Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation of a Monk in the Caves

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation of a Monk in the Caves
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With this mask we’re going to erase some parts of the cave. To do that, use the image below as reference and paint the red areas with black (remember to use a soft brush and keep the opacity around 10~25%).
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Here’s how my cave is looking like after that:
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As a final adjustment to the cave, add a new layer (CtrlCmd+Shift+N) and let’s do the lighting of it just like we did with the clouds and the sky.
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Select the Dodge Tool (Shortcut: O) and try to highlight the areas of the cave that are exposed to the sun, and darken the other areas to create a fade-away effect. Remember to also add some details (highlights close to darken areas) to give a good contrast to it. Here’s how my layer looks like in normal mode:
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And here is the result of it:
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To finish this step, select the “Cave Walls” group and reduce the opacity to around 85~90%.
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Step 5: Adding the monk

Place the monk stock into our image by going to File -> Place. Make sure you place it above all the other layers.
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We’re going to select the monk using the Pen Tool. Select it (Shortcut P) and create a path around the monk. Then right click in it and select Make Selection. Usually when you use the pen tool to create a selection you wouldn’t need to add any feather to it, but if you want to add feather don’t go over 1px.
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With the monk selected, create a new layer mask to its layer to make everything else disappear.
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Hit Ctrl/Cmd+T (or go to Edit -> Free Transform) to resize the monk and place it on the left corner of the cave.
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We’re going to use the same technique we’ve been using so far to add lighting to the monk. Hit Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N to create a new layer with these settings:
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Grab the Dodge Tool (Shortcut O) and make sure the range is at Midtones and the Exposure around 25%.
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Create the lighting of the monk trying to give the impression that the sun is in front of him. Here’s what I did:
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And here is the result:
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Create a new layer between the monk layer and the Cave Lighting layer. Name this layer “Monk Shadow”.
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Clip this layer to the Cave Walls group by holding Alt/Opt and clicking between the Monk Shadow and the Cave Lighting layer.
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Now using a soft brush (Shortcut B), paint the shadow of the monk in the cave using pure black. Don’t worry about going over the sky or the monk because the shadow will only affect the cave layer. Try to do something like this:
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To improve the shadow, go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and select a radius of 12px.
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Let’s add more shadow above the monk layer. Create a new layer using the same process, name it Monk Shadow again, but this time place it above all the other layers. Also, clip this layer to the Monk Lighting layer.
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With the same brush we used before, paint some black in the robes of the monk. Use a soft brush with the opacity set to something around 10~25%.
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Here is the final result of this step:
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Step 6: Adding the mountains

Place the mountains in our project by going to File -> Place and selecting them.
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Add a layer mask to this layer and use black to hide the sky of this image (remember to use a soft brush at least around the peaks of the mountains).

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28 comments on “Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation of a Monk in the Caves”

  1. Please re uploaded PSD file because when i click on download showing 404 error, this is best work for me i want check how did you do this

  2. Thanks for this great tutorial. One of the best I found so far. But I do have a question, since one step doesn't work out like it should. I have finished the cave and put the layers in a Group Folder as the tutorial says. The next step would be the cave lighting layer. But when I try to create it, Photoshop won't let me add a clipping mask. For some reason it won't do that above a group folder. To help myself I merged all cave layers into one, that way it works, but of course I can't change any details now, which is a bit annoying. I would be glad if you or someone else could tell me what I've been doing wrong. I use Photoshop CS4.

  3. Great tutorial. I loved it, and my end result turned out really well. I learned a tonne about layer masks so thank you :D

  4. Thank you for your tutoring.I am very appreciate your time.

    Wish you and your family have wonderful weekend.

  5. Terrific tutorials, as ALWAYS!

    And trust me, a lot of users see your tutorials, even if they don't leave feedback.

    Thanks, as always!

  6. On the part where you pick random parts from the island, you should have placed the layer inside the main PSD & use layer masks. Duplicate layer, paint in layer mask, repeat.

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