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Create a Surreal, Politically-Charged Photo Manipulation

Photoshop is a fantastic tool to help you create all types of artwork. By combining the right photographs, you can say just about anything you want without saying a word. In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to create a politically charged photo manipulation using quite a few stock photographs. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

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


Step 1

Create a New File by going to File > New (Command/Ctrl + N). In Preset select International Paper and in Size, A4.


We are going to create a planet that will be the base of our composition. Put the Rock Texture in this new document, and name the layer "texture1." Click and hold in the Marquee Tool (M) icon to show the tool submenu and select the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Shift + Alt - click around the center of the layer to create a perfect circle.


Now go to Select > Invert (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I) and press Supr to delete, leaving only the textured sphere.


Go to Filter > Distort > Spherize, use an amount of 100% and press OK.


Press Command/Ctrl + F to repeat the Spherize Filter or go to Filter > Last Filter. Then go to Select > Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).



Step 2

Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N, or by going to Layer > New > Layer), name it "base". Command/Ctrl - click in the "texture1" layer to select it, and use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill "base" layer with a blue tone (#3caaff). Duplicate the layer (Command/Ctrl + J or Layer > Duplicate Layer) twice, fill them both with black color (#000000) with the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Name the top black sphere layer as "glow" and the one below "shadow."


Double - Click "glow" layer to open the Layer Styles window. Now put the following settings in the Inner Shadow, Outer Glow and Inner Glow menu options.


Put the layer in Screen Blending Mode. It should look like this:


Select "shadow" layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 100 pixels.


Create a New Layer (Layer > New > Layer or Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), then merge it with "shadow" by pressing Command/Ctrl + E. This way, we are eliminating the Layer Style options but we are keeping the effect. We are doing this because we need to mask this layer. Create a new mask by clicking the Add New Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Now select the Brush Tool (B), Right - click on the canvas area and put an amount of 1.000 pixels Size and 0% Hardness and select black color in the Color Picker. Set Opacity and Flow to 100%. Command/Ctrl - Click "base" layer and Invert Selection (Select > Invert, or Command/Ctrl + Shift + I).


Go to the mask in "shadow" and paint over the black area outside of our planet to make it look like the screenshot below:


Go to "base" layer, Double - click to go to Layer Styles menu and click in Outer Glow. Use the following settings:


Return to "glow" layer, add a New Layer Mask, and use the Brush Tool (B) with the same parameters we used it the last time, to paint in the bottom right area of this layer and make the glow disappear, but set Brush Opacity to 30%. It might help you to Invert the Background Layer (Image > Adjustments > Invert or Command/Ctrl + I) to see what you are really erasing.



Step 3

Drag the "texture1" layer above the "base" layer, change its Blending Mode to Screen and set its Opacity to 35%.


Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and put in the following settings:


Go to "shadow" layer, add a New Layer Mask, and use the Brush Tool (B) with the same settings again to soften a bit the top - left part of the shadow as shown below:


We are almost done with the planet. To give the final touches to it, duplicate "texture1" layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer or Command/Ctrl + J), call it "texture2" and rotate it 90º by going to Image > Image Rotation > 90º CCW. Duplicate this layer again, rotate it 90º again and Merge it Down with "texture2" (Layer > Merge Down or Command/Ctrl + E). Duplicate this new layer (Command/Ctrl + J) and name it "texture3", set its Blending Mode to Overlay and increase Opacity to 100%. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or press Command/Ctrl + Shift + U. Now set Opacity of "base" layer to 68%. The last part consists in eliminating the Layer Style options of the "glow" layer. To do so, go to Layer > New > Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shit + N) and Merge it Down (Command/Ctrl +E) with "glow", keeping the Layer Mask. Now select the Brush Tool (B) with again, the same settings, and mask top - right and bottom - left borders, until it looks similar to the last screenshots below.



Step 4

Create a New Group folder by clicking on the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette (or go to Layer > New > Group) and call it "planet". Click on the first layer, press and hold Shift and Click on the last one ("base"), then drag them all to the new folder. Now select "planet" and use the Move Tool (V) to place the planet at the bottom of the canvas, just as follows:


Now let's add a bit of atmosphere. Create a New Layer under the "planet" Group (Layer > New > Layer or Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "gradient1" and pick a light blue color of your choice. Go to the Paint Bucket Tool (G) icon, press it for a while until it shows the Gradient Tool. Now click around the center of the planet, hold on and drag until the marker is a bit above the planet, then release it.


Grab the Blue Background image to the canvas and resize it until it fits. Name it "sky."


Let's get rid of those eyelashes or whatever they are. Pick the Clone Stamp Tool (S), 500 pixels Size, 0% Hardness and 100% Opacity and Flow. Press Alt - click in an area upper than where the eyelashes are, and then release the key and paint over them.


Drag "gradient1" at the top of the Layers Palette. Now our image should look like this:


In "gradient1", go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and drag a bit the Hue bar to the left or put in a value of -18, to adjust the color of the gradient.



Step 5

We need some more sky in our little planet, don't we? Grab the Sky #1 stock image to the canvas and resize it more or less as shown below. Name this layer "clouds."


If you haven't used filters in your own since the last time we used them, press Command/Ctrl + F to repeat the last Spherize Filter. If you did, or closed the software at any time, go to Filter > Distort > Spherize and put in an amount of 100%. Repeat it by pressing Command/Ctrl + F.


Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), Right - Click and select Flip Vertical... or if you prefer, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical.


Now click in the left top corner of the Free Transform box, and holding the Shift key (we do this to keep the aspect ratio), resize the layer until it fits, more or less, with the planet. Then, press Enter.


Double - click the Zoom Tool (Z) to bring the image to Real Pixels. Press the Alt key or use the Hand Tool (H) to move around the canvas, and find the edges of the planet. Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), and grab from any of the top corners, holding Shift, until it completely fits with the shape of the planet. Press Enter when you are done.


Command/Ctrl - click "base" layer to select its shape, go to Select > Inverse (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I), and click the Add New Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette while you still are on "clouds" layer. It seems we have deleted the wrong part... but no worries, select the Mask and press Command/Ctrl + I to Invert it (or go to Image > Adjustments > Invert). Now it looks good.


Set this layer's Blending Mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 35%.



Step 6

Drag Sky #2 stock image to our canvas and resize it more or less like this (don't forget to keep on pressing the Shift key to maintain aspect ratio):


Press Enter and name this layer "clouds2". Set its Blending Mode to Soft Light.


Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or Command/Ctrl + Shift + U to leave this layer in black and white so our image doesn't get over saturated.


Add a New Layer Mask for this layer, pick the Brush Tool (B), around 1.000 pixels size, 0% Hardness and 100% Opacity and Flow, select the black color and erase the clouds that are now inside the planet.


We are going to lighten a bit up the central area of the layer. Do you see a fist in the Tools menu? It's the Burn Tool (O). Click and hold until it shows the Dodge Tool (O). Put the Range in Highlights, Exposure at 15% and use a 300 - 350 pixels sized brush. Now dodge over the central areas of this layer, specifically over the top edge of the planet.



Step 7

We are going to add some color. Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N). Use the Gradient Tool (G) and pick the color #fdeb24. Make a Radial Gradient from the bottom to the center of the image, and set its Blending Mode to Overlay, 32% Opacity. Call this "gradient3."


Create another layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), pick the color #075ca5, and create a gradient from the center of the image to the top. Set its Blending Mode to Color and its Opacity to 59%. Name this "gradient4."


Select now a Linear Gradient, pick the color #002f53, create a gradient from top to bottom, holding Shift key to do it straight and set the Blending Mode to Multiply. This will darken the top of the sky.



Step 8

Grab the Smoke stock image to the canvas, place it under the "planet" group and use Free Transform (Edit > Free Transform or Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate it a bit to the right. Click Enter and name this layer "smoke."


Set its Blending Mode to Screen.


Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U), and drag the Lightness bar to the left until it marks -30, so we can get rid of the highlights of the image.



Step 9

We are going to add some stars. First, we have to select the Brush Tool (B), and press F5 to display the Brush Panel. Use the following setting to create a scattered soft brush with different opacities.


Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "stars" and paint all over it, adding more stars as you go to the upper part of the canvas.


Double - click this layer to show the Layer Style window. Click on Outer Glow and use these settings to make the stars shine:


Now press F5 to show the Brush Panel again, raise the size of the brush a bit and paint some more stars on the same layer. We are done with the background for now.



Step 10

Now we are going to have some fun with the model image. Grab it to the canvas and resize it more or less to this size. We will be making it smaller in the future, but for now, we want it this big so when we resize, pixels will resample and some tiny errors we might commit may disappear. Name this layer "model."


Use the Magic Wand Tool (W) with 53 pixels Tolerance, with Anti-alias and Contiguous checkboxes active, and click on the background behind the model and in the areas behind the arms.


With the selection done, click on the Add New Layer Mask on the Layers Palette. The model will disappear, but Invert the Mask (Image > Adjustments > Invert, or Command/Ctrl + I) to get the model masked.


Select the Brush Tool (B) with 100% Hardness, Opacity and Flow, black color, and paint over the not masked areas in the Layer Mask.


If you zoom in the image, you will notice that some areas look pixelated due to our way of masking. But don't worry, we have used the Magic Want to avoid masking the entire layer with the Pen Tool, that would took ages. So, go to the Layer Mask, pick the Brush Tool (B) with small size and full Opacity, Flow and Hardness, select white color and paint carefully over the disappeared areas. This way, you will be revealing a part of the background. Now select the Pen Tool (P). Be sure you are on Paths Mode and not in Shape Layers and Free Mode. Use this tool to make a precise selection over the areas we want to mask again. If you are new to the nice Pen Tool, to create a selection just click on a point, then click on the next near area, holding your click, and then move your mouse or tablet (I personally recommend a mouse for this) to adapt the path to the shape we want to select. Do this until all the area is selected, and once you are done (to finish you have to click from the last point to the first one you did), Right - click and select Make Selection, press Enter, pick the Brush Tool with black color selected, and paint over the selection. Once it's finished, Deselect (Select > Deselect or Command/Ctrl + D).


Mask the light grey border of the right arm with the Pen Tool (P).


Do the same with the light grey borders of the area between the right elbow and the back.


Paint with a white brush over the left flounce in the Layer Mask and then make a selection with the Pen Tool (P) over the light grey borders. Press Supru and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Now scroll down and select the casted shadow coming from the boots, again with the Pen Tool (P), and not forgetting to Right - click and selecting Make Selection, then painting over with a black brush inside the Layer Mask. We will be creating a better shadow later. Deselect when you're done (Command/Ctrl + D).


We are going to mask the hair. Since we cannot do it to make it look good with the selecting tools neither with the Pen Tool, we will use another method. First, use the Brush Tool (B), white color, 100% Opacity, Flow and Hardness, and paint over the area where the hair meets the background inside the Layer Mask.


Go to Select > Color Range. We are going to make a selection that will only include the tones of the background surrounding the hair, so in this new window, where the image appears, click on the spot created by that color behind the hair and set a Fuzziness amount of 75, then click OK.


This method allows us to select a tonal range, but in the entire image, so you will see that apart of the area we are interested in masking, some others might be selected as well, so use the Brush Tool (B) with the same settings as before but change Hardness to 0% and switch to black color. Paint over carefully on the Layer Mask behind the hair area.


If you find trouble doing this, low the Brush Opacity to around 35% and paint multiple times over the selection edges. At the end, Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Now, we have a perfectly masked model!



Step 11

Now it's time to enhance the model's outfit. First of all, we are going to restore the torn part of the fabric in the left thigh. Take the Clone Stamp Tool (S), 35 pixels Size, 0% Hardness, 100% Opacity and Flow, Alt - click in the area above, release, and then paint over the torn part.


Blue over blue... that is not a good color choice, because we need our model to stand out to become the focal point of our composition. Command/Ctrl - click on the Layer Mask of "model" to select it, create a New Layer (Layer > New > Layer or Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), pick the Brush Tool (B) and a red tone, 100% Opacity and Flow, 0% Hardness, and paint over the zone the dress is covering, like this:


Don't worry if it is not precise enough: we are refining this. Name this layer "dress color." Set its Blending Mode to Color. As you can see, this doesn't look good at all, so we are going to need to get rid of some red areas.


