, and stiffness – 0%. Draw a portion of the sky as shown in the screenshot below. and then change the layer’s overlay mode to Soft light (Soft light).

Create another layer on top of the previous one. Also use the Brush Tool on it (Brush Tool), but change the color to #919e8c. The areas that need to be painted are shown in the figure below. Set the blend mode of this layer to Multiplication (Multipy), and the opacity (opacity) of the layer is 50%.

Step 4

In this step, we will lighten the upper part of the sky in order to specify the source of the incident light. So, create a new layer. Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool), color – # fcf9cd, hardness – 0%. Then paint a part of the clouds, as shown in the examples below. After set the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft light) with opacity and 100% shading.

Step 5

Add dark foggy areas. To do this, create a new layer on top of the previous one, and then activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool) brush color – # 878c82; stiffness – 0%. Draw spots on the left and right sides of the canvas, as shown below. The blend mode of the layer needs to be changed to Multiplication (Multipy) and lower its opacity (opacity) to 50%.

The right side of the background still looks too bright, so I use a new layer and the same brush with blending mode Multiplication (Multipy) 50%, in order to paint the bright part of the sea.

Step 6

Create a glow around the road. Add a new layer. Activate the tool Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal Lasso Tool). Create a selection along the contour of the road. Then go to Selection – Modification – Border (Select – Modify – Feather) and set the value to 1 – 6 pixels .. Fill the selection with white color.

Apply to the resulting white stroke layer style “External glow“(Outer Glow).

Step 7

Create another layer on top of all the previous ones. Standing on this layer, activate the tool. Brush (Brush Tool), color – # ffffff, hardness – 0%, brush size – 150-200 pixels, opacity – 100%. Draw the far section of the road. Then lower the opacity (opacity) of the brush to 50% and paint over the previously painted white spot. Set the layer blending mode to Soft light (Soft light).

Step 8

In the new document, open the original image with the crystal and separate it from the background, in any way you like. Move the crystal to the main canvas with a collage. Reduce the stone and place it on the border of the sea and the road. Name the layer “Crystal”.

At this stage, the crystal does not look transparent. Also on it eats white areas that look as lit.

The tool will help us to remove these light spots. Stamp (Clone Tool). Activating the tool, make sure that in the settings as Sample you installed “All layers“(All Layers). Then create a new layer above the” Crystal “layer and apply it (new layer) as a clipping mask (with clipping mask). Using a stamp, paint over the white areas of the crystal.

Do not worry that the facets of the crystal have become less expressive. We have not finished work on the mineral.

Step 9

Add the crystal yellow tone. The correction layer will help us in this. Color balance (Color Balance), which must be added as a clipping mask (clipping mask) to the “Crystal” layer.

You will get a similar result:

Step 10

Add lightning inside the crystal.
Download and install the Photoshop brush in Photoshop. Add new brushes to the brush set. Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool). From the list of brushes, select a brush with zippers, color – # fcfbf6. Create a new layer (like a clipping mask for the “Crystal” layer) and draw lightning on it inside the stone. My result looks like this:

Step 11

Create another layer as a clipping mask for the “Crystal” layer. Fill it with 50% gray (50% gray). Set the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay).

Activate the tool Dimmer (Burn tool); range (range) – mid tone (midtones); Exposure (exposure) – 40% – 50%. Draw the bottom of the crystal in order to darken it. For your convenience, in the screenshot below you can see which areas were processed (the left image shows a gray layer in the Normal mode, and the right one – in the Overlay mode).

Step 12

It’s time to add a column. Open the “Column” image in the new document. Separate it from the background and transfer it to the main work. Place a layer with a pole on top of all the previous ones. Scale the column, reducing its size, and place it as shown in the figure-example.

Add a layer mask to the layer with a column mask, and using a black brush, hide the bottom sharp areas of the base.

Step 13

Light streaks are clearly visible on the pole. Activate the tool Stamp (Clone Tool), create a new layer (like a clipping mask for the layer with a pillar) and mask the light cracks.

