We transform a photo in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I would like to show you how to turn an ordinary photo into a fabulous one, as well as show various ways to apply chiaroscuro.

Final result

Baseline materials:

Step 1Background preparation
Open the photo of the girl in Photoshop. Now this photo is a bit boring, ordinary photo. The picture was taken during the day, but you want to turn this picture into a creative one. You also want to change the soft and diffused light to the accent light coming from the butterfly. In this lesson, you will learn how to do this.

Let’s start by cleaning the background. There are several distracting bright spots on the image (See screenshot below). We will remove them in this step.

Create a new layer above the layer. Background (BACKGROUND) and name it, for example, Background Retouching (BACKGROUND RETOUCH).

You can find the button Create New Layer (Create a new layer) at the bottom of the layers palette. If you do not see this layer palette, just press F7 on the keyboard or go Window – Layers (Window> Layers) and then it will appear.

Choose a tool Stamp (Stamp Tool (S) and darken the lightest parts of the bokeh. (If you do not know how to use the tool Stamp (Stamp Tool), then you can watch this video).

After this step, your background should look like the screenshot below.

Step 2Preparation Allotment Girls
In the next step, we will correct the lower part of the background – the leaves. So that we could only correct them, and not the rest of the image, we will need to create a girl’s mask and scaffolding in this step.

We need to create a mask with sharp edges, for this we use the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L). For the forest, you must create a mask with a soft transition over the horizon. For this, ideally use the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B).

Go to layer Background (BACKGROUND) and select a tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L). Next, select the girl. You are not required to be careful when selecting the central part of the girl’s body, but you must be careful when selecting the lower part.

I know that selection is a boring job and there is little creativity in creating manipulations, but this is an important part for creating a realistic image. Therefore, try to be patient.

In the screenshot below, you can see how the mask of the lower body should look.

Press the button Editing in Quick Mask mode (Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q), which can be found in the toolbar (or simply press the Q key on the keyboard). In this mode, the mask will turn red.

Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B), set a soft round brush and select black. Next paint over the wood. You should have something like this:

Press the Q key to return to normal mode. You see only the boundaries of the mask.

So that we can work with the mask later, we need to save it. For this we go Selection – Save Selection (Select> Save Selection) and save under the name, for example, Leaves (LEAVES).

Let the mask remain active.

Step 3Correction leaves
In this step, we will change the color of the leaves to give them a bit more magical atmosphere. For this, we use two adjustment layers – Selective Color Correction and Hue / Saturation (Selective Color and Hue / Saturation).

The use of corrective layers is much better than direct correction. Any changes you make with the help of adjustment layers can always be undone. In case of a correction directly, you can make as many changes as the tab allows Story (History), plus you lose all the last steps.

At the bottom of the layers palette, you can find the button Create an adjustment or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer) in the same place as the button Create New Layer (Add new layer), which was mentioned in the previous steps.

Let’s start with Selective color correction (Selective color). Press the button Create an adjustment or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer) and select Selective color correction (Selective color). Set the values ​​as in the screenshot.

Now you can see that due to the fact that our mask was active (in the previous step, we did not deselect), the adjustment layer affects only the leaves. On the mask thumbnail, you can see which parts of the image were corrected – this is shown in white, the part without correction – is shown in black.

Continue, further saturation. Before we create the adjustment layer Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), we will need to re-activate the mask. To do this, press the Ctrl key + click on the thumbnail of the adjustment layer Selective color correction (Selective color). The mask has become active again.

Next, create a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation), and set the values ​​as in the screenshot below.

Since we have a mask active, then again only the leaves will be subjected to color correction.
At the moment, your image should look like the screenshot below.

Step 4 Decrease Forest Saturation
In the previous step, we added cold shades to the leaves. In order to create balance, we must also give the forest in the background cool shades. To do this, we once again apply the adjustment layers, this time Color Balance (Color Balance) and Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

If we look closely at the forest, then you can see green moss, which is a little distracting. To reduce saturation a little and not distract our attention, add a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set the value Saturation (Saturation) at -100.

Click on the thumbnail of the adjustment layer. Choose a tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the thumbnail with a solid black color. The correction will disappear.

Select Brush (Brush Tool), set a soft round brush, lower Opacity (Opacity) brushes up to about 30%. Set the color white and paint over the green parts of the forest. In the areas of staining, a correction will again appear and, accordingly, the moss saturation on the trees will decrease.

Step 5Adding Woods shades of blue
Next, it’s time to apply Color Balance (Color Balance), as I mentioned in the previous step. We will apply a correction layer to create a colder and more magical atmosphere.