This part is not very fun at all, but we really need to do this. Create a New Layer Mask, pick the Brush Tool (B), select the black color, set Opacity, Flow and Hardness to 100%. You will be using Sizes from 1 pixels to 20, depending on the area. So yes, we are going to paint over all of the yellow ropes of the outfit, so you are going to need a lot of patience. If you are using a pen tablet this will become so much easier. And in case you are wondering: yes, this way is a lot more precise than using the Pen Tool since we are talking about very small areas. If you are with a mouse, you might consider using the Pen. If not, may force be with you. In the screenshot below there is an example of the areas we have to get rid of:


Use the Zoom Tool (Z) to zoom in the areas to get a bit of help. Use 20 pixels brushes to paint the inner parts of the ropes, then switch to very small brushes (between one to five pixels) to paint over the edges. If you commit any errors, remember that you can change the brush color to white to restore what you have done wrong, and then try to do it right again.


Repeat the process in all the ropes and/or yellow areas. This will take you more than an hour, but the result will pay off:


Step 12

Let's enhance model's expression by enlarging eyes and mouth, so she will look more aggressive. Go to Filter > Liquify or press Command/Ctrl + Shift + X. Select the Bloat Tool (B) and put in the settings shown below, then click and hold for a second approximately, in both eyes and mouth.


Press Enter when you are done. Now use the Doge Tool (O) in Highlights Mode, 15% Exposure and paint over the eyes ro raise the whites.


Repeat the process in the highlights of the face: mouth, nose, left cheek.


Switch to Burn Tool (O), set Shadows Range, 10% Exposure and paint over the darkest areas of the face, paying special attention to the eyelids.


Create a New Layer (Layer > New > Layer or Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "lips." Select the Brush Tool (B), pick a red tone, set Hardness to 50%, Opacity and Flow to 100% and Size around 20 pixels. Paint over the mouth.


Set the Blending Mode to Subtract. If you are using older versions than CS5 just put it in Multiply. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) to select the right color. I am choosing a value of -109 in the Hue bar.


Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "eyes1" and pick the Brush Tool (B) again, but change Opacity to 50%. Select a blue tone. I picked #00deff. Paint over the upper eyelids (multiple times, specially in the bottom part) and set the Blending Mode to Multiply.


Create a New Layer again (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), call it "eyes2." Pick a red color (#e0000) and paint the bottom eyelids. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light.


Another New Layer, name it "makeup", pick the color #00e02a and paint over the cheeks with a bigger brush, 0% Hardness, 15% Opacity. Set the Blending Mode to Hard Light and Opacity to 43%.


New Layer again, name it "white makeup", and paint the face with white color. Once you are done, select the Eraser Tool (E), 30 pixels Size, 0% Hardness, 50% Opacity, and erase over the shadows (lips, eyes, nose, right part of the face).



Step 13

Now we are going to give some add-ons to our character until she looks something similar to a fascist military captain. Grab the Hat stock image and put it in the canvas, resize until it fits within the canvas, select the Magic Wand Tool (W), with 50 pixels Tolerance and click on the white background, then press Supr to delete it. Name this layer "hat."


Take the Pen Tool (P) (with the same settings we used before in Step 10) and select the face of the man, Right - click, select Make Selection, click Enter and then use Supr key to erase the man's face, then Deselect (Command/Ctrl +D).


Let's make the hat to fit in the model's head. First, go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), hold Shift key, to keep aspect ratio, and scale down the hat more or less to the size shown in the screenshot below. Right - click, select Perspective, grab to the center from any of the upper corners, Right - click again, select Warp and grab from the areas and into the direction as stated in the screenshot:


Press Enter when you are done. Double click this layer to show the Layer Styles window, select Inner Shadow and put in the following setting to get rid of the light areas on the hat edges:


Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "hat shadow", put this new layer under "hat", Command/Ctrl - click on the "model" layer Mask to select it, and pick the Brush Tool (B), 15 pixels Size, 30% Hardness, 50% Opacity and Flow, and paint the casted shadow of the hat on the hair and the forehead. When you are done Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Use the Burn Tool (O) in Midtones Range with 10% Exposure to darken a bit the shadows of the hat, paying attention to the rope on it and the edges of the right part.



Step 14

We are going to add a moustache to our model. Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "moustache." Select the Brush Tool (B), Right - click, and click on the upper arrow, in the menu, select Dry Media Brushes, Append them when asked and pick the first one.


Set Opacity to 30% and start painting the moustache. Create a row of "hair", then make the brush smaller and paint another, and so on, until it looks like this:


Double click to display the Layer Styles window, use Drop Shadow, Inner Glow and Bevel and Emboss with the following settings:


Then go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and raise Saturation to colorize a bit the moustache: our model's hair isn't black at all. Change the Hue to give it a brown tone.



Step 15

Put the Medals stock image in our canvas, resize it down a bit, and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) with 50 pixels Tolerance and click on the black fabric, then press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Call this layer "medals."


Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate a bit to the left to make the medals fit with the general direction the jacket has, then press Enter.


Double - click on the layer, and in the Layer Styles window, select Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow with these settings:


Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and low the Lightness a bit.


Now use the Burn Tool (O) in Highlights Range and 12% Exposure to darken the right area of every element of this layer, so it fits the overall lighting of the composition.


The medals look so sharp according to the model image, so go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and put an amount of 0,25 pixels, then click OK.


Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) to finally adjust the lighting of this layer. Use the following settings to raise deep shadows and a bit the highlights:



Step 16

Put in our document the Emblem stock image. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the medal on the right side in the first row.


Go to Select > Inverse (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I) and press Supr to leave only the medal we want. Select the Magic Wand Tool with 40 pixels Range and click on the green background. Press Supr key to delete it.


Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) (click and hold over the Lasso Tool to make the submenu appear) to make a selection of the ring and the fabric. Press Supr, Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D) and name this layer "emblem". Be sure it's above the "hat" layer.


Use the Move Tool (V) to place this new emblem over the hat. Free Transform it (Command/Ctrl + T or Edit > Free Transform) and rotate it a bit to the right. Right - click and select Perspective and drag from the top right corner to the left. Press Enter.


Double - click to to pen the Layer Styles window. Use Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow as follows:


Now go to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) and raise the Highlights by dragging to the left the right arrow, or input a value of 222 in the right box.



Step 17

Grab the Belt stock image to the canvas, resize it (remember: always hold Shift to keep aspect ratio) and rotate it a bit to the left.


Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a path and extract the belt from the image (the same way as we did in Step 10). Once you have closed the path, Right - click and Make Selection, click Ok, go to Select > Inverse (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I) and press Supr, then Deselect (Select > Deselect or Command/Ctrl + D).


Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal, then Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate it a bit to the right and adapt the belt to the model's waist.


