In this tutorial I’d like to show you how you can change ordinary photo into a fantasy photo manipulation and also different ways how you can play with lights and shadows.
Preview of Final Results
Download the PSD
Butterfly.zip | 7.6 MB
Download from Website
How to Change Ordinary Photo into Fantasy Photo Manipulation
Step 1 – Cleaning the Background
Open the photo of woman in Photoshop. Right now it’s bit boring, ordinary photo. It was shot during day but you want to turn it into nigh. You also want to change the light from soft, diffuse light into spotted light coming from the butterfly. You’ll learn how to do it in this tutorial.
Let’s start with cleaning the background. There are few bright spots (see the image below) which are distracting. You’ll remove them in this step.
Create a new layer above the BACKGROUND and name it e.g. BACKGROUND RETOUCH.
You can find the button “Create a new layer” in the bottom part of the palette Layers. If you don’t see this palette simply press F7 on your keyboard or go to Window > Layers and it will appear.
Grab the Stamp Tool (S) and cover the highlighted area with some darker bokeh. (If you don’t know how to use the Stamp Tool you can take a look at this video.)
After this step your background should look like below.
Step 2 – Preparing Selection of Girl
In the following step you are adjusting the bottom part of the background – leaves. To be able to adjust only them and not the rest of the image you’re creating mask of the girl and forest in this step.
You need to create sharp mask of girl, you’re using the Lasso Tool (L) for it. For the forest you should create mask with soft transition on the horizon. Using the Brush Tool (B) is ideal for it.
Click on the layer BACKGROUND and grab the Lasso Tool (L). Then make a selection of the girl. You don’t need to care about the part of her body which is in front of the forest but you should be very careful with selecting the bottom parts.
I know that masking is quite boring and very uncreative part of doing photo manipulations but it’s crucial to create realistic looking picture. So be as patient as possible.
Below you can see how the mask of the bottom part of the body should look.
Click on the icon Edit in Quick Mask Mode (Q) which can be found on the Tools palette (or simply press Q on your keyboard). Because of this mode you see mask painted with red.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some soft round brush and pick black color. Now paint over the forest. You should get something like this:
Press Q on your keyboard to switch back to normal view. You’re seeing only borders of the mask again.
To be able to work with the mask later you need to save it. To do that go to Select > Save Selection… and name it e.g. LEAVES.
Let the mask activated.
Step 3 – Adjusting Leaves
In this step you’re changing color of leaves to give them little bit more magical atmosphere. To do that you’ll use two adjustment layers – Selective Color and Hue/Saturation.
Using of adjustment layers is much better than using direct adjustments. With adjustment layers all the changes you do are always reversible. If you use direct adjustments you can make only as many changes as your History goes plus you’ll loose all the later steps.
You can find the button “Create new fill or adjustment layer” in the bottom part of the palette Layers same as the button “Add new layer” mentioned in earlier steps.
Let’s begin with Selective Color. Click on the button “Create new fill or adjustment layer” and, surprisingly, choose Selective Color. Set it as on the next image.
As you can see because of the activated mask (from previous step) adjustment layer affects only leaves. On the thumbnail of the adjustment layer you can see which parts is adjusted – it’s white. Part without adjustment is black.
Move on saturation. Before you’re adding adjustment layer Hue/Saturation you need to activate the mask again. To do that Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of Selective Color adjustment layer. Mask activates again.
Now add new adjustment layer Hue/Saturation and set it as on the following picture.
Because of the activated mask only leaves are adjusted again.
Below you can see how your image should look so far.
Step 4 – Desaturating the Forrest
In previous step you added colder tones to the leaves. To create balance you should make also forest in the background colder looking. To do that you’re using adjustment layers again, this time Color Balance and Hue/Saturation.
If you look closely on the forest you can see some greener moss which is bit distracting. To make it less saturated and less distracting add new adjustment layer Hue/Saturation and set the value Saturation on -100.
Click on the thumbnail of the adjustment layer. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the thumbnail with solid black color. Adjustment disappears.
Grab the Brush Tool, select some soft round brush and lower its Opacity on about 30%. Pick white color and paint over the green parts of the forest. Adjustment appears again in that areas and desaturates moss.
