I’m quite excited about this tutorial. It’s more about body retouching techniques than manipulation because I will show you how to smoothen skin, add hair, makeup and of course how to get to the result you see on the preview. Enjoy.
- Female model: http://tigg-stock.deviantart.com/art/Black-Star-stock-23-127940570
- Foreground: http://mimose-stock.deviantart.com/art/bench-VI-97858260
- Background: Click to download background image
- Wings: http://thy-darkest-hour.deviantart.com/art/Winged-Fantasy-Silver-289468093
- Statue: http://nixie04.deviantart.com/art/Gargoyle-Statue-Side-View-180971688
- Hair: http://dezzan.deviantart.com/art/Hair-Stocks-259532943
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I’ll skip this step pretty quick because I want to focus on the important stuff. If you don’t know how to extract an image use Google to find out how you can do that.
I used a 2800×3200 pixels canvas. I opened the foreground stock (the balcony with the bench) and I masked the background. Then I opened the background image (the sky and landscape) and placed it on a new layer below. Resize as needed depending on your canvas size. You can use another background image if you want, I was kinda lazy os I used a simple premade one. I applied 4px Gaussian Blur to to the background image. See image below.
I used 3 adjustment layers as clipping mask on the foreground layer in order to make it match the blue background. I first desaturated the image with Hue/Saturation at -65, then I made it darker with Curves and lastly I made it blue like the background using a Solid Color fill layer with the color #21507f on Softlight and layer Opacity 100%.
This is where the fun part starts. Extract the woman from the background and add it to your canvas on the bench as shown below. Now you have to smoothen her skin. You have several options here. You can use Surface Blur and a layer mask, the smudge tool or the Mixer Brush Tool.
I used the Mixer Brush Tool because I really like how it works. I know it’s a pretty unknown tool but I recently discovered it and I love it for smoothening skin. On the settings of this tool I used Custom and all parameters to 12% and started painting. This tool works almost like the smudge tool so you will have to follow the lines and shadow directions of whatever you’re painting over, otherwise you will create a big mess because you will destroy the structure of the woman’s face and body.
You can work with this tool non-destructively by creating a new clipping mask and checking Sample All Layers on the tool’s settings. See image 3 for before and after.
I used clipping mask adjustment layers to change the contrast and color of the woman and match the color of the background. I also used a Hue/Saturation and set the Saturation to -27. In order to match the blue color I used a Color Fill layer as clipping mask with the following settings: color #17496f Softlight at 100%.
I wanted to do something with the hair because I didn’t really like it. I found some really awesome painted hair stock images so I used them. Deezan (http://dezzan.deviantart.com) has several packs for free so make sure you visit her DA gallery and download them.
Position the hair as you like and use Hue Saturation to reduce Lightness and give a blue tone to it, Levels, Curves to make it darker and any adjustment layers that you want in order to make the hair black. Blend using a layer mask and a soft brush. I placed some hair above the woman layer (in front of her) as well as some longer hair on the back.
Once you’re done with the hair add the wings. Again I found these great stock images made by Katie Down (http://thy-darkest-hour.deviantart.com). On her gallery (http://thy-darkest-hour.deviantart.com/gallery/33174077) you ill find a lot of awesome PNG wings that you can use. Make sure you read the usage rules first: http://thy-darkest-hour.deviantart.com/journal/Updated-Stock-Usage-Rules-274226643
You can merge the wings or convert them into a smart object, that way you will only have to make adjustments to one layer rather than two. Use a low opacity soft brush to paint some shadows where the wings unite at the back of the woman.
Just like I did with the woman I made some adjustments to the wings layer. I used a Levels adjustment to make them darker and a Gradient Map on Softlight at 80%. The colors for the gradient map are #183855 for the shadows and #558fcb for the highlights.
Create the shadow of the woman on the ground. I used a soft brush and low Opacity and Flow, both at about 14%
The wings almost wrap around the woman’s body so I also created some shadows over her shoulders and arms. I painted these shadows on a new clipping mask layer on the woman. Use a low opacity soft brush and paint with black some soft shadows.
I enhanced the makeup of the woman by using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to increase the saturation. Then I used the layer mask of this adjustment layer to only reveal the effect over the eyes and the lips. On another layer set on Overlay at 50% and which I named eyes shadow I painted some makeup on the eyes.
Extract the statue from the background, place it on your canvas and make some adjustments to make it fit the background. I used Curves to make it brighter and a color fill layer with Color blend mode to make it blue as the background.
The surface of the statue was too rough for my liking so I spent a few minutes cleaning it with the Spot Healing Brush. After that I used the Mixer Brush Tool to make it smooth as well. As I mentioned before, this tool can be a bit tricky to use so you can use the Surface Blur to smoothen the statue.
As always on my manipulation tutorials, a step is dedicated to dodge and burn. I used this technique to enhance the shadows and highlights on specific areas of the artwork. I always use this tool non-destructively by creating a new layer fill it with 50% gray and change the blend mode to Overlay.
Then I dodge and burn on this layer. On the image below you can see how I enhanced the lips and make the eyes stand out a lot more. I also dodged the statue to enhance the shapes of the monster’s body.
The final color and contrast effect was created with a Photo Filter adjustment layer using the color #029cff, Density at 80%, Softlight and Opacity at 30%.