In this tutorial, I will demonstrate the basic methods and adjustments used to create collages.
Before you read the lesson, let me present my final result. I will try to explain in detail how to achieve the same or similar results.
Step 1. Open the image of the girl. We will circle the girl with the stone on which she sits using the tool. PenTool (Feather) (P). When we finish creating a path around the desired object, we will transform it into a selected area and free the object from the background.
(Having created a path, click inside the area with the right mouse button and select the item “form a selected area”, invert the selection Shift + Ctrl + I and click delete. Remove selection).
I usually work with high resolution, so I put the girl on the stone in a document of 2600×2500 pixels, but if you have a slow PC with low RAM, you can work with a lower resolution. Create a new document, for example, 1000×1000 pixels and insert the image of a girl into it.
Open the image of the desert and place it in our document below the girl layer.
Step 2. You can leave the same sky at will, but I wanted other colors to work with, so I replaced the sky with a bluer one. Open the image of the sky and paste it on a new layer on top of the layers with the girl and the background .. Let’s call this layer “Blue Sky” and, if necessary, reduce its size. Then I partially mixed the sky using LayerMask (layer mask) and lineargradient (linear gradient), but you can do it with EraserTool (eraser) (E) in the form of a large soft brush, or by adding LayerMask (add layer mask) to work on the mask with a soft black brush. All at your discretion.
Step 3. You see that when there are already basic objects in the work, you can begin the process of selecting the color and mixing it. Let’s start with the selection of colors. I usually use adjustment layers for this. GradientMap (Gradient map). Create two adjustment layers GradientMap (Gradient map). This can be done by going to Layer> New AdjustmentLayer> Gradient Map (layer – new adjustment layer – gradient map), or using the icon located in the lower part of the layers palette.
Let’s experiment with different colors in the gradient map. I prefer the ones below. Try different blending modes for adjustment layers, or use the following:
Background Correction Layer: Blend Mode LinearBurn (linear dimmer) with an opacity of 47%
Sky correction layer: blending mode Color (color), lowering the layer opacity to 47%
(Press Alt and click between the Gradient Map layer and the sky layer to use the sky layer to create a clipping mask. This is necessary so that the adjustment layer creates a color effect only for the sky layer, without affecting the background image. Not forget to create clipping masks and in case of further adjustments)
Step 4. Now that the background looks better, it’s time to work on the model. In this case, I again used several adjustment layers to achieve the desired result. If you are new to creating collages, then get used to using multiple adjustment layers for one layer. And if each adjustment creates small changes in the image, then together they give an incredible effect.
First, I made adjustments to the face and other too light parts of the girl’s body (to the places where the exposure was too high). I also wanted to remove the blue stains on her skin, on boots and stone. The main thing I did was to correct the image of the girl and adapt to the background by reducing the luminosity by Levels (levels).
(Go to Layer – NewAdjustmentLayer – Levels (Layer – new adjustment layer – levels). Do not forget to put a tick in the box “use the previous layer to create a clipping mask”). I used color # eoc576 photo filter to add a little yellowness to harmony with the desert. (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – PhotoFilter (Layer – new adjustment layer – photo filter.) Change blend mode to Color (color tone), opacity set to 53%).
Next, I increased Saturation up to +24 by adding a new adjustment layer Layer – NewAdjustmentLayer – Hue / Saturation (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Hue / Saturation). Then get rid of the blue tone on the skin and boots with the help of a correction layer Color balance (Color balance).
The final touch is the addition of a new adjustment layer. GradientMap (Gradient map). I added a tricolor gradient, see below:
If as a result you get a lot of adjustment layers, then for ease of navigation on the layers palette, you can group them.
Step 5. Open the image with the pyramids and separate them from the background, as we did with the image of a girl. Place a layer with pyramids above the “Blue Sky” layer, but below the model layer. Add layer mask (Add layer mask) and on the mask with a soft brush of black color, we will slightly mix the edges of the pyramid with the desert surface. Add the pyramids InnerShadow (inner shadow) to create the illusion of far space.
Step 6. Open the image of the planet. Insert it into our document, reduce the size. Let us turn the image of the planet to use its more detailed part. Using the tool Elliptical marquee tool (Ellipse) (U) and hold Shift select the planet except for the glow. Then re-add glow to our planet using the layer style OuterGlow (external glow).
Step 7. Add a dead tree to our scene. We use PenTool (Feather) (P). to separate it from the background (you can use the channels or other tools and methods you are used to). Adding a tree to our document, duplicate this layer and apply to the duplicate Filter> Stylize> Glowing Edges (Filter-styling-glow edges). Set the value Width (width) edges 1, Brightness (brightness) 5-7, Smoothness (softening) 5-6.
Apply the filter and discolor the image. Image> Adjustments> Desaturate or Shift + Ctrl + U. In the end, we have a black tree with some white stripes. Set the blending mode to Screen (Screen / Lightening), by right-clicking on the layer select Create Clipping Mask (create clipping mask). Having done this, we will give the tree a light multiplier effect.
If you want to improve the effect, duplicate the layer with a normal tree and place a duplicate as Clipping mask (clipping mask) between the layer with the normal tree and the one you just created .. Add a small blur Surface Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur on the surface)
The effect is not so important, but draws attention to the details that give the image a nice look.
Step 8. To add some details, I tied an iron heart to a tree. You can use any other element.
Add adjustment layer Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Hue / Saturation (Layer – new adjustment layer – Hue / Saturation) and increase the saturation. Also add another adjustment layer. Levels (levels) and increase the value midtones(medium tone) to make the heart brighter.
Step 9. Creating a rope is easy. Using a small hard brush and holding the key Shift in the pressed state, draw a straight line. Let’s try to mount the knot so that the rope looks tied. Apply layer style BevelandEmboss (embossed) to give the rope volume.
Step 10. The model’s hair looks wet, and we create a dry, waterless world. Let’s change this situation. Choose one of the proposed types of hair. You can try with other hairstyles. Reduce hair glow with Layer – NewAdjustmentLayer – Levels (Layer – new adjustment layer – levels). and change the color with Layer – NewAdjustmentLayer – Hue / Saturation (Layer – new adjustment layer – Hue / Saturation).
Step 11. It is a very important moment, called Dodge / Burn (Lighten / Fade). These are powerful tools that give a brilliant result and can qualitatively change the appearance of the work. I will show how to use this tool without unnecessary consequences. Create a layer above all the layers on the palette and go to the menu Edit – Fill (Edit – Fill). Select gray 50% (gray 50%). Change the layer blending mode to Overlay (Overlap). Take the tool Burn (Dimmer), set the Range to Midtones (mid-tones) and Exposure (exposure) to about 8%. Using a soft brush of medium size, let’s start painting in places where there should be shadows. For areas such as cracks in the trunk of a tree, use a small brush. Using tool Dodge tool (Clarifier) and similar installations, draw on the lighted areas.
I also made a glare Lensesflare on the right side of the pyramids, adding a new layer of black color and setting for it the blending mode Screen (Screen / Lightening).
(Go to Filter – Render – Lensflare(Filter – Rendering – Flare), set the brightness to about 100%, lens type 105 mm).
Step 12. Finally, as I usually do in photo manipulations (collages), we will add a few basic adjustments to the final result using three adjustment layers GradientMap (Gradient map) and adjustment layer PhotoFilter (Photo Filter), see settings below:
Author: Andrei Oprinca