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Members Area Tutorial: Photo Manipulate a Striking ‘Falling Dream’ Composition

Members Area Tutorial: Photo Manipulate a Striking ‘Falling Dream’ Composition

Resources Used In This Tutorial

Final Image

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

Step 1

To start this composition I went looking for inspiration.

You can find inspiration for your designs anywhere, and for a while now I’ve been wanting to produce some designs based on song lyrics that stand out to me.

Today’s composition is based on a lyric from the Blind Melon song Changes:

“Keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreaming it’s time to die”

Step 2

Right away this lyric stuck out to me, and I began formulating ideas for designs based around it.

I started to picture an epic scene where a young boy was falling from some kind of stone structure up in the clouds.

Something about this idea felt right. It was dream like (the floating stone structure is physically impossible), and the idea of falling was emotive and triggered the feelings of falling associated with a dream (and also death).

I started to sketch out very basic composition plans for my piece.

I knew that I wanted a sense of balance, so wanted to position the falling boy in the center. I also wanted to frame him with the stone structures.

Below is my concept sketch. Yes I realize it’s one of the worst sketches of all time. But I’m afraid on this computer I don’t have a tablet handy, so it’s all down to the trusty mouse! The idea behind sketches is just to lay out this in their most basic form anyway, and help you decide on the relevant stocks needed.

Step 3

As well as a concept sketch I wanted to gather some images relevant to the ideas I was having. These would act as a ‘mood board’ and help shape the style of my composition.

I thought of traditional falling in a dream images. I also really liked the bending city visual featured in the movie inception (top image below). The idea of warping reality or displaying unusual perspective definitely appealed.

These images helped me to select my stock photos for the photo manipulation:

Step 4

Time to start the composition!

Start by downloading the cloudy sky image in the resources section for this tutorial.

Create a new document (800px X 800px, 300 DPI resolution). Paste the cloud image into this document, positioning it as shown below:

The sky is looking a little washed out, so apply a curves adjustment layer (with clipping mask) to add more contrast and tweak the colors of the sky slightly.

Try to use the settings shown below:

Step 5

Download the ‘jumping boy’ image from the resources section for this tutorial.

Extract the boy from his background. Luckily he is on an all white background so you can extract him fairly easily using the magic wand tool (or your preferred method).

Paste him into the center of your original document, positioning him as shown below:

Step 6

You will notice that the boy appears to be jumping forwards in the image.

This is largely down to his left leg, which is positioning going backwards. This wouldn’t happen if he were falling backwards, as his leg would be positioned more in front of him (like his right leg).

To fix this, apply a layer mask to your ‘boy’ layer.

Mask off his left leg almost entirely, using a black paintbrush:

That’s the end of the preview!


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.

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