Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

How to Create a Dreamlike Scene of a Man with White Lights in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a powerful scene with a man holding a light. You’ll learn how to combine different stocks together by using adjustment layers, masking and brush tools. Furthermore, you’ll learn how to work with groups, perspective and create a lighting effect.

We’ll start this tutorial by creating a surreal environment with sky and desert images. Then we’ll add the model and do some retouch on him as well as blend him with the background using adjustment layers and brush. Later we’ll add the rocks, particles, lightning and create some light effect. We’ll finish it up with some adjustment layers. You’ll need Photoshop CS3 or newer to follow the process.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the given settings:

falling1

Step 2

Open the sky image. Drag it into our white canvas using the Move Tool (V) and use the Free Transform Tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to rotate it as shown below:

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Step 3

I used an adjustment layer with Clipping Mask to desaturate the sky color. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation:

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Step 4

I used Curves to darken the sky sides:

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On this layer mask use a basic, soft brush with black color to erase the middle as I don’t want it to be darkened:

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Step 5

Drag the desert image into our main document and transform it, place it at the right side:

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Click the second button at the bottom of the Layers Panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges and blend the desert with the background:

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Duplicate this layer and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). Position it at the left side:

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Step 6

To add some depth to the scene, on each desert layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 3 px:

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On the Filter Mask use a soft black brush to remove the blur effect at the top of the desert (background part) and make the blur effect visible only on the foreground:

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Step 7

Make a new layer and active the Clone Tool (S). Use this tool to clone on some parts of the deserts to make them less uniform:

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Step 8

Select the desert layers and the clone one then press Cmd/Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change the group mode from Pass Through to Normal 100%. Make a Curves adjustment layer within this group to brighten the background parts:

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On this layer mask use a soft black brush to erase the foreground:

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Step 9

I used Curves to darken the foreground:

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On this layer mask use a soft black brush to erase the background to keep their brightness:

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Step 10

I used Brightness/Contrast to increase the contrast of the scene:

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On this layer mask erase the background as I don’t want it to be affected by this adjustment layer:

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Step 11

Isolate the man from the background and place him in the space between the grounds:

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To create more movement for the man, go to Edit > Puppet Warp. Make the arms and legs wider:

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Step 12

I used Hue/Saturation to desaturate the model a little:

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Step 13

I used Curves to darken the model . On this layer mask use a soft black brush to erase the arms and the man contour, leave the dark only visible on his back :

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Step 14

Open the lightning 1 image. Take the lightning part and place it over the middle section of the main document and change the mode to Screen 100%:

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Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges and the parts on the grounds:

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Step 15

Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select another parts of the lightning to arrange around the man, hide the hard edges with the layer masks. I’m trying to make the man look like holding the lightnings:

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Step 16

Make a group of these lightning layers and change the mode to Screen 100%. I used Hue/Saturation to desaturate the lightning color:

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Step 17

I used Levels to change the contrast and make the lightning effect more visible:

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Step 18

Open the lightning 2 image. Use the Lasso Tool to select a lightning part and place it at the bottom of the right leg. Change this layer mode to Screen 100%:

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Apply brush masking on this layer mask to remove the hard edges:

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Step 19

Take another lightning part and place it above the right arm of the man, change the mode to Screen 100% and use a layer mask to blend it with the other lightning ones:

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Step 20

Make a group for these lightning layers, change the mode to Screen 100%. Desaturate them with Hue/Saturation:

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Step 21

Use Levels to make the lightnings more visible and realistic:

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Step 22

Open the rocks image. Use the Lasso Tool to take the different rocks and arrange them around the man, on the ground, in the sky. I applied Motion Blur with the different angles (around(+ or -) 90 and 60) and Distance from 12 to 25 px (but you can set your own values) to some rocks (especially to the ones near the foreground) to create some movement for the scene:

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Step 23

Make a group for the rocks and change the mode to Normal 100%. I used Brightness/Contrast to brighten the rocks:

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Step 24

I used Levels with the same purpose:

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On this layer mask use a soft black brush to erase the parts I don’t want to be affected by this adjustment layer:

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Step 25

Make a new layer on the top. Use a hard black brush, size about 2-5 px to spot around the rocks to make some tiny particles:

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Step 26

To make a glowing effect around the man, create a new layer, use a soft brush with the color #f3f3f3 to paint around him. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%:

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Make a new layer, use the same brush to paint more light around the man and the sky. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%:

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On a new layer use the same brush to paint some dots of light around the arms, legs. Change this layer mode to Linear Dodge 100%:

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Step 27

It’s time for coloring the scene. Make a Gradient Map adjustment layer on the top:

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Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100%:

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Step 28

I used Color Balance to change the color a little:

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Step 29

I used two Photo Filter adjustment layers for the scene:

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Step 30

I used Levels to increase the dreamy mood for the scene:

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On this layer mask use a soft black brush with a low opacity (10-30%) to reduce this effect in the sky, around the man, on the grounds:

falling30a

Final Results

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Tutorial by Jenny Le

I hope that you enjoyed my tutorial and found it useful. To see more of my works and tutorials, you can follow me on Facebook or watch me on Deviantart .

– Jenny

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