Step 5 – Cyan Tones to the Forrest
Now it’s time to use Color Balance as I mentioned in previous step. You use it to create colder, more magical atmosphere.
Add new adjustment layer Color Balance and set it as shown below.
You want to change colors of forest, not the whole image. You need to change layer mask of the adjustment layers. Same as in previous step grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer mask with solid black color. Then grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint with white over the forest to make the Color Balance adjustment visible again.
On the picture above you can see where I painted with white. As you probably notices I also painted over the woman’s hair to give them similar tone as the background.
Your picture should look similar to the one shown below so far.
Step 6 – Adding Mist
If you’ve read more of my tutorials you probably know that I really like using mist to create magical or fantasy atmosphere in my images. And this image is no exception so in this step you’re adding mist to the horizon.
Download the mist brushes listed in the beginning of the tutorial (or any other mist brushes you’re comfortable to use) and install them into Photoshop. (If you don’t know how to install them you can take a look at this tutorial.)
Create a new layer on the top of all layers and name it MIST. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and select one of the brushes you’ve just installed. Hold Alt to activate the Eyedropper Tool (I) and select some of the very light colors from the background.
It’s better to avoid using pure white and black color in your work because they’re very rare in nature. Most often you can see some light shades of blue, yellow or green instead of white and dark shades of e.g. brown instead of white. These shades don’t look so harsh and are more realistic.
Enough talking just paint the mist :) Below you can see where I painted it to get the inspiration. Mist is behind the girl so avoid painting over her.
Step 7 – Blue Sweater
You’ve already get rid off two distracting things – too white bokeh and green moss. Another thing which I feel is quite distracting is the yellow sweater the girl is wearing. In this step you’re changing its color from yellow to blue.
First you need to create selection of it. Grab the Lasso Tool (L) and create the mask.
With mask still activated add new adjustment layer Hue/Saturation on the top of all layers and set it as on the following picture.
Below you can see how the image looks after these seven steps.
Step 8 – Darkening the Background
This step is very quick. You’re only darkening leaves and forest little bit. To do that add new adjustment layer Levels and set the Input Levels on 0; 0,72; 255.
Fill the layer mask of Levels with solid black color. Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some big, soft round brush and lower its Opacity on about 40%. Pick white color and paint over the background. On the following picture it’s highlighted with red where I painted. As you can see I wasn’t too precise and used very soft transition to get natural result.
Step 9 – Glow for the Girl
As you can see on the preview picture there is strong light source above the girl (butterfly). In this and following steps you’ll start adding and changing light on the scene to achieve the same effect.
In this step you’re focusing on glow in girl’s face and hair. This step would be easier if you have tablet but mouse can work too. You may only need bit more patient to get nice strokes.
Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. GLOW ON GIRL. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and set the Master Diameter on 1- 2 pixels. Set the Opacity on 60 – 70%. Press Alt to activate the Eyedropper Tool (I) and pick some cyan bright color from the picture. Then start painting over the edges of her face and hair which should be lighter because of the glowing butterfly.
On the picture below you can see where I painted. I put black background under so you can see it better.
As you can see I painted on “tops” of the face – nose, cheeks, forehead and borders of lips. I also added glow around her hair and small light dots into her eyes. you should do it too.
Step 10 – Changing Lights on Clothes and Trees
Let’s focus on adding lights and shadows to clothes and trees. It’s similar as previous step, only in this case you won’t paint on empty layer but on layer filled with mid grey.
Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. LIGHT ON CLOTHES AND TREES. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G), pick #808080 grey color and fill the layer with it.
To blend it with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode on Overlay. You can find it in the upper part of the palette Layers (see picture below).
Now you will use the Brush Tool (B) to lighten and to darken some areas. If you paint with white you make it lighter, with black you make it darker.
Set the Master Diameter to 1 – 3 pixels and lower the Opacity on about 5%. Paint over the areas where light of the butterfly hits. Then switch to black and darken the areas which remain in shadows.
On the following picture you can see the inspiration where to paint. Blending Mode of it is left on Normal so you can see the exact strokes and not only the result.
As you can see clothes near the butterfly are lighter and also closer part of trees. The opposite side of clothing and trees is darker. You should also add shadow under the girl and if you want to you can darken her eye shadows.
