This tutorial will show you how to create a dark, mystic photo manipulation. Along the way you will learn some interesting tricks and techniques such as working with tree branches and ivies, advanced blending and coloring techniques. Lets get to it!
Preview of Final Results
- Model – by mjranum-stock
- Forest stock – by HumbleBeez
- Ivy – by Black-B-o-x
- Dead Tree 2 – by gd08
- Dead Tree 1 – Pixabay
- Sky – Pixabay
- Fog brush – Brusheezy
- Ray Light brush – Brusheezy
Step 1 – Create A New Document
Create a new document with the following attribute : Width 1920 – Height 1200 | Background Contents : Transparent.
Step 2 – Extract The Forest
Open the Forest stock image. As you can see we want to create a mystic and dark piece so we can’t leave the bright sky like this, so we will get rid of it instead of trying to turn it dark. Select all the image with Ctrl + A then go to Select -> Color Range…
Hold Shift and left click on the sky part of the image until all the forest part are turned to black. You can adjust the Fuzziness for more accurate selection but I recommend keeping it below 80, as keeping high Fuzziness will cause Photoshop to select unnecessary part.
With the help of Color Range the forest has been extracted easily. This tool is a great choice for extracting detailed composition such as forest, trees, hair.
Step 3 – From Day to Night
Bring the extracted forest into our document. Resize it like the image below.
Begin adding this chain of Adjustment Layers to the forest. Remember to tick Create Clipping Mask on those adjustment layers so that they will only affect on the forest layer.
Brightness/Contrast -> Levels -> Black&White -> Photo Filter.
And here is the result :
We need to add some extra shadow in order to fully turn our forest into a dark forest. Create a new layer, grab a soft brush with Black color and paint on these parts
Switch the Blend Mode to Soft Light and low down the Opacity to 75%
Dark blue is the main theme we want for our piece so we will begin to fill in the base color for the forest. Go to Layer -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color then choose the color #4273b0, change the Blend Mode to Color with 77% Opacity, 78% Fill. By this simple step the forest will be blended with a nice dark blue color.
Add some Layer Mask to the Solid Color layer as some parts turned way too much blue than we needed.
Step 6 – Adding Base Fog
Download the Fog Brush in the Resources list, open it and grab any fog brush you want and start painting.
Layer Mask on these fog layers as we only want some subtle fog effect to spice up the atmosphere of the image.
Reduce the fog layer Opacity and Fill to 45%. The number can be changed as you desire, depends on how strong you want the fog to be.
Step 7 – Extracting The Model
Open the Model stock photo and start extracting her, you can use Quick Selection Tool to do so as the photo’s quality is high and the contrast is enough for Quick Selection Tool to do its work. Otherwise you can use Pen Tool for a better result but more time-consuming, its up to you!
Place the model into our document after you’ve done the extracting.
Step 8 – First Model Blending Process
Access to the Model’s Blending Option -> Inner Shadow and adjust the attribute like this :
Continue adding these following adjustment layers :
Curves -> Brightness/Contrast -> Photo Filter -> Color Balance -> Exposure
And here is the result :
Step 9 – Adding Shadow To The Model’s Legs
We will use the same method we just did with the forest to the model’s legs in this step. Reduce the Opacity to 31%.
As you can see the Model’s base lightning is not really fit with our image. Normally it would take many adjustment layers to fix this but the result won’t be good. With this step I will show you this good trick to adjust the lightning as you want with the help of Dodge and Burn Tool.
First you need to create a new layer and fill it with 50% Gray. Do so by hit Ctrl + A to select the layer, right click on the screen and choose Fill -> 50% Gray. Create Clipping Mask on the Model layer.
Grab the Dodge and Burn Tool, keep the setting as Midtone with 12% Exposure. Start painting on the model. Notice that the light source we will create later will come from the top so use the Dodge Tool to highlight the parts where the light sources will possibly touch the model, and Burn Tool to darken the other parts.
As in the image, red arrows indicate where to use Burn Tool, blue arrows indicate where to use Dodge Tool.
Change the Blend Mode to Overlay and see the result!
Step 11 – Adding The Sky
Place the Sky stock photo into our document, behind the forest.
Add the Curves adjustment layer to the sky.