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Photo Manipulate a Complex Falling Angel Scene

Photo Manipulate a Complex Falling Angel Scene

This is a FanExtra Members Tutorial, Given Free Today as a Preview

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Final Image

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

Step 1

Start by creating a new document (800X800px). Paste in your clouds image, positioning it until it looks like the image below:

Apply a hue/saturation and levels adjustment layer. Throughout this tutorial be sure to apply a clipping mask to all adjustment layers (go to layer>create clipping mask). This will mean that your adjustments will only effect the underlying layer, not your entire canvas.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -50
Lightness: 0

Level Adjustment Layer Settings:

43 / 1.00 / 255

Create a new layer called ‘lightning bolts’.

Now download the lightning brush set from the resources section for this tutorial.

Apply several of the brushes from the set over your clouds, using a white paintbrush.

Most of the brushes in the set point downwards, which is a problem if we want them to point upwards in some parts of our clouds. This is an easy fix though! Simply go to window>brush settings and look for the brush angel area. All you need to do to change the angel of your brush is simply click on the arrow part of the crosshair type area, and drag it left or right. Easy :) .

Apply a layer mask to your lightning layer and use a large, soft black paintbrush at around 30% opacity to mask off areas of your lightning that you want to make more subtle:

Apply an outer glow blending option to this layer.

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 50%
Noise: 0%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0%
Size: 5px

Step 2

We want to construct a heavenly city in the top left of our canvas.

Start by pasting in your cityscape photos from the resources section for this tutorial. Position them like the image below:

Apply a layer mask to each layer, and mask them so that their edges are reasonably soft, and blend well into each other and the background. This part doesn’t have to be too perfect, as much of the cityscape will be concealed by further layers:

Cut out and paste in your castle photo. Notice how I’ve cut out the tops of the castle rooftops, but left a more rough selection on the earthy area beneath the building:

Apply a layer mask to this layer, and use a medium sized, soft black paintbrush to mask off the edges of your photo:

Apply a hue/saturation and levels adjustment layer:

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -70
Lightness: +35

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

0 / 1.41 / 246

Step 3

Cut out and paste in your ‘doorway’ photo from the resources for this tutorial:

Resize and distort the doorway slightly to fit over your castle area. We’re going to try and construct a natural looking doorway, so work to position your doorway in a realistic area:

Apply a color overlay blending option to your doorway layer.

Color Overlay Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Color: 2e3840
Opacity: 100%

Duplicate your doorway layer and resize the duplicate to be just slightly smaller than the original. Remove the color overlay blending option. Option+click on this layer in the layer’s palette and fill it with white to make it more visible:

Apply an inner shadow, outer glow and gradient overlay blending option to your duplicate doorway layer.

Inner Shadow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: 000000
Opacity: 60%
Angel: 77%
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 1px

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Noise: 0%
Color: ffffff
Technique: Softer
Spread: 0%
Size: 21px

Gradient Overlay Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: c9cdd6 to f4f7f9
Style: Linear
Angle: 90

Step 4

We want to give the impression that our castle is shrouded in cloud. Download the premium clouds brush set from the resources section for this tutorial.

Select a white paintbrush and apply various cloud brushes from the set on a new layer above your castle:

Create a new layer called ‘clouds dark’. Apply more cloud brushes, this time using a black paintbrush at a lower opacity. If the effect is too intense be sure to reduce your layer opacity:

Step 5

Now download your steps photo from the resources for this tutorial.

Cut out the steps and position them to lead up to your doorway area:

Apply a layer mask and use a soft black paintbrush to mask off the edges of your steps, making them appear like part of the castle area:

Apply a hue/saturation, levels and color balance adjustment layer.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -85
Lightness: +50

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

14 / 1.22 / 236

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: +6 / +2 / +1
Midtones: -15 / +12 / +19
Shadows: -16 / -6 / +6

Step 6

Create a new layer called ‘lens flare’.

Fill your canvas with black and then go to filter>render>lens flare. Apply a 50-300mm Zoom type lens flare, 100% brightness.

