In this tutorial we’re going to create a fantasy themed photo manipulation of a fairy in a stormy environment. This is a step-by-step tutorial that will take you through the masking process, light adjusting and creating a realistic looking rain among other things.
What you’ll be creating
We’re going to start by masking and placing all the elements on the canvas blend them together with adjustment layers, add some small details and we’ll finish it off with a gradient map. This work has been done with Adobe Photoshop CC but you should be able to follow it with most versions.
- Woman – Arryja
- Crow – Mendki
- Rocky passage – Unsplash
- Mountainous landscape – Unsplash
- Bush – Unsplash
- Stormy sky – Unsplash
- Cave entrance – Unsplash
Let’s start by creating a new document with the following settings:
Now we’ll set the background colour to black and place the woman (File > Place) like you see below.
We only need the woman and the stone below her and everything else we need to use a layer mask to cover it. With the picture selected in the layers panel click on the Add layer mask button, which is located at the bottom of the layers panel. Now we’ll use a brush with the colour black to paint on top of the picture the areas we don’t need, if you want to make things visible again you’ll have to use white.
Add a Curves adjustment layer by clicking on the Create new fill or adjustment layer button which is located next to the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the layers panel. This only needs to apply to this layer so right click on the adjustment layer and click on Create clipping mask.
Now add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer that only affects the rock and its surroundings. Use the values you see below. One way to do it is to create the adjustment layer, add a Vector mask and using the Paint Bucket Tool (G) you’ll paint the mask all black, this will cover the adjustment layer and we’ll make it visible only around the stone area using a soft brush with white colour.
The last thing we need to do to this layer is to add the light around her hands. Grab the Eclipse Tool (U) and create two elliptical shapes, one needs to be 90×90 pixels and #00ffff as fill and the other one 70×70 and filled with white. You can press Shift to make a perfect circle. Now select the 90×90 one and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, rasterize the shape and insert 50 px as Radius. Do the same with the 70×70 but instead of 50 px as Radius you’re going to put 25px. Now put the 70×70 shape on top of the 90×90 one.
Duplicate the resulting combination and place one on top of each hand. You might need to resize it a little bit withCtrl + T or Edit > Transform > Scale.
Now let’s move on and place the cave entrance (File > Place). Place it at the top of the canvas and then drag it down like below.
Get rid of the landscape that you see outside the cave. I added a layer mask and using the Pen Tool (P) I carefully made a path, turned it into a selection (Right-click > Make Selection) and filled it with black using thePaint Bucket Tool (G). Now drag this layer under the layer with the woman.
Place the bush next to the stone.
Mask the edges and add a Curves adjustment layer.
Now we will duplicate the lights that we previously placed on top of the hands, make them smaller and place them around the bush and the stone.
Next step is to add the crow, so add the crow to the canvas and get rid of the background with a layer mask. You’ll need to resize it, make it a normal size crow with Ctrl + T or Edit > Transform > Scale and while you’re doing this you’ll have to rotate it so he faces the woman by right-clicking on the crow and selecting Flip Horitzontal.
This is how it should look after resizing and rotating.
The crow doesn’t blend in so we’ll add a Curves adjustment layer to it. It might look too dark now but after we’ll add the layers outside the cave it will look fine.
It’s time to move on to the outside of the cave. It will consist of 4 layers, the rocky passage, the sky, the pine trees and the rain. Let’s start with the rocky passage, place it under the cave entrance layer in the layers panel and mask it leaving only the parts you see below.
Add a Curves adjustment layer to this layer and reduce the light.
Now place the sky at the top and mask the bottom edge. Place the layer below the rocky passage layer.
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to it with the following values:
There’s one more place to be filled, we’re going to use the Mountainous landscape picture for it, get rid of almost everything except the pine trees at the bottom.
Add a Curves adjustment layer.
Now let’s create the rain from scratch. Create a new layer just under the cave entrance layer and fill it with black. Add noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add noise, use the following values:
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set a 1 px Radius.
Now we’ll add another type of blur which is the Filter > Blur > Motion Blur
Set the layer mode to Screen.
Add a Levels adjustment layer to this layer with the following values:
There’s some areas at the bottom where the rain shouldn’t show up but it does because of the masking, so add a layer mask to the layer with rain and hide it.
Two more things to do and we’re done. We’ll add a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of everything with15% Opacity. The one that I’ve used is a preset that comes with Photoshop CC and should be available with most versions.
The last thing we’ll do is make the edges a little bit darker. Create a new layer and paint a little bit the edges using a soft brush at 1000 px . Just a few clicks around and it should look good.