In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create an elf woman using a variety of photo manipulation techniques. First, we’ll import the model and retouch her. Later, we’ll add the forest background and the armor and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking and brushes. After that, we’ll add the headpiece and decorate the armor and then import the arrows. We’ll make the ears, paint the hair and use several adjustment layers to enhance the final effect.

Preview of The Final Result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 1607×1000 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the model image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Place this image in the middle of the canvas.

Step 2

We aim to remove the headpiece on her forehead so hit Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer. Activate the Brush Tool (B)  and set this layer as Clipping Mask. Use a soft round one with the color #dfc8c0 to paint on the forehead. 

Step 3

Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #cba294 to paint shadow on the both sides of the forehead.

Step 4

Make a new layer and select the Clone Tool (S) to remove the branch on the foreground  and the headpiece parts on both sides of the hair. 

Step 5

Create three layers  and use the colors #d1b8af, #dfc8c0 and #e3e7e8 to paint the missing hair part of both sides of the head, especially the cloned part in the previous step 

Step 6

Make a new layer and use a small brush with the color #d4b8ae to paint on the contour of the lower lip to make it a bit smaller.

Step 7

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill it with 50% gray:
Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 10-15% to refine the light and shadow on the image. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

Step 8

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and alter the Cyans settings to change the color of the background.
Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights values. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase both sides of the cheeks, the shoulders and the hair part on the right shoulder (from the viewer).

Step 9

Create two Photo Filter adjustment layers and pick the colors #03d3ec and #d9efa5. On the mask of the second layer, paint on the skin of the face, neck and shoulders.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the contrast on the model and the part around her. Paint on the rest to keep the lightness.

Step 10

Open the skin image and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) or any methods you’re familiar with to isolate the neck and body to add to the body of the existing model. Add a mask to this layer and use a medium-soft black brush to remove both sides of the skin part, leaving the middle visible only 

Step 11

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate this skin part. Bring the Saturation values down to -98:
Create a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #e7f6fa.
Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the skin part on the body On this layer mask, paint on the neck to keep its lightness.

Step 12

Create a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #8c756e to paint on the right of the neck to remove the hard edge of the skin.
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