In this tutorial we will explain how to create cosmic light effect using several stock photos, custom brushes, masks, and a bit of digital painting. Let's get started!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.
- Long exposure
- Lens flare
- Motion blur
First of all, let's create our file. We will work in a 1x1 aspect ratio document of 2.000 pixels per size, at 300 dpi in RGB color.
Grab the model stock photo and place it into the canvas. It should fit perfectly. Name this layer "model".
Drag the fireballs stock pic to the canvas.
Increase its size so the bottom fireball has this size. Hold Shift key to keep the aspect ratio. When you are done press Enter.
Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the bottom fireball. Press Command/Ctrl + C and Command/Ctrl + V to Copy and Paste it in a new layer. Name it "fire1" and delete the original fireballs layer.
Set the Blending Mode of this layer to Screen. This will make the dark tones disappear. We will we using this Blending Mode in many items of this tutorial since we will work on lighting effects mostly.
Go to Edit > Free Transform or press Command/Ctrl + T. Right - click and select Flip Horizontal.
Make the fireball smaller (remember to hold Shift to keep the aspect ratio) and rotate it a bit to the left to make it fit with the model's hand pose.
Create a new layer under "fire1" and name it "black fire" by going to Layer > New > Layer or by pressing Command/Ctrl + Shift + N.
Now use the Brush Tool (B) (0% Hardness) and pick the black color to paint on the fire areas outside her arm.
Paint also on the hand's fire area. This way the fire will look more integrated.
Add the second fire image to the canvas.
Decrease it size and right - click to select Flip Vertical. Rotate the layer to the left to make it fit, again, to the girl's arm. Press Enter and name the layer "fire2".
Set the Blending Mode to Screen and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue Saturation (or press Command/Ctrl + U) and move a bit to the left the Hue bar so we can put a red tone on the fire.
Add a New Layer Mask by clicking on the third icon at the bottom of the layer's palette. We are going to use it to delete and blend some areas of the fire. Now pick the Brush Tool (B) and the black color (always 0% Hardness) and start painting at the very left area of the fire to make it disappear. If you commit any errors you can switch to white color to restore what you deleted. Also, I highly encourage a pen tablet for this or any other painting steps on this tutorial to get more accurate results!
Keep on deleting the right areas over the hand and the upper area of the fire on the right, as well.
Delete also the tiny sparkles that come from the fire, so they don't disturb over the girl's face.
Return to layer "fire1". Have you noticed? The girl's hand is right now is very hard to perceive, so we are going to decrease our Brush size (you can do so by pressing "," key) to paint in the mask over the fingers, specially on their darker bottom areas.
Do the same on the "fire2" layer.
Delete some areas of the fire over the arm so it becomes more visible.
Go to "model" layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance (Command/Ctrl + B) to adjust the color of the image. Use the following settings to warm up the entire scene.
Create a new layer above them all (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "orange gradient". Select the Gradient Tool (G) and click on the gradient horizontal icon on the tool options tab to display a new window in which you'll select Foreground to Transparent. Now pick the color #ffba00, click on the center of the hand and drag the line until the right left corner, then release your mouse.
Set the Blending Mode to Hard Light and decrease Opacity to 25%.
Drag the blue nebula stock pic to the canvas.
Hold Shift key to keep aspect ratio and increase the layer size until it looks like this, with the whitest area being over the hand. Press Enter and name this layer "nebula".
Press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation and drasg the Hue bar almost completely to the left to get warmer tones.
Set the Blending Mode to Hard Light.
Add a New Layer Mask to this layer and pick the Brush Tool (B) again (black color selected) to delete the maximun whites of the nebula over the hand:
Delete completely the face area.
Brush on the maximum whites over the arm to decrease their opacity.
And also over the hair area.
Now use the Clone Stamp Tool (S) (100% Opacity and Flow, 0% Hardness) on the layer (not on the mask) and clone the face and hair area from the clone source shown below. You can pick a source by Alt - clicking a certain area.
Switch to the Brush Tool (B) on the Layer Mask, and delete the lighter tones on the bottom area of the arm, so we can see the blacks again.
Take as a clone source the left area of the layer to clone over the still maximum whites near the hand.
Go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Drag to the center the upper and bottom areas of the mesh to adapt the entire layer to the arm's shape.
Finally, mask the armpit and the chest areas with the Brush Tool (B) and the black color picked.
Return to "black fire" layer and use the Brush Tool (B) with black color selected to paint over the edge areas of the fire.
