Use fractals to create a collage in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to combine images with fractals to create your own surreal photo manipulation. In this lesson you will learn about the various techniques of combining, including the technique of creating light effects.

In this picture reflects the world of dreams, in the world which we fall when we fall asleep. First we combine the fractals, and then we add the ladder and the girl. At the end of the lesson, we will conduct color correction and focus on lighting the entire scene. You will need Photoshop CS or higher to complete this tutorial. So let’s get started!

The final result:

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

Step 1. Create a background

Open Photoshop. Create a new document in Photoshop with the following sizes 939 px in height and 1410 px in width, resolution 72 pixels / inch:

Choose a tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G)). Fill the background with black.

Step 2. Add the main fractal

Download the с fractal.png ’fractal image from the link at the beginning of this tutorial, and then move this fractal image to our working document. Double-click the layer name to rename it, give it a new name. FRACTAL (FRACTAL).

If you do not see the Layers Palette panel, then go Window – Layers (Window> Layers) to make this panel appear.

Quick tip: renaming layers is a good practice that will help you when working with multiple layers, since this makes it easy to find the desired layer.

Step 3. Add a ladder

Download the staircase image from the link at the beginning of this lesson, and then move this image to our working paper. Place a layer with a picture of a ladder on top of all other layers. Name this layer STAIRS (STAIRS).

Next, go Editing – Transformation – Flip Horizontal (Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal) to flip horizontally with the stairs.

The result should be as in the screenshot below. In the lower left corner of the screenshot, you can also see the order of the layers.

Step 4. Combine the stairs

As you can see, the image with the stairs is too bright, and also yellow tones are highlighted in this image. In this step, we will correct the image in order to align the staircase with the entire scene.

Click on the layer STAIRS (STAIRS) to make sure that this layer is active. Let’s go Image – Correction – Choose a color (Image> Adjustments> Match Color) and in the settings window that appears, set the settings shown in the screenshot below.

Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes. As you can see, the image of the stairs has turned bluer, but it is still too bright. To correct this, add a correction layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers. Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below.

Button Add a new adjustment layer or fill layer (Add new fill or adjustment layer) can be found at the bottom of the layers palette.

We need to correct only the bottom layer, which is located under the adjustment layer (layer STAIRS (STAIRS)) and do not apply the correction to all other layers. To do this, convert the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) in a clipping mask by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the panel, which is highlighted by a turquoise square in the screenshot below.

At the moment, the result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 5. Additional combination

In this step, we will hide separate parts of the image with a ladder in order to combine it with the fractal that is located below. To layer STAIRS (STAIRS), add a layer mask. This button Add layer mask (Add layer mask) can be found at the bottom of the layers panel.

Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)), set the soft round brush. opacity (Opacity) 80%, brush color is black. Make sure the mask layer is active, for this click on it. Start brushing over the areas you want to hide.

In the screenshot below, you can see the processing areas with a brush, these areas are highlighted with a turquoise hue.

Step 6. Add the second fractal

Download another изображение fractal2.png ’fractal image from the link at the beginning of this tutorial, and then move this image to our working paper. Place this image with a fractal on top of all other layers, name this layer FRACTAL 2 (FRACTAL 2).

To layer FRACTAL 2 (FRACTAL 2), add a layer mask. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)). Using the same technique that we used in the previous step, draw a combination of the fractal with the entire scene. Focus on creating a smooth transition between the bottom of FRACTAL 2 and the rest of the scene.

The result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 7. Color Correction

In this step, we will reduce the saturation of our scene, and also add contrast to enhance the atmosphere.

Let’s start with saturation. Add a new adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) on top of all other layers, set the value Saturation (Saturation on) at -60.

To enhance the contrast, add a correction layer. Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) on top of all other layers, set the value The contrast (Contrast) at 55.

In the screenshot below, you can compare the effect of each adjustment layer on the entire composition.

Step 8. Create a vignette

In this step, we will create a vignette effect to add more depth to our scene.

Choose a tool Oval area (Eliptical Marquee Tool (M)). Create a selection as shown in the screenshot below.

To make the transition smooth, let’s go Selection – Modification – Feather (Select> Modify> Feather). Install Feather Radius (Feather Radius) 300 px. Click ‘OK’.

