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Members Area Tutorial: Learn How to Create the Spectacular Photo Manipulation ‘Still Life’

Members Area Tutorial: Learn How to Create the Spectacular Photo Manipulation ‘Still Life’

In this tutorial we are going to lear how to create a fierce collage type Illustration using Photoshop. We are going to use several stock images to create a powerful illustration. Let’s get started!

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Create a new document on Photoshop. It should be 2100 px wide by 3400 px high. Set the resolution to 300 dpi.Fill the background layer with color black.

Step 2

Download the “Stormy Sea” stock image and drag it to your document.Transform it to fit the entire canvas.This is gonna help to add depth to the illustration and help the collage look less flat.

Now we are going to Desaturate the image.We will be desaturating using this method most of our main elements.Go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate or (Ctrl+Shift+U).

Now we are going to use the “Levels” Adjustment to darken the image a bit because it might over power everything we will add to our image.Go to menu Image>Adjustments>Levels , set the middle input level to .45 and the brightness output level to 155.

Right now the sky looks a bit too bright for the result we want to achieve so we are going to add an adjustment layer to fix it.Go to menu Layer>Adjustment Layer>Levels.Change the middle input level to .55

Switch to your brush tool and select color black.Paint the entire bottom part of the sea so delete the effect of the Adjustment Layer.

Step 3

In this step we are going to line up the different elements that will give shape to the entire composition.We are going to duplicate and mirror some of the images to get a balanced symmetrical effect to the image and we’ll keep on doing this for the rest of the image.

We are going to start with the buildings.

Take the shrine stock image and open it in photoshop. We are now going to extract this element from the background using the Pen Tool (P).

Draw a path against the building and try to maintain as much detail as possible on the top part of the tower. You can be less exact on the lower part since we are going to cover that with other buildings.Once you have closed the path,right click and select the option make selection. Then Copy and paste the extracted shape to get a new layer of the image without the background:

Drag the extracted building to your document and resize it to fit your composition.Then desaturate the image like we did before.

Open the Levels menu options and change the middle input level to .45 and the brightness input to 230.

Duplicate this layer and make sure is set above the original Shrine layer.We are now going to apply a nice filter effect to give the building more texture.Go to Menu Filter>Stylized>Glowing Edges and set the Edge width to 1, Edge Brightness to 9 and Smoothness to 7.

Add a layer mask to this layer. Your layer palette should look something like this:

Switch to the Brush tool (B) and select a Soft round brush of about 80px 0% harness and about 20-26% opacity:

That’s the end of the preview!

About the Author:

Edmar Cisneros is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator from Mexico city. You can find him on his portfolio site: or at his twitter account.

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