Photomontage Tutorial

Posted by admin | On site photoshop tutorials | Thursday 9 July 2009 3:36 pm

In this tutorial we will learn how to create a photomontage by combining several images and blend them together into one final result.
For this particular tutorial we will create a flying Pegasus, using 3 images: a landscape, a horse and a wing. The wing and the horse are already cropped from photos found on stock photos websites. You can either use the ones that I have used, or browse trough stock photos websites to find others that you like

Download the photos in photoshop format

Open the landscape image in photoshop and create a new layer.
Make sure you have a white color for the foreground and black for the background.
Using the lasso tool, make an irregular selection similar to the red shape in the image below.

With the new layer selected, and the selection active, click on “select”, “feather” and type a value of about 35-40 (this value works for an image of about 2500 px width, but feel free to experiment)

Go to “Filters”, “render” and select clouds. Now change the blending mode of the layer to “screen”. You should end up with something similar to the following image

In order to add more variation to the clouds, make 2 copies of the clouds layer, and play with the opacities and sizes until you get a pleasing results. After a few tweaks like this, I have obtained the following result.

Open the horse image and paste it as a new layer in the psd file that you’ve been working on, just bellow the clouds layers.
There’s not much to do on this except maybe for making it a little whiter by adjusting the brightness and contrast.

Open the cropped image of the wing, and paste it over the layer of the horse. Rename the new layer “left wing” and adjust the position and rotation until you are happy with it.
Using the eraser tool with a smooth brush, delete a little part of the wing (where the wing meets the body of the horse), so that it blends well.
As a fine adjustment, you can apply a subtle motion blur to create the illusion of motion

Make a copy of the “left wing” layer, and rename it “right wing”. Drag the layer below the “horse” layer, and rotate and scale it until it looks ok. You should have something like in the image below.

Final touches
Add 3 more layers above the entire stack. Paint the first one red, the second one blue and the top one green. Change the blending mode from “normal” to “color” for each of them and the opacities to 22%.

Using the eraser tool with a large soft brush, delete the lower left corners of the red and blue layers; your stack should look similar to the screen shot below:

That’s it! We’re done.
Below is the final result of our photomontage:
(click the image to view a higher resolution one)

Decomposing a face in photoshop

Posted by admin | On site photoshop tutorials | Wednesday 24 June 2009 2:47 pm

The purpose of this tutorial is to go through some advanced photo manipulation techniques; you will learn to work with masks, filters, selections, etc.
This tutorial is a follow-up of “how to change the skin texture” tutorial that I’ve posted last week. If you haven’t read that one yet, I strongly suggest you do it before going through this one, since I’m going to refer to the techniques shown there, later.

Here are the images I’ve used for this tutorial. You can either use these, or find others on stock images websites.

First you will need to make some selection sets. You can start by selecting the skin using the lasso tool, or magnetic lasso tool.
After having finished the selecting, click on “select”, “save selection” and type “skin”.
Without deselecting it, hold “shift” and start selecting the other parts of person as well (in this case, the hat and cloths), using the same tools.
When you are done save this selection as well and name it “person”.

What we need to do next, is to make new layers for each of the selections above. Therefore, with the last selection still active, click on “layer” (located in the menu above, between “image” and “select”), then click on “new” and choose “layer via copy”
Alternatively you can use the shortcut (ctrl+J).
Load the other selection (named skin) and repeat the process. You should end up with 3 layers like in the screen capture below.

Decomposing the skin into small chunks

This part is quite boring to be honest, but try to have patience because it determines the way the final image will look.
Select the skin layer and using the lasso tool or the polygonal lasso tool, start selecting pieces of the skin and move them apart, like in the screen capture bellow.
It would be a good idea to hide the other layers while doing this.

Place the bigger chunks further away from the face and the smaller ones closer to it. Also, decrease the distance between the pieces as they get smaller. Take a look at the image bellow to have an idea regarding what you should be ending above with, after about 20 minutes of work.

Having finished this step, select all the pieces you’ve created (by surrounding all them with either the lasso tool or the polygonal lasso tool), and make an new layer from this selection (like we did for the skin, only this time choose “layer via cut”)
Rename the new layer “chunks”

Adding the illusion of motion
Without suggesting motion, the image looks like a jigsaw puzzle. First, make a copy of the new “chunks” layer, and rename it “motion blur”. As you have guessed apply a motion blur filter. At the moment, all the pieces that you have previously decomposed look like they are moving very fast. We can improve the effect even more, by making the pieces “decelerate” as they get closer to the face.
Create a layer mask (by selecting “layer”, “layer mask” and “reveal all”). You will notice the icon of the mask next to the layer in the stack. Make sure it is active (so that you work on the mask and not on the actual layer) and draw a gradient, from white to black, using the gradient tool (from left to right, like in the screen capture bellow)

You should end up with an image similar to the following

Notice that I have painted the background in black for now, since we are going to replace in anyway later in this tutorial.

Fine tuning
In order make the effect more convincing you need to add a texture with cracks. Open the desired texture in photoshop and drag it over your psd file as a new layer (name it “texture1”). Change the blending mode from normal to overlay.
Hold “Ctrl” and click on the icon of the “skin” layer. Choose “select inverse” and delete the parts of the “texture1” layer that are not covering the face.
Using the eraser tool with a soft brush, delete the right part the texture. You should end up with something similar to the following image:

It is starting to look ok, but the left part of the face still lacks depth. Select the skin again (by holding Ctrl and clicking on the layer icon) and make a new layer, just above “texture1”.
With the selection still active, choose a very smooth brush and paint the recently create layer with black, just around the left edge of the face.
When you are done, change the opacity to about 80% and you should obtain something like this:

In order to make it look like a zombie, apply another texture to the face of the character using the technique learnt in the tutorial named How to change the skin texture in photoshop (that I have mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial).
In this case I have used an old copper texture, and came up with the following image:

Unhide the layer named “person”. Click on “select”, “load selection” and choose “skin”. With the “person” layer active, click delete. This way you will keep only the clothes of the character, since you have been working on the skin in an upper layer.

Open the background image in photoshop and drag it over your psd file, under the layer named “person”.
Adjust the color balance and curves so that it will blend well with your character.  After a few minor touches in some places (like color burn and color dodge) you should obtain something similar to this:

(click on the image to view a higher resolution one)

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