Valentine’s day is around the corner so I thought it would be nice to make something related to that. This is a manipulation tutorial that’s suitable for beginners and advanced Photoshop users alike. There are only a few stock images used to make this so it’s easier for me to explain and for you to reproduce. Have fun.
- Kissing couple: http://tacostock.deviantart.com/art/Peasant-Couple-Image-4-37671434
- Background: Original
(Alternative 1, Alternative 2)
- Apples basket: http://twilitesmuse.deviantart.com/art/Apples-3-273789924
- Leaves: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-white-background-255052/ (the original used on this tutorial are no longer online)
- Video version (1280 × 720 .mp4 format)
- Step by step text format (HTML format)
- Stock images
- Original PSD file
Step by step version
Open the premade stock image and crop the left side of it. Try to get something like I got using the image below as reference.
Open the stock image of the kissing couple and use the Pen Tool (P) to extract them from the background by drawing a Path around them. When you get to the woman’s hair, leave some space, see image for reference. Then convert that path into a selection and delete the background. Then copy and paste the couple on your canvas. Scale them down to about 56% and place them as shown in the image.
The woman is sitting in the grass so you have to use masking to make her look like the grass is covering part of her dress. So create a layer mask and get the default Photoshop grass brush. Open the Brushes window (F5) and deactivate Color Dynamics. Now reduce the brush size to about 100-110 pixels and paint with black along the edges of the woman’s dress.
Use the layer mask to also mask the left foot as well. Now you can also mask the part of the hair mentioned on Step 2.
In order to add more realism you have to create some shadows under the woman’s feet. So get the Brush Tool (B) set diameter to a medium size and the Hardness to about 25%. Now start painting the inner part of the woman’s feet along the edges that touch the ground. See video walkthrough.
I wanted to increase the contrast of the kissing couple and for that I used a Levels adjustment layer as clipping mask.
I used a Gradient Map adjustment layer as clipping mask as well to change the colors of the couple and make the blend better with the background image. The blend mode that I used for this adjustment layer is Soft Light and the Opacity was set to 15%.
Open the apples basket and extract it from the background using the Pen Tool. Now paste it on your canvas and resize it to about 25% of it’s original size.
Just as you did on Step 4, use the Brush Tool and paint some shadows under the basket and under the two apples that are on the ground.
The apples look too bright and too saturated and because of that they don’t blend too well with the background. In order to fix that I used a Gradient Map adjustment layer as clipping mask. I set the blend mode to Color and the Opacity to 40%.
You can see some falling leafs on the background image but they are all behind the couple. I wanted to have some leafs in front of them as well so I used a couple of stock images to do that. I duplicated them, rotated them and placed them randomly. I made some Hue adjustments to make them look yellow like the leafs on the background.
Now you can do the Dodging & Burning using the same technique I explained over and over again on all my manipulation tutorials. Create a new layer, fill it with 50% Gray and change the blend mode to Overlay and use the Dodge & Burn tools on this layer. More about this technique here: Dodge & Burning – Manipulation Secrets.
I wanted to add more yellow to the bodies of the man and the woman and make them blend better with the surroundings. Again I used the same technique as with the apples basket. I used a Gradient Map with Soft Light blend mode at 25% Opacity and the colors shown in the image.
Create a stamp with Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Shift+Command+Option+E for Mac users) and go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects.
I added a bit more contrast using a Black&White adjustment layer on Soft Light blend mode at 20% Opacity.
The last adjustment I did was using Color Balance to give that final look.
The moon is a key element of the scene, it adds more romanticism. I added a bit of glow to it using a big soft brush and the color #71603F on Screen mode.
And you’re done. Don’t forget to apply some Unsharp Mask to sharpen the image. It always looks better. You can apply 0,3-0,4 sharpen amount at 120-140% depending on the size of the image.
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