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Create a Portrayal of a Human Transitioning Into a Statue

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You will find lots of tutorials that explain how to turn a person into a statue in Photoshop. In this tutorial, however, we will put a new spin on this idea and will explain how to portray a scene of a human actually turning in to a statue. This tutorial will use a photo of an actual statue as a base and then show how to make the statue look more human, instead of the other way around. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.


Step 1

Start by opening the image of statue. We'll work in its original canvas so all you need is just unlock the background layer by double-click on it. Then use Pen Tool and start extracting the statue, then delete the background around.

I wanted to make this piece more neutral so I cut out the cross in her hand, as it was much of a religious character.



Step 2

Next open the Plaster Bare texture and place it behind the statue. You might need to construt the background a little bit with these textures, as they are not quite big enough to cover the whole canvas (1st image below). To do this duplicate this texture few times (2-3) and spread it all around to cover the blanks. Then use soft Eraser (E) to make the transitions smoother (1st image below).

Now create new layer above the Statue layer, hit Alt + Command/Ctrl + G for Clipping Mask, use dark blue color and paint with tiny soft brush (Diameter of 2-3px) to cover the edge lights from the indicated side of arms. Next create another new layer above, clip it with Alt + Command/Ctrl + G, change its Blending Mode to Multiply and use soft brush of blue color to paint as indicated (3rd image below). We need to darken the bottom part of each statue element that seems too bright.



Step 3

Now let's add some depth. Grab this plaster texture again, hit Command/Ctrl + T to Free Transform, select distort and tighten the texture that it looks like a floor (1st image below).

The textures are the background layers so they should be kept below the "Statue" layer. Now again, below "Statue", create new adjustment layer - Gradient Map, throw the gradient colors as showed in the 2nd image below, then change its Blending Mode to Hard Light. Then use soft white black and paint on the mask as showed (3rd image below). By hiding the mask with brush, we're now casting light from the top to the bottom, and this is the main light source we'll be using in this image. Be accurate with this, you should get similar results as mine in 4th image below. If it doesn't look good, give it another shot and refer to how I painted on the mask in 3rd image below.



Step 4

Next, create new layer above background layers (below statue) and change its Blending Mode to Multiply. Grab Brush Tool (B), make it soft, then hold Alt (Eyedropper) and sample color from the indicated spots (1st image below). Then gently paint under the statue to create shadow. Try to make it as thin as possible (2nd image below) and keep it very close to the statue. Repeat this step using slightly brighter tone and this time spread the shadow more (paint it a little bit further from the statue), as indicated in 3rd image below.



Step 5

Now we'll darken the scene to tighten the canvas and bring more focus to the statue. To do this create new adjustment layer above all layers and fill it with grey/blue (1st image below). Change layer's Blending Mode to Multiply and grab Paint Bucket (G). Use black color and fill its mask to make the layer content disappear. Then grab soft white brush and paint on mask as indicated in 2nd image below. Try to create some kind of surrounding shade, this will blend the statue more with our environment and give a nice depth to the interior (3rd image below).



Step 6

As we've strengthened the shade, let's now do the same thing to the light. Create another Solid Color adjustment layer above; change its Blending Mode to Soft Light. Pick some light, pale yellow for the fill (1st image below). Now refer to the previous step and use same process to hide the layer mask by filling it with black color. Then use soft white brush to paint the light. Try to hit it from the top, totally (2nd image below). Don't cast it on statue at the moment; we will strengthen that in the final stage. For now we're aiming just to create the light source.

When you're done with the initial form (3rd image below), create another new layer above, change its Blending Mode to Overlay and use white color to paint the light spread (4th image below). Do it just a little bit further from the top source. Repeat this process with another new layer, with Normal Blending Mode and this time paint the light focus in the very top (use white again). Be careful, and strictly follow the red arrow in 5th image below. This is the direct spot you should paint the intense light, any further - will destroy the effect.



