In this tutorial, we’re going to create a fantasy-themed photo manipulation of a fairy in a stormy environment. This is a step-by-step tutorial that will take you through the masking process, light-adjusting, and creating a realistic-looking rain among other things.
What you’ll be creating
We’re going to start by masking and placing all the elements on the canvas blend them together with adjustment layers, add some small details and we’ll finish it off with a gradient map. This work has been done with Adobe Photoshop CC but you should be able to follow it with most versions.
Let’s start by creating a new document with the following settings:
Now we’ll set the background color to black and place the woman (File > Place) as you see below.
We only need the woman and the stone below her and everything else we need to use a layer mask to cover it. With the picture selected in the layers panel click on the Add layer mask button, which is located at the bottom of the layers panel. Now we’ll use a brush with the color black to paint on top of the picture the areas we don’t need. If you want to make things visible again you’ll have to use white.
Add a Curves adjustment layer by clicking on the Create new fill or adjustment layer button which is located next to the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel. This only needs to apply to this layer so right-click on the adjustment layer and click on Create clipping mask.
Now add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer that only affects the rock and its surroundings. Use the values you see below. One way to do it is to create the adjustment layer, add a Vector mask and using the Paint Bucket Tool (G) you’ll paint the mask all black, this will cover the adjustment layer and we’ll make it visible only around the stone area using a soft brush with white color.
The last thing we need to do to this layer is to add the light around her hands. Grab the Ellipse Tool (U) and create two elliptical shapes, one needs to be 90×90 pixels and #00ffff as fill and the other one 70×70 and filled with white. You can press Shift to make a perfect circle. Now select the 90×90 one and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, rasterize the shape and insert 50 px as Radius. Do the same with the 70×70 but instead of 50 px as Radius, you’re going to put 25px. Now put the 70×70 shape on top of the 90×90 one.
Duplicate the resulting combination and place one on top of each hand. You might need to resize it a little bit with Ctrl+T or Edit > Transform > Scale.
Now let’s move on and place the cave entrance (File > Place). Place it at the top of the canvas and then drag it down like below.
Get rid of the landscape that you see outside the cave. I added a layer mask and using the Pen Tool (P) I carefully made a path, turned it into a selection (Right-click > Make Selection), and filled it with black using the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Now drag this layer under the layer with the woman.