Learn how to create a fantasy photo manipulation of a desperate angel in sorrow and bleak rainy scene with Photoshop. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create your winged angel with ordinary stock images, do some retouch and enchantment on the angel with shadows and lighting, then complete it with rain and subtle rays of light . Throughout the tutorial, you’ll learn techniques that will help you create better photo manipulations.
What you’ll be creating
On this tutorial we will create an emotional scene of a sad angel in gloomy and cold atmospheric dreamscape with rain. We will use some essential techniques in doing photo manipulation. We will use masking, brush tool, some filter, color adjustments and textures all through the steps in this tutorial. Use Adobe Photoshop CC to fully follow this tutorial. Some filter used in this tutorial will not be available in photoshop CS. Don’t forget a glass of coffee and optionally a pack of cigarette for your companion. Ready..?
- Girl – Pixabay
- Black Wings Spread Out – chunga stock
- Dark Sky – knb stock
- Rain – elestrial
- Chicken feather jpg – raduluchian
In first several step of this tutorial, we are going to create a figure of angel. Start by opening the girl image in photoshop. We will cut out the girl. Take pen tool (P). With the tool, trace the girl to create path as indicated in orange outline.
Cut out the girl from its background.
Create a new document (Ctrl+N). Name this new document, say, broken angel. In this document we will create the figure of angel.
Next, add the girls to the document. Take free transform tool (Ctrl+T). Scale its size to fit the size of the document properly.
Then open the bird image, we will use the bird’s wings for the angel. Take pen tool (P) and cut out the wings of the bird.
Add the first wing to the broken angel document. Place it above the angel layer. With free transform tool (Ctrl+T), scale its size to the one needed and move (V) to the position where needed.
Finally add the second wing. Place it below the angel layer.
Now we will do some refinement on the edges of the wings. To do this, take smudge tool on the tool panel. Choose a very soft round brush (0% hardness) set to about 4pxl size with strength set to about 70%.
Be active on the wing 1. Now stroke the brush on the edges of the wing to create subtle feathers.
Do the same way to the other wing.
Next, we will add some shading on the wing 2 on area behind the angel as outlined in orange color.
Create a new layer (Shift +Ctrl+N) with a clipping mask above the wing 2 layer. Take a very soft round brush (0% hardness) set to about 12-15% opacity. With black color, stroke the brush to paint some shading.
In this step, we will add cloth addition to the angel’s robe to cover the starting point of the wing 1. To do this, create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above the wing 1 layer. Take pen tool (P). On this layer, create shape as the one shown in screenshot and fill (Shift+F5) the shape with any color we want. Dark blue color is the one given as example.
Cut out the robe of the angel into a single layer. We will use this cut out as the texture for the shape created before. Place the cut out above the shape layer and clip it with a clipping mask. This cut out will cover the shape. Move (V) the cut out to the position needed to get desired result.
Now we will add some highlight and shadow to the robe with the addition cloth to define some rumpled lines. To do this, create a new layer above the texture layer. Fill (Shift+F5) this layer with 50% grey (#808080). Take dodge tool (o). Choose a very soft round small brush set to about 10% exposure with highlight range. On this new layer, stroke the brush on area around the robe to paint highlight.
Then, take burn tool set to midtones range at about 10% exposure. With a very soft round brush, stroke the tool on areas where needed to paint shadow.
Keep using the combination of dodge and burn tool to paint more highlight and shadow to define more rumpled lines.
Proceed to create additional cloth on the lower angel’s cloth. Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) below the angel layer. Create a shape filled with any color we want. Dark blue is the given example.
Cut out the lower cloth of the angel into a single layer. Place this layer above the shape with a clipping mask to give it cloth texture.
Finally, be active on the angel layer. Then, go to layer > layer mask > reveal all. This will give the angel layer a layer mask. Take a very soft round brush (B). Mask the edge of the lower cloth to make it well blended with the additional cloth.
