Little winter joys

It seems to me, you can draw anything, there would be a desire. But the trick is that, once having acquired convenient tools for work, then it is unlikely that they will be able to refuse them.

When I discovered Photoshop for myself, at first I calmly used the mouse. Then I had a Wacom Bamboo Fun Small tablet (work surface ~ A6), to which I got attached just in a week of work (how quickly you get used to good!) And today I had the opportunity to test a new model Wacom Bamboo Fun Medium.

Compared with the previous model, the latter is significantly different in size (working area 217×137 mm); Also pleasantly surprised that the mirror-symmetrical design is suitable for both right-handed and left-handed users. And if on my small Wacom model I often used the Touch Ring to scale and scroll the image, then the model under test can switch to touch mode, which is convenient when working in various programs: by touching one or two fingers it is possible to select an icon, open the menu or launch an application, as well as scroll, rotate and scale images.

Having quite a long experience on the tablet, I realized for myself that first of all I appreciate it for the pen’s sensitivity to pressure. This is an excellent opportunity to vary the degree of impact of tools – for example, when placing light accents (lightening and darkening) or to draw lines that change thickness (ideally for drawing hair – a computer mouse cannot do this task). It is nice to have an eraser on the back of the pen – there is no need to refer to the tools tab each time. And of course, express keys play a huge role for comfortable work. The Wacom Bamboo Fun Medium model has four customizable keys directly on the tablet itself, and two more with a pen. It is clear that each artist has his own preferences in the use of various functions and tools. I set up my keys as follows.

Pen: 1 – right mouse button, 2 (together with touching the pen) – creating a copy of the active layer. (Of course, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + j, but, for example, it is inconvenient for me to reach with my finger)

Tablet: 1 – Undo the last action, 2 – free transform (Free Transform), 3 – selection inversion, 4 – enable / disable tablet touch mode.

I decided to dedicate my new job to the passing winter and little winter joys.
At first I always sketch a sketch – until the end of the work it is located on top of the other layers and is turned off. From time to time I turn it on (unobtrusively, with a small degree of opacity) to check the layout of the new elements with the sketch.

We transfer the image of a cupcake to our picture. I used to use the tool to cut an object from the background Pen/Pen , Now with the advent of the tablet, it has become easier and faster to apply. Lasso/Lasso. Selecting the part we need, we invert the selection (one of the most frequent operations — therefore, an express button was useful instead of the difficult Shift + Ctrl + I), we delete the unnecessary background (Delete).

To make the edges of the cupcake the right way and be more like a hill, we use the function Free Transform – Free Transform (and again tablet button), apply the sub-item Deformation/Warp.

Similarly, have a second cupcake.
Add a photo of the sky in the bottom layer.

Dimming its upper part (tool Blackout/Burn) – thus, the background becomes more expressive.
Now our cake will need “icing.” For this we use pictures of winter landscapes, because the texture of snow is important to us. We overlay pictures with snow on top of cupcakes, distorting the images so that the tracks on the snow will be bent properly.

With help Lasso/Lasso cut the required fragment, invert the selection, delete the excess.

We do the same with the other slides, and then adjust the color balance (Ctrl + B) and brightness (Image> Adjustments> Brightness / Contrast / Image>Adjustments> Brightness / Contrast) so that the snow on all planes had the same tone.

The next stage is one of the most enjoyable in work – creating volume with the help of tools. Lightening /Dodge and Blackout/Burn. The edges of the glaze, on which the least amount of light falls, are darkened; bulging areas lighten. The stronger the pressure of the pen, the greater the impact of the tool.

We do the same with the other slides.
I want to mention one more important thing. Placing plans in a collage, you need to remember that the further they are located – the more blurry and faded they look. The edges of each new object transferred to the picture must be smoothed, walking along the contour tool Blur /Blur ; apply to the most distant objects Gaussian blur/GaussianBlur (with increasing distance, the degree of impact is greater), and also slightly reduce saturation (Ctrl + U). I consider these rules in the collage as the main ones, so I apply them further to new objects by default.
We draw on the cupcakes the shadow of the glaze. It is a mistaken opinion that all shadows are gray. I usually choose a tool Pipette/Eyedropper the darkest area on the object (+ Alt in brush mode), and set the intensity (Strength) and opacity (Opacity) Brushes /Brush about 20% (It is better to use a brush of medium softness) In those places where the frosting is in contact with the surface of the cupcakes, the shadows are the darkest (pressing the pen is stronger). Now we see that the icing is lying, not hanging in the air.

