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Creating the Eerie Photo-Manipulation ‘Captive’

Final image

This is the image we will be creating today. Its bleak and captive tones was inspired by the Designers Against Child Slavery

Files Used

All photos in this tutorial were taken by the author herself. Aside from the photo below:

Girl Photo

Step 1 – Start with the background layer

We start off by pasting the dungeon image into the background layer. Name this layer ‘Background’.

Step 2 – Add the image of the girl

Paste the image of the girl into a new layer and name it ‘Main’. To remove the background of this image we will select the Polygonal Lasso tool. Begin clicking around the shape of the girl carefully. Delete the unwanted background of the image – as below. Alternatively you could use a clipping mask to remove the white background here.

Next, set the blending mode for the layer ‘Main’ to Luminosity. Move the image to give the impression that the girl is actually inside the dungeon.

Now, select the Rectangular Marquee tool and set the feather to 3px. Now trim the image as the example below shows.

Step 3 – Add Texture

Now go to Images > Duplicate and duplicate the Main layer and name it layer ‘Lightener’. Place this layer directly below the ‘Main’ layer. On this layer go to Filter > Artistic > Poster Edges. Set the Poster Edges settings as below

Step 4 – Darken image

Next duplicate the Main layer again but this time name it ‘Darkness’. On this layer go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Adjust the darkness of the Curves as the image below illustrates:

The will darken the girl image, as below.

Step 5 – Darken Girl

Next, create a new layer and ensure the foreground colour of the palette is set to black. Now use the Gradient tool to darken the right side of the girl, as below. Name this layer ‘Right hair fade’.

Now select the Eraser tool and set the size to 70px. Erase any part of the gradient that is outside the area of the girl, as below.

Step 6 – Whiten Eye

Create a new layer and name it ‘White eye’. On this layer use the Polygonal Lasso tool and set the feather to 1px. Then click around the shape of eye – as shown below.

Use the Paint bucket tool to fill this selection with white. Set the Opacity of this layer to 50%.

Step 7 – Tear stains

Start by creating a new layer and name it ‘Black eye shadow’. Select the Brush tool and set to soft round brush, size to 6px. With the Brush tool roughly draw the tear stains on the face – as below.

On this layer select Filter > Blur > Blur More. Set the Opacity of this layer to 35%.

On a new layer, select the Brush tool again. This time choose the watercolour soft round tip brush and set the brush size to 5px. Now with the brush draw along the line of the bottom eye lid as below.

Step 8 – Dirt

Create a new layer and name it ‘Dirt’. To create the dirt look on the girls face, hand and arm use the Brush tool. Set the brush type to spatter and the brush size to 55px. With the brush tool begin to randomly dot the girls face, hand and arm – as below.

On this layer select the Blur tool. Choose a brush soft round brush and set the brush size to 120px. Now, begin to randomly blur the brush strokes. Repeat this step a few more times until the desired effect is gotten.


Step 9 – Manipulation of hand

Create a new layer and name it ‘Fingers fill’. Next we need to remove the strands of hair from the girls fingers. To do this select the Brush tool, set the size to 13px and choose a soft round brush. Now, select the Eyedropper tool to select the replacement colour from the relevant finger area.

With the brush begin to trace over the light area of the hair strands – as below. Change the colour of the brush as you fill in the colour to ensure the best finish.

On this layer we now need to remove the long finger nails. Choose the Eraser tool and erase the long nails as below.

Next we need to select the soft round brush to darken the finger tips. To do this choose the Eyedropper tool to select the replacement colour from the relevant finger areas – as below.

Now with the soft round brush3 3, brush size 13px, begin to cover over the areas of light as below. Change the colour of the brush as you fill in the colour to ensure the best finish.

Step 10 – Dirty finger nails

The nails on the hand need to be dirtied. To achieve this choose a soft round brush and set the size to 3px. On a new layer, draw an outline around the thumbnail with the brush. On this layer select Filter > Blur > Blur.

Repeat this step on the other nails of the girl’s hand.

Step 11 – Creating Chains

To create the chains on the girls wrist we must first create a new layer. Name this layer ‘Chains’. Now, paste the image of the chains into this layer. Because the chains image is on a white background we must remove the white. To do this select the Polygonal Lasso tool and click around the shape of chains in the image. Delete the unwanted background of the image – as below.

Once you have removed the white background from the image we need to add a Drop shadow. To do this go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Set the drop shadow settings as below

Step 12 – Add Darkness

On a new layer, select the Polygonal Lasso tool and set the feather to 20px. Next draw a triangle with the polygonal lasso tool as below.

Now, use the linear gradient tool to add shade as below. Name this layer ‘Darkness’.

Step 13 – Add Light

Next, create a new layer and name it ‘Light’. As per the previous step, select the Polygonal Lasso tool and set the feather to 20px. Next draw a triangle with the Polygonal Lasso tool and select white as the foreground palette colour. Now, use the Linear Gradient tool to add a white gradient as below.

Set the opacity of the image to 50%. Now we need to tailor the layer named ‘Light’ so that fits around the girl in the image. We do this by selecting the Eraser tool. Set the size of the eraser tool to approx. 200px. Now begin to eraser the white gradient overlaying the girl – as below.

Next merge the Darkness layer with the Light layer. Ensure this layer is named ‘Light’.

Step 14 – Add atmospheric shade

Create a new layer and name it ‘Shade’. Set the foreground colour of the palette to black. Choose the Radial Gradient tool and add shade to the top right hand corner of the image – as below.

On the same layer, add shade again but this time to the bottom right hand corner of the image.

Step 15 – Creating jail bars

Next, you need to add the jail bars to the window. Firstly, create a new layer and ensure the foreground color of the palette is black. Then select the Reflected Gradient tool and create a bar in the centre of the image -as illustrated.

On the same layer, add a Liner gradient to the bottom foreground – as below. Name this layer ‘Bars’.

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

Download Source File for this Tutorial


About the Author:

is a full-time Designer in the Rep. of Ireland. I specialise in Illustration, Graphic Design and Web/Email Design . I have been in the field for nearly 5 years, and have worked with some big named clients such as Canon, Shell and Dell. I am self motivated, I spend my spare time experimenting with Design, Photography and Arts of all types - I cant resist it. Check out my portfolio or Twitter.

Leave a comment

8 Comments:

  1. Sebastian says:

    That’s wonderful photo manipulation tutorial!

  2. Sebastian says:

    It seems there’s not much feedback what is weird since tutorial is great.

    My question is regarding step 3. What is that for? Actually I can’t see any visible effect of this layer on the final outcome. It’s been hidden behind ‘Main’ layer and has no influence on the picture.

    Regarding step 4 curves setting should be reversed. Input 163 and output 95 will darken girl’s photo.

    Neverthless it’s still fine job done sharing this!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Cgbaran says:

    Great tutorial i love the composition

  4. Mary says:

    Wow great tutorial, so easy!

  5. dononeAi says:

    Wow, real deep tut.. does anyone do happy any more? 8-}
    just ribbing ya. this does tug at the old emotions and I’ve only got a few..Luved it.

  6. Newbie says:

    This is amazing. And its awesome how the girl has been taken from such a bright and peaceful scene into a dark dungeon. :D

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