Step 7

Ok, now grab Brush Tool (B) again, set it to all 100% hard/flow/opacity. Also go to the brush settings and turn the Spacing all the way down to 1%. Then create new layer and accurately cover all the statue's visible skin (1st image below). The color doesn't matter, as now you need to turn off the layer visibility (click on the eye thumbnail near layer), we only need this to use as selection. So hold Command/Ctrl and left click on this layer's thumbnail to call the selection. Then, while having this selection active, hit Command/Ctrl + G to create new, masked layer group (2nd image below). Now everything you put inside this group will only affect the selected part - which in our case is the skin). Let's start with creating new layer inside this group and set its Blending Mode to Soft Light. Then fill the layer with some skin tone (3rd image below).



Step 8

Great, keep working inside that group. Create next layer, set its Blending Mode to Color, pick #c08663 color and add some partial brushing with very soft brush to the spots indicated in 1st image below. It's good to add some variety to the skin tone, that it doesn't exactly look like one color / monochrome.

Add another layer inside the group, leave it's mode set to normal and use soft brush again to paint some skin tone. This time we aim for covering the dirt / transparent look that is left from the statue. So refer to the 2nd image below and gently start adding the tone to make the skin smoother.

If the skin still doesn't look good enough, you can refine it more using noise reduction. To do that switch to the "Statue" layer, recall its selection (Command/Ctrl + left click on layer's thumbnail). Then go to Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise and apply settings showed in the 3rd image below. Notice how cleaner and more refined it looks in the comparison on 4th image below.



Step 9

Now apply few adjustment layers to this group, to make the skin look more realistic. Start with Selective Color (1st/2nd image below). Then create new layer with Blending Mode set to Multiply and paint some shadows as indicated in 3rd image below. Use some dark, pale brown tone to do that. This will give a nice base for the skin shadow and next we will try to match it with the environment. The whole interior and statue is basing on blue tones, so now let's try make her skin a little bit affected by this tone (this will make everything look more natural). Create another new layer, set the Blending Mode to Multiply again and using very soft brush repeat the previous process of adding shadows (to the same spots), but this time with blueish color.



Step 10

Yet again to make the skin sit better add another adjustment layer inside this group - Color Balance (1st/2nd image below), and we should be done with the skin.

While we're still at the point of coloring our statue, let's twist it a little more and make the sphere that she's standing on, look more metallic. To do that, refer to step 7 and use exactly the same process of creating the masked group, but this time for the sphere. So basically paint the shape, call its selection and create new layer group. Work in that new group, create new layer and fill it with #faf1d7 (3rd image below). Then change layer's Blending Mode to Overlay. Next, create another new layer (Blending Mode - Multiply) and paint over the edges to create shadow, as indicated in 4th image below (the selection is optional).



Step 11

Ok, now get out of this group and let's focus on shading the statue more. I hope you've already learned the process of creating certain masked groups. Using the knowledge from steps above (especially step 7) call the selection of the statue and make a new group with mask. This time we will be working on the overall statue in this new group.

In the 1st image below, I've indicated how light is casted (green arrow) and where should our statue receive the shadow (red arrows). So create new layer with Multiply Blending Mode and add shadows where red paint indicates (1st image below). Use lighter/darker colors depending on the areas you paint (colors showed in 1st image below). Repeat the process but now add some light in the new layer (Blending Mode - Overlay). You've got the direction showed as well as the exact spots where the light should be cast (2nd image below).

Tip: Please keep in mind that the elements, which are popping out, like her bend knee, breast, nose, feet, most of the cloth wrinkles, etc. will receive more light, as they are exposed to the light from the top.



Step 12

Ok, now don't get surprised after seeing 1st image below, it's all good. What you need to do here is to duplicate the Statue layer and bring it above all layers now, so it will look like this. Then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. Now use all 100% hard/flow/opacity brush, pick white color and paint to reveal the mask over the statue skin parts (2nd/3rd image below). Try to make it look like drips. Then switch from the mask to layer and hit Command/Ctrl + M (Curves), darken these stains a little bit (4th image below).

In Layers Palette, remember to keep this layer below the lights/shadows group that we just casted in previous step.