Step 14

For color correction, we use a correction layer. Curves (Curves) (adjustment layer is added as a clipping mask to the layer with a column).

The result after making the correction:

Step 15

It is necessary to lighten the part of the column on which the light from the crystal falls. To do this, create a new layer (as a clipping mask to the layer with a column) and draw the desired area with a white brush (the opacity of the brush can be adjusted from 50 to 100%). Blend mode of this layer is set to Soft light (Soft light).

Step 16

Open the image of the crystal ball and separate the ball from the background. Place the layer with the sphere at the very top of the layers palette. Press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + U in order to quickly discolor the ball, then place it on top of the column.

Add a layer mask to the layer with the ball and process the lower part of the sphere with a black soft brush in order to get a smooth transition of the ball into the column.

Step 17

Create a new layer as a clipping mask for the layer with the sphere. Then repeat step 11, but use the tool instead of the Burn Tool. Clarifier (Dodge Tool). Brighten the edges of the sphere.

Step 18

Duplicate the column layer. Standing on the bottom layer with a column, press the key combination Ctrl + U for a quick transition to the correction “Color tone \ Saturation“(Hue / Saturaion). Lower the value”Brightness“(Lightness) to the minimum (- 100).

Switch to Editing – Transform – Flip Vertically (Edit-Transfrom-Flip Vertical). Rename the resulting black layer to “Shadow Column”. Using the tool Move (Move Tool), place the shadow of the column as shown below.

Set the opacity of the “Shadow of the column” layer to 50%. Use filter Gaussian blur (Gassian blur) with a blur value of 2 pixels.
Then go to Editing – Transforming – Perspective (Edit-Transfrom-Perspective) and transform the shadow so that it would “lay down” on the surface.

Step 19

Select all the layers related to the column and the ball (except the layer with the “Shadow of the column”).

Press the key combination Ctrl + G, thus the selected layers will be combined into one group. Right-click on the group icon in the layers palette. From the sub-menu that appears, select the item “Duplicate group“(Duplicate Group).

Now right-click on the duplicate group and select “Merge group“(Merge Group). Duplicate the resulting layer four times and place the copies in two rows, as shown in the image below. Give the appropriate name to each layer (” Column 1 “,” Column 2 “…” Column 6 “).

Step 20

Duplicate the column shadow layer. Remove the layer mask for this copy. Copy the shadow layer (the one without the layer mask) four more times. Place shadow copies under each column. Remember that the further the shadow is, the shorter and more intense it is. Just do not forget to blur the distant parts of the shadow (those that are farther from the base of the column). Use the Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) to change the size and position of the shadows. The layout and opacity of the shadows is shown below.

Step 21

We continue the work on the lighting of the columns. Some parts of them need to be darkened, and other areas to make more light. The scheme by which we will act is shown in the pictures below.

Let’s get started Create two new layers. Set the layer mode on which we will work with dimming to Multiplication (Multipy) (opacity 100%), and the second at Soft light (Soft light) (with opacity 50%). Make the Multipy layer layer active and activate the tool. Brush (Brush Tool) brush color – # d0cdb9. Then draw the areas of the columns on which you want to add shadows. Do not forget to process the bases of the columns that need lightening (standing on a layer with the Soft light blend mode).

Step 22

Crystal balls also need to adjust the light and shadow.
Create two new layers. The blend mode of one of the layers is set to Multiplication (Multipy) (opacity 100%) and the other on Overlap (Overlay) (opacity 70%). Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool) with color # c2c2c2, and work with the balls by changing their illumination.

Step 23

Work on the sky.
Create a new layer. Set foreground color to # ffffff, and the background color is on # 858786. Activate the tool Oval area ( Elliptical Marquee tool) and draw a selection in the center of the sky. Then go to function Feathering (Feather) and set the parameter to 50 pixels.

Now go to Filter – RenderingClouds (Filter-Render-Cloud).

Without removing the selection, go to Filter – Distortion – Twisting (Filter-Distort-Twirl).