To be more precise, switch to the Eraser Tool (E) and with a very tiny brush, delete the black painting outside of the fire.
Go to "nebula" layer and take a look at the biggest stars: They're a bit disturbing from our focal point. Let's go to fix that!
Select the Clone Stamp Tool (S) and, taking any near source points, paint over them.
Put into the canvas the lens flare stock photo under "black fire" layer, and be sure that the light source of this layer gets in touch with the hand. Name this layer "flare".
Rotate it a bit to the right so the bokeh looks like this:
Since green doesn't seem to fit very well with our atmopshere, press Command/Ctrl + U to open the Hue/Saturation dialog window and move the Hue bar to the right until the tone of this layer gets purple. Now place this layer under "orange gradient".
Set the Blending Mode to Screen...
... and lower the Opacity to somewhere near 65%-70%.
Add a New Layer Mask and delete the maximum white areas over the hand, arm and face using the color black with the Brush Tool (B).
It's time to paint the reflected warm lighting over our model. If you are using a pen tablet, select the Brush Tool (B) and press F5 to display the Brush Options Panel. Check the Shape Dynamics option and use the following settings:
Pick the color #ffb400 and a small brush to start painting over the borders of the shirt fabric on the sleeve. Be careful not to paint outside of the very edges. Decrease Opacity and use multiple strokes if you have trouble with this, while zooming in as much as needed. Use always 0% Hardness brushes.
Paint over the natural lines of the sleeve to enhace their default lighting. Give more strokes as you get nearer the fire.
Lower the Opacity and paint the lights on the edges of the shirt. Lower Opacity even more to paint over the creases.
Don't forget the hand. Even if now it looks a bit dark, we will be enhacing its lighting later. Follow the natural shapes decreasing opacity (or giving less strokes) as you go down.
Obviously, this wouldn't make any sense if we wouldn't paint over the fingers, which are in our light focus. Increase Opacity and paint over both sides of each fingers, leaving the middle area darker.
The original lighting of the girl's chin doesn't follow the direction of the light casted by the fire, so grab your brush and delimitate the lighting by painting over it. Leave it as is now, we will come back to refine details here.
Use a smaller Brush Size to start painting over the flying flocks. Keep in mind the lightest hairs to enhace their natural brightness.
Decrease again the Brush Size (less than 10px) to paint the tiny details. If you feel brave, try to paint some loose hairs coming from the flocks.
Don't forget the hair area over the shoulder. Use the same procedure we used to overpaint the rest of the hair.
Switch to color #ff7e00, which is more orang-ish and darker. Paint subtler and fewer strokes to create the second range of reflection. This way our lighting will look better having different color shades. Paint just were the lighter lines we painted melts with the girl.
Paint over the upper area of the arm and be sure that the color decreases smoothly until it reaches the color of the sleeve.
Don't forget the right hair area as well as painting right under the fire itself.
And just as we did with the first lighter color, paint as well over the chest, specially over the breast. There's no need to paint over the creases and the hand.
Paint over the chin, including the yellow line we painted before, to homogenize this area, since it has counter lighting, so we need a subtle transition until we reach the midtones of this face area. Paint over the edges of both lateral areas of the face.
With a bigger and soft brush, paint over the flocks nearer to the fire, but leave some room and just don't paint completely over them, just give some strokes here and there, to avoid making it look flat.
With a smaller brush with low Opacity, paint over the edge of the back, to add a tiny touch of volume.
Change the Blending Mode to Linear Light. Your image should look somewhere near this by now!
To make this lighting subtler, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 2,5 pixels, to homogenize the strokes of the painting.
Double - click this layer icon to launch the Layer Styles window and select Outer Glow. Use the following settings to make our painted light even brighter.
Now just decrease a bit the Opacity to avoid burned tones.
Take de Eraser Tool (E), with around 5 pixels of Size and delete carefully the painting that is out of the body that creates that weird halo.
With the same procedure, go to the layer "black fire" and erase the exceeding black painting of the upper fingers areas.
Do the same also on the nails and on the left side of the little finger.
Add the second nebula stock pic to our canvas.
As you might have noticed, all lighting effects layers end up in Screen Blending Mode, so we can get rid of the dark tones. Name this layer "explosion".
Place this layer with its center over the girl's head as if it were a crown.
Add a New Layer Mask, pick the Brush Tool (B) and the black color and make visible the girl's face again.
We don't want this lighting effect to hide our model, so keep on masking over the left area of the hair.
