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Photo Manipulate an Eerie Grim Reaper Scene in Photoshop

Photo Manipulate an Eerie Grim Reaper Scene in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will create a dark fantasy landscape featuring a grim reaper sitting on an old carriage. Follow through the steps in this tutorial on how to set mood to the scene, lighting and sharpening your image.

Final Image

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

Step 1

Firstly, open the sourced stock image. Hit P on the keyboard to activate the pen tool. Zoom out the picture and start tracing it.

Keep on tracing the whole picture until the path is closed which is indicated by thin line around it.

When the path is closed. Right click on the path to show path command option box. Choose make path selection to turn the path into a selection. Hit Shift+Ctrl+I to invert the selection and hit Del to clear the background.

Step 2

This cut out shape is supposed to be a carriage. We need to alter its original shape a bit. Hit Ctrl+T to activate free transform tool. Now right click on the shape to show transform option. Choose perspective and start altering by clicking and dragging the dragging point to the directions shown in red arrows as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 3

In this step we are going to create the front cover of the carriage. Cut out the left part of the carriage. Use lasso tool or pen tool for this purpose.

Now these are steps we should take : firstly, select the left part of the cut out shape. Secondly, hit Ctrl+J to duplicate the selected area into a new single shape ( layer ). Next, with the new layer still selected, hit Ctrl+T to activate free transform tool. Click and drag the new layer to the right until the holes are covered. Finally, erase unneeded part until finding the result as shown in the screenshot below. Merge the layers.

Step 4

Next, activate free transform tool again. Warp the shape by clicking and dragging the dragging points to the directions needed as shown in the screenshot and place in front of the carriage. Mask the lower part of the carriage.

Step 5

Now we will add wheels to the carriage. Open the disk png file in the document. Change the perspective of the disk.

Next, duplicate the disk. Scale the duplication layer down and place it under the original layer in the layer panel. Arrange the position of them in the right front of the carriage.

Duplicate the disk layer some times by which we add more wheels to complate the composition of the carriage. Select all layers and then hit Ctrl+E to merge them into a single layer.

Step 6

In this step on, we will create the figure (grim reaper). Open the model stock image. Cut out the model.

Next, cut out the lower part of the model’s outfit.

Again, hit ctrl+T to activate the free transform tool. Choose warp. Alter the shape of the cut out by warping it. Please see the screenshot below to know the result I created for your inspiration.

Make more shapes as shown in the screenshot. Note: we are able to not stick to the results I created. They are just for ourr inspiration. We can alter the shape, by trial and error, to the ones desired by warping.

Add and arrange the shapes to the model. Merge all layers if we have found a fit result. See the result I created below:

Step 7

Now we create the main document for the sceen. Hit Ctrl+N to open a new document. Make it 1550 pixels wide and 1024 pixels high. Fill ( Shift+F5 ) the document with 50% grey.

Open the desert picture to the document. Scale it to fit the document. Mask some parts of the desert picture as the parts marked in red in the screenshot. Use a very soft round brush to mask the parts.

Duplicate the desert layer and set the duplication layer to multiply blending at 60% opacity.

Open the other stock image (snowy ground) to the document. Set the snowy ground layer to multiply blending at 100% opacity. finally, go to layer > new adjusment layer > color balance. Make sure to give this color balance layer a clipping mask.

Step 8

Go back to the carriage we have created. Add it to the main document. Scale and place it where needed.

Then, add the grimm reaper as well.

Step 9

This is the composition we have created so far. Before proceeding to finish this work, let’s decide the light source to be. For this work, I assumed that the light comes from the right as marked in white arrows:

Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above the carriage layer. Set this layer to overlay. On this layer, paint white light on the right side. This is supposed to be the light source.

Step 10

In this step we will add a creature from this picture:

Open the picture in photoshop. Cut out it from the background. Please see in the previous step on how to do this. Then, with free transform tool, change the perspective of the picture. Just follow the perspective of the carriage as the reference.

Step 11


Add the creature to the main document. Place it in front of the carriage. It is supposed to be the puller of it.

Give this creature layer an adjustment layer: hue/saturation. Make sure to give this adjustment layer a clipping mask.

Step 12

Create a new layer above the creature layer in the layer panel. With 50% gray, paint a ring looking like shape on the creature’s neck. Activate the dodge tool. Set its range to midtones with 20-26 exposure. With a very soft round brush, stroke the edge of the ring to define the highlight.

