Think about tomorrow today

Madalina Iordache?Levay will show us how she created her stunning work for the final round of the Photoshop Contest.

When I saw the theme of the competition and the original images, I knew that I had to come up with an original idea based on a rigorous concept, and this would give me the opportunity to show my technical skills.

My concept was that the world was devastated by the joys of rest, because our actions continue to destroy the planet and all life on it; in turn, we must live with these consequences, carry them as a heavy burden, while we continue to make mistakes. Our way of life is in the resources of the earth, waste or entertainment, regardless of the future.

I started by sketching ideas on paper to create a composition and help myself determine which stock images I would need and where difficulties might appear. Then I collected my sources: I used a gas mask and episodes from the set provided by Crestock, some of my own stock images and a group of free stock photos.

I used Photoshop CS3 and a Wacom Intuous tablet to create this image. Total time: about 10-12 hours. I started with a man (who needed, of course, a new head and a darker dress), then I create a landscape around him, accompanied by a globe that was the main challenge in this photo. Light effects were a very important step in setting the atmosphere for this episode, and in conclusion, I created garlands, enveloping the globe and the hero.

Let’s get into the details of creating the globe and light effects.

Creation of the planet
I started with a stock image of the Earth that I placed on my background. I changed colors using Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) so as to make blue – brown, and brown – blue.

Then I cut out the industrial horizon from a photograph provided by Crestock.

To go around it around the globe, I need to use the horizon on a separate layer. I used a filter called Polar coordinates (Polar coordinates), which you can find in Filter> Distort (Filter> Distortion). But before applying the filter, the layer must be vertically reflected (Ctrl + T, then right-click on the layer and select Flip vertical (Flip Vertical)).

When using this filter, you may want to leave some empty areas around the object that define the size of the “hole” (in this case, the approximate size of the globe). In this case, you can increase the size of your canvas. Apply a filter (use Rectangular to polar (Rectangular to Polar) and look at the effect in the preview window). If it does not look right, exit, increase the canvas size (Ctrl + Alt + C), then apply the filter again.

When I was satisfied with the result, I placed the horizon in my composition on top of the globe.

Using the same technique, I added another part of the horizon to the left of another stock photo.

To create an eroded lower part of the globe, I used a photo above the other layers:

I erased the upper part to the destroyed edges and masked them with a layer of the globe (placing it directly above the layer with the globe, then holding down Alt and simultaneously pressing the line between these two layers in the layers panel). I also used features Transform (Transformations) and Warp (Deformations) to adjust the mud layer to the roundness of the globe.

I used a picture from an airplane to place it on the top of the globe, I found this stock photo very suitable twice: because it is located at the right angle and because of the symbolism of the lighthouse.

To better attach this photo to the surface of the globe, I used another Distort filter (Distortion Filter), called Spherize (Spherization):

Then, I added layer mask (layer mask) to hide unwanted areas:

The rest was a matter of adjusting the exposure and the colors so that they fit as well as possible into my surroundings. I also darkened the area in contact with the back of a man.

Light effects
The complex of light is a two-bladed sword: it creates a majestic atmosphere in the image, but it is very easy to get lost in the coordination of light and shadow with the source of light. In this case, I wanted a back light effect to better emphasize the horizon.

Since then, as the “planet-backpack” appeared its own atmosphere, I introduced the light source beyond the horizon, it will create a pleasant external glow around the planet and the hero. Another thing to be taken into account is the snowy landscape: it will reflect and bring light back to normal, so even a dimly lit scene will seem brighter than usual (imagine a winter night with snow and a full moon). The snow will also highlight the colors around it (greenish blue (approx. (# 008080)) and shades of blue).

But there is more than one light source: a series of lights. Let’s get into the details of creating a back glow effect. Using adjustment layers (adjustment layers), I darkened the sky, and then, on separate layers, I painted on the background of the globe in white and greenish-blue. I changed blending modes (blending modes) for some layers on Soft light (Soft light) and Overlay (Overlap) to create a halo effect around the globe.

Then, I duplicated the group, where I gathered all the layers of the globe. I created a group because I was only interested in the outline of the globe as a whole (along with the horizon). Holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on the group, I selected the outline, and using Select> Modify> Border (Select> Modify> Border) I selected a border width of 10px.

In the new layer, I filled the selection with white, removed the selection, then applied Gaussian blur (Gaussian blur). I put this layer on the top of the globe. In the same vein, I continued to create a small halo around the person.

I later added a garland to add more to the atmosphere …

… which, of course, called for a bit of greenish-blue reflections in various parts (globe, man, snow):

To complete the image: Little sharpening (sharpness) adjustment layer (adjustment layer) Exposure (Exposure) and done!

Author: Madalina Iordache? Levay

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