Create a new adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) and set the values ​​as in the screenshot below.

We want to change the colors of the forest, but the whole image. We need to change the layer mask of the adjustment layer. As in the previous step, select the tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer mask with a solid black color. Next, select Brush (Brush Tool (B) and paint over white over the forest so that the Color Balance correction appears again.

In the screenshot above, you can see where I painted in white. You may have noticed that I also dyed the girl’s hair to give them an identical shade, just like the background.
At the moment, your image should look like the screenshot below.

Step 6Add the fog
If you read my lessons, you probably know that I really like to use fog to create a magical and fantastic atmosphere in your work. And this work is no exception, so in this step we will add fog over the horizon.

Download the brushes, the link to which is given at the beginning of the lesson (or any other brushes that mimic the fog that you are comfortable using), install the brushes in Photoshop. (If you don’t know how to install them, you can watch this tutorial.)

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it FOG. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B) and install one of the brushes that you just installed. Hold down the Alt key to activate Dropper (Eyedropper Tool (I) and select some very bright shades in the background.

It is better to avoid using pure white and black in your work, because they are rarely found in life. Often you can see light shades of blue, yellow or green instead of white and black, for example brown instead of white. These shades do not look so rough and look more realistic.

Enough talk, just draw a fog. Below in the screenshot you can see where I painted the fog to have an idea. The fog is located behind the girl, so avoid applying fog on top of the girl.

Step 7Change the color of the sweater
You already got rid of two distracting things – too white bokeh and green moss. One more thing that in my opinion distracts attention is a yellow sweater on a girl. In this step, we will change the color yellow to blue.

First we need to highlight the sweater. Select Lasso (Lasso Tool (L) and create a mask.

Without removing the selection, create a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) on top of all layers and apply the following values, as in the screenshot below.

Below, we can see how the image will look after seven steps.

Step eightDarkening background
This step is very fast. We’ll just darken the leaves and the forest a bit. To do this, we will create a new adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) and set the following values ​​to 0; 0.72; 255.

Fill the layer mask of the adjustment layer Levels (Levels) solid black. Select Brush (Brush Tool (B), install a large soft brush, reduce Opacity (Opacity) brush up to about 40%. Set the color white and paint the background. In the screenshot below, you can see the area highlighted in red where I painted over with a brush. As you can see, I tried to be precise and used a soft transition to get a natural look.

Step 9Making Glow for a Girl
As you can see in the final image, above the girl there is a rich source of light (butterfly). In this and the next steps, we will add and change the light on the image to get the same effect.

In this step, we will focus on creating a glow on the face of the girl and her hair. This step would simplify the tablet, but you can handle the mouse too. All that is required of you is a little more patience to make wonderful touches.

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it, for example, Glow on the girl. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B) and set Head Diameter (Master Diameter) brushes for 1 to 2 px. Opacity (Opacity) set to 60 – 70%. Hold Alt to activate Dropper (Eyedropper Tool (I), select the light blue shades on the image. Next, start painting the edges of the girl’s hair and face, which should be lighter due to the glow of the butterfly.

In the screenshot below, you can see where I painted over. I specifically used the black background so that you could visually see the areas that were painted.

As you can see, I painted over the “top” of the face – the nose, cheeks, forehead and borders of the lips. I also added glow around her hair and little spots of light on her eyes. You have to repeat it all.

Step 10 Change Light on Clothes and Trees
Let’s focus on adding light and shadows to clothes and trees. Similar actions, as in the previous step, only in this case, we will not stain on an empty layer, but will do it on a layer filled with a gray tinge of medium tones.

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it, for example, LIGHT ON CLOTHING and TREES. Choose a tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G), set the gray tint to # 808080 and fill it with a layer.

To combine with our image, change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay). Blend modes can be found at the top of the layers palette. (See screenshot below)

Next, we will use the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B) to lighten and darken some areas. When you apply white, you brighten, when black, you darken.

Install Head Diameter (Master Diameter) brushes by 1 – 3 px and decrease Opacity (Opacity) up to about 5%. And paint over the areas where the light from the butterfly falls. Next, switch to black and darken the areas that remain in the shadows.

In the following screenshot, you can visually see the areas of darkening and lightening. The blend mode was not changed, it is set to Normal (Normal), so you can see the exact strokes, not the final result.

As you can see, the areas of clothing that are closer to the butterfly are lighter, including trees that are closer. The opposite side of clothing and trees is darkened. You should also add shadows under the girl and if you want, you can darken the girl’s eyes with shadows.

Setting the blending mode for this layer Overlap (Overlay), your image should look something like this.