Select all the angel layers and hit Ctrl+E to merge them into a single layer.
Now we come to the second phase of this tutorial. In the next steps we will create the main scene on a new document. Create a new document (Ctrl+N).
Open the cloud image on the document. With free transform tool, flip the image horizontally to alter its direction. Scale its size to fit and cover the document properly.
Be active on the cloud layer. Give this layer camera raw filter. Hit Shift+Ctrl+A to open the filter. Set the Basic and Detail of this filter.
Now we will alter the color of the cloud texture by giving it color adjustments. Go to layer > new adjustment layers > brightness/contrast. Make sure to position this layer between the cloud and angel layer.
With a very soft round brush set to low opacity of about 15%, mask some areas around the cloud as highlighted in red.
Give another adjustment layer. Go again to layer > new adjustment layer > selective color.
Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above the two adjustment layers. Fill (Shift+F5) this layer with solid color of #0c0301.
Set this solid color layer to soft light at about 60% opacity.
Give this layer a layer mask (layer > layer mask > reveal all). Mask on areas around the cloud as indicated in red highlight.
In this step we give filter to the angel. Go select the angel layer to be active on it. Hit Shift+Ctrl+A to give this smart object layer camera raw filter. Set it Basic, Tone Curve and Detail.
The result should be like below:
Proceed to create another layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) below the angel smart layer. Take a very soft round brush (B) set to opacity of about 60% or more. Paint subtle color of #067fee and #fc6500. Set this layer to color dodge at 100% opacity. Name this layer, say, color. Can we use different colors? Feel free to try different colors on our preference.
Create again a new layer above the color layer. Fill this layer with 50% grey. Set this layer to overlay. Take dodge tool (O) and choose a very soft round brush. With the tool, paint some highlight behind the angel. Here is the layer set in normal blending at 100% opacity.
Given this amount of highlight, the result should be like this:
We will give more vivid light behind the angel. Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above the previous highlight layer (step 16). Fill (Shift+F5) this layer with black. Set this layer to color dodge. Take a very soft round brush (B) set at about 5% opacity. With this brush, stoke white color on areas behind the angel.
Given this amount of color, the result should be like the one below:
Now we will give the angel some adjustment. Be active on the angel layer again. Go to layer > layer style > inner shadow.
Convert this layer style into a single layer by right-clicking on the name of this layer style in the layer panel. This will show the layer style command option box. Choose create layer. After choosing create layer, this will change the layer style into a single layer with a clipping mask above the angel layer named angel’s Inner Shadow. With soft round brush (B) at 0% hardness set at low opacity of about 15%, mask areas around the angel as highlighted in red.
The inner shadow will soften the edges affected by it.
Then, create adjustment layer with a clipping mask above the inner shadow. Go to layer > new adjustment layer > brightness/contrast.
More adjustment layer with a clipping mask: selective color. This will give a bit blue tone on the angel’s cloth.
And another adjustment layer with a clipping mask: vibrance.
Create another new layer with a clipping mask above the vibrance layer. Take again brush tool (B). Choose a very soft round brush set to low opacity of 10%. On this new layer paint soft subtle white color to add some more highlight on the angel.
Select all the angel layers, hit Ctrl+G to group them into a folder. Name this folder, say, angel. Go to layer > layer mask > reveal all. Mask this angel folder on parts indicated in red highlight.
This masking will make the angel got blended better with its background.
To make the scene more dramatic, we will add some light rays leaking from behind the angel. To do this, create a new layer above the angel folder. Grab the pen tool (P). On this layer, create path like the one below. Right click on the path and choose make selection. Set radius at 5 pxls.
Fill this selection with gradient (G). Choose linier gradient of foreground to transparent. Hold-click and drag the tool from the point outside the selection to the direction indicated by orange arrow.
Given this amount of color, reduce the fill of this gradient to about 59%.
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) this gradient layer (Let’s name this layer, say, ray) three times. Position the duplicates where needed.