Position your lens flare in the top left corner of your canvas:

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘screen’. This will hide your black fill. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 60% to make the effect more subtle:

Clearly there is a light source coming from behind our castle. We want to accentuate this, so create a new layer called ‘light bleeding castle’. Use a soft, white paintbrush at a low opacity and paint over the tops of the castle roofs. You want to create the effect of a soft light bleeding over the edges of your castle:

To really stress the light source, use your line tool and drag out some 1px white lines (around 50% opacity) across the tops of your castle:

Finally, we want to add a further layer of lighting to our castle area we paint white over your castle area using a large, soft white paintbrush:

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 10%.

Step 7

We want to add some main background lighting to our composition.

Create a new layer called ‘light ray’. Select your lasso tool and set it’s feather amount to 40px. Now create a triangular selection going down the center of your canvas. Fill this with white. Because you used a feathered selection your edges to this area will be nice and soft:

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 40%:

Make the light beam effect slightly more intense. Duplicate your original ‘light beam’ layer and change it’s blend mode to ‘normal’ and it’s opacity to 15%:

Create a new layer called ‘vignette background’. Paint around the edges of your canvas using a large, soft black paintbrush at around 30% opacity.

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’:

Step 8

It’s time to start work on our angel! Paste in the image of your woman from the resources for this tutorial:

We want to start extracting our woman from her background. Whilst we’ll be getting down to some more complex extraction methods to deal with her wild hair, for now it’s best to go in manually and do what you can. I used the lasso tool (you can also use the pen tool) to cut around her body, and also her hair. Notice that I haven’t cut her hair out properly, but simply got as close as I can to the hair strands without ruining them.

Option click on your woman layer in your layers palette. This will give you an active selection around her. Ensure that your selection tool is still active, and you should see a ‘refine edge’ button in your options bar. Click it, and apply the settings below (be sure to include all settings – this is very important).

It’s also worth noting that this selection method is only available in Photoshop CS5. There are other extraction methods you can use for hair in older version of Photoshop, but I just find this method especially effective for hair this detailed.

Refine Edge Settings:

Edge Detection:

Smart Radius: (check box)
Radius: 94.0px

Adjust Edge:

Smooth: 0
Feather: 0.0
Contrast: 0%
Shift Edge: -25%

Output:

Decontaminate Colors: (check box)
Amount: 100%
Output To: New Layer with Layer Mask

Remember Settings: (check box – this could be useful for later).

Hit ok and this is what you should be left with. You new selection has been made into a new layer complete with layer mask.

Step 9

We need to touch up our edges a little more. Go in with a soft black paintbrush and work on masking off parts of your hair that still aren’t looking right. You’ll notice a large area of blue background that still remains. The other hairs surrouding it are now looking ok, but to be honest this is a little too much work, as the hair in this area is very hair to see and very detailed. We plan on covering this area with a wing later on, so we can leave it as it is:

Now if you look at your freshly selected woman, the hair is looking good, but areas of her skin and clothes have been damaged by the refine edge process. They’ve been masked off where they shouldn’t be:

Now it’s time to fix up these damaged parts of our image. We could technically go in and play with the mask, but if you remember we have our original cut out image of the woman still (with the rough hair selection).

If you remember this was a good looking selection, apart from the hair. The skin and body of the woman were fine though. Therefore if you hide your refined edge layer and make this layer visible again. Apply a layer mask and use a black paintbrush to mask off the rough hair select, but leave your body in tact:

Now if you make your refined edge layer visible again, and hide this rough hair selection layer. Use a black paintbrush to mask off distorted parts of your skin/body. This isn’t an issue, as your underlying rough selection layer will be beneath this, so will show through with the in tact skin/body from your woman:

Now hide ALL layers apart from these two woman layers. Go to layer>merge visible.

Now make all other layers visible again. Your merged layer should have the nice hair selection of your second woman layer, but the nice skin/body selection of your original selection. Overall, a nice final result!

