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Design a Scenic Out of Frame Photo Manipulation

Design a Scenic Out of Frame Photo Manipulation

Final Image

Here is a preview of the image that we are going to be creating:

Step 1

Start by creating a new document (800X600px).

Paste in your cloudy sky image to act as your main background image:

Now apply a color balance adjustment layer. Get in the habit of giving all your adjustment layers clipping masks (layer>create clipping mask). This way your adjustments will only effect your underlying layer.

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -19 / -4 / -9
Midtones: -36 / +12 / +1
Shadows: -26 / -5 / -13

Now create a new layer called ‘background lighting’. Use a low opacity, large, soft paintbrush to paint in shadows (black) and highlights (white). Try to add highlights to the center of your canvas, and create a vignette type effect by shadowing the edges and corners of your canvas:

Step 2

Now paste your lake photo into the bottom of your canvas:

Now apply a layer mask. Use a medium, soft black paintbrush to mask off the top of your lake image, so that you’re creating a seamless landscape from your two photos:

Now apply a color balance adjustment layer to your lake image:

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -19 / +8 / -4
Midtones: -32 / -6 / -9
Shadow: -23 / 0 / -2

Step 3

Now paste in your picture frame image. Get rid of it’s white background using the magic wand tool:

Now apply a levels and color balance adjustment layer to your frame layer:

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

20 / 1.03 / 229

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -8 / 0 / -5
Midtones: -8 / -4 / +1
Shadows: -5 / -1 / +2

Now grab your jungle photo and paste it onto a new layer behind your picture frame layer:

Now apply a color balance adjustment layer to your jungle photo:

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -18 / +5 / +11
Midtones: -18 / +4 / +9
Shadows: -19 / +12 / +2

Now use your line shape tool to create two dark gray (201e1e) 1px lines coming up from the top of your picture frame. You want to give the impression that these are wires, from which your frame is hanging:

Step 4

Now open up your waterfall photos from the resources section for this tutorial.

Use your lasso tool to select an area of your waterfall. You will use this to create the illusion of water pouring out of your picture frame:

Now paste your selected water into your original document, resizing and positioning it to fit where you want:

Now apply a layer mask to your water layer, and use a medium sized, soft black paintbrush to mask off the edges of your water:

Now apply a color balance adjustment layer to your water layer:

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -16 / 0 / +8
Midtones: -30 / 0 / +8
Shadows: -19 / 0 / +8

Step 5

Now repeat the last step, building up a series of water layers. The images below show the build up of this effect:

Step 6

To help give the impression that the water dripping from the frame is going into the lake below we want to give a very subtle impact in the lake water.

Paste in your ripple image from the resources for this tutorial. Position your ripple at the bottom of one of the larger streams of water:

Now apply a layer mask and mask the edges of your ripple image using a soft black paintbrush:


Now reduce this ripple layer’s opacity to around 12%. Duplicate this layer and move your duplicate ripple underneath another water stream:

Step 7

Now download the cliff landscape photo from the resources to this tutorial.

Cut out the cliff from the photo and paste this into your main document:

Apply a color balance adjustment layer to your cliff layer:

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -28 / +11 / +8
Midtones: -39 / +21 / +2
Shadows: -1 / -5 / +2

Step 8

Now copy and paste in your giraffe image from the resources to this tutorial. You can use whatever extraction method your prefer, but I used the pen tool:

The giraffe is a little blurry, so we want to make it slightly sharper in order to fit in with the rest of our image. Go to filter>sharpen>unsharp mask and apply the settings shown below:

UnSharp Mask Settings:

Amount: 50%
Radius: 1.0pixels
Threshold: 0 levels

Now apply a levels, color balance and hue/saturation adjustment layer:

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

9 / 1.23 / 216

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: +5 / 0 / -8
Midtones: +13 / -6 / -18
Shadows: +2 / 0 / -9

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -40
Lightness: 0

Step 9

Now open your fern image from the resources section to this tutorial. Extract it from it’s background using the magic wand tool, and then paste it into your original document:

Now position your fern in the top left of your canvas. Duplicate it and move the duplicate just below the original:

Step 10

Now paste in the birds from the resources section to this tutorial:

The colors on the birds are slightly off, so apply a color balance adjustment layer to your birds layer:

Color Balance Adjustment Layer:

Highlights: -12 / -2 / -8
Midtones: -22 / +1 / +13
Shadows: -13 / -9 / -1

Step 11

Now use this same technique of extraction and color balance adjustments to place a lizard on the top of your picture frame.

Step 12

Now extract and paste in the photo of a butterfly from the resources section for this tutorial.

Now apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer:

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -35
Lightness: 0

Now apply a gaussian blur to this butterfly layer (1.8px strength).

This is to help give the illusion of depth:

Step 13

Now duplicate your butterfly layer multiple times, using a range of different sizes and positions: Be sure only to blur the butterflies closest to you:

Step 14

Now create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’. Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray.

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. Use a soft, low opacity black paintbrush to paint in your shadows, and a white paintbrush for your highlights. The images below show the dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode and then ‘overlay’ blend mode:

Step 15

Now finally apply a levels adjustment layer and curves adjustment layer.

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

9 / 1.00 / 240

Curves Adjustment Layer Settings:

(see below):

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


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About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment

8 Comments:

  1. Julien says:

    Really original photoshop tutorial, I love this illustration and especially the colors (the animals are very fun :p Thank you psdfan for this new post.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 4 post on Oct. 15, 2011. Thanks again.

  3. windro1 says:

    wow really amazing ,thanks so much for this and keep it up =D

  4. Eric Vasquez says:

    Really nice work Tom! I remember we were talking about doing something like this not too long ago! You have really done the concept justice. I love the vibrant colors you have used and the composition works nicely. The only thing that I might have done differently is putting some water splashes where the waterfall hits the larger body of water below the frame. Very nice overall!

    • Tom says:

      Thanks a lot mate. I’m glad you liked my final design. It was actually pretty tough to get a composition I was happy with, but I think it works in the end. The splashes would definitely be a good addition. Feel free to try another out of frame tutorial yourself, I’d love to see your concepts.

  5. nonStopCars says:

    How to achieve this capability you? I met a lot of errors when executed, maybe I should attend a few training design sessions that.

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