Right - click and select Warp to give the final touches::


Now we have to eliminate some parts that interfere with the right sleeve and one of the buttons. Lower the Opacity of the "belt" layer to 15% approximately and create a New Layer Mask by clicking on the Add New Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Command/Ctrl - click on the Mask of the "dress color" layer to select the sleeve and carefully paint in the mask of "belt" layer with the Brush Tool (B) with the black color selected.


Do the same with the button so it looks like above the belt.


At the end it should look like the screenshot below. Don't forget to Deselect when you finish (Select > Deselect or Command/Ctrl + D). Remember to restore layer's Opacity to 100%.


Use the Burn Tool (O) in Midtones Range, with 10% Exposure to darken the right part of the belt and keep its lighting accordingly with the shadow you can see in the jacket.


Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and call it "belt shadow" and place it under "belt." Pick the Brush Tool (B), with black color selected, 40 pixels Size, 15% Hardness, 50% Opacity and Flow, and paint the shadow the belt should cast on the jacket.



Step 18

Put in our document the Gun stock image and resize it, holding Shift key as usual to keep aspect ratio to this size:


Name this layer "gun." Use the Pen Tool (P) to make a selection only of the gun and its cover, tearing it apart from the belt. Create the path, Right - click and select Make Selection, then click OK.


Invert the selection (Select > Inverse or Command/Ctrl + Shift + I) and press Supr, then Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Use the Pen Tool (P) again to create a path and a selection of the trigger area. Erase it and Deselect again.


Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate the gun a bit to the left, like if it were holding from the belt.


Right - click and select Flip Horizontal and press Enter.


Lower the layer Opacity to 15% and select the Pen Tool (P) to make a selection of the sleeve and the finger. We are not using the same method as with the belt because we also need to cut out the finger area. Right - click and select Make Selection once the path is closed, then press Supr and Command/Ctrl + D to Deselect. When you are done get back to 100% Opacity.


Now we have to adjust the lighting of this layer, and we are going to need to paint a lot with the Burn Tool (O) in all Ranges with no more than 10% Exposure and with small brushes (around 25 pixels Size and 0% Hardness). Start burning Shadows Range of the right part of the gun, then switch to Midtones. The important part is to burn the Highlights Range the right way. It is important to darken the handle to adapt it to the shadows casted in the outfit as well as the bottom part of the cover. To finish, burn Highlights with a smaller brush over the left edges to give volume.


There is no need to paint a casted shadow of this layer since the jacket is dark enough. Go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance (Command/Ctrl + B) and play with the Midtones like in the image below:


Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and low a bit the Saturation and Lightness so the gun stop standing out that much.



Step 19

At this point, we are done with the model's add-ons, although in the future we might add some more things. Now click on the folder icon of the Layers Palette to Create a New Group (or go to Layer > New > Group), name it "woman" and put inside all layers related to the model and her add-ons. Just select the top layer, then press and hold Shift key and click on the last one, then drag them all to this new folder. Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and resize this group a bit, holding the Shift key to keep the aspect ratio. Resize it until, more or less, the model is placed in the way shown below:


If you zoom in the image you will notice that some pixelated areas and such now are gone because of the resampling pixels (so that's why we were working in a bigger format). It looks like we are going to need some air above the model's head. Otherwise our composition will be strangled and will not breathe. Select all layers clicking from the first one to the last, with Shift key held, and then deselect the following, releasing Shift and holding Command/Ctrl key: "Background" and "stars." Now use the Move Tool (V) and drag all the selected layers a bit down, leaving more or less the same space between the model's head and the top of the image as well as from the boots to the bottom of the canvas.


Now let's get rid of the border that has appeared at the top of our image due to all of this movement. Select the "Background" layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U), check the Colorize checkbox because we are going to tint a bit blue this layer to adequate it, so raise Lightness, low Saturation and move the Hue bar to the right until it looks similar, although it won't fit at all.


Add a Mask to the layer "sky" by clicking on the Add New Layer Mask icon of the Layers Palette, select the Brush Tool (B) and pick the black color, 800 pixels Size, 0% Hardness, and 50% Opacity and Flow, and paint in the mask until the separation disappears.


To finish this step, go to "model" layer and pick the Smudge Tool (R), located behind the Blur Tool (Click and hold to make the submenu appear), 50% Strength and 100 pixels Size, 0% Hardness. There might be some areas that look a bit pixelated, so smudge then very carefully by clicking, holding and moving the pointer a bit. Use the Zoom Tool (Z) and browse the edges of this layer to find pixelated spots. You might need to do the same in the "dress color" layer.



Step 20

Now that everything is in its right place, we have to apply proper lighting to our composition. The first thing we have to fix is the lighting of the boots and the bottom part of the model since it is standing on the glowing planet, so create a New Layer (Layer > New > Layer or Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "light gradient." Command/Ctrl - click the mask of the "model" layer to make a selection, pick the color #e1f2f8 and use the Gradient Tool (G), with Radial Gradient selected, and create a gradient from the bottom of the model until the middle. Put it in Vivid Light Blending Mode, create a New Mask and use the Brush Tool (B) with black color picked (0% Hardness) to delete areas that might be outside of the boots.


Create a New Layer ( Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "light". We are going to paint the lighting on this layer, so again, I recommend using a tablet for this. Pick the color #bbdae5 and the Brush Tool (B). Hardness should be around 50%, Opacity 12% and Flow 100%. The parameters may vary as we paint, depending if we need bigger or smaller brushes and different opacities. Command/Ctrl - click the mask of "model" to avoid painting outside. Pay special attenttion in expading the original highlights of the boots. The lighting has to be more intense at the bottom, then start to fade out when it reachs the beginning of the boots. Paint as well the edge of the legs. This might take you at least an hour if you are not experienced in painting digitally, so be patient.


To make this lighting more homogenious, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use an Radius od 2,4, so the painting will blend better and will look more real.


Duplicate this layer by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer or pressing Command/Ctrl + J. Then merge both by going to Layer > Merge Down or Command/Ctrl + E. This will increase the intensity of the lighting.


If still, the painting doesn't look good at all, use the Smudge Tool (R), 0% Hardness, 50% Strenght, to blend everything. Use the Eraser Tool (E) with 0% Hardness to delete some parts that shouldn't be affected by the light, like the base of the boots and the central area, keeping the glows over the edges. At the end, your painting layer should look more or less like this:



Step 21

In this step we are going to cast the shadow of the model, keeping in mind that the lighting is coming from behind. Duplicate "model" layer, call it "model shadow", go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and put Lightness to -100 to leave this layer in black color. Put this layer behind the "model" one.