Step eleven Add Shadows
In my opinion, the picture will look more dramatic with the addition of even more shadows. You have already created part of the shadows in the previous step, but in this step we will add even more shadows.

The process of adding shadows is the same as in step 10. Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it, for example, Additional Shadows. Choose a tool Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G), set the gray tint to # 808080 and fill the layer with a gray tint. To blend with our image, change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay).

Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B), set Head Diameter (Master Diameter) brushes by 2 – 4 px and decrease Opacity (Opacity) brush up to 5%. Set the color to black and paint over the areas with shadows to make them darker.
In the following screenshot, you can clearly see the blackout areas. I switched the blending mode to Normal (Normal) so you can better see the touches.

Step 12 Butterfly Glow
This step is very fast, in it we will add a glow in the area where we will add a butterfly in the next steps.

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it GLOW. Select Brush (Brush Tool (B), select a soft round brush and set the brush size to 350 px. Set Opacity (Opacity) brush by 20%. Hold Alt to activate Dropper (Eyedropper Tool (I), select the light blue hues in the image.

Just draw one big spot over the girl’s head. In the screenshot below, you can see how the image should look like at the moment.

Step 13 Additional Correction
Before we continue to add other elements of the composition to our image, we will need to make two minor corrections – remove the light areas around the girl and add soft colors.

Let’s start by removing the light areas. Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it LESS OF LIGHT. Fill it again with shades of gray # 808080 and change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay).

Select Brush (Brush Tool (B), set to black, Opacity (Opacity) at 5% and paint over the areas that are highlighted in the following screenshot.

Paint black around the edges to create a soft vignette effect.

Let’s continue further, then add a soft tone. You will do this very quickly by creating a new adjustment layer. Photo filter (Photo Filter), create a new adjustment layer on top of all layers and apply the following settings, as in the screenshot below.

After all these steps, your manipulation should look like the screenshot below.

Step 14Add Bokeh Texture
Download the Bokeh texture by the link that is listed at the beginning of the lesson and move to our document. Place the texture on top of all layers and name it SIDE.

Press Ctrl + T and scale the texture to fit our document. To apply the changes, press Enter.

Next, you need to change the blending mode to the corresponding one. You want the black color to disappear, then the blend mode Lightening (Screen) would be perfect in this case. So, change the blend mode side by Lightening (Screen).

As you noticed, your image has become brighter than before adding texture. This is because the background texture is not pure black, but has shades of dark gray.

To make our image darker again, create a new adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) on top of all layers and darken the image. The values ​​you enter will depend on which texture you use. For me it was enough to apply the values ​​32; 0.94; 255, but you definitely need to apply values ​​depending on the brightness of your image.

In the following screenshot, you can see how the image looks at the moment.

Step 15 Adding Blue Shades
As you could see in the final image, the glow of the butterfly is not white, but blue. Now, the lighting in your image is just a lighter version of the original color. The image will look better if we add more blue hues.

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it, for example, Blue shades of light. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B), set the brush size to about 40 px and Opacity (Opacity) by 15%. Set the color to light blue and paint over the highlights.

In the following screenshot, you can clearly see the areas for adding blue hues. I deliberately placed the background with black in the middle so that it was better to see the changes.

As you can see, the light has become more visible, and the contrast is more higher. This is all due to such a simple step.

Step 16 Blue
If you want to create a sense of night, you will have to add more blue / blue to the image. We will make changes in this step.

First create a new adjustment layer. Color Balance (Color Balance) on top of all layers and apply the following values, as in the screenshot below:

Due to correction Color Balance (Color Balance), the picture has become a bit oversaturated. To fix this, add a new adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and set the value Saturation (Saturation) at -20.

In this screenshot you can see how these two adjustment layers affected the image.

Step 17 Dimming Highlights
Before we continue to add other elements of the composition to our image, we will need to make another correction. On the image there are several bright areas that cause imbalance. These sites are highlighted in the screenshot below.

To make these areas darker, create a new adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) on top of all layers and apply the following values ​​0; 0.67; 255.

Select Fill (Paint Bucket Tool (G), set the color to black and fill the layer mask of the adjustment layer Levels (Levels) in black. Next, select the tool Brush (Brush Tool (B), set the brush size to 250 px and reduce Opacity (Opacity) brush up to about 25%. Set the color to white and fill in the marked areas.

Below, we can see what the image will look like at the moment.

Step 18 Add Butterfly
Download the butterfly image from the link that is listed at the beginning of the lesson and move it to our document. Place on top of all layers and call the BUTTERFLY.

You need to do two things before the actual overlay is to remove the white background in the image and scale it to the appropriate dimensions.