Step 10

If you look at your woman’s arms they’re a little bit straight out in front of her. As she’s supposed to be falling I want to have her arms flailing upwards a little more. It’s also nice to have them pointing out towards our heavenly city, as if she’s reaching out for it.

To achieve this, simply select your merged woman layer. Go to edit>puppet warp.

Now using your puppet warp tool create a series of markers all over your woman (these will hold her form in place while you warp her arms). Then add a final anchor marker near her shoulder (this will act as a pivot). Finally, add another anchor point on her hands (this is where you will drag upwards from).

(It’s important to note that the puppet warp tool is a new addition in CS5. If you don’t have CS5 try to use the regular warp tool, or simply leave this step).

Simply drag up the anchor point on her hands and it should move her arms upwards, whilst pivoting near her shoulder:

You can see the result of this below:

If you notice, the woman’s arm has a bit of a weird edge to it. To fix this, simple apply a layer mask, and use a small, soft black paintbrush to tidy it up and make it a more natural shape:

Our woman is looking good now, but slightly blurred. To sharpen her up just a touch, go to filter>convert for smart filters. This will convert your layer to a smart object, and mean that you can go back and edit your filter settings at any point. Non-destructive photo editing – it’s a big help! :)

Now you’ve converted your layer to a smart image, go to filter>sharpen>unsharp mask. Apply the settings shown below:

UnSharp Mask Filter Settings:

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


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

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -10
Lightness: 0

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -15 / -1 / +2
Midtones: -15 / +2 / -9
Shadows: -9 / -8 / -6

Step 11

Now open your wings image. Cut it out from it’s background (this should be easy as it has a plain background, so simply use the magic wand tool).

Paste one of the wings onto a new layer BEHIND your woman layer:

Now go to edit>transform>warp. Use your warp tool to warp your wing until it resembles the image below:

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

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

39 / 0.86 / 244

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -2 / -1 / -1
Midtones: -22 / +4 / -8
Shadows: -1 / -2 / +6

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -50
Lightness: 0

Step 12

Now paste in the second wing from your wing photo in the resources section for this tutorial.

Cut out and paste in this wing, positioning it on a new layer ABOVE your woman layer.

Now go to edit>transform>warp. Warp your wing into a more natural shape. Then apply a layer mask, and use a soft black paintbrush to mask off the left edge of your wing, blending it smoothly into your woman’s hair. Notice how the edge follows the contours of your woman’s hair, so the transition from hair to wing appears natural:

Now apply a levels and color balance adjustment layer to help blend your wing better with the overall composition:

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

22 / 0.88 / 250

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -4 / -1 / -12
Midtones: -11 / -5 / -5
Shadows: +15 / +6 / +9

Step 13

Now we want to make our angel a little more realistic. Realism lies in the details, so download the premium hair brush set from the resources for this tutorial.

Create a new layer called ‘hair extra’. Now use your eye dropper tool to sample colors from your main hair area, and apply the brushes so that your fake hair overlaps the edges of your wing. This should give a natural look to your composition:

Step 14

Now we’re going to apply some additional lighting layers!

Start by duplicating one of your earlier ‘light beam’ layers. Move this layer above your angel layer though.

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 8%. This should create a subtle light effect coming from the bottom of your composition:

Now create a new layer called ‘red light bottom’. We want to apply a subtle red glow to the bottom right corner of our canvas, as this implies that the angel is falling down to heaven (away from the white light source of the heavenly city and down to the red depths of hell).

Start by painting red in the bottom corner using a large, soft red paintbrush (around 50% opacity):

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 35% to make the effect more subtle, yet still visible:

Now create a new layer called ‘blue wash over castle’. Our castle is lacking color, and looking a little too white, so use a soft blue (9fb5c8) paintbrush and brush over it:

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘color’ and reduce it’s opacity to 50%:

Step 15

Now create a new layer called ‘lens flare’. Fill your canvas with black.

