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  • Creative Manipulation Tutorial – Full Moon

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  • In this Photoshop tutorial I will show you how to make a creative manipulation in Photoshop using just two simple stock images. This is an easy tutorial, and we will only use some layer masks, a few adjustment layers and some light effects. At the end we will use the Camera RAW filter to give the image a creative and punchy look.

    Creative Manipulation – Final result

    Creative manipulation final outcome

    Step 1

    Start making your creative manipulation by opening the portrait photo. If you take a picture of yourself use a simple dark background, it will create a more dramatic effect at the end.

    I used a cheap small battery powered lamp which I held in my hand. Focusing was an issue even with a remote control shutter for my camera so if you have an assistant to focus the camera it’s better.


    Step 2

    Open the moon stock image and remove its background using any technique that you prefer. I used the Pen Tool (P) but you can also use the Eliptical Marquee Tool, Quick Selection or other methods.

    Use a layer mask to mask the background or if you’re happy with the selection delete the background completely.

    creative manipulation - full moon

    Step 3

    Put the moon over the portrait and make it a bit bigger that the lamp. Create a mask for the moon layer and use it to mask the part where the fingers are like show in the image below. This will create the illusion that the moon is actually being held in the palm of the hand. I also spinned the moon around so that the dark part of it is on the top. (see image below).

    Creative manipulation - moon masking

    Step 4

    Use a Curves Adjustment layer as clipping mask for the moon layer to make the moon a bit brighter. If you burn out the highlights you can use the Brush Tool (B) to hide the effect on the areas that are too bright.

    Creative manipulation tutorial

    Step 5

    Create some soft glows of light using the Brush Tool (B) and then use the Camera RAW or other filters to create the desired final color effect. I also added some vignetting to concentrate the light only on the center of the frame where the moon and the face is to create more drama.

    Creative manipuation photoshop tutorial

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