Jan
12
2012

Photomanipulation a Unique Apple Environment Scene

Here is a preview of the image that we are going to be creating:

For the best tutorials, Follow netglos @twitter and netglos.com

Step 1

Create a new document (600X700px).

Paste in your ‘field background’ photo from the section for this tutorial.

Resize, and position the image until it looks like the outcome below:

Step 2

We want our background to be slightly out of focus, as it will be in the background after all, and we want our foreground images to appear more in focus.

To achieve this, ensure that your ‘field background’ layer is selected and then go to filter>convert for smart filters. This will conver this layer into a smart object, and will let you apply filters non-destructively.

Go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply a 1.0px strength gaussian blur filter.

Now apply a levels adjustment layer (be sure to create a clipping mask for all adjustment layers in this tutorial, unless otherwise specified. Creating a clipping mask means that your adjustments will only effect the underlying layer, not your entire composition.)

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

14 / 0.96 / 250

Create a new layer called ‘bottom gradient’. Drag up a black to transparent linear gradient from the bottom of your canvas. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 80%.

This should make your background photo fade smoothly into darkness:

Step 3

Open up the tree stump photo from the resources section for this tutorial.

Isolate it from it’s background and paste it into your original document, resizing and positioning it to fit in the bottom center of your canvas:

We want to give the impression of the top of the tree stump coming towards us slightly, so go to edit>>perspective. Using your perspective tool drag in the bottom corners of your bounding box:

Step 4

We’re going for quite a bright, fantasy look with this piece, so we want to make our tree stump a bit more vibrant.

Start by applying a color overlay blending option to your tree stump layer.

Color Overlay Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Color
Color: 633600
Opacity: 50%

Now apply a levels and color balance adjustment layer (remember to give each a clipping mask).

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

15 / 0.91 / 250

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -4 / -1 / -5
Midtones: +12 / +1 / -6
Shadows: +9 / -5 / -6

Step 5

We want to add even more vibrancy to our tree stump.

To do this, create a new layer called ‘tree stump lights’.

Select a large, soft white paintbrush (around 30% opacity). Paint over the central area of your tree stump, as this is the area you want to highlight.

Reduce this layer’s opacity to 30% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’.

Step 6

Open up your ‘apple photo’ from the resources section for this tutorial.

Extract one of the apple halves from the picture, and paste it into your original document, positioning it to fit on top of the tree stump.

Apply a color balance adjustment layer to your apple layer.

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: +2 / +1 / 0
Midtones: -21 / -2 / -9
Shadows: -19 / +15 / -12

Step 7

We want to start lighting our apple a little bit to make our composition more realistic.

Whilst there is a light pointing towards the apple, there is also a prominent light coming from behind the apple (the sunset).

Create a new layer, beneath your apple layer, called ‘shadow under apple’.

Use a soft, black paintbrush to paint beneath your apple, where it should be casting a shadow upon your tree stump. This instantly adds more depth and realism to your piece:

Step 8

To construct the main part of our ‘apple home’ we need to effectively hollow out our apple half. A bit of effort is required for this, but it’s nothing that we can’t achieve in !

Start by selecting the left inside area of your apple (inside the skin, but excluding the core and central structure – you want to just select the flesh of the fruit).

Paste this onto a new top layer called ‘inner left’.

In order to give this area more depth we need to make it darker.

Apply a hue/saturation and color balance adjustment layer to your ‘inner left’ layer:

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: +50
Lightness: -40

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: -5 / -11 / -21
Midtones: -26 / +1 / -21
Shadows: -11 / +9 / -1

Step 9

Repeat step 8, creating an ‘inner’ area for the right half of your apple:

Step 10

We want to add some lighting/shadows to our inner area to make it more realistic and give it more depth.

Start by creating a new layer called ‘shadows apple’.

We want to only paint within the bounds of our inner areas, not over the rest of our apple or background. To make this easier, optoin+click on your ‘inner left’ and ‘inner right’ layers in your layers palette. This will select both ‘inner’ areas.

Keep your selection active, and then make sure that you’re on your ‘shadows apple’ layer. Use a low opacity, soft black paintbrush to paint in shadows. You want to mainly paint in shadows around the edges of your apple, and around the very center area. This helps give the impression that this area is rounded inwards:

Time to add some highlights too!

Create a new layer called ‘lights apple’.

This time use a soft white paintbrush to paint in highlights in the center parts of your inner areas. Make sure to change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ as this will give a more bright and natural lighting.

Step 11

We want to start adding some wooden floor structures to the inside of our apple.

To do this, we’re going to use the wood from our tree stump. Select a thin slice of your tree stump layer, and then paste this onto a new top layer called ‘floor’.

Position your wooden area over the bottom left quarter of your apple:

Now use your to crop the wooden area to fit within your inner apple area:

Apple a color overlay and gradient overlay blending option to your ‘floor’ layer. This will help the floor look more natural, and will better match the lighting inside your apple area.