We place cakes on cakes. For this, one photo of the berry is enough. To avoid explicit cloning, slightly change the shape of a distant cherry, deform the tail, using the tool Stamp/CloneStamp with opacity (Opacity) 50% change the shape of the flare on the side. From this moment we determine the lighting – the light falls from the top right.

We place an ice track on the first hill: we make the layer translucent, and we deform it, trying to “put” it on the surface of the hill. Then return the opacity of 100% to the layer.

Now we need to adjust the brightness and color balance so that the snow on this layer merges with the background of the mountain. Using the tool Eraser Tool medium hardness (adjust the settings by pressing the right mouse button or the corresponding key on the tablet), erase the edges of the new fragment in such a way as to gently fit the ice track into the general background. Further on in the course of work, we will have to transfer objects to the picture together with pieces of a snowy background, and the following situation may arise. Snow on different layers, as we need, merges with each other, and the object does not look bright enough. In such cases, I create a copy of the layer with a new object, lighten the bottom layer a little, and wipe the upper layer with a selectively soft eraser (for example, a child in dark clothes becomes lighter, while the snow around him is invariably inscribed in brightness on the background)
We place on our collage of children. Here it is important to make it a rule that the smaller the object, the more schematically it should look (in the same way, as in winter landscapes, little men are depicted with several strokes) Therefore, we simplify photographs of children: we remove all small details with the help of a tool Stamp/CloneStamp .

Too bright shapes are muffled by: tool Pipette/Eyedropper select the background color next to (snow or sky), and a wide soft brush with opacity (Opacity) and intensity (Strength) of about 20%, we spend on top of the desired element. It happens that the object is well inscribed in the environment, but it contrasts too much with the background edges. Then in the same way draw a brush (background color) along its contour.
We transfer to the layer with the sky of the angel. This is a photo of a child posing on a chair. The picture was taken in a room in a hurry with insufficient lighting, hence the grain in the dark area (hair). For us, this does not play a special role. Straighten the color balance sliders. With the tool Finger/Smudge intensity (Strength) of about 40%, smoothed strands, and hair now look airy, waving by the wind. For the image of the wings use ready-made brushes. Do not forget to reduce the brightness and contrast of the flying figure, meaning that far in the sky, it does not look very clear.

Use a thin brush to draw a string on a cherry. The second layer is creating the contours of the flags. With the help of the Magic Wand, we select them individually, and in the third layer we fill them with any colors that correspond to our work, using the tool Fill /PaintBucket. After that, delete the layer with the contours of the checkboxes, and combine the first and third layers (string, flags) into one (Ctrl + E). We give the flags volume using the tools Lightening /Dodge and Blackout/Burn.

We evaluate the general view of our collage: if necessary, adjust the brightness and contrast of objects.
Since our sky is clear, sunlight is implied. Therefore, we need to add bright light spots to objects, as well as draw shadows. For the image of glare on clothes, select the eyedropper with the brightest color (for example, on the jacket) and, clicking on the color palette, select a color from the same row, but even brighter and more saturated. With a soft brush with opacity (Opacity) and intensity (Strength) of about 20% we draw bright spots on the folds of clothes, taking into account the lighting. On the most convex areas, you can go through the tool Lightening /Dodge (do not forget: more pressure – stronger degree of impact).

We are not faced with the task of meticulously depicting light and shade transitions. The people in the picture are too small, so sketchy strokes are enough.
Before any complicated actions on a layer, I recommend creating a copy of it so that in case of failure you do not unwind many actions back (although I use the “step back” key very often, but this is not the case), but simply delete the failed layer and try again .
Shadows paint with a brush (Brush) with a hardness of 40%. Intensity (Strength) 25-30%, opacity (Opacity) 100%. Layer mode Multiplication/Multiply. I chose the color lilac (# 6d7ea2). Since the layers with the image of people are inseparable from the snow surrounding them, we cannot place the shadows in the lower layer. Therefore, we draw them with a layer above, and the excess parts (shadows that are on top of people) are then carefully washed with Eraser /Eraser , intensity (Strength) and opacity (Opacity) 100%, hardness (Hardness) about 80%. Do not pursue photographic accuracy in the image of the shadows – it is enough that they look natural.

Finally, we give the hillside contour greater likelihood, slightly “smearing” their contours with a tool. Finger/Smudge (intensity / Strength 60%, Hardness / Hardness 10%).

Once again we evaluate the picture as a whole, merge the layers (Shift + Ctrl + E), if you like, slightly change the brightness-tone-saturation. Our work is ready!

Author: Irina Mikhailova

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