Decrease Opacity and start making the transition subtler between the erased zone of the face and the remaining light from this layer.
Use a smaller brush to paint over and delete the top hair areas.
Decrease again the brush Size to paint over the thin loose hairs, just like we did while painting the hair lights.
Finish this by erasing carefully with a big, soft brush the upper and right areas.
Use the Clone Stamp Tool (S) on the layer (not the mask) to clone the shapes you can see on the right area on the left of the hair.
Return to the mask and decrease its opacity by brushing over with a low Opacity brush.
Let's add even more atmosphere. Drag another nebula stock image to the canvas and name it "nebula2".
Set its Blending Mode to Soft Light .
Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert or press Command/Ctrl + I.
Press Command/Ctrl + U to open the Hue/Saturation window and drag the Hue bar completely to the left.
Pick the Clone Stamp Tool (S) to get rid of the biggest stars of this layer, taking the clone source from any area with less or smaller stars and starting cloning over the girl's shoulder.
Clone over the upper area on the hair and over all the left part of the image. Just keep in mind that we want to avoid the darker tones that have been caused by inverting the layer colors.
A change of mind: Change the Blending Mode to Color Dodge and decrease Opacity to 14%, so at the end we just keep the lighter zones of this layer.
Add the stars stock image to the canvas, and resize it to fit all the space, pressing Shift for keeping the aspect ratio. Press Enter when you're done and name this layer "stars". Place it under the "flare" layer.
Change its color to make it fit more with the warm tones of our composition by pressing Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Satration. Drag the Hue bar completely to the right to achieve this effect.
And then switch its Blending Mode to Linear Dodge.
Add a New Layer Mask and use the Brush Tool (B) with black color picked, 0% Hardness, as usual, to erase the part of the layer over the girl, so it ends up looking like if it were right behind her.
You can leave some little stars over her here and there, to leave some room for depth on this layer.
Add the first fire sparks stock image to our file. You can name this layer "sparks".
Rotate the image, resize it and place it over the arm: we will make these sparkles like they're coming from the fire surrounding her arm.
As usual with light-based layers, set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Add a New Layer Mask and pick a black brush to start erasing the bottom areas of this layer until you can reach the lower area of the fire, just like in the screenshot below:
Look carefully at this layer and try to blend the sparks as best as you can, because their natural direction doesn't follow the fire, so brush over the fire areas:
Drag the second sparkles photo to the canvas. Name this layer "sparks2".
Still in the Free Transform box, right - click and select Flip Vertical.
Hold Shift and decrease the size of this layer, and rotate it a bit to the left. Leave it over the lower arm area.
Set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Add a New Layer Mask and brush over the top areas of this layer, just the opposite to the first sparkles we added. Follow the same procedure as before.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels or press Command/Ctrl + L. We want to raise the black tones of this image, so they can disappear because we're using the Screen Blending Mode.
Press Command/Ctrl + T for Free Transform, decrease the layer's size and rotate it a bit to adapt it near the elbow.
Duplicate this layer by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer or press Command/Ctrl + J. Press Command/Ctrl + T to Free Transform it: make it smaller and place it above the hand, like if the sparkles are coming from the fingers.
Duplicate this layer once more (Command/Ctrl + J), rotate it to the left and place it near the original layer.
We are not done adding sparks. The following ones, will be painted from scratch by using a custom brush. First, create a new layer above "nebula2" by pressing Command/Ctrl + Shift + N, and name it "sparkles". Select the Brush Tool (B) and press F5 to open the Brush Options Panel. Pick up a basic brush and use the following settings:
Paint over the hand and the surrounding areas. You'll see that a lot of random little sparkles will apear.
Set the Blending Mode to Overlay so they get blended with the scene.
Create a New Layer above the last one (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "Sparkles2". We will use the same custom brush we did but with a bigger size (15px approximately). Paint over the same areas as with the other sparkles but avoid flooding the image with flying dots.
Let's add some movement! Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and use these settings:
Double click on this layer's icon to display the Layer Styles window. Select Outer Glow to add some more brightness to our sparkles but remember to change the Outer Glow's Blending Mode to Overlay!
Let's fix and enhace some old layers. Return to "nebula"'s layer mask and get rid of the dark areas depicted on this screenshot, since they are not really harmonius with everything else. Use a big black soft brush.
On the layer, press Command/Ctrl + U to display Hue/Saturation and decrease the Saturation by 30 points.
Again on its Mask, delete completely the left hand, so its lighting will be now according to the one coming from the fire.
