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In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a dark photo manipulation called “Nocturna”. You’ll learn how to combine different stock together and blend them corectly, practice special retouching techniques, paint hair, create different kinds of lighting, work with group and more.
As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:
Open background stock. I crop a part on the top as we don’t need it:
I use a Hue/Saturation layer to darken background. Go to Layer-New Layer-Hue/Saturation and down the Lightness:
Create a new layer ( Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to do it) and set foreground color to black. Use one from tree brushes and paint at the left edge of our document ( I choose number 1288 but you can choose for your taste):
Add layer mask for this layer and use soft black brush to blend tree bottom with background:
Lower opacity of this layer to 20%:
Go to Filter-Blur-Gassian Blur and set radius as 3 px:
Don’t worry if it does not look good as we will fix it later.
Cut out stone and place it at the middle section of picture:
Add layer mask and use black brush with hardness about 50% to blend stone bottom with the ground ( don’t use soft brush as it will leave an unatural look):
I aim to set main light source from in front and from right to left ( to be fit with light source on model and it will save our time) so the stone must have a shadow behind. Create a new layer under stone layer. Hold Cmd/Ctrl key while clicking stone thumbnail layer to load its selection:
Fill this selection with black and use Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform it as shown below:
Lower opacity of this shadow to 30% and apply Gassian Blur with 3 px. Use soft black brush with opacity 100% to remove shadow bottom and opacity about 20-30% to blur shadow top:
To reduce saturation and change color as well as darken the stone to be fit background, I use some adjustment layers with Clipping Mask. On stone layer, go to Layer-New Layer-Hue/Saturation:
This is result we have:
Open model stock. Extract her and move into our main picture, resize and place her above the stone:
Make a new layer under model layer. Use soft black brush with very small size ( 9-10 px) to paint under hands, feet, legs and then lower opacity of brush( 50-60%) but increase brush size ( 30-40 px) to paint behind model (as main light source comes from in front, right to left as we determined above):
I use a Hue/Saturation layer with Clipping Mask to reduce saturation of the girl:
Since this step we’ll make a complete retouch for model. I’ll use a feature that goes with CS5 to soften model skin and you can use another method if you don’t have.
Hit B to active Brush Tool and then choose Mixer Brush. This is a very useful tool that works basically like Smudge Tool ( to soften, smooth) but allows you to customize colors and some another things ( in this tutorial we just need to care of customizing colors).
First we will soften bright part of model skin. Create a new layer with Clipping Mask for model ( above Hue/Saturation layer in previous step). Use Eyedropper Tool ( I key) to pick color on this part and I get color #decbc7. Make settings for Mixer Brush as shown below:
Paint on the skin part you want to smooth and brighten avoiding the edges. Don’t set Flow too big as it will destroy the details.
I'm a self-taught designer from Vietnam who enjoys writing and doing most kinds of graphic design, especially photo manipulation. I've always tried to improve my skill and felt happy to share it through my website where you can find lots of my writings as well as photoshop tutorials.
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