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In this manipulation tutorial I will show you how to make an emotional scene in Photoshop. Making this kind of artworks is not very difficult in my opinion, you just need to be creative. Maybe the hardest part when you make this kind of manipulations is choosing the right stock images.
We will start with the window stock. Open it in Photoshop and get the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and start cutting out the glass from the frame. You can use 2 pixels of Father. Name this layer window.
I didn’t quite like the perspective op this window so I made a little adjustment to it. Go to Filter>Distort>Lens Correction. Set Vertical Perspective to +14, Horizontal Perspective to -14 and Scale to 110%. That will hide part of the left side of the window.
Open the castle stock image and put in on a new layer below the window layer and scale it down to 35%. Place it like in the screenshot below and name the layer background.
Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer above the background layer. You can do that from the menu Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map or from the icon located under the layers panel. Use the settings shown in the image below. Change the layer’s Blend Mode to multiply and set the Fill to 70%.
Time to turn off the lights. This is an important step to create the overall ambient. It will make the image look like it’s nighttime. Create a new Gradient Map Adjustment layer above the window layer. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 70%. Use the gradient colors shown in the image below. I named this layer night.
Open the girl with the candle stock and use the Pen Tool (P) to draw her outline using paths. When you’re done, convert the path in a selection and subtract the girl from the background. On the hair area use the select color range from the menu Select>Color Range. The hair on the back of the head is not really important because most of it will be hidden on the next steps. Paste the girl on a new layer above the night layer and scale it down to 35%. Name the layer candle girl.
In this step we will paint the shadow of the girl on the floor and add the first light effects. Create a new layer below the candle girl layer and name it girl shadow. Get a 110 pixels size brush and set Hardness to 15%. Brush along the edge that touches the floor. Make several passes until you get something like in the image below. I didn’t mention it but I guess it’s obvious that you must use the black color.
Now add the light on the girl’s face. I will show you a little trick that will make our work a lot easier. Duplicate the candle girl layer and put it above the original layer as clipping mask. Reduce Layer Fill to 0% and create a Layer Mask for it and then open the layer style window and add an inner shadow effect with the settings shown in the screenshot below.
At this time the girl doesn’t quite blend with the dark background. So, in this step we will make all the necessary adjustments to make her become part of the scene. On this step we will only work with clipping mask layers because we want those adjustments to affect only the girl. The first thing we need to do is to make another light effect. Create a new clipping mask layer and get select the Gradient Tool (G) and change your Foreground Color to #d2ba62. Change the layer’s Blending Mode to Soft Light.
Create a clipping Gradient Map layer. Change the Layer blending mode to Multiply and set Opacity to 75%. Use the color settings as in the screenshot below
Now we must adjust the color tone of the girl. Create a clipping Color Balance layer and use the settings shown in the image below. Set the Opacity of the layer to 50%.
I created a layer mask and hid some parts on the legs and the left hand. Create a clipping Level Adjustment layer and use the settings like in the image below. This filter will make the girl darker, like it should be because she’s in a dark room.
At this point the girl looks ok but as you can see on the image above, there are a few lights on the girl’s shoulder and left arm I wanted to hide that in order to draw attention to the girl’s face but you can leave it as it is if you want.
What I did to hide the mentioned areas was to make another clipping mask layer and using the radial gradient tool, I drew a gradient from the bottom right side, up to the girl’s face and I changed the Blending Mode to Soft Light. On another layer I used a soft brush to darken particular areas and in this case the blending mode used is Multiply. See image below.
All the lights we made on the girl’s body, doesn’t seem to come from that lifeless candle. Let’s add some real glow to it. Get a 300px brush and color #b8a76b on a new layer click once to make a soft circle over the candle’s flame. Change the layer’s Blending Mode to Color Dodge (Add). You should get something like in the image below.
We can make the candle even better using the lens flare filter. Create a black square on a new layer and go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. Use the first lens preset and center it in the black square. Set the blending mode of the layer to Screen to hide the black background of the square. Use Hue/Saturation to change the color of the flare to yellow.
In order to make the scene more realistic and better looking, we must recreate the light from the candle on the window frame too. Scroll down your layers palette and locate the window layer that you created on Step 1. Create a clipping mask layer for it and use a color to transparent Radial Gradient. Use the color #d8ac4f.
Since the girls is standing in front of a window let’s also make a reflection. This is actually very easy to do. Just duplicate the candle girl layer and flip it horizontally and move it to the left. Place it below the window layer and reduce the Opacity to 25%.
We can add a vignette effect to darken the edges of the image and focus the attention of the viewer to the girl. Create a new layer above all the layers on the palette. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and after you do that change the Feather on the top toolbar to 150px. With these settings, manually select the entire canvas with the rectangular marquee tool.
You should see the corners are rounded because of the father settings. With the selection loaded, go to Select>Inverse Selection or press Shift+Ctrl+I to invert the selection and fill it with black by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or right click and click Fill.
Set the layer’s Blending Mode to Soft Light and you’re done. As a last step, I copied the image on a new document and I applied a light rendering filter and some sharpening. This is something that I do on all works of this kind.