Today I have a very easy lesson for you. You will learn how to create a colorful dark manipulation using only two stock images. The technique used in this lesson is chiaroscuro. Hope you enjoy the lesson.
I used only two stock images for this manipulation, but I really liked the final result of the work. The lesson idea was inspired by the song. “Above Beyond feat. Richard Bedford ”, but don’t try to find a connection, it is purely personal.
STEP one. Open the stock image of the background. I love to use high-resolution images, but unfortunately the stock image with the girl we are going to use is not big enough, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to use the paid image because the image with the girl who is sitting is perfect for work, besides this, you do not have to buy anything.
Therefore, reduce the size of the background image to 2000? 1500. I also trimmed the top a bit for a wide compression ratio, but you can do this at the end of the lesson if you wish, so don’t worry about it.
When the size of the background image is ready, open the stock image of the girl who is sitting and separate her from the background using any selection technique. I use the tool Pen (Pen Tool (P), because I like working with this tool, creating perfect edges on images. Put a layer with a girl on top of a layer with a background, as shown in screenshot 1 below.
STEP 2 Basically, the scene is ready, all we have to do is add light effects and correct the light and shadow. First, let’s start with the shadows. I used three layers to create shadows and applied the same shadowing technique that I often used in all my lessons. More information here.
First, let’s create the shadow of the girl. Duplicate the girl layer, flip it vertically and decrease the value Brightness (Lightness) to 0 using correction Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Also, I applied Gaussian blur (Gaussian Blur), set the blur radius to 4px to slightly soften the edges and lower the opacity of the shadow layer.
The second type of shadow I used was soft shadows, which I painted with a soft brush with very low opacity. This shadow is really needed because it makes the picture more realistic. I painted shadows on the wall, on the area on which the girl’s back rests, as well as on the ground and under the girl.
The third and last type of shadow I used is a bit of shadow on the girl’s body. The reason why these shadows are important is because the girl is in a dark environment and therefore, there should also be shadows on her body.
But such areas of the body as the back and legs should be slightly darker than the rest of the body, so I used a soft brush with very low opacity (brush opacity about 13%, brush pressure also about 13%) to draw shadows with black brushes on a new layer, which is used as a clipping mask, which I called the shadows on the body. In the screenshot 2c below, I roughly outlined the areas in dark green where I drew these shadows.
STEP 3. So let’s get down to the correction. You should use adjustment layers as clipping masks, as I did, with this review you have more control over the correction that will not allow spoiling the original image. At the beginning, I used a correction layer. Color balance (Color Balance) in order to add more blue and blue hues in the settings Shadows (Shadows) and Mid tones (Midtones), See screenshot 3.
The following adjustment layer I used is Gradient map (Gradient Map) to add more blue and purple hues, as well as to better combine the girl with the surrounding atmosphere. Change the blending mode for this adjustment layer to Soft light (Soft light), reduce the opacity of this layer to 30%. See screenshot 3b.
The last adjustment layer I used is the adjustment layer Curves (Curves) to make the girl darker, and also to make her look as if she was really sitting under a bridge. See screenshot 3c. You can compare image 1 and image 3c with each other to see what we have applied to the girl at the moment.
STEP 4. It’s time to spend Lightening / Blackout(dodging / burning). As always, I use the technique that can be carried out without losing the quality of the picture, filling the layer with 50% gray, then change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay). A more detailed description of this technique here. In the screenshot below, you can clearly see where I applied the tool. Clarifier / Dimmer (dodged and burned).
So, I darkened certain areas, I clarified some areas, perhaps for a better understanding, it is better to watch the video lesson. I used the value Exposure (Exposure) about 13%, value Range (range) Average tones (midtones). I also used this layer as a clipping mask, because I didn’t want the transitions to bother me.
STEP five. This is my favorite part. I created light effects on the girl’s body with a small brush. The light comes from the city lighting and falls under the bridge. The way in which I imitated the effect of lighting on a girl is to create a small light edge.
That is, created a light on the edge of the girl’s body with a small brush, painting with a brush along the edges. Using the inner shadow option, which I used in other lessons, was not convincing enough for me, so in this lesson I did this work manually, and, in my opinion, the result was very pleasant. For these purposes, I used a tablet, but you can easily handle with the mouse.
So, I created a new layer as a clipping mask, change the blending mode to Lightening basics (Color Dodge), and then I used a small brush (diameter 8-10 px), set the opacity of the brush to 40% a Pressure (Flow) brushes at 10%, set the brush color to # d1d1d1 and start drawing along the edges I wanted to lighten.
The low opacity of the brush is necessary so that you can walk with the brush several times until you gradually create a bright light. For more information, see the video tutorial. This light really makes the image exceptional.
STEP 6 It took me 5 steps to explain the technique, but in the end, we ended up working with a layer with a girl. I created another layer to hold Lightening / Dimming (dodge / burn) background and enhance the light and shadows at the top of the bridge and in other areas.
STEP 7 I really liked the color shades of the background, so I decided to enhance them a bit, but not with the increase saturation (saturation). Instead, I used a soft brush and blend mode Lightening basics (Color Dodge) to apply several color shades similar to the original background shades.
When painting, I used separate color shades on 4 separate layers, so it will be easy for you to see the color shades separately, but you can use all the shades on one layer if you wish.
At the beginning, I used the color shade # 2D2664 and drew a single soft spot in front of the girl and her hands, hugging the knees, which will help to paint her face and give more violet shade, and also make the face brighter. I used a 600 px brush.
The next color cast I used is # 26120f, blending mode also Lightening basics (Color Dodge). See screenshot below.
Use the brush on the arches of the bridge. This time I used # 35124d. Blend mode again Lightening basics (Color Dodge).
And finally, add more blue shades to the bottom next to the girl’s legs. I used the color # 12194d.
STEP 8. I created two more adjustment layers. Gradient map (Gradient Maps), for both layers I used blending mode Lightening basics (Color Dodge), and also reduced the opacity of the layers. This gradient map helps to further enhance the color shades and improve the light. See screenshot below.
STEP 9. As a last step, as well as in many of my other lessons, I used the Stamp of all layers by pressing Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E (go to the topmost layer first) and I applied a filter to the new merged layer Lighting effects (Lighting Effects), set the settings as shown in the screenshot below.
And we finished the lesson, which I hope you enjoyed. Have a good day.