How to Create a Surreal House Photo Manipulation with Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Surreal House Photo Manipulation with Adobe Photoshop
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create a surreal piece featuring a woman carrying a house. First, we'll add a lake image and then the model. Later, we'll import the house and add the dead branches. After that, we'll decorate the house with a crow and falling leaves. We'll use several adjustment layers to enhance the final effect.

Preview of The Final Result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 2674x2000 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the lake image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Resize it  to fit the size of the document using the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T)

Step 2

We aim to make the trees on the background softer and less visible. Activate the Lasso Tool (L)  to select the trees' area and set the feather radius to 80.  Hit Ctrl+J to duplicate this selection into a new layer and convert this layer to a Smart Object.

Step 3

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 12 px to make the trees hazier. 

Step 4

On this layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and set it as Clipping Mask. Change the lightness and color of this part a bit.

Step 5

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of the layers and change the Midtones settings:

Step 6

Cut out the model from the original background and duplicate the extracted model on a new layer.  I've made a Color Fill layer between the background and the extracted one. 

Step 7

Go to Filter > Liquify and use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to pull the bottom of the dress up to fit the ground's perspective of the main document. 
Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a hard round brush with black color to remove some unwanted details of the dress, hair and foot.

Step 8

Open the  foot image and take the right foot to add to the left foot of the existing model and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). Use Ctrl+T to rotate the foot a bit . 
Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to blend the foot with the existing leg.

Step 9

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to desaturate the foot a little.
Make a new layer and use a soft brush with the color #d1ac92, the opacity and flow about 25-30% to paint on the white part of the foot to remove it.

Step 10

Add a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the hidden side of the foot. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the lower front of the foot so it won't be brightened by this adjustment layer.
Make another Curves adjustment layer to darken the front of the foot. On the layer mask, paint on the hidden side to keep it shadow and contrast.

Step 11

Hide the background and the fill layer and hit Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to merge all the transparent layers into a new one. Move the merged model into the main document and place her on the middle of the ground. Add a mask to this layer to refine the contour of the left leg. 

Step 12

Create a new layer below the model one and use a soft brush with the color #0f0d0d to paint a hard shadow below the dress and feet. 

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