With the grey layer set on Overlay your picture should look like below.
Step 11 – More Shadows
According to me picture would look more dramatic if it has more shadows. You’ve already added some in previous step but in this step you’re adding even more.
The process of adding shadows is the same as in step 10. Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. MORE SHADOWS. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G), pick #808080 grey color and fill the layer with it. To blend the layer properly with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), set Master Diameter on 2 – 4 pixels and lower its Opacity on 5%. Pick black color and paint over the areas with shadows to make them even more darker.
On the following picture you can get inspiration where to paint. I set the Blending Mode back on Normal again so you can see the strokes better.
Step 12 – Butterfly’s Glow
This is another very quick step in which you’re adding glow on the place where you’re adding butterfly in following steps.
Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it GLOW. Grab the Brush Tool (B), choose some soft round brush and set the Master Diameter on 350 pixels. Set its Opacity on 20%. Hold Alt to activate the Eyedropper Tool (I) and pick some light cyan color from the picture.
Simply paint one big dot above the girl’s head. Below you can see how your image should look so far.
Step 13 – Minor Adjustments
Before you move on adding another element to the picture you need to do two minor adjustment – remove some lights around the girl and add warmer tones.
Let’s start with removing lights. Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it LESS LIGHTS. Fill it with #808080 grey color again and change its Blending Mode on Overlay.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), pick black color, set the Opacity on 5% and paint over the area which is highlighted on the following image.
Paint with black also around the edges to create gentle vignette.
Let’s move on adding warmer tones. You do it very easily by adding new adjustment layer Photo Filter on the top of all layers and setting the window as on the picture below.
After all these steps your photo manipulation should be similar to the one shown below.
Step 14 – Adding Bokeh
Download bokeh texture listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your photo manipulation. Place it on the top of all layers and name it BOKEH.
Press Ctrl + T on your keyboard and resize it on proper size. To apply the changes press Enter.
Now you need to blend the layer properly. You want to make black disappear so the Screen Blending Mode is ideal in this case. So change the Blending Mode of BOKEH from Normal to Screen.
As you can surely see your image is lighter than before applying the texture. It’s because background of the texture isn’t pure black but has some shade of dark grey.
To make the image darker again add new adjustment layer Levels on the top of all layers and darken the image. Values of Input Levels would depend on what texture you used. For me it was OK to set them on 32; 0,94; 255 but you should definitely set it depending on lightness of your image.
On the following picture you can see how the mania looks so far.
Step 15 – Cyan for Lights
As you can see on the preview picture glow of the butterfly isn’t white but cyan. Right now lights on your picture are only lighter version of original color. It would look better if they have more cyan tones.
Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. CYAN FOR LIGHTS. Grab the Brush Tool (B), set the Master Diameter on about 40 pixels and the Opacity on 15%. Pick some light cyan color and paint over the lights.
You can get the inspiration where to paint on the the picture below. I put black background under the picture in the middle to make changes better visible.
As you can see lights become also more visible and thus contrast is higher. All because of such a simple step.
Step 16 – Cyan Color
If you want to create impression of night there should be more blue/cyan colors in the picture. You’ll change it in this step.
First add new adjustment layer Color Balance on the top of all layers and set it as on the following image.
Because of the Color Balance adjustment the picture is little over saturated. To fix it add new adjustment layer Hue/Saturation and set the value Saturation on -20.
Here you can see how these two adjustments affect the picture.
Step 17 – Darkening Lighter Spots
Before we move back on adding more elements to the picture there is one more adjustment which needs to be done. There are some lighter spots in the manipulation which cause that it looks unbalanced. You can see them highlighted on the following picture.
To make these spots darker add new adjustment layer Levels on the top of all layers and set the Input Levels on 0; 0,67; 255.
Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G), pick black color and fill the layer mask of Levels with it. Then grab the Brush Tool (B), set the Master Diameter on 250 pixels and lower its Opacity on about 25%. Pick white color and paint dots over the highlighted areas.
Below you can see how your manipulation should look so far.
Step 18 – Adding Butterfly
Download the picture of butterfly listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your manipulation. Place it on the top of all layers and name it BUTTERFLY.
