Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation of a Monk in the Caves

· You can use one piece more than one time if you want to, just duplicate it and it will be like a new piece. To duplicate a layer you can: use the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd+J; drag the layer to the sixth button of the layers panel; go to Layer -> Duplicate layer.

· To do the left side of the cave you’ll probably need to flip some of the pieces horizontally. To do that, go to Edit -> Transform -> Flip Horizontal.

· This process will be tedious but if you stick with it the results will make your image unique.

· Try to leave a flat piece of the cave on the right corner so we can add the monk to it later.

· Don’t try to do everything at once, choose a lot of small pieces over a few large ones.

· Put a good song on and have fun with it! =D


In the end here’s how my cave tuned out:


And here is all the layers I used:


To clean that mess we’re going to create a new group with all of them, just like we did before. Select all of them and drag them to the folder button in the layer panels (or hit Ctrl/Cmd+G). Name this new group “Cave Walls” or something, and create a new layer mask to it.


With this mask we’re going to erase some parts of the cave. To do that, use the image below as reference and paint the red areas with black (remember to use a soft brush and keep the opacity around 10~25%).


Here’s how my cave is looking like after that:


As a final adjustment to the cave, add a new layer (CtrlCmd+Shift+N) and let’s do the lighting of it just like we did with the clouds and the sky.


Select the Dodge Tool (Shortcut: O) and try to highlight the areas of the cave that are exposed to the sun, and darken the other areas to create a fade-away effect. Remember to also add some details (highlights close to darken areas) to give a good contrast to it. Here’s how my layer looks like in normal mode:


And here is the result of it:


To finish this step, select the “Cave Walls” group and reduce the opacity to around 85~90%.


Step 5: Adding the monk

Place the monk stock into our image by going to File -> Place. Make sure you place it above all the other layers.


We’re going to select the monk using the Pen Tool. Select it (Shortcut P) and create a path around the monk. Then right click in it and select Make Selection. Usually when you use the pen tool to create a selection you wouldn’t need to add any feather to it, but if you want to add feather don’t go over 1px.


With the monk selected, create a new layer mask to its layer to make everything else disappear.


Hit Ctrl/Cmd+T (or go to Edit -> Free Transform) to resize the monk and place it on the left corner of the cave.


We’re going to use the same technique we’ve been using so far to add lighting to the monk. Hit Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N to create a new layer with these settings:


Grab the Dodge Tool (Shortcut O) and make sure the range is at Midtones and the Exposure around 25%.


Create the lighting of the monk trying to give the impression that the sun is in front of him. Here’s what I did:


And here is the result:


Create a new layer between the monk layer and the Cave Lighting layer. Name this layer “Monk Shadow”.


Clip this layer to the Cave Walls group by holding Alt/Opt and clicking between the Monk Shadow and the Cave Lighting layer.


Now using a soft brush (Shortcut B), paint the shadow of the monk in the cave using pure black. Don’t worry about going over the sky or the monk because the shadow will only affect the cave layer. Try to do something like this:


To improve the shadow, go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and select a radius of 12px.


Let’s add more shadow above the monk layer. Create a new layer using the same process, name it Monk Shadow again, but this time place it above all the other layers. Also, clip this layer to the Monk Lighting layer.


With the same brush we used before, paint some black in the robes of the monk. Use a soft brush with the opacity set to something around 10~25%.


Here is the final result of this step:


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