Delete also the arm's area form the wrist to the elbow.
Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) above the "model" one and name it "black model". Use a medium Size brush (B) with 0% Hardness and low Opacity and Flow, to paint in black the right part of the back, and the breast area under the arm, as well as the lower areas of the arm itself, until it looks like this:
Now, go to "flare" layer, to its Mask, and use the Brush Tool (B) to erasing the chest area, deleting the medium-light areas that were covering the darker tones of the model, decreasing the contrast of our image.
Delete also the selected areas that you'll see on the screenshot below. Remember we are erasing the lighter tones to make the dark tones visible again.
Get rid of the bright little gradient at the right of the girl's head, too.
Go to "black fire" layer and use the Eraser Tool (E) to carefully delete the top areas of the black paint. Then, decrease the layer Opacity to somewhere near 65%-70%.
Now go to "light model" layer and use the Dodge Tool (O) in Highlights Range to lighten up a bit the lights we painted over the girl's breast.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 1,2 pixels.
After all of this process, we have made visible the dark areas of the model again, as well as we have enhaced the contrast between the arm and the chest, so even with all the fire, the arm is still recognizable.
Add the following stock image to the canvas and place the movement blur over the model's head. Name this layer "more light" and place it above "nebula" layer.
Set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Add a New Layer Mask and delete with the Brush Tool (B) the left and bottom areas of this layer, erasing the edges as well as the girl's head and arm.
Click on the layer's icon to select it and press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation. Move slightly the Hue bar to the right to make the layer tones warmer.
Lower the layer's Opacity to 59%.
Finish this by refining the hair areas and avoiding the bright edges to appear over there.
Grab the long exposure lighting stock image and put it in our file. Name this layer "light long exposure" and place it above the last added layer.
Set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Press Command/Ctrl + T for Free Transform and then right-click and select Flip Vertical to turn this layer upside down.
Hold Shift key to keep the aspect ratio and decrease the layer's size, then place it with its upper area coinciding with the arm's upper area.
Right - click and select Warp. We are going to adapt this layer to the arm's shape and movement. Drag upwards the lower areas of the mesh so you get the central square of it at the top. .
Add a New layer Mask and delete the upper areas of the layer to make its borders disappear.
On the layer, press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation options and make the Hue of this layer warmer by dragging a tiny bit the Hue bar to the left.
Return to the mask and delete the selected area. It was grabbing more attention than it needed.
Do the same over the girl's shoulder.
Add to the canvas this bokeh image and place this layer above the last one, "light long exposure". Name this layer "magic".
Decrease its size and place it above the hand. Remember to hold Shift key while transforming to avoid distorting the image.
Set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Add a New Layer Mask, grab the Brush Tool (B), as always with black color picked, and start painting over, deleting the light circles over the fingers and the palm.
Press Command/Ctrl + L for Levels options on this layer and raise the black tones.
Keep on refining the Mask until the hand is free of this layer's lights.
Go to Edit > Transform > Warp to adapt this sphere to the hand's pose. Just grab from the corners and sink them into the mesh.
Duplicate this layer by pressing Command/Ctrl + J, then press Command/Ctrl + T for Free Transform and grab from any corner, press Alt + Shift and increase the size from the center of the transform box. Press Enter and don't worry much about if this layer might lose some quality, because we are going to blur it.
Let's add some more movement to our composition. Go Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Select Zoom Blur Method and grab the mesh of this window to the upper left corner.
Increase the color saturation by pressing Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation options and increasing the Saturation values.
Decrease this layer's Opacity to 65% and we're done with this.
Add another nebula stock image to our document. Place this layer above "black model" and name it "nebula3".
Guess what? Set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Press Command/Ctrl + T for Free Transform, rotate the layer to the right and place its center near above the hand.
Right - click and select Warp. Grab upwards from the top left corner and the bottom right one to add some movement.
Now, use the Clone Stamp Tool (S) to put the big and bright star under the hand on the sleeve. Use the original star location as clone source point by pressing Alt + click.
Add a New Layer Mask and delete the hand area as well as the lower sleeve part to reveal the darker tones again.
Mask the selected area on the screenshot below, but avoid deleting the start we put on the sleeve.
Finish the masking by giving some strokes on the area above the arm.
Click on the layer icon to select it and press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation and increase the Saturation a bit.
Click on the top layer on the Layers Palette and click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of it or by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer and selecting Black and White. Use the default settings.
Set the Blending Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 50%. Now the light spectrum is more homogene and every element pops up a bit more.