Now open the chain picture. Extract the chain from its background. Use the magic wand tool for this purpose because it is the easy way to use for the background with the same solid color. Set the setting of the tool as shown in the screenshot. Just click on the black background to select it. Inverse the selection. Finally, hit Ctrl+J to duplicate the extracted chains into a single layer.

Choose one of the chain and add it to the main document. Alter its shape with free transform tool. Please see the screenshot below for your inspration:

Step 13

Next open the blade png picture in the document. Place it in front of the grim reaper. Scale the blade as the size needed and arrange it in such position as the grim reaper is holding it. Then, create a new layer above the blade layer. Give this new layer a clipping mask. On this layer, stroke with soft white to the blade and handle of the blade.

Step 14

Well, this is the composition we have created so far.

Next, create another new layer above all the other layers. Activate brush tool. With a very soft round brush at opacity of 30-40% and white color, stroke the right part of the document to define more light to the scene.

Step 15

Now go to snowy ground layer (step 7). Duplicate this layer and place the duplication layer right below the light layer (step 15). Set its blending to multiply at 75% opacity. Mask some parts of this layer. Please see the screenshot below:

Step 16

What we should do now is giving an adjustment layer to the scene. Go to layer > new adjustment layers > gradient map. Set this gradient layer to soft light at 58% opacity:

Give another gradient map layer. Set its blending to normal at 58% opacity.

Create another new layer above all the other layers and fill it with #030d22. Set this layer’s blending to soft light. Mask some parts of this layer. Duplicate this layer one time. Reduce the opacity of the duplication layer to just 20%.

Step 17

In this step we will give nuance to the scene by giving light. Create a new layer. Set the foreground color to #fdaf06. With a very soft round brush, click the tops of the pools to give them light. Vary the size of the brush according to the sizes of the pools. Then, with a smaller brush, click the centers of the lights with white.

Create another new layer. Fill it black and set its blending to color dodge. Set the foreground color to #fdaf06. Make sure to activate brush tool. Choose a very soft round brush at 5-8 opacity. Stroke the ground under the nearest pools where the light is casted. Proceed to give more casted light to the pools and the stem of the tree, I used separate layers for this purpose in case of destructive editing.

Step 18

I decided to add another creature to the scene. Open the skelaton stock picture. Extract the main picture from its background.

Add the creature to the document.

Step 19

Now go back to the grim reaper layer. We will re-touch it. Firstly, duplicate the layer. then, with the duplication layer selected, go to filter > others > high pass. Make sure to give this layer a clipping mask. Take dodge tool. Set it to highlight at 20-30% exposure. With a very soft round brush, stroke the parts of the grim. Finally, set this layer to overlay at 100% opacity.

Select the original grim layer. Give it a layer style: inner shadow. After finding the best setting, click OK. Then, right click on the eye icon next to inner shadow in the layer panel. When the option command box shows up, choose create layer to change the layer effect into a singel new layer. Finally, place this inner shadow layer above the high pass layer in the layer panel.

Create another new layer and give this layer a clipping mask. With white color selected in the foreground, stroke the back and head of the grim with a very soft brush at 20-30% opacity:

Step 20

In this step, we will create shadow of the carriage. For this purpose, duplicate the carriage layer. select the duplication and fill it black. Place this duplication layer under the original. Alter its shape by skewwing to the left a bit:

Step 21

Hit Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E to stamp all visible layers. This will create a single new layer above all the other layers. With this stamp layer selected, go to filter > blur > lens blur.

Reduce the opacity of the blur layer to 20%. Finally, duplicate this layer one time. Set the blending to screen for the duplication layer with the same opacity as the original one. Here is the result so far:

Step 22

Once again, hit Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E to stamp all visible layers. This time, give the stamp layer high pass filter:

Then, set this layer blending to overlay. With the stamp layer still selected, go to image > apply image :

Finally, go to layer panel. Change the blending to this stamp layer to soft light at 100% opacity. Duplicate this layer one time. Keep the blending and opacity the same as the original one.

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.

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About the Author:

I am a self-taught photoshop hobbyist from Bali, Indonesia. Photo manipulation is something I am keen on most and a music lover as well. Meet me here http://wprabu.blogspot.com/

Leave a comment

6 Comments:

  1. Nisha says:

    wow Dek the result is cool! very well explained as always!! love it! :)

  2. Very creative and tough tutorial ..Thanks…

  3. Najam us saqib says:

    Amazing ,mind blowing creation ,your are great Dek

  4. psfestival says:

    Good! very beautiful and very professional! i like it!

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