Drag from the top central point to the bottom until the layer is upside down, or go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical and drag it down with the Move Tool (V).


Right - click and select Warp. We have to adjust the shadow to the planet's shape. Follow the steps of the screenshot below moving the area to the direction stated by the arrows. There are several ways to get the shape we want, so feel free to experiment until the shadow looks adapted to the planet: it has to be a bit curved to the right.


Press Enter and Go to Edit > Transform > Warp again. Sometimes we need multiple warpings to get the desired shape. Basically drag from the center square to the right and move a little the pointers to the stated directions by the arrows:


We have the basic shape of the shadow now, but there's some more work that needs to be done. Use the Pen Tool (P) to make a a path on the areas shown below. Once it's closed remember to Right - click, Make Selection, press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Create a New Mask clicking on the Add New Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette, and use the Brush Tool (B) with very low Opacity and 0% Hardness, to decrease the opacity of the layer. The maximum black should be kept at the very beginning of the shadow. As you go down in the layer, opacity should be lesser until the shadow blends with the planet's one.


Now use the Smudge Tool (R), 50% Strength, to blur this layer. Click and hold on the edges and carefully move the pointer until they start fading. Don't blur them more than this:


Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), put it above "model", name it "shadow boots", and use the Brush Tool (B), 20 pixels Sixe, 20% Hardness, 50% Opacity and Flow, to paint the base of the boots as well as the central part of the right side of the heel to eliminate any glows in there. Remember that it is impossible to the light to be casted in that area, because if it were, the image wouldn't look realistic at all.


For that reason, return to the "light" layer, create a new Layer Mask and erase the bottom light borders of the heel and the sole.


Create a New Layer over "model shadow" (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), pick the Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, 150 pixels Size, 20% Opacity, 80% Flow, and paint a casted shadow in the opposite direction as the one we already did. Coming the light just from behind, we just cannot be happy casting a shadow to one direction. This will be our complementary shadow. Name this layer "model shadow2."


Create a New Layer Mask and erase carefully this layer to lower its opacity, with the Brush Tool (B) with very low Opacity and Flow and no Hardness.


Return to "model shadow" layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, check the Colorize checkbox and tint in blue hues, moving a bit to the right all bars. Shadows aren't black at all!


Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "model shadow3", pick the color #08375f, and use a 300 pixels Size Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, 50% Opacity and Flow, to create a radial difuse shadow under the model. Set its Blending Mode to Multiply and then use the Eraser Tool (E) with no Hardness to erase any part that might be behind the boots.



Step 22

Let's refine the lighting in the model caused by the lighting behind the planet. Double - click on "model" layer to display the Layer Style window, check Inner Glow and use the following settings:


Right - click over the Layer Style under the "model" layer and select Create Layer. Now the style is in a separate layer we can edit. So Add a New Layer Mask to it, and use the Brush Tool (B) with black color selected, 0% Hardness and 50% Opacity and Flow and start masking from top to bottom. Until you reach the hips, everything should disappear, and then carefully lower the opacity from the hips to the boots, knowing than the boots should keep it at 100%.


Use 100% Opacity to erase the central part of the glow in the boots. Remember that lighting doesn't apply here.



Step 23

Let's add more elements to our composition. Drag the Roulette stock image to the canvas, put it behind the "woman" group (but not inside of it), go to Edit > Transform > Distort, then drag from the top left pointer a bit more to the upper left part and press Enter. We do this because the original stock image is a bit distorted and the roulette is not rounded at all.


Now use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to select the roulette. Press and hold Shift key to make a perfect circle, and also the Alt key while you put the pointer more or less at the center of the roulette, then hold it and expand until you create the it. Because it might be not perfect at first, go to Select > Transform Selection and a box similar to the Free Transform one will appear. Depending on how your ellipse is, you might need to transform the selection in different ways until it fits with the shape of the roulette. If you find many troubles to do this step just ignore this and use the Pen Tool (P) with the same procedure we have explained many times before to do the selection.


Press Enter when you are done. Your roulette now should look like this. If you have missed certain areas you can always cut them out with the Pen Tool (P).


It seems than the roulette might look better surrounding the planet, so go put the layer behind the "planet" group, but not inside of it, go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), make it bigger holding the Shift key to keep the aspect ratio and place it with the numbers row around the edge of the planet. Do not worry about this new bigger size, because we will blur this layer later.


Command/Ctrl - click "base" layer to select it, and in "roulette", click the Add New Layer Mask icon, then Invert the Mask (Image > Adjustments > Invert or Command/Ctrl + I).


Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 2,6 pixels. Now you can see that there wasn’t any need to worry about making the roulette bigger. We are blurring this layer because our focal point will be the planet and the model. Our depth of field will blur any elements that are in front of or behind them, blurring them more as they go further behind our scene. This way we give a tiny touch of real photography to the composition.


Let's add light to the roulette. Create a New layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "light roulette". Pick the color #c4f6ff and use the Gradient Tool (G), with Radial Gradient select, and create a gradient from the center bottom of the canvas until the hips of the model. Put its Blending Mode in Vivid Light.


We need the planet and the roulette to be blended by the light, so go back to the "base" layer in the "planet" group, Double - click to display the Layer Styles and increase the Outer Glow.


Return to "roulette", go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and lower the contrast (the further an item gets, the less contrast it has). We are done by now with the roulette.



Step 24

Grab the Money stock image to the canvas, resize it and put it behind the "model" group. Call this layer "money". Pick the Magic Wand Tool (W) with 40 pixels of Tolerance and click on the white background, then press Supr to get rid of it and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate a bit to the right to hide behind the model's head the bill you can see at full.


Go to Layer Styles by double - clicking on this layer and check Outer Glow and Inner Glow using the following settings:


Use the Move Tool (V) holding the Shift key to put the money a bit down in a straight way.


As we explained in Step 23, let's blur this layer since it's behind our focal point. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 0,9 pixels.


Create a New Layer above "money" (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "head shadow", pick the black color and use the Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, 10% Opacity and 50% Flow, to paint the shadow the model should cast on the dollars. Remember to stroke multiple times as you get nearer to the model. The left hand and arm is casting a shadow as well, but it's further so it shouldn't be as dark as the one casted by the head.