You need to do two things before actual blending – remove white background and resize it on proper size.
Let’s start with removing the background. Grab the Magic Wand Tool (W) and click on white of the background to make a selection of it. Then simply press Delete on your keyboard to remove it.
To resize it go to Edit > Free Transform or simply press Ctrl + T on your keyboard. Set the size similar as on the preview picture and change also rotation of the picture. Hold Ctrl while resizing to keep the same proportion.
Press Enter to apply the changes.
Step 19 – Blending the Butterfly
Butterfly you’ve just added has only one purpose – to give you the idea of shape where you’re adding the broken glass later. Because of that it’s better if you see only borders of it and don’t be distracted by colors.
To desaturate the butterfly click on its layer (BUTTERFLY) and press Ctrl + U to activate the Hue/Saturation adjustment. Set the value Saturation on -100 to loose all colors.
To blend the butterfly better with the rest of the picture change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay. Because of this blending mode you’ll see only borders which is ideal for your purpose.
After this step your image should be similar to the one below.
Step 20 – Adding Broken Glass
Creating the butterfly from broken glass is actually very easy. The whole point of it is to find shards which has similar shape as outer border of the butterfly and move them there.
Download photo of broken glass listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into the manipulation. Place it on the top of all layers and name it GLASS.
To blend it properly with the rest of the image change the Blending Mode of the GLASS from Normal to Screen. (Remember that you used the same blending mode to blend bokeh? Principle here is the same – you want to make black transparent and white let visible, so Screen Blending Mode is the best choice for you.)
Now grab the Lasso Tool (L) and select one of the pieces of glass. Then grab the Move Tool (V) and move it on butterfly. Press Ctrl + D to deselect it. Repeat the same process over and over again till you fill the whole body of butterfly. It may sound bit boring but trust me that it takes no more that ten minutes.
Your butterfly should be similar to the one below after you finish with this step.
Step 21 – Adjusting the Glass
If you look at your picture right now you can see that the butterfly would look better if it’s bit brighter. You’ll fix it in this step.
Add new adjustment layer Levels and set the Input Levels on 12; 0,85; 227.
You want to make brighter and more contrasted only the butterfly not the rest of the image. Fill the layer mask of Levels adjustment color with black color. Then grab the Brush Tool (B), set the Opacity on 100% and pick white color. Paint over the butterfly.
Step 22 – More Bokeh
Right now the upper part of image is too empty which doesn’t look interesting. The whole image also looks static. It will help to add some more bokeh.
Bokeh in this image is not just because it looks nice or something like this. In fact it A) represents blurred pieces of glass and B) helps creating impression of space.
Drag “big bokeh” textures into your photo manipulation and place it on the top of all layers. Name the new layer BIG BOKEH and change its Blending Mode on Screen to blend it properly.
Because you want to create impression of space this bokeh should look like it’s in front of the girl. Because of that it has to be bigger that other bokeh in the picture. To do that press Ctrl + T on your keyboard and make it as big as necessary. Press Enter to apply the changes.
If you look at your picture right now you can see that there are some empty, uninteresting places. I highlighted them on the following picture so you can better see what I am talking about.
Place on these areas some small bokeh. The way how to do it is the same as placing BIG BOKEH.
your image should look like shown on the following picture.
Step 23 – Adding Shadow
Only two more steps and you’re done! In this step you’re making shadow under the girl bit more visible and adding some lights on her fringe.
Add new layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. SHADOW AND FRINGE. Grab the Brush Tool (B). Select some soft round brush, set the Master Diameter on 250 pixels and lower the Opacity on 10%. Pick some dark brown color and paint shadow under the girl.
On the picture below it’s highlighted where to paint.
Now pick some very light cyan color and gently paint over girl’s fringe. Below it’s highlighted again where to paint.
Step 24 – Sharpening
This is the promised last step and it will be very quick.
You’re sharpening the picture. To do that press Ctrl + A to select the whole picture and Ctrl + Shift + C to copy it merged. Then press Ctrl + V to paste it. Place this new merged layer on the top of all layers and name it SHARPENING.
Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the value Radius so you’re able to see gentle edges of the picture. Press OK.
To blend the layer properly with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode on Overlay.