It's time to finally restore the model's face to get rid of the natural shadows she has, that are making her look a bit weird. First of all, go to "model" layer and pick the Dodge Tool (O) in Midtones Range, and use a small soft brush to lighten up the dark areas of her lips.
Switch to Highlights Range and increase the lighting of the bottom area of the lips and the chin.
With the same settings, start brushing over the hair with this tiny brush. Dodge over the britghtest ones to make them pop.
Change your tool and select the Burn one (O) in Midtones Range, and increase the natural dark tones of the lips, so they end up having more volume.
Switch to Shadows Range to paint over the eyes area, first with a big soft brush, and later on with a tiny one over the surrounding hairs.
Use the same settings with the Burn Tool (O) over the natural shadows of the fingers to add extra volume to the hand and to make it more recognizable.
Time to restore the lips, because they're looking a bit strange. Use the Patch Tool (J) and select the Content-Aware feature, with Very Loose Adaptation, and make a freehand selection over the area selected on the screenshot below, and when you are done, move the selection to the left a bit and then release it to restore this area.
Repeat the process on the upper lip selecting the right side and moving the resulting selection to the left again.
Create a New layer above the "model" one and name it "lips". Select the color #501ba8 and paint over the lips with the Brush Tool (B). Avoid painting above the hair lock and use a 1 or 2 pixels size brush to paint vertical lines over it.
Switch the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Return to "model" layer and delete the area shown in the screenshot below with the Brush Tool (B), as there is a light over the hair lock that is hiding its original shades.
Final refinements for the model's face. Use the Clone Stamp (S) on "model" layer, and take as a source the right cheek to paint over the left one. Play with different low opacities to give that area a lighter zone, but don't make it as bright as the right cheek.
On "lips" layer, use the Eraser Tool (E) with a tiny brush to delete the bottom parts of each lip.
Pick the Brush Tool (B) and the color #db4f0a. Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) above the "lips" one and name it "face restoration". Follow the natural shapes of the face to paint over the bottom left side of her face, avoiding to paint over the hair or the lips, and decreasing the opacity as you go down to the chin.
Switch to color #f1d769 to paint over what we already painted, getting more color shades this way.
Change this layer's Opacity to 50%.
With the same color, return to the "light model" layer to add the final lighting details to the face and hair. With a very small brush, paint loose hairs above the flying locks, specially above the dark areas, to add more volume.
Paint over on the brightest areas of the lips and the bottom part of them, as well as the contour of the face.
With one pixel Size brush and 90% Opacity, paint loose flying hairs here and there following the natural movement of the hair. You can skip this step if you are using a mouse and having trouble with this, this is just a tiny detail.
Paint also some hairs above the right cheek.
Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) above the "flare" one and name it "hair". Pick the color #b02b0c and use a brush Size between one and three pixels, and as we did in the last step, paint loose hairs, this time with a darker color to increase the sensation of volume. Then, increase the brush Size and decrease Opacity and Flow to paint over a slight and diffuse shadow under the chin.
Select the "nebula3" layer and duplicate it by pressing Command/Ctrl + J. Then drag it under the "explosion" one. Press Command/Ctrl + T for Free Transforming it and rotate it about 90º to the right. It should look like the big star meets the left eye of the girl.
Go to this layer's Mask and make visible the hair again by brushing it over with the Brush Tool (B) and black color picked.
Use a smaller brush Size to mask the upper area with more detail as it's the closest thing touching the light nebula and the transition has to look right.
To make it look even better, decrease your brush Size to one or two pixels and paint loose hairs all over, raising your Opacity values.
On the layer, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) or any other selecting tool of your choise, and select the star over the eye, then press Command/Ctrl + C to copy it and Command/Ctrl + V to paste it in a new layer that we will call "right eye". Use the Move Tool (V) to place it, obviously, above her right eye.
Use the Eraser Tool (E), 0% Hardness, to delete the borders of the layer.
Press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation options and decrease the Saturation of this layer to avoid the red tones grabbing so much attention.
Then go to Levels by pressing Command/Ctrl + L and increase the black tones to blend the start lighting with our scene.
Put the texture image on our document and resize it until it vertically fits on the canvas. Name it "texture".
Place this layer above the "model" one, press Command/Ctrl + Shift + U to Desaturate the image and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Add a New Layer Mask and use a very big, soft black brush to delete all the texture over the model and its nearest surrounding background areas.
Decrease the overall Opacity of the layer to somewhere between 35% and 40%.