Give the duplicates layers mask and mask the rays that still overlap the angel.
Select all the ray layers and group (Ctrl+G) them in a folder. Name this folder, say, ray. Set this folder to overlay at 70% opacity. Finally, duplicate the ray folder. Set the duplicate to overlay blending with lower opacity of about 25%.
Next, create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N) above the two ray folders. Fill (Shift+F5) this layer with solid color of #01010c.
Set this layer to soft light blending at about 60% opacity. Mask a bit on areas around the angel’s face, wings and left cloud as indicated in red highlight.
Duplicate this layer one time and set the duplicate to exclusion blending at 100% opacity.
Create again a new layer above all the other layers. In this step, we will do some enchantment on the angel by defining some more highlight. Grab pen tool (P). On this layer create path as the one shown below. Stroke the path with white brush set to about 1-3 pixel size at about 80% hardness.
On the same layer, create more paths with the pen tool. Stroke the path with brush. Try to vary the size of the brush about 1-4 pxls depending on the width of highlight we want to create. Vary the hardness and opacity as well to get desired result.
Do the same way to enchant the angel by adding highlights on wings and lower parts of the cloth.
Now create a new adjustment layer above the highlight layer. Go again to layer > new adjustment layer > selective color.
Mask this selective color layer on parts marked in red highlight.
Now let’s add nuance of sadness to the scene. Rain may fit for it, so that’s way we will add pouring rain to the scene. To achieve this, create another new layer above the selective color layer. Take the rain brush named as rain7 in the package. Set the size of the brush to about 1600 pxls at about 20-30% opacity. With white color, click the brush to add rain. Name this layer, say, rain.
Duplicate (Ctrl+J) the rain layer to create rain copy layer. Create another new layer filled with black between the rain and duplicate layer. Select the new layer named as layer 1 and the rain copy layer. Hit Ctrl+E to merge them. This will create a new single layer containing rain with black background. Name this new layer, say, more rain.
Set this layer to color dodge blending at 100% opacity. We can duplicate this layer one or two times to get brighter rain drops on areas where the light is strongly reflected on them like the ones behind the angel where the light is much exposed. Select all more rain layers and hit Ctrl+G to group them into a folder. Name this folder, say, more rain.
Now be active again on the rain layer. Give this layer a layer mask and mask around the upper and lower parts of the scene to make the rain drop on those area less visible. Mask the left and right side a bit as well. The red highlighted part is where masking should be done.
Finally, do a bit masking as well on the more rain folder as indicated in red highlight.
Here is the result:
Create another new layer filled with black below the selective color 2 layer (step 25) add this layer with noise by going to filter > noise > add noise. Set this layer to color dodge at 100% opacity.
Mask this filter effect on almost part of the scene and reveal on areas behind the angel. This noise give sprinkle on area where the rain drops fall.
Finally we will add overall adjustment layer to the whole scene. Go to layer > new adjustment layer > Curves.
Mask on areas highlighted in red.
Here is the result so far….
Now we will add some wet effect on the angel’s skin. Go select the angel folder to be active on it. Hit Ctrl+E to merge the folder into a single layer. Then, go to layer > smart object > convert to smart object. Give this smart layer a smart filter by going to filter > filter gallery. In the filter gallery, open artistic > plastic wrap.
Mask this filter effect on areas marked in red highlight.
Here is the result:
To give impression of despair in the scene, we will add scattering feathers around.
Give the feathers some motion blur (filter > blur > motion blur).
It is up to our preference that we can reduce the opacity of the color layer previously created in step 15 to 30%. To give the scene a bit shaper look, we can add unsharp mask filter (filter > sharpen > unsharp mask). Prior giving the scene the filter, we should merge all the visible layers. While we are active on the topmost layer, hit Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E to merge them into a single layer.
This is the result will be because of the reduction.
Or this is the result without the reduction of the color.