Create another New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) inside the "woman" group and above the "model" layer. Name it "glow3". Command/Ctrl - click the "model" Layer Mask to select it and pick the color #fbd3ff. We are going to paint the pink glow created by the money in the surrounding areas inside the model and the hat. Use the Brush Tool (B) with the same settings we used to create the shadows in the dollars. Paint only over the edges once until the elbows. Then change the Blending Mode to Color Dodge and change Opacity to 63%.


Let's enhace the glowing by changing its color in the Layer Style of the "money" layer by double - clicking it and just changing the color to #ff6ccd.


Let's expand the glow. Create a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) behind "money" layer, name it "money glow". Pick the Gradient Tool (G) with Radial Gradient selected, and use the color #fbd3ff to create a gradient that should come from the center of the money to left side of the canvas. Then change its Opacity to 21%.



Step 25

Put the Holy glass stock image in the canvas, name it "holy", go to Edit > Transform > Perspective and drag down the three points to the left of the box to correct the wrong original perspective of the image. Press Enter.


Drag the layer to put it under the "money" one and switch the Blending Mode to Color Dodge.


Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U), lower the Saturation and change Hue + 6 to avoid some parts at the top to stand out so much.



Step 26

Grab the Crown stock image to the canvas and put it behind "woman" group. Name it "crown." Use the Marquee Tool (M) (it doesn't matter which one) and select the crown from the image. Go to Select > Inverse (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I) and press Supr. Then Deselect (Select > Deselect or Command/Ctrl +D).


Use the Magic Wand Tool (W), 50 pixels Tolerance and click on the blue background, then press Supr to delete it. Deselect (Command/Ctrl +D).


Use the Move Tool (V) to place it correctly , then go to Edit > Transform > Distort and gran from the top right pointer to the top right to fix the perspective of the original image.


Right - click and select Free Transform, hold the Shift key to keep the aspect ratio and make this layer smaller until it is inside the area of the money. Then rotate it a bit to the right to leave the stars symmetrical.


Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 0,9 pixels.


Double - click to display the Layer Styles panel and check Drop Shadow and Inner Glow using the following settings:



Step 27

Place the Statues stock image in the document, name it "statues" and use the Magic Wand (W) with 50 pixels Tolerance and click on the background, then delete it by pressing Supr key and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Place this layer under "roulette" and use the Move Tool (V) to place it behind the roulette.


Go to Edit > Transform > Warp and adapt this layer to a more circular shape grabbing from the bottom central square a bit to the top and doing the same with the two bottom pointers.


Press Command/Ctrl + F to apply the last Gaussian Blur we used or go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 0,9 pixels.


Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) and raise the lightings by dragging the highlights pointer until it marks 205.



Step 28

We have just placed the statues, we will work them out later when we have our composition finished. Now grab the Wings stock image, rotate it a bit to the left, press Enter and name this layer "wings." Place it under the "woman" group.


Erase the background by selecting it with the Magic Wand Tool (W) with 50 pixels Tolerance, then press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Then use the Pen Tool (P) to create a path over the pedestal, Right - click, select Make Selection, press Supr and then Deselect again.


Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make a selection around the eagle's head, then press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) and raise the shadows to 46 to improve the contrast of the image.


Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 0,7 pixels.


Command/Ctrl - click this layer to select it, and use the Clone Stamp Tool (S) to delete some light borders of the left wing. Alt - click above them to take a reference point and paint over the borders (0% Hardness, 100% Opacity and Flow). Then, Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Use the Pen Tool (P) to make a selection around the light border of the right wing, then Right - click, select Make Selection, press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Now take the Burn Tool (O) in Midtones Range, 30% Exposure, and create the casted shadow of the arms over the wings. Use 0% Hardness.


We are going to add the glow reflected on the wings by the money. Double - click on this layer to display the Layer Styles panel and select Inner Glow, using the following settings:


Right - click on the Style and select Create Layer in the emerging menu. Click the icon of Add New Layer Mask at the bottom of the Layers Palette, select the Brush Tool (B), 100% Opacity, 10% Flow, 0% Hardness, and erase the lower part of the glow and also, change brush Opacity by 50% and decrease the opacity of the upper part.


But we also need to add the slight glow reflected by the planet on the bottom part of the wings, so Double - click on the "wings" layer again to show the Layer Styles menu, check Inner Glow and use these settings:


Right - click over the style, in the emerging menu select Create Layer, click the icon of Add a New Layer Mask, select the Brush Tool (B) with the same settings as with the other glow, but this time erase the upper part and decrease the opacity of the lower area.


Now that we have the reflections of both glows, raise top highlights by using the Dodge Tool (O) in Highlights Range, 20% Exposure and decrease the highlights of the central and bottom parts of the right wing using the Burn Tool (O) in Highlights Range and 25% Exposure. Remember to use 0% Hardness brushes.


And last, decrease the saturation of this layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and dragging the Saturation bar until it marks -24 or so.



Step 29

Grab the Bullets stock image to the canvas, and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) with a Tolerance of 75 pixels to select the white background. Then press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Name this layer "bullets" and place it under the "wings" one.


Switch the Tolerance of the Magic Wand Tool (W) to 40 pixels and start selecting the shadows of the bullets and deleting them pressing Supr. You won't be able to delete all shadows this way, so get rid only of those that get selected in its entirely by the Magic Wand.


For the rest of shadows and to refine details, use the Pen Tool (P) the same way we have used it before, close the path, Right - click and select Make Selection, press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), Right - click, Flip Horizontal and rotate a bit to the left so the bullets end up being symmetrical according to the wings.


Right - click, select Distort, move down the top right corner and move up the bottom right one to correct perspective. Press Enter.


Use the Burn Tool in all Ranges, with 15% Exposure and 0% Hardness, to paint the shadows casted by the wings over the bullets. The upper, the darker. Start darkening Highlights, then Midtones and to finish, Shadows. The wings shadows should be casted over the edges of the bullets as well.


Double - click to display Layer Styles, check Inner Glow with these settings:


Right - click and select Create Layer. Add a New Layer Mask and erase the glow with the Brush Tool (B), black color selected, 0% Hardness except in the areas selected in the screenshot below.


Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use an amount of Radius of 0,8 pixels in "bullets" layer.


Raise the highlights by going to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) and dragging to the left (237) the Highlights bar.



Step 30

Now we are going to add some elements above the planet. Take to the canvas the Toy soldiers stock image, name it "soldiers" and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) with 85 pixels Tolerance, and click on all the white background areas. Then press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D). Place this layer above all layers.


