Playing with Lights and Shadow to Create Dramatic Photo Manipulation

Playing with Lights and Shadow to Create Dramatic Photo Manipulation

Step 3 - Adding Sun Rays to the Background

Let's start with changing the light scene of the background. As I said light source on woman and dinosaur comes from the left but there is no such thing on the background. You'll add some sun rays coming from that side in this step so the picture will make better sense. Add new layer under the layer WOMAN and name it SUN RAYS. Download the sun rays brush listed in the beginning of the tutorial and install it into Photoshop. If you don't know how to install custom brushes into Photoshop you can take a look at this tutorial. On the picture below you can see the layer order.
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Grab the Brush Tool (B) and select one of the brushes you've just installed. Set the Master Diameter on proper size and lower its Opacity on about 50%. Hold Alt on your keyboard to activate the Eyedropper Tool (I) and pick some very light color from the background. While doing manipulations (painting, making lights and shadows etc.) try to avoid using pure white and black color. They both are very harsh and very rarely look realistic. You can very rarely see pure black and white in real life. Even if you think something is black, it's more likely dark grey, dark green... The same with white color. Make invisible the layer WOMAN. To do it click on the small icon of eye next to that layer.
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Now paint some light rays. Keep in mind that to get realistic look they all should come from the same site. Also don't paint much of the rays, it wouldn't look realistic. You can get the inspiration of what to paint on the picture below.
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After you finish painting make the layer WOMAN visible again.

Step 4 - Adjusting Woman

Let's make first adjustments on woman. Because of the light scene her stock photo was shot, her skin has yellowish tone, which doesn't fit to the color palette of the forest. To fix it you'll make her bit darker and less saturated. Create mask of the woman (e.g. with the Lasso Tool (L) or the Pen Tool (P)). With the mask still activated add new adjustment layer Levels on the top of all layers and set the Input Levels on 0; 0,94; 255.
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On the picture below you can see how the thumbnail of the layer mask should look like. (Thumbnail is the red circled part.) As you may notice the white part is where the adjustment appears and the black part remains unedited.
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Activate the mask of woman again. You can do it simply by clicking on the thumbnail of the Levels adjustment layer (highlighted on the picture above). Hold Ctrl on your keyboard while doing it. If you don't the mask doesn't active. With mask activated add new adjustment layer Vibrancy and set the value Vibrancy on -60.
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Note: Vibrancy adjustment is available only in Photoshop CS3 and higher. But you can get almost the same result in older versions of PS if you add adjustment layer Hue/Saturation, choose Red as color and set similar value as you would set for Vibrancy. Let's take a look.
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Woman's skin still doesn't fit exactly to the rest of the image but don't worry about it now. You'll fix it in some of the next steps.
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Step 5 - Adjusting Highlights

Let's move on adjusting highlights in the background and on the dinosaur. Add new adjustment layer Levels on the top of all layers and set the Input Levels on 0; 2,85; 255.

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