Add Fractals to Create Dreamy Photo Manipulations

Add Fractals to Create Dreamy Photo Manipulations
Learn how to combine photos with fractals to create your own surreal photomanipulation. In this tutorial you´ll learn different blending techniques and advanced lighting techniques. Let´s get started! This image was created to show a dream world which everyone enters when asleep. To create this photo manipulation you´ll start by blending the fractals together. Next you´ll add and adjust stairs and girl. And in the end you´ll focus on creating interesting light scene. You´ll need Photoshop CS or newer to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1 - Preparing Background

Open Photoshop and create a new document. Set its Height on 939px, Weigh on 1410px and Resolution on 72px/inch.
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Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the Background with black color.

Step 2 - Adding Main Fractal

Download image named fractal.png listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your photo manipulation. Double click on the layer and name it FRACTAL. If you don´t see the palette Layers go to Window>Layers and it will appear.
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Quick tip: It´s a good habit to name all your layers. It´s easier to navigate in them once you work with more layers.

Step 3 - Adding Stairs

Download photo of stairs listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your photo manipulation. Place this layer on the top of all layers and name it STAIRS. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to flip them. On the following image you can see how your photo manipulation should look like so far. In bottom left corner of the image you can see your layer order as well.
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Step 4 - Blending Stairs

As you can see STAIRS are too bright and yellow right now. In this step you´ll adjust them to fit into the scene. Click on the layer STAIRS to make sure it´s active. Go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color... and set the dialogue window same as on the following image.
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Press OK to apply changes. As you can see STAIRS are bluer but still too bright. To fix that add new adjustment layer Curves on the top of all layers and set the curve as on the following image. You can find the button Add new fill or adjutment layer on the bottom part of your Layers palette. You want to adjust only one layer below (=STAIRS) and not the rest of the image. To achieve that create clipping mask from it by clicking the button in the bottom part (it´s also highlighted with cyan color on the image below).
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Lets take a look how your photo manipulation looks like so far.
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Step 5 - More Blending

In this step you´ll hide some parts of STAIRS to make fractal below more visible. Add layer mask to the layer STAIRS. You can find the button Add layer mask on the bottom part of your palette Layers.
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Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some soft round brush and set its Opacity on 80%. Pick black color. Make sure the layer mask is active by clicking on it and start painting over the areas of stairs you want to hide.
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On the following image you can see where you should paint with the Brush Tool (B). That areas are highlighted with blue color.
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Step 6 - Adding Second Fractal

Download image named fractal2.png listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your photo manipulation. Place this new layer on the top of all layers and name it FRACTAL 2.

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