Make a Fantasy Wallpaper in Photoshop
Advanced Lighting – Manipulation Tutorial
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Welcome to a new Photoshop tutorial where I will show you how to make a fantasy wallpaper. This is another tutorial that makes intense use of light and fire effects to achieve the final result.
- Sword fire: http://smileumbrella.deviantart.com/art/Let-the-sparks-fly-168481114
- Dragon sparks 1: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1199582
- Dragon sparks 2: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=221130
- Woman: http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com/art/samurai-schoolgirl-E-2-132726667
- Dragon: http://elevit-stock.deviantart.com/art/E-S-Dragon-flying-146926883
- Wall texture: http://agf81.deviantart.com/art/Wall-Texture-6-193672363
- Smoke: http://hatestock.deviantart.com/art/Smoke-Stock-8-164488425
Step 1 – The background
I started with a simple texture of a damaged wall. I used the size of the texture (3000×200) as the canvas size for this artwork. I used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to reduce the Saturation to -15.
Step 2-Background lighting
The main illumination of the background was achieved using the Lighting Effects filter. I created a new layer above the background, filled it with white and turned it into a smart object so I can edit the filter if I want to. Using smart objects is not mandatory and depending on the Photoshop version you have or if you’re using Elements, you can’t use smart objects.
The settings I used for the filters are shown on the image below. I used two spot lights but just try to hget something similar. You can also create a layer fill it it with black and use a layer mask and a big soft brush to mask where you want the light to be in order to achieve the same effect.
Extract the woman from the background and add it on top of the other layers.
Go ahead and add the dragon as well so you have all the elements on the image and arange them on the canvas and we’ll go with the details from there. I used the lair9 image from the dragon pack and notice that I filpped it horizontally to face the woman.
Step 5 – Shadows
Let’s add some depth by creating the shadows of the woman and the dragon. I will only show you how I made the dragon’s shadow and you can apply the same technique to make the woman’s.
Duplicate the dragon’s layer and apply the layer mask if you created one on the original layer (do that by right clicking on the mask and selecting Apply layer mask). With the duplicated layer selected, go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and reduce Lightness to -100 to create a black version of the dragon. Now move that layer below the dragon layer and dragi it down and slightly to the left. Now apply Gaussian Blur and reduce the Opacity of the layer to your taste.
Once I made the shadows of the dragon and the woman I used a soft brush at an Opacity and Flow of about 24% to paint some soft shadows under the dragons body, especially on the top part under the legs where I masked the shadow on the previous step.
Step 7 – Light effects
Now let’s go with the light effects. I kinda wanted to make a dual-tone effect so I wanted to have yellow tones on the left side where the dragon was and a cold blue on the right side. I started with the dragon side so I created a new layer above the main light layer I made on Step 2.
I used a dark orange color and used the Color Dodge blend mode. Reduce the opacity until you like how it looks. This depends on how bright your orange color was when you painted. Make sure you use a soft brush.
Use the dragon sparks 1 stock image and place it behind the dragon. Use parts of it and try to adjust it to follow the body of the dragon. I resized it and use only parts of the stock image and also used layer masks. Just duplicate it a couple of times and rotate it around. Use the Screen blend mode to hide the black background of the stock image. See image below.
Use the Sparks 2 stock image and add more sparks over the dragon using the same Screen blend mode.
Step 9- Dragon layer styles
Instead of using adjustment layers to make adjustments to the dragon I used layer styles because it’s easier. I created light effects and color changes using the layer styles shown on the image below.
Step 10 – Woman adjustments
I only made minor adjustments to the woman layer. I used a Gradient Map adjustment layer as clipping mask to add more yellow to the highlights. I used the Color blend mode for this adjustment and set the Opacity of it to 30%.
I used this stock image and the dragon sparks 2 image to add some flames on the sword. All these are made as clipping masks. Take a look at the layer structure on the image below.
Step 11 – Woman blue light
In order to make the blue light on the woman’s body I used a soft brush and painted on a clipping mask layer. What I did is create a new clipping mask layer for the woman and set it’s blend mode to Color Dodge. Then I used a medium sized soft brush and painted with Cyan.
You can also try using the Inner Shadow style at 0 degrees angle and use a clear cyan/blue color and the Color dodge blend mode.
Step 12 – General adjustments
After dodging and burning, especially the dragon, I added some adjustment layers to get the final color effects I wanted. I started with a default spectrum Gradient Map set on Soft Light at 15% this time not as clipping mask because I wanted to affect the entire canvas. I also used the smoke stock image on Screen to add some smoke on both sides of the image.
I used the Hue/Saturation to Colorize the smoke and make it fit the colors I wanted (left – yellow and right-blue) but that’s up to you, white smoke also looks good.
Step 13 – Colorization
In order to enhance the duotone effect I was talkign about, I created a new layer and set it’s blend mode to Color Dodge and painted with a big soft brush to create the color effects you see on the image below.
When using the Color Dodge blend mode use dark tones otherwise the light effects will come out too bright. Trial and error until you find the right luminosity value. I used 35% Opacity because I didn’t want the colors to be too saturated.
The last adjustment layer is a Levels adjustmet to increase the highlights slightly and make the fire on the dragon stand out more.
I hope you liked this tutorial. If you did, the best way of saying “Thank you” is to share this article. Thanks for your support