Step 13

Now move to the very top of the Layers Palette and create new layer. Hold Command/Ctrl and left click on the "Stains" mask thumbnail to call the selection (1st image below), then pick Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the selection with #121519 color (2nd image below), name the layer something like "Stains above". Well, it gets kind of inaccurate in some spots, as you might notice (especially edges), so while still having the same color selected, brush more - beyond the skin (as indicated in 3rd image below), and this not only covers the imperfections but also gives better, more realistic look. When you're done, switch again to very soft, black brush, add a layer mask to the "Stains above" layer and get rid of the bottom or middle parts of these stains (as red indicates in 4th image below). This will reveal the initial stains shape we did before, which already has some nice depth in it (5th/6th image below).



Step 14

Next, we'll be casting some lights upon the stains. I believe you know the process, so create again group with mask from the stains - 1st image below (if you're still having troubles refer to step 7, it's the same technique. Make sure your group is above all layers in Layers Palette. Now work inside it - create new layer, almost totally reduce your brush values, that it becomes fully soft. Pick white color and slowly start adding edge light to the stains (2nd/3rd/4th/5th image below).



Step 15

Keep adding lights. Create another layer in that group and this time us small brush Diameter, focus a lot in one spot (red arrow -1st image below) and then gently spread it from top to bottom (green arrows 1st image below). You might pick some random spots to cast the highlights on those widely splashed stain over skin, but for every drip keep only one direction of the highlight. Notice that every drip is ended with highlight in the bottom-right part. Now why is that so? The plain stains might have different surface (more or less popping) so the lights over there are allowed to vary, but the drips are shaped all the same way, so the highlights on them can't quite randomly jump.

Having this knowledge, try to complete all these stains as indicated below.



Step 16

Ok, now the first step is optional - you might refer to step 7 and create a layer with mask of the statue shape (1st image below), this will allow you to paint within the shape, but that's not necessarily needed. If you do it or not, either way set this layer's Blending Mode to Multiply. Refer to 2nd image below on how to cast the shadows properly including depth. Then use soft brush and pick dark brown color to paint the shadows as indicated before (3rd image below).



Step 17

Great, now you should be able to easily paint some more stains. So we're going to add some falling ones. Use Pen Tool (P), switch from path to shape layers and draw some rounded, smaller and bigger shapes with low saturated dark blue (almost black) - 1st image below. Now the process is all the same as in previous step, but this time instead of creating group mask, you can just use Clipping Mask (Alt + Command/Ctrl + G). So create new layer above those drips and clip new layer. As previously use soft white brush to paint the edges first (2nd image below). Then add some depth and 3d look by painting tiny and softly spread highlights further from the edge (3rd image below). Remember: it's a drip, so the highlight needs to be as we set it in the previous ones - from the bottom right side.

To make the look more affected by environment, we can add some reflections. Grab Lasso Tool (L), draw selection around the closest elements from our stain drop, and hit Command/Ctrl + Shift + C to copy what's visible (4th image below). Paste it (Command/Ctrl + V) above; use Clipping Mask (Alt + Command/Ctrl + G) as well here. Then go to Filter > Liquify and use the Forward Warp Tool (W) twist the pasted image into U letter shape, so it becomes round (5th image below). It should look similar to the 6th image below. Then you can either use Soft Light or Screen Blending Mode (they are both good here) and erase hard edged parts of the twisted image so it look faded into the stain drop (7th image below).



Step 18

Apply this technique to all stain drops and additionally try to vary them adding more overall light to the smaller ones, this will give a nice impression that they are kind of further in the background (1st image below). Then add just a touch of tone to these falling drops, go to Layers Palette and use Selective Color and Color Balance. Set them as indicated in 2nd image below. Use Clipping Masks for these adjustment layers.



Step 19

By the way, if you made some drops very close to the ground, you need to add some slight shadow to them. So move back to the background layers group. Grab Pen Tool (set to shape layers). Then pick some soft brown colors (basically any, low saturated brown will work) and draw path of an ellipse (1st image below). Go to Shape Path Properties and set the Feather to around 3-4px (2nd image below). I've also noticed we forgot to cast shadow from the clothes, so make another shape same way (3rd image below). And it's really optional, you can leave those shape layers with Normal Blending Mode or you can use Multiply, either way is fine. Also lowering Opacity also helps to reduce the intensity of shadow.