Grab the second bokeh stock pic and put it on the canvas. Make it smaller, rotate it a bit to the right and place it on the middle left side of the composition. Move it under the "stars" layer and name it "more magic" for example.
Set the Blending Mode to Screen and press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation and get the opposite colors by dragging the Hue bar to any of both extremes.
Desaturation time. Let's avoid some color burning. Go to "stars" layer and press Command/Ctrl + U for Hue/Saturation and decrease it.
Do the same with the "nebula" layer.
Put the stars stock image above the "more light" layer.
Decrease its size (remember to hold Shift key) and move it to be above the hand. Name this layer "stars".
Press Command/Ctrl + L for Levels and increase the black tones to blend this layer.
Add a New Layer Mask and delete the area (remember, Brush Tool (B) - black color) right over the hand, leaving only the stars surrounding it in circles.
Add the last sparkles photo and name it "more sparkles". Place it above "more light".
Set the Blending Mode to Screen.
Use the Eraser Tool (E) to completely delete the bottom area.
Press Command/Ctrl + T for Free Transform, right - click and select Flip Vertical and then rotate it to make it look like it is within the movement halo of the arm.
Right - click and select Warp. Drag downwards the top middle square of the mesh, as well as the central one. Bring downwards as well the bottom corner.
Press Command/Ctrl + L for Levels and raise the black tones to blend this layer.
Turn the colors a bit more yellow-ish by going to Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U).
Add a New Layer Mask and use a very big soft black brush to selectively decrease the opacity of the area on the right.
Place the wallpaper pattern stock photo above the "nebula" layer and name it "pattern dress". We are going to use this to add a small touch of life to the boring girl's dress.
Set the Blending Mode to Divide.
Add a New Layer Mask and delete everything of this layer that can be outside of the dress area. Use smaller sizes as you get near the body edges.
Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) above everything else and fill it with a soft blue. Name this later "Difference".
And obviously, set the Blending Mode to Difference. And yes: it looks really, really weird.
But the magic of this step is in the Opacity, so decrease it to an 8% more or less. This way, we are tinting maximum blacks and whites and decreasing the contrast., so we are avoiding burning colors and everything gets more homogene.
Add a New Adjustment Layer by clicking on the black and white icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette and select Channel Mixer. Use these values to ger a more harmonius range of colors.
Another Adjustment Layer, this time we will pick Gradient Map. This way we will tint again lights and shadows. Click on the gradient bar of the Gradient Map window to display the Gradient Editor. Click on the colorized arrow at the bottom of the new gradient bar and pick the colors #496383 and #ff8e50, then click OK.
This is how the image would look like. As you can see, each color affects only one lighting range.
Switch to Soft Light Blending Mode. I'd say that our image looks way softer now!
Add a new Adjustment Layer of Selective Color. We are going to tweak over most tones of the image, to get them absolutely homogenized and end up with a more solid and appealing color palette. Use these settings. Leave Blues, Cyans and Greens unchanged, as they are not really present on the image.
And this will be the result.
Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) under "nebula" and name it "color sparks". We are goin to add a little touch of magic by adding more sparkles but this time, with saturated colors. Pick any color and the Brush Tool (B) and press F5 to display the Brush Options panel and use the following settings:
Paint over the hand area and its surroundings. As you will see, this will add a slight colourful touch.
Set the Blending Mode to Vivid Light.
Double - click this layer's icon to display the Layer Styles window. Select Outer Glow in Overlay Blending Mode.
Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) above the Black & White Adjustment Layer and name it "orange corner". Pick the Gradient Tool (G) and select the preset Foreground to Transparent. Then choose the color #f18e4d and create a Radial Gradient from the bottom right corner until the center of the canvas.
Set the Blending Mode to Hard Light and the Opacity to 25%. This way, we have tinted in a warm tone a bit the right corner, which had some green tones that weren't helping the composition.
Click on the top layer and press Command/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to Stamp Visible Layers. This will create a brand new layer with all the image pasted on it. We are going to give a small touch of movement. Go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and select the Zoom Blur Method, Best Quality and drag the center of the blur mesh to the left, so the focus of this blur layer will be over the hand.
Now it looks like the eye is completely focusing on the hand, but is not allowing us to see everything else.
Add a New Layer Mask and use a 800px Size Brush Tool (B) and start deleting everything from the center, leaving the radial blur only present on the corners.
We will give the final touch with an Adjustment Layer of Vibrance, that will bring up the second plane colors without oversaturating the main ones.
If you have come this far, congratulations!