Learn how to create this eerie photo manipulation of the Grim Reaper’s side job – mowing! This simple tutorial is great for beginner photo manipulators and will show you how to quickly combine photos, warp them into your scene, and add a cold blue color effect that eliminates all need for color matching.
Preview of Final Results
- Straws -Bergadder, pixabay
- Cloud – lancealot21us, pixabay
- Grim – mjranum, Deviantart
- Scythe – mynoahsart, Deviantart
Let’s start by opening the straw image in the Photoshop.
Activate the crop tool in the tool panel by hitting the short key C on the keyboard. We will crop the image a little bit with this tool.
Start cropping by clicking the tool and drag around the image we want to crop. I started from upper left part of the image and dragged to lower right part. Hit enter to crop the image.
Here is the result of the cropped image now.
We will hide the cloud part of the image. To do this purpose, we will give the image a layer mask by clicking the layer mask icon located in the bottom of the layer panel. There will be a white mask thumbnail next to the layer thumbnail.
Next, start accessing the brush tool by hitting the short key B. Choose a soft round brush at 0% hardness with size of around 900 pixels.
Make sure to set the foreground color to black and the background to white and the layer mask thumbnail is activated. Start masking the cloud part of the image by stroking the brush with black to mask the cloud.
Here is the result
Now point out the cursor on the background layer and double click on it to show up the new layer option box. This will lead us to change background layer into a new layer named layer 0 in option box. I named this layer BG..
Now open the cloud image on the document. This image will be a new layer above the BG layer in the layer panel. I named this layer cloud. Position the cloud layer under the BG layer by clicking, holding and dragging it downward.
Activate free transform tool (Ctrl+T) and scale up the cloud image by clicking one of the transforming points, holding and dragging downward until the cloud cover the blank space in the document.
Here is what I have done:
With the cloud layer still activated, go to filter > blur > surface blur. Set the value of the blur as given below:
Here is what we should have so far:
Proceed to alter the color of the cloud by giving it a new adjustment layer above the cloud layer. To do this purpose, go to layer > new adjustment layer > hue/saturation:
Here is the result.
Give another new adjustment layer above the hue/saturation layer. This time we will give brightness/contrast as the one given in the screenshot below:
Here is what we will have as the result..
I assumed that the light source will come from the upper centered part of the cloud. We will mask the effect of the adjustment layers created before to create the light source.
Select the two adjustment layers and hit ctrl+G to group them into one folder. I named this folder ‘adjustment for the cloud’. Give this folder a layer mask. Take a very soft round brush and mask the areas where the light source will come from.
Here is the result after masking.
Next, we will add some highlight and shadow for the scene. Firstly select the BG layer to activate it. With the BG layer activated, hit Shift+Ctrl+N to create a new layer. On the new layer option box, give the name of this new layer (I named this layer shadow and highlight). Make sure to check ‘use previous layer to create a clipping mask’ to give this new layer a clipping mask. Set the blending to overlay and fill it with neutral color of 50% gray.
Here is the result we should have.
To give the highlight for the scene, firstly we will activate the dodge tool. Set the tool as shown in the option bar below: choose a very soft round brush at size of about 500 pixels, set its range to highlight and exposure of about 10%.
On the shadow and highlight layer, start stroking the dodge to give some highlight for the scene. Here is the result I created set in normal blending and the result set in overlay at 100% opacity.
Proceed to give some shadow for the scene. To achieve this, activate the burn tool and set the tool as shown in the option bar below.
Stoke the burn tool to some areas where needed to give some shadow. Here is the result I created for our inspiration:
Proceed to set the overall mode for the scene. We will give the scene some adjustment layers to achieve this. Firstly we will give it hue/saturation. Go to layer > new adjustment layers > hue/saturation. Set this layer to the value as shown below:
Set this layer to normal at 100% opacity to have the result like this one: