In this tutorial you will learn, how to make this gothic and symbolic photo manipulation. I’ll show you basics of Photoshop, like making night or create lights and shadows. You can read extra tips about photo manipulations and you will learn, how to make living tattoo! You will be making better photo manipulations and works in the future, by reading this.

What you’ll be creating

You will be creating photo manipulation fulfilled with symbols – like fire, night and dragon. Everything here is a symbol of transformation. You will be playing with particles and fire :). You’ll need Photoshop CS5 or newer to follow this tutorial.
final-results

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Let’s start. Choose from top menu File > New (or Ctrl + N), create 1200 x 1600 pixel document.
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Step 2

Drag and place “Creepy door” stock to your file. Transform it as shown below.
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Step 3

Now you will make night scene. Start from creating adjustment layer (marked shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment Layer) and pick Exposure.
step-003

Step 4

Colors in the picture are flatty. For fixing it add adjustment layer with Brightness/Contrast (marked shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast).
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Step 5

Now drag and drop to your file model stock – “Wicked 16”. Remember about proportions – she can’t be taller than the doors! :) Also, keep in mind the perspective. The model has to be placed lower than door line.
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Step 6

Add layer mask by shortcut. Mask background from model stock.
step-006

Step 7

Add new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N, Layer > New > Layer… or marked shortcut). Click on the created layer with RMB. Choose Create clipping mask. Clipping masks use the contents and transparency of a layer below.
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Step 8

Pick soft, 15px, orange brush, set its opacity to 50%. With gently strokes draw lights of your model on created, clipping layer. I’ll set light source from doors, by the left side of picture.
step-008
Extra tip! If you making photo manipulation with full body model, try to make legs a bit darker, because our eyes are focusing on lighter parts of picture. That’s why I haven’t made lights on bottom of her legs.
step-008a

Step 9

Add new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N, Layer > New > Layer… or shortcut). Click on the created layer with RMB. Choose Create clipping mask – like before. Then, set blending mode of this layer to Screen!
step-009
Then, with soft, 15px, light-blue (set its opacity to 50%) brush gently draw neutral lights on right side of the model. Neutral lights will give your image more realistic look. You can notice neutral lights in photography or drawings. Remember, that neutral lights are darker, than normal lights.
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Step 10

Cool! Now you will copy two layers with lights. Choose layers by holding ctrl. Then, drag layers on “New layer symbol”.
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Step 11

Now, again click with holding Ctrl duplicated layers. Decrease opacity of marked layers to 70%.
step-011

Step 12

Time to set exposure of model. Add adjustment layer with Exposure (marked shortcut or Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Exposure). Set it as shown. Then, click on created layer by RMB. Choose “Create clipping mask” – Adjustment layer will fill only model’s layer.
step-012

Step 13

Back below model’s layer. Add new layer. Pick big, soft, gray brush and draw some shadows below feet. Then, use smaller brush with darker color and draw darker shadows. If you aren’t glad of your effect, just blur it. This is optional, but shadows will be smoother. Avoid use black color (#000) – it’s not naturally occurring.

16 thoughts on “Born of the Dragon – Create this Symbolic Gothic Composite in Photoshop”

  1. AbstractAmatuer

    Hi, this tutorial helped me learn things, and was cool. The only 3 things about it made me frustrated.

    1. You only used one specific color code and the rest of the colors were hard to get right.

    2. The 1px soft brush for the hair strands did not work for me. It was too big and pixelated and I wasn’t sure what effects you used..? Maybe I missed it.

    3. I couldn’t use trees. it was hard to follow the tutorial properly. I use a different door. One you used not available.

    thank you for this tuorial and keep up the good work.

  2. AbstractAmatuer

    This tutorial was cool, but frustrating for me because it was hard to find the exact colors, because you only gave one specific color code. Also I’m not sure exactly how you did the hair, mine wasn’t working well at all. I was using a soft round 1px brush and it was too pix-elated and it was too big . Here is what I came up with . I didn’t use the trees because It didn’t go well
    with the door (because the one you used wasn’t available) . Thank you for making this tutorial. Keep it up.

  3. Looks amazing. Thank you, I want to try this and have read through the tutorial. Can you please tell me what you mean by click RMB. I know all the tools in Photoshop (using CS5) but RMB is new to me. thank you.

    1. I think RMB = right mouse button :)
      Great tutorial, thank you. I tried it, but I got some trouble with the orange color, it isn’t like yours. Can you tell me the color-code? It looks really dark and it is not “shining” on my manipulation.
      Thank you for this tut :)

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