Photo Manipulation

Magical Forest Photo

This photo manipulation tutorial will show you how to create this realistic fantasy image by combining several photos together and finishing it with water lilies and fairy dust. You will learn how to compose an image using multiple photos, simulate depth of field, and warp a persons ear to an elf ear.


Preview of Final Results


step7e_result[7]


Magical Forest Photo Photoshop Tutorial


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Resources


Step 1 – Create the Photoshop document

To start, we will need to create a new image file, go to the Menu bar and click File > New, and then input the following values on their respective fields:

  • Width: 3000 pixels
  • Height: 3000 pixels
  • Resolution: 300 dpi
  • Color Mode: RGB Color; 8bit
  • Background Contents: Transparent

step1_create_new


Step 2 – Create the forest background

On this step, we will be creating our background. We will start by opening the stock image: Enchanted_forest 15 and transferring it to our 3000×3000 canvas by dragging it using the Move tool (V). To use the Move tool, simply press V on the keyboard and left-click on the image and then drag that image to the canvas. The image below shows the stock image after it has been dragged to the canvas.

step2a_drag_image

Now that it is in place, we will transform it. To transform we will need the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T). To use the Transform tool, simply put your cursor on the squares and then drag it to the direction of your choice. In this tutorial, we will follow the direction stated on the images below.

step2b_transform

Next, we will be applying a Blur filter to the background to give it a small DOF (Depth of field) to emphasize our subject later on. To activate the Blur filter, go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur. Once the box opens, let us apply the following settings:

  1. Check More Accurate
  2. Iris
  3. Shape: Octagon (8)
  4. Radius: 41
  5. Blade Curvature: 0
  6. Rotation: 0

Once you’re done, the result should be similar to the image below:

step2c_lens_blur

Now we will be increasing the contrast of the white areas and dark areas of our image and for us to achieve a good output, we will need a Gradient Map filter. To activate that, just click on the Create New Fill Layer/Adjustment Layer button located on the Layer window which is just on the lower left side of the screen. See image below:

step2d_layer_window

Click on that button and when the contextual menu appears, select Gradient Map.

step2e_gradient_map

After clicking on Gradient Map, a box would appear, and then just click on the drop-down button to show the available Gradients. Pick the Black and White gradient as shown below:

step2f_gradients

You will notice that upon clicking on the B&W gradient, the color of your work is now B&W! To apply the contrast change using the Gradient Map, we will change its Blending mode. The simplest way to change the Blending mode is through clicking on the drop-down menu with the text Normal on the layer window.

step2g_click_on_this

Let’s change the Blending mode to Luminosity.

step2h_luminosity

step2i_gradient_map_applied

Next, let’s apply a Curves adjustment layer. To activate that just press the Create New Fill Layer/Adjustment Layer button and pick Curves from the contextual menu.

step2j_curves_from_contextual

When the Curves tool opens, input the following on their respective fields:

  • Input: 115
  • Output: 135

step2k_curves_tool

Now, we will paint light to amplify the mood the forest creates. To do that, let’s first activate our Brush tool (B).

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