Activate the function Transform (Transform) in order to change the shape of the funnel and make it more elongated horizontally.

Translator’s Note: To quickly go to Transform, press the key combination Ctrl + T.

Change layer blending mode to Soft light (Soft light). Activate the tool Eraser (Еraser Tool) and erase the edges of the funnel, making the transition to the sky smoother.

Step 24

Download and install the lightning brush into the program. Create a new layer, activate the tool. Brush (Brush Tool) with color # fcfbf6. From the list of brushes, select a brush in the form of a zipper and draw flashes between the crystal and the bright part of the sky.

Step 25

Create six new layers. On these layers we continue to work with the “Lightning” brush, I chose the color of the lightning. # fffee9. Draw each zipper on a separate layer. We should receive as a result a picture in which lightning connects the balls and the crystal. Use the tools to flash the desired shape. Transformations (Transform). Remove extra lightning areas with a tool Eraser (Еraser Tool). In order for lightning to become bright, you need to apply a layer style to them “External glow“(Outer Glow). You can see the style settings in the image below.

Step 26

Create a new layer on top of the previous ones. On this layer we will draw light highlights. Activate round soft tool Brush (Brush Tool) with color # fffee9. Then create points and spots on the crystal and balls. Set the blend mode of this layer to Overlap (Overlay) (opacity 50%).

Step 27

Open the image with the model in a new document. Separate the girl from the background. Move the character to the main job and place as shown in the picture.

Duplicate the layer with the girl. Then do the actions as in step number 18, in order to get a shadow. Based on the light source, the shadow of the model should fall right behind her.

Step 28

Now our task is to correctly add light and shadow to the model. On the original image, the light falls on the girl from right to left. To start working with lighting, I darken the girl’s jeans. To do this, create two new layers as clipping masks to the model layer. Set the blend mode of these layers to Multiplication (Multipy) (100% opacity and 80% opacity). Then activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool) with color # 5387ad and paint the highlights of the jeans as shown below.

Step 29

Continue working with dimming. It is necessary to remove the light glare on the hands of the character. To do this, create three new layers (like clipping masks to the layer with a girl), activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool) with color # e2ccd0, draw the light stripes on the arms and shoulders of the model with this color. The blend mode for the first of these three layers I leave Normal (Normal), and for the next two I change to Multiplication (Multipy).

Step 30

We darken the hair. We use the same method as before. Create a new layer (as a clipping mask to the layer with a girl) and change the blending mode of the new layer to Multiplication (Multipy). Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool) with color # 16151c and working on darkening the blond areas of hair and T-shirts.

After you have worked on the light areas, the image with the model should look like this:

Step 31

Adjust the color of the model. For this we will use the adjustment layer Selective color correction (Selective Colo) (as a clipping mask to a layer with a girl). The settings are shown in the screenshots.

The second layer, which we will use for the correction, is Color tone \ Saturation (Hue / Saturation):

Step 32

Now we will add light accents to the image with the character. Light falls on the model from the front, so we will see a “edge” of light around the girl. To add light we use a layer style. Inner shadow (Inner Shadow).

Step 33

We finished the work with the addition and correction of all the main elements of the collage. Now it remains only to modify the overall atmosphere.

I use the adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) to change the color of the image:

Change the blending mode of the adjustment layer to Overlap (Overlay) with opacity at 70%.

Step 34

We come to the final step. It remains to make the light and shadow more expressive. Add a new layer on top of all the previous ones. Set the foreground and background colors by default (to black and white). Activate the tool Gradient (Gradient), gradient type – Radial (Radial) and create a fill in the center of the canvas (from white to black).

Set the blend mode of this layer to Soft light (Soft light). Then we add a layer mask to the layer with a gradient fill, and process on it, with a black brush, the upper part of the collage (so that it does not look too bright).

Duplicate the gradient fill layer. Modify the layer mask, hiding the area with the sky and some details on the model’s clothes.

The lesson is complete! I hope you enjoyed it!

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