Command/Ctrl + T to Free Transform, hold the Shift key to keep the aspect ratio, and make the layer smaller, more or less of this size:


Right - click and select Warp. We need to adapt the shape of the toy soldiers to the surface of the planet like this:


Press Enter when you are done with the warping. Got to Image > Adjustments > Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) and increase the contrast dragging to the center both the highlights and shadow pointers.


Remember what we did with the glowing of the wings? Yes, we are going to do the same now. Double - click on this layer to show the Layer Styles window and check Inner Glow with these settings:


Right - click on the style and select Create Layer. Click now on the icon of Add a New Layer Mask at the bottom of the Layers Palette to add a new mask and erase the glowing areas that shouldn't be affected by picking the Brush Tool (B) with the black color selected, 0% Hardness, 100% Opacity and Flow.


There are, still, some annoying white borders in our layer, and we don't want that. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a path over them. Zoom In the image with the Zoom Tool (Z) to get a more accurate result. Once the path is closed, Right - click, Make Selection, press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Use the Blur Tool (R), with 50% Strength, to blend the edges of this layer.


Let's add the casted shadow. Double - click to show the window of Layer Styles and check Drop Shadow. Use these settings:


Right - click on the Style and select Create Layer. Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and turn it upside down dragging down from the top central point or Right - clicking and selecting Flip Vertical and then dragging the box down.


It's warping time again. Right - click and select Warp to adapt the shadow to the spherical shape of the planet.


Use the Eraser Tool (E), 0% Hardness, 100% Opacity and Flow, to delete the shadow that should be casted by the soldiers in the back rows. We will create these in another layer.


Now use the Smudge Tool (R), 50% Strength, to move a bit the shadows rounded in red in the screenshot below to be exactly under the toy solders base.


Take the Eraser Tool (E) again, and lower the Opacity to 25% and delete a bit in the bottom area of the shadow: remember, the further, the lighter. Then Duplicate this layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer or Command/Ctrl J) and delete it all except the shadow that should be right under the base.


Now we are going to create the rest of shadows casted by the soldiers in the back rows. Double - click "soldiers" layer to open the Layer Styles window, check Drop Shadow, and use the following settings:


Right - click on the style, select Create Layer and use Free Transform (Command/Ctrl +T) and turn it upside down, or Right - click and Flip Vertical and then drag it down. Press Enter.


Now use the Eraser Tool (E), with the same settings as before, to delete everything but the shadow of the soldier in the center.


Go to Edit > Transform > Warp, to adapt the shadow to the shape of the planet. Drag from central square down and the bottom left pointer as well.


In "soldiers" layer, use the Brush Tool (B), with no Hardness, 60% Opacity and 10% Flow, to paint the bases with black color, but just a little.


Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D) and use the Smudge Tool (R) to smudge down the bad cut out area at the top of the helmet of the left soldier.



Step 31

Take the Tank stock image and insert it in our document. Rotate it a bit to the right and resize down. Place it at the right side of the planet, near the model's boots. Name this layer "tank"


Press Enter and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) with a Tolerance of 20 pixels to erase the background clicking on it and then pressing Supr. Then Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Go to Edit > Transform > Distort and grab the center - left pointer and grab it upper left. Then Double - click and switch to Free Transform and rotate the tank a bit to the left until its cannon is almost touching the soldier's rifle. Press Enter.


Let's add the glow. Double - click to open the Layer Styles window and check Inner Glow with these settings:


Right - click on the style and Create Layer. Click on the icon of Add New Layer Mask at the bottom of the Layers Palette and use the Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, 100% Opacity and Flow, to erase the wheels and the front, then change Opacity to 40% and decrease the opacity of the cannon, not erasing it at all.


Create a New Layer under "tank" and name it "tank shadow". Use the Brush Tool (B), 24% Opacity, 30% Flow, 20% Hardness and a size of 62 pixels to paint a shadow right under the tank. Then increase the size to 106 pixels and keep on painting the shadow following the spherical shape of the planet, but stroking less as you go down. Then, switch the Opacity of this layer to 87%.


Return to the "tank" layer and use the Brush Tool (B), 10 pixels Size, 0% Hardness, 30% Opacity and Flow, and paint the bottom area so it blends with the shadow.


Use the Burn Tool (R), in Midtones Range and 50% Exposure to darken the opposite part of the tank to the light focus.


To finish, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command/Ctrl + U) and low the Saturation.



Step 32

Drag the Reactors stock image to the canvas, name it "reactors" and place it under "gradient3" layer. Add a New layer Mask as usual and with the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) make a selection over the floor to get rid of it painting it black with the Brush Tool (B). Use the Magic Wand Tool (W), 40 pixels Tolerance, to select and delete the sky inside the Mask. Don't worry about the smoke disappearing, we will restore it right away.


Switch color to white and paint over where the smoke was in the Layer Mask, with a 49 pixels Size Brush, 0% Hardness, first with 100% Opacity and 30% Flow to make it appear at all, and then refining details and recreating the halo with 46% Opacity. Be sure to stroke multiple times over the cut out edges of the smoke to blend them with the blurred smoke.


Edit > Transform > Warp to adapt the reactors to the planet. Give the base a curvy shape. Press Enter when you're done.


Now use the Pen Tool (O) to create an elliptical shape on the base of the reactors, opposite to the elliptical shape of the top of the planet. Close the path, Right - click, make Selection, press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


We are going to add the glow to the reactors. Double - click to make appear the Layer Styles window and use Inner Glow as usual:


Create a Layer from this Style (Right - click > Create Layer), click the Add New Layer Mask Icon, pick the Brush Tool (B), black color, and delete the glow of the smoke as well as the one in the base.


Use the Burn Tool (O), 0% Hardness, 20% Exposure, to darken the central areas of the reactors. Use all Ranges, first Highlights, then Midtones and Shadows. Remember that the lighting cannot affect the opposite surface of where the light is reflecting.


Aadd a new layer that you will name "reactors shadows". Use the Brush Tool (B) to paint under the base with black color selected. Use a 50 pixels Size brush, 50% Opacity, 30% Flow and 20% Hardness. Then to create the diffuse shadow casted downways switch to 100 pixels Size, 30% Opacity and Flow and 0% Hardness.


Back to "reactors" layer, use the Burn Tool (O) in all Ranges again to blend the base with the shadows (15% Exposure) and then switch to Dodge in Highlights Range (15% Exposure too) to lighten the right edges up.