Color Overlay Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: 5f3f00
Opacity: 50%

Gradient Overlay Blending Option Settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 70%
Gradient: 000000 to ffffff
Style: Linear
Angle: 90
Scale: 100%

Repeat this technique to create several more floor areas within your apple:

Step 12

Extract and paste in the photo of the mouse from the resources section for this tutorial.

Resize and position the mouse to fit on the upper floor level within your apple.

The colors of the mouse don’t blend that well with the surrounding composition, so apply a levels and color balance adjustment layer to your mouse layer.

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

22 / 1.00 / 238

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Highlights: +1 / -2 / -8
Midtones: +2 / -6 / -15
Shadows: -1 / -9 / -12

Step 13

To make the mouse seem more realistically placed in the setting we’re going to add a shadow behind it.

To do this, duplicate your mouse layer, moving the duplicate layer behind the original.

Then go to edit>transform>distort. Distort the mouse shape, moving it upwards and to the right, laying out where your shadow will be. Then select all of the data on this layer (option+click on this layer in your layer’s palette) and fill it with black.

Now to make your shadow more natural looking, go to filter>convert for smart filters. This will allow you to apply filters non-destructively. Then go filter>blur>gaussian blur. Apply a 3.0px strength gaussian blur.

Then reduce your shadow layer’s opacity to 25%.

Step 14

Repeat step 13, adding another mouse to the left part of your apple:

Step 15

Now we want to add some windows to our apple house.

Start by cutting out and pasting in one of the window images from the resources section for this tutorial.

Position this window in the right half of your apple:

Apply a layer mask to this layer. Then select the inner windows within your window pane and fill them with black. This will make them off, allowing your apple backdrop to show through:

Now copy your original field background layer. Paste the field photo to sit just behind your window frame layer:

Now mask off all parts of your field image, apart from the area that is directly behind your window area. This will give the impression that your window is looking out onto the same sky as your backdrop:

Step 16

Repeat step 15, this time adding a window to the top left of your apple. You will need to use your warp tool to warp the window frame to fit with the curve of your apple structure:

Step 17

Open up the ladder image from the resources section for this tutorial.

Cut out the ladder using your lasso tool and then paste it back into your original document. Resize the ladder to fit between your two levels of flooring. Then duplicate this ladder and move the duplicate to fit on the other side of your apple:

If you remember, we added a color overlay and gradient overlay blending option to our floor layers. Now right click on one of these layers and click ‘copy layer ’. Right click on each of your ladder layers and hit ‘paste layer ’.

Step 18

Time to add some lighting coming in from our windows!

We’re going to start by actually adding shadows to the side of the window opposite where the light will be facing.

Call this layer ‘shadow by windows’. Use a small, soft black paintbrush to paint in shadows around your windows.

Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’.

The arrows below show where I painted in these shadows:

Now create a new layer called ‘light by windows’. Use a soft white paintbrush at a low opacity to start painting in light beaming in from each window:

Create a new layer called ‘light top left’. Download the light beams brush set from the resources section for this tutorial. Apply one of the brushes using a white paintbrush, making sure that it’s angled down at the direction the light would beam through the top left window:

Step 19

You’ll see that some of the light extends over the window and central part of the apple, which we dont’ want to happen.

To fix this, apply a layer mask, and then mask off these areas using a soft black paintbrush:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 20% and change it’s blend mode to overlay’.

Then duplicate this layer and change the duplicate’s blend mode to ‘normal’, keeping the opacity at 20%.

Repeat this lighting technique for your right window too:

Step 20

You’ll notice that the light in the sky contains a lot of pink/yellow, and isn’t strictly white light.

This means that the light beaming in through the window should have a similar hue.

To try and achieve this create a new layer called ‘light color tint (pink)’.

Use your eye dropper tool to sample some of the color from your pink sky (I got the color: b99aa7). Use a soft paintbrush to brush this color over your light beams:

Now change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’:

Step 21

Create a new layer called ‘light details’.

Zoom right in on your apple, and use a small, soft white paintbrush to accentuate the sharper highlights of your piece. Try and pay attention to the light sources in your piece, and paritcularly where the light may be harsher or more visible.

I’ve highlighted some of the areas where I painted in highlights below:

Create a new layer called ‘shadow details’.

Use a low opacity, soft black paintbrush to paint in some of the shadows within your apple to accentuate your light sources:

Step 22

Create a new layer called dodge/burn.

Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will allow you to non-destructively dodge/burn your image.

Use a soft, low opacity black paintbrush to burn your image with shadows, and a soft, low opacity white paintbrush to dodge it with highlights.

The images below show your dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode and then ‘overlay’ blend mode:

Step 23

Create a new layer called ‘vignette’. Use a large, soft, low opacity black paintbrush to paint around the edges/corners of your canvas to create a vignette effect. This will shift the focus to the central area of your composition:

Step 24

Finally, add a gradient map and levels adjustment layer.

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer Settings:

Gradient: ranging from purple to orange
Overlay: 7%

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

8 / 1.00 / 241

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.


Popular Posts