Tip: I'm not sure but this Feather option might be one of the features from the latest Photoshop versions, so don't get worry if you don't have it. Just use regular soft brushing instead of this.



Step 20

Next, let's move to the other part of this tutorial - creating flames. Open the WaterFoam texture, switch to Channels and duplicate Blue channel by draging it to the New Layer icon (2nd image below). Hit Command/Ctrl + L and adjust levels as showed in 3rd image below. We need to make the transition from white to black harder, so the edges are more visible, this will give some cool, crispy look to the flames further. To do this grab Burn Tool, and paint as indicated in 4th image below. Go around all white spots like that.



Step 21

You should get similar result to the 1st image below. Now hold Command/Ctrl and left click on Blue Copy channel to call the selection. Then switch from Blue Copy to RGB (2nd image below). Go back to Layers hit Command/Ctrl + C to copy the selected area and get to our main project document.



Step 22

Paste the water foam to our main project document, somewhere below the "Statue" layer. Use Layer Mask or Eraser Tool to get rid of the unwanted parts (2nd image below). Then go to Layers Palette and add 3 adjustments layers as Clipping Masks:

- Levels
- Hue/Saturation
- Brightness/Contrast

Keep the settings and order as showed in 3rd image below. Your water texture should now look similar to the 4th image below.



Step 23

Repeat the previous step and do the same process to the left side of statue (1st image below). Now, carefully, duplicate both those water foam textures without their adjustment layers, and paste those copies above "Statue" layer in Layers Palette. Change their Blending Modes to Linear Dodge. This should look now similar to the 2nd image below. Next add 3 the same adjustment layers as Clipping Masks to these copies above.

Watch how it changes:

- 3rd image below, Levels
- 4th image below, Hue/Saturation
- 5th image below, Brightness/Contrast



Step 24

You should get something like in the first image below. To make it look more flame alike, create new layer above all and change its Blending Mode to Overlay. Then use soft yellow brush and gently paint as indicated in 2nd image below. Add another layer above with Overlay Blending Mode, use white color this time and get closer to the statue edges, then paint there to strengthen the flame source (3rd image below).



Step 25

Looking nice! Hope you did a good job so we can proceed. Now would be cool to add some additional broken parts of the statue, flying around. To do this use Lasso Tool (L) and draw some random shapes around the clothes, fill them with random color as well. Disable the layer visibility; hold Command/Ctrl and left click on layer's thumbnail to call the selection of these shapes (2nd image below). Hit Command/Ctrl + Shift + C to copy what's visible, then paste (Command/Ctrl + V) these elements on new layer above. Select Lasso again draw a clumsy shape around random element of your choice, hold Command/Ctrl and left click on the element - now you can move it around the illustration without a need to cut it (3rd image below). So using this technique spread those elements around the illustrations, as you like. Then create new layer above, use clip it to these elements layer (using Command/Ctrl + Alt + G), change the Blending Mode to Overlay and use orange tone to paint light (as indicated in 4th image below). This should work as flame reflection over the elements.

Tip: You can add this reflection to the falling drops also.



Step 26

For some final touch it's recommended for you to add more human elements to her skin, like hair, etc. So, create another layer above all, change its Blending Mode to Multiply. Use tiny medium hard, brown brush and paint some eyebrows, eyelashes, nose holes, ear holes, and straighten some lines over her face to make it look more natural (1st/2nd image below). Next create another new layer, set its Blending Mode to Overlay and paint with some red color to add warmth to her mouth, cheeks, eyes skin, etc. Make it subtle, but visible (3rd image below).



Step 27

As I promised before, we will now cast some more overall light to the statue. To do this draw shape layer of #f2f7e3 color. Change its Blending Mode to Soft Light, reduce Opacity to 15-20% and in Properties set the Feather to at least 80px (2nd image below). This will spread the light nicely, but the visible stream should remain. You can duplicate that layer and experiment with changing the opacity as well as switching blending modes. This might also give you some additional great results. Just remember to keep this light at low visibility level.



Step 28

For the final mastering, add some adjustment layers above everything in Layers Palette. Keep their order as showed below. When you're done adjusting, sharpen your merged piece nicely using Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.



Final Image


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