Next, go Selection – Inversion (Select> Inverse).

Now add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers. Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below.

As you can see, we darkened only the edges of the image.

Step 9. Add a girl

Download the image of the girl at the link at the beginning of this lesson, and then move this image to our working paper. Place the image with the girl on top of all other layers, name this layer GIRL (GIRL).

To combine the image of the girl with the whole scene, we need to reduce the saturation, and also slightly darken the image with the girl.

Add adjustment layer Vibration (Vibrance) on top of all other layers. Set the value Vibration (Vibrance) at -70. Transform this adjustment layer into a clipping mask to the girl layer so that the correction of this adjustment layer affects only the image of the girl, and not the whole scene.

To darken the image of the girl, add a correction layer Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers. Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below.

Convert this adjustment layer Curves (Curves) in the clipping mask to the layer with the girl.

Next, add an adjustment layer. Selective color correction (Selective color). Set the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below. Also, do not forget to convert this adjustment layer to the clipping mask for the layer with the girl.

The result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 10. Add Shadow

In this step, we will add a shadow falling from the girl to create a realistic scene.

Quick tip: when creating photo manipulations, do not forget to add shadows to the composition objects.

Create a new layer below the girl layer, name this layer “Shadow’ ”. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)), set the soft round brush. opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Press ‘Alt’ to activate the tool. Pipette (Eyedropper Tool). Select a dark shade pattern. Now draw a shadow, as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 11. Create a fog

In this step, we will add a fog effect to create a magical atmosphere.

Move the image with fractal ‘fractal1.png’ to our working paper, placing it on top of all other layers. Name the fractal layer FOG (MIST).

To combine this fractal with the whole scene, reduce Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 60%.

To layer FOG (MIST), add a layer mask. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)), set the soft round brush. opacity (Opacity) 80%, brush color is black. Make sure that the layer mask is active, for this click on it.

Paint over the areas you want to hide. You can see the areas of processing with a brush in the screenshot below, these areas are highlighted in turquoise.

We need the fog to be visible only on the stairs.

The result should be as in the screenshot below.

Step 12. Add the fractal in front of the girl

Download the с fractal3.png ’fractal image from the link at the beginning of this tutorial, and then move this image to our working paper. Place the fractal layer on top of all other layers, name this layer FRACTAL 3 (FRACTAL 3).

Make sure the fractal is located in front of the girl, so we will create the feeling that the girl is part of the scene. In the screenshot below, you can compare how the image looks before and after this step.

Step 13. Strengthen chiaroscuro

In this step, we will focus on creating more interesting lighting.

Create a new layer on top of all other layers, name this layer. Shadows (SHADOWS). Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light).

Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)), set a soft round brush, reduce Opacity (Opacity) brush up to 10%, brush color is white. Paint over the areas highlighted in turquoise in the screenshot below.

Then change the brush color to black. Paint with black brush the areas that are highlighted in the screenshot below.

Step 14: Add Light

In this step, we will apply a blue glow in the center of the image to add more depth.

Create a new layer on top of all layers, change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (Soft Light). Name this layer SHINE (LIGHT).

Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B)), set a soft round brush with an opacity of 25%. Choose a light blue tint for the brush. I used the color shade # 2de3bf.

Now just draw a large spot in the center of the image. In the screenshot below, you can see where you should paint over the brush.

Step 15. Add Contrast

In this step, we will focus on enhancing the contrast of the entire scene. For this purpose, we use two adjustment layers. Curves (Curves).

Add first adjustment layer Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers. Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below.

Add a second adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all other layers. Set the curve as shown in the screenshot below.

In the screenshot below, you can compare the effect of each adjustment layer on the entire composition.

Step 16. Color Correction

In the final step, we will add cool tones, and also slightly reduce the saturation of the image.

To correct color, add an adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) on top of all other layers. Set the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below.

To reduce saturation, add a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) on top of all other layers, set the value Saturation (Saturation on) at –10.

Thank you for being with me until the end of the lesson. Hope you learned something new today. I would be glad to see your work. I wish you a pleasant time working with Photoshop!

The final result:

PSD lesson

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