Let’s start by removing the background. Choose a tool Magic wand (Magic Wand Tool (W) and click on the white background to select it. Next, just press the Delete key to delete the selection.

To scale, let’s go Editing – Free Transformation (Edit> Free Transform) or simply press the Ctrl + T keys. Scale the size of the butterfly, as in the screenshot, also rotate the butterfly image. Holding the Ctrl key while scaling will help you keep the proportions.

Press Enter to apply the changes.

Step nineteenOverlay Butterflies
The butterfly you just added has only one purpose – for that. To submit the form, where we will later add broken glass fragments. For this, it is best to see the boundaries of the contour of the butterfly and not be distracted by its colors.

To reduce butterfly saturation, click on the BUTTERFLY layer and press Ctrl + U to activate the correction. Color tone /Saturation(Hue / Saturation). Set the value Saturation (Saturation) at -100 to reduce color saturation.

In order to mix the butterfly with the rest of the image, you need to change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay). Thanks to this mode, you will see only the boundaries that are ideal for our ideas.

After this step, your image should look the same as in the screenshot below.

Step 20 Adding Glass Shards
Creating a butterfly from broken glass fragments is actually a very easy procedure. The main thing is to find fragments of the same shape as the outer edge of the butterfly and then move them to the appropriate place.

Download the broken glass image from the link at the beginning of the lesson and transfer it to our document. Place the image on top of all layers and name the layer GLASS.

To overlay the fragments appropriately with the rest of the image, change the blending mode to Lightening (Screen). (Remember that you used the same blending mode for blending bokeh? The principle here is the same – you want black to become transparent and white to be visible, therefore, blending mode Lightening (Screen)the best choice for you).
Now, select the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L) and select one of the glass fragments. Next, select the tool Move (Move Tool (V) and move this shard to the butterfly. Press Ctrl + D to deselect. Repeat this operation several times until you completely fill the butterfly’s body. It may sound a little boring, but trust me that it will take no more than 10 minutes.

Your butterfly should look the same as in the screenshot below, after you complete this step.

Step 21 Correction Glasses
If you look at your image right now, you can see that the butterfly would look better if it were a little brighter. In this step, we fix it.

Create a new adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) and apply the following values ​​12; 0.85; 227.

We want to make brighter and more contrasting only the butterfly, and not the whole image. Fill the layer mask of the adjustment layer Levels (Levels) in black. Further. select instrument Brush (Brush Tool (B), set Opacity (Opacity) brushes at 100% and set the color white. Paint over the butterfly.

Step 22 Add Bokeh
Now, the upper part of the image is too empty and does not cause interest. The whole image also looks static. We will help – a small addition of bokeh.

The bokeh on this image is not only because it looks beautiful or something like that. In fact, bokeh A) represents fuzzy glass fragments and B) helps to create a sense of space.

Move the “big bokeh” texture onto our document and place on top of all layers. Name the new layer BIG SIDE and change the blending mode to Lightening (Screen).

Since you want to create a feeling of space, this bokeh should create such a feeling in front of a girl. Therefore, this bokeh should be larger than the other bokeh in the image. To do this, press Ctrl + T and increase as much as necessary. Press Enter to apply the changes.

If you look at your image right now, then you can see a lot of empty and uninteresting sites. I marked them in the following screenshot, so it’s better to see what I’m talking about.

Place several small bokeh on the marked areas. The procedure for how to do this is the same as placing the BIG SIDE.

Your image should look like the screenshot below.

Step 23 Add Shadows
Two more steps and you have finished the lesson! In this step, we will make the shadow under the girl a little more visible and add a little light to her bangs.

Create a new layer on top of all layers and name it, for example. SHADOW AND PEEL. Choose a tool Brush (Brush Tool (B). Set soft round brush, set brush size to 250 px and set Opacity (Opacity) brush at 10%. Set a dark brown shade and draw a shadow under the girl.

The screenshot indicates where to draw.

Next, choose a slightly light blue color and carefully paint over the bangs of the girl.

Step 24 Sharpening
This is the promised last step and it will be very fast.

In this step, we will increase the sharpness of the image. To do this, press Ctrl + A to select the entire image, then Ctrl + Shift + C to copy the selection. Next, press Ctrl + V to paste on the new layer. Place this new merged layer on top of all layers and name it Sharpen.

Next, go Filter – Other – Color Contrast (Filter> Other> High Pass) and set the value Radius (Radius), so you can see the neat edges of the image. Click OK.

To blend the layer properly with the rest of the image, change the blending mode to Overlap (Overlay).

Total Result

Posted by: Jarka Hrncarkova

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