Twisted in the clouds

This lesson was inspired by Miriam Webster’s “Til I See Your Face”. In this tutorial, using Photoshop CS5, we will combine several images to create a romantic collage. To add details and mood, we also apply brushes and adjustment layers.

Let’s start!


Step 1

Open the “Beach” image in Photoshop. Double click on the layer to unlock the layer with the shore. I like this photo and I will use it as a light source. I want the light to flow from the left side.

Therefore, I turn to Editing > Transform > Flip horizontally (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontally), this will flip the landscape.

Step 2

Let’s make some small changes to our background. First of all, add an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels). To add this layer, click on the black and white circle icon at the bottom of the layers panel. In the list that appears, select the necessary adjustment Levels (Levels). Set the values ​​as shown in the example image.

Next we will add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves).

Step 3

Now we will add clouds to our sky. To do this, I use the appropriate brushes. You can paint the clouds yourself using a regular round brush or use ready-made brushes.

Set the foreground color to white and background color to black. Create a new layer. Activate the tool Brush (Brush tool). Draw clouds that are closer to the horizon. Lower the layer’s opacity to 50%. Then create a new layer, on top of the previous one. Draw clouds on this layer, are closer to the viewer; set the opacity of this layer to between 60% and 90%.

Use soft tool Eraser (Еraser tool) and erase some of the clouds that seem to you superfluous.

Create another new layer, on top of the previous ones. We will add clouds to this layer again, the opacity of this layer will be equal to 100%. To make the foreground clouds denser and brighter, duplicate the last layer.

Step 4

Create a new layer and add some white birds flying above the clouds, use the “Flock of Pigeons” brushes for this.

Step 5

Now we will add a girl with an umbrella to our collage.
First of all, find and open an image of a suitable model.

Now you need to separate the character from the background. If you are using a version of Photoshop CS5, I recommend using a layer mask for this and adjusting it using the function Refine edge (Refine Edge).

If you work in earlier versions of the program – use the tool Pen (Ren Tool).
And so, double-click on the open in the new document, the image with the model, in order to unlock the layer. Activate the tool Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool) and create a selection around the contour of the girl and the umbrella.

Make sure that the Quick Selection Tool is still active, and click on the Refine Edge button to go to the settings dialog box.
In the tab View mode (View Mode) set the view “On layers“(On Layers).

Then check the box next to the “Smart radius“(” Smart Radius “) (tab Edge detection (Edge Detection)). Adjust this value with reference to your image, in my case I will leave the default settings. Also check the box next to the “Clear color“(” Decontaminate Colors “) (tab Conclusion (Output)), this will help remove unwanted colors along the edges. For the parameter “Output to” (“Output to”) set the value “New layer with layer mask“(New Layer with Layer Mask), click OK.

In the example below, you see that we have a new layer with a girl whose background is hidden under the mask of the layer.

To continue the work, transfer the resulting layer with the girl to your main working document.

In order to fully prepare the image with the model for further work, activate the tool Stamp (Clone Stamp Tool) and work on the area where you can see the chair, use the dress as the source of the clone. Then, on the layer mask, hide the girl’s hand using the black Brush (Brush Tool).

Step 6

Open the image with the same model but in a different perspective. Using this photo we will restore the hand.

Activate the tool Pen (Pen Tool) and create an outline around the girl’s left arm.

When the arm is completely circled, go to the tab Contours. Click on the icon “Load outline as selection”. Return to the palette Layers and copy the selection to a new layer.

Transfer the copied brush to your work document.

Step 7

Now you need to connect a new hand and a girl using a layer mask. But first, drag the hand to the desired position and scale it, as shown in the example.

To add a layer mask go to Layer> Layer Mask> Show All (Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All). You will add a layer mask, filled with white. Stand on the layer mask, activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool). In the settings of the brush, set the color to black, the type of brush is round, soft. Hide the extra area between the elbow and the wrist.

When the hand looks natural, select the layer with the girl and the layer with the hand. Then click the right mouse button and in the submenu use the function Merge layers (Merge layers).

Step 8

Use the T functionformation (Transform) and scale the image with the model (reduce it). Then activate the tool Move (Move Tool) and place the girl in the clouds.

Let’s move on to adding adjustments to the image with the model. The first thing I recommend is to add this correction. Levels (Levels) (Image> Correction> Levels (Image> Adjustments> Levels)). Settings: 20; -1.25; – 238. Using this adjustment will help lighten the image.

Then apply the correction Curves (Curves) (Image> Correction> Curves (Image> Adjustments> Curves)). This change will help to adjust the tone and light of the character.

Step 9

The girl’s skirt too sags down. In order to fix it and make it appear that the bottom of the dress lies on the clouds, activate the tool Deformation (Warp) (Edit> Transform> Warp (Edit> Transform> Warp)). Then use the bottom corners of the deformation grid and correct the location of the outfit.

Step 10

We work on a hair model. Duplicate the girl layer. Activate the tool Finger (Smudge Tool). Settings for this tool, set these: brush – soft, 3 – 12 pixels; intensity – 100%. Stretch hairs to the right, in order to create the effect of developing hair.

Create another duplicate layer with the girl and continue to work on the hairstyle, changing the intensity and size of the brush for the tool Finger (Smudge Tool).

Step 11

Let’s start work on the lighting of the girl. We will use the tool Clarifier (Dodge Tool). Activate this tool and work out the areas that are shown in the screenshot below.

Step 12

Create a new layer on top of the model layer. Activate the tool Brush (Brush tool); brush color – white. Select a cloud-shaped brush from the list and draw small clouds around the girl and on her dress.

Step 13

Let’s move on to the overall balancing of our collage. This will help us corrective layers.
Add a correction layer on top of all previous layers. Color balance (Color Balance) (click on the crescent icon at the bottom of the layers palette and select Color Balance). Adjust color balance: mid tones; Cyan +6, Magenta -62, Yellow -54.

Set the default foreground and background colors (black and white). And then add a correction layer. Gradient fill (Gradient Fill). Blend mode of this layer change to Bright light (Vivid Light), and opacity (opacity) lower to 40%

Add another adjustment layer. Gradient fill (Gradient Fill). Go to the gradient palette and use the yellow gradient from the Gradient Collection, click OK.

Set the blending mode for the second gradient layer to Overlap (Overlay), opacity (opacity) lower to 68%

Step 14

The next step is to create a reflection on the water surface.
First, you need to create a copy of the layer with the girl and the clouds. Group data layers copy. Flip a group of layers vertically (Editing> Transform> Flip Vertically (Edit> Transform> Flip Vertically)). Scale the inverted image by reducing it by about 75%. Next, move (tool Move (Move Tool)) The image below is on the water.

Go to the group of copied layers and lower the opacity of the girl layer to 24%, and the cloud layer to 63%.

Additionally, I decorated my work with words from a song.
On this our lesson is over!


In this lesson we have created an interesting composition using the capabilities of the program Photoshop. Hope you had a good time! Until next time!

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