Create a Dreamlike Photo Manipulation of an Emotional Girl with a Dramatic Lighting in Photoshop

Create a Dreamlike Photo Manipulation of an Emotional Girl with a Dramatic Lighting in Photoshop

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Learn how to this emotional photo manipulation of a girl in a dreamy background. In this tutorial you will learn how to create dramatic light effect, make motion in leaves, and create a focal point through lighting and elements. Beside that you will learn non destructive techniques that will help you work flow easier and efficient.

This image was created to represent the concept of the seven deadly sins, the girl represents Eve, she looks ashamed from what she’s done. To create this image you will start with a forest background, then you will add the model and some details of bushes and trees to create depth, also leaves will give a motion feeling to the image. To finish th art you will learn how to apply texture and color adjustments to create a dramatic lighting. You can use photoshop CS6 or CC to follow this tutorial. Also will help you if you have a digital tablet.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

The base image for this manipulation is going to be some woods, the resolution this work is done is Width: 3000 and Height: 3503 pixels.


Step 2

To make a dramatic lighting to the background in a new layer (Shift- Control+N) paint the center with a light gray (#deded8) and in the borders with a darker gray (#545563) should look like the image in the left. Blur: add some blur to make it look softer (Menu Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) add 180 px of blur.


Step 3

Change layer mode from normal to soft light. As you can see in the picture below now the light looks lighter in the middle and darker on the sides.


Step 4

Place the model in the background


Step 5

Use the pen tool to crop the model out of the background. Select the pen tool and make sure that the menu that is in the top show the option “Path” and not “Shape”. Click in the image and star to select all the borders of the image you like to keep. Be patient to achieve an accurate selection.


After you complete the path press right click then a menu will appear, choose the option Make Selection. Then click ok and you will have your selection.


Step 6

Add a layer mask by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button in the layers panel or by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.


Step 7

If your selection have some inaccurate parts you can fix them now with a small brush. You have to paint over the layer mask with the black brush.


Step 8

Go to the menu Filter – Liquify. Use the Forward Warp Tool to make her dress smaller. The size of the brush is 70 and the Pressure can be set at 20 to 25.


Step 9

To make the model less saturated go to the menu “create a new fill or adjustment layer” and select the option “Hue/Saturation” reduce the Saturation to -48.


Step 10

A clipping mask is very useful to affect just an element of the composition. Since you are working with the model creating a clipping mask will help you to make the changes only to the selected layer. To do this press right click over the layer you create before “hue/saturation” press right click in the thumbnail and choose the option “Create Clipping Mask” then you will have something like this, that means that this layer is only going to be affecting the one that is underlined.


Step 11

If you want that just her skin less saturated then in the layer mask of this adjustment layer press (Ctrl + I) to invert the selection and have the layer mask completely black. Paint with a white brush (50% opacity) over the parts you want to be affected. In this case just paint over the skin. You can use a big brush and don’t have to worry about the edges because you are using the clipping mask so the background is not going to be affected at all.


Step 12

To change the color of her dress you are going to choose again “Hue and Saturation” and chage the Hue to -53 and the saturation to -18 remember to also add this layer as clipping mask to affect only the model. So be cafeful and don’t paint over her skin.


Step 13

In a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N) pick a chalk brush and paint hair strands. You can use the color picker to use the same exact color of the hair. A tablet will make this easier, if you don’t have one you can use hair brushes or paint with the mouse. Brush size 3 or 2 opacity: 100% set it to pen pressure.


Step 14

In a new layer with a lighter brush make more hairs to create highlighting to the strands. Repeat the same proccess as before.