Now go to filter>render>lens flare. Render a lens flare and position it over the side of your angel’s face. This is to give a further level of lighting being cast on her by the heavenly city:

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘screen’. This will hide the black background, leaving only your lens flare showing. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 50%, to make the effect more subtle:

Step 16

Now open up one of your feather images from the resources section for this tutorial. We want to extract our feather from it’s background. Luckily the background is plain black, so this isn’t too difficult.

Start by duplicating your feather layer, and then go to image>adjustments>levels. Apply the levels settings shown below. The idea is to make the shadows more intense in your image, and create more of a contrast between your feather and background (whilst still retaining the lovely details at the edges of your feather):

Levels Settings:

29 / 0.78 / 240

Now hit ok. Go to select>color range and use the eye dropper tool that comes up to click on your black background. In your color range window ensure that your fuzziness is set to 200:

Hit ok and you’ll see that your black background is now selected. Clearly we want to select our feather, not our background, so go to select>inverse to invert your selection. You can see below the new selection of your feather:

Now be sure that when you copy your selectoin you have your original feather layer selected. We want to copy the data on this layer, not our high contrast layer.

Step 17

After using Step 16 to extract both your feather images, paste one into your main document. If needed, warp your feather to fit the composition better:

Now with your new feather layer selected, go to filter>convert for smart filters. Remember, this is non-destructive so will allow you to edit your filters later if required.

Go to filter>blur>gaussian blur, and apply a 5.0 pixels strength blur to your feather:

Now apply a hue/saturation and levels adjustment layer to your feather layer:

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -100
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

25 / 0.82 / 240

Step 18

Now simply repeat this technique of applying the initial feather, but over and over again. You want to give the impression of the angel falling, so most of the feathers should be above her wings.

Also try to vary the size, angel and even shape of each feather to give a more random effect. Remember to reduce or turn off your gaussian blur effect if you’re duplicating your initial feather layer, as your smaller feathers shouldn’t be blurry.

The blurred feathers are used simply to add to the depth of field, and give more perspective to your image.

Step 19

Now it’s time to add some final lighting to your image.

Create a new layer called ‘light from heaven’. Repeat the technique used earlier for your light beams to create a huge light beam coming down from the heavenly castle. I thought it looks good to follow the contours of the steps with my light beam.

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 20%. This will let your angel figure show through, yet still retain the effects of the lighting:

Step 20

Now draw two 1px white lines following the contours of your steps and overlapping your angel. Ensure that these lines are on the same layer. If they are on seperate layers simply blend the two layers together.

Now apply an outer glow blending option to your lines layer.

Outer Glow Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Color: ffffff
Spread: 0%
Size: 13px

Now reduce the fill opacity of your lines layer to 20%, keeping the main layer opacity at 100%. This means that your outer glow will be shown at 100% opacity, whilst your line opacity will be fainter:

Step 21

Now create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’.

Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will hide your 50% gray, but let you paint black/white over your canvas for the shadows/highlights, thus dodging/burning your image in a non-destructive way.

When applying shadows/highlights use a soft paintbrush at a low opacity (around 5-10%). The idea of this step is to help further establish your light sources, in this case adding to the light cast upon your angel by the heavenly area in the top left of your canvas.

The images below show your dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode and then ‘overlay’ blend mode:

Step 22

Now apply a final levels adjustment layer, just to make your image slightly more intense.

With all adjustment layers up to this point you’ve been applying clipping masks. However, with this final adjustment layer DO NOT apply a clipping mask, as you want your adjustments to effect your entire composition.

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

12 / 0.89 / 255

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.

Click the image below to see the full-sized outcome:

Access the source files 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

5 Comments:

  1. Stark says:

    Hey! Thank you for this nice tutorial! Photomanipulation with girls always look great. I cant’t get something…Step 4 – what clouds brushes should I use. There is nothing like that in Resources. Just Clouds (image) and Hair Brushes.

    Thank You!

  2. this is really good tutorials
    thanks for sharing
    will try

    Jo

  3. Awesome photoshop tutorial. Learned some ins and outs!

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