Enhace the contrast using Levels (Command/Ctrl + L), dragging a bit to the center both Highlights and Shadows pointers (243, 14).



Step 33

Let's make the planet look like if it were dying. Grab the Crack texture to the canvas, place it under "gradient1" layer, name it "crack", go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate to the left.


Right - click and select Warp. Bring a bit down the top center square and expand the box to give a spherical look dragging the pointer at the sides.


Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Command/Ctrl + Shift + U).


Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert (Command/Ctrl + I) and change the Blending Mode to Screen (we will change this later, but now we need this layer to be as visible as possible). Then use Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) to avoid certain areas to appear. Put a value of 130 in the Shadows box (top left one).


Use the Eraser Tool (E), 0% Hardness, 100% Opacity and Flow, 60 pixels Size, to delete all the white texture, but don't erase the cracks!


Invert the layer again (Image > Adjustments > Invert or Command/Ctrl + I) and change the Blending Mode to Multiply. Create a New Layer, name it "light crack" and place it under "cracks". Pick the color #d2e3ec and use the Brush Tool (B), 75 pixels Size, 15% Opacity and Flow, 20% Hardness, to paint lights in the upper side of the crack edges. This way they will look more tridimensional. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. If you have painted in the dark areas by error, these should disappear thanks to the new Blending Mode.


But now it seems we do not have enough cracks, so let's going to fix that. Command/Ctrl - click "cracks " and "light crack" to select both, Right - click and select Duplicate Layers. Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate them, resize and place in other places. Feel free to experiment with this step. If you place your cracks way down, lower the Opacity of the "Light crack" copies.



Create a New Layer above all the crack layers and name it "red". Use the color #950000, with the Brush Tool (B), 195 pixels Size, 42% Opacity, 15% Flow, 0% Hardness, and paint in red the darker areas created by the cracks, then change the Blending Mode to Lighter Color and Opacity to 63% to make the red disappear in the lighter areas. If you are using an older version of Photoshop where Lighter Color isn't available, use Screen instead and use the Eraser Tool (E) to delete the red parts in the lighter areas.


Change the color to #db7c00, and create another New Layer that we will name "orange", above the "red" one. Use the same brush settings to paint above all the cracks, then change Blending Mode to Color Dodge. To finish, drag all the layers of this step to the "planet" group and place them at the top of it.



Step 34

We are almost there. In these final steps we will enhance some parts we already placed in the composition and will add some small details to get a top-notch photo manipulation. First of all, we are going to take care of the roulette and the statues. Hide the "statues" layer by now, and go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) with the "roulette" layer selected, hold Shift key to keep the aspect ratio and make it a bit smaller, until the numbers are cut by half by the planet shape.


Press Enter. Command/Ctrl - click in the "base" layer in the "planet" group and mask by painting in black the "roulette" layer.


Add a New Layer Mask to "light roulette" by clicking the icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Command/Ctrl - click in the "roulette" layer to select it and go to the layer "light roulette" again, and paint the top areas of the roulette in black inside the mask, to fade out the glow and make the roulette stand out a bit more. When you are done, don't forget to Deselect (Select > Deselect or Command/Ctrl + D).



Step 35

Use the Move Tool (V) with Shift key held, to move a bit upwards the "sky" layer.


Duplicate "clouds2" layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer or Command/Ctrl + J), go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate it a lot to the left. It should look more or less like this:


Press Enter and go to the Layer Mask. Use the Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, around 1.000 pixels Size, and 35% Opacity and Flow, black color picked, to mask the bottom area of this new layer to decrease a bit the opacity, but not at all.


Do the same in the original "clouds2" layer but in the opposite area of the canvas. Doesn't the background look so much better now?



Step 36

Make "statues" visible again and drag it behind "money" layer, move it upwards with the Move Tool (V), and go to Edit > Free Transform and make it smaller holding the Shift key to keep the aspect ratio, and place it in a way that the emblem in between the statues is exactly in between the two top stars.



Step 37

Now we will add the last three elements I was saving for the end of the tutorial. Drag the Billboard stock image to the canvas and use the Pen Tool (P) to create a path around the board, then Right - click, Make Selection, press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), resize the billboard with the Shift key held and make it almost as small as the reactors. Drag the layer to place it under "reactors shadow". Name this layer "ad".


Guess what we are doing to do now. Double - click the layer and open the Layer Styles menu. Check Inner Glow and use these settings:


There is no need to Create Layer from this Style. Use the Burn Tool (O) in Highlights Range, with 8% Exposure to darken a bit the central areas of the billboard that are no affected by the light.


To finish adjusting the lighting, go to Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) and increase the Shadows (33).


Select the Horizontal Type Tool (T), open the Character Palette (Window > Character), and use Verdana font, bold, 15 pixels Size, and 75 pixels of Horizontal Tracking. Write the word "SALE".


Go to Edit > Transform > Distort and adapt the word to the perspective and position of the billboard by dragging from the corners of the Transform box. Press Enter.


Double - click on this layer to display the Layer Styles window, check Color Overlay and pick the color #801a26. Click OK, Right - click over the layer and select Rasterize Type. Now use the Blur Tool (R), 50% Strength, to blur a bit the typography to adapt it to the sharpness of the billboard.



Step 38

Insert the Cigar stock image, delete the background by using the magic Wand Tool (W) with 60 pixels of Tolerance and pressing Supr. Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D) and name this layer "cigar". Place this layer above the rest.


Edit > Free Transform, resize it (remember to hold Shift) until it fits within the model's hand. You might need to rotate it a bit to the right.


Right - click and select Distort, grab the top left pointer and bring it down a bit, then Right - click again and select Free Transform, resize and rotate a bit. Press Enter.


Command/Ctrl - click "model" Layer Mask to select it and in "cigar", use the Move Tool (V) to move downwards to the left the cigar holder, so we can see that she's holding it.


Darken the Midtones Range with the Burn Tool (O) with 10% Exposure.


Double - click and check Inner Glow in the Layer Styles window:


Right - click the Style and Create Layer. Add a New Layer Mask and delete the top and bottom parts of the cigar with the Brush Tool (B) and the black color picked.


Now use the Burn Tool (O) in Shadows Range and burn the top of the cigar until it gets black.


Create a New layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N), name it "ember" and put in between "cigar" and "cigar's Inner Glow" layers. Command/Ctrl - click to select "cigar" layer. Now we are going to paint its ember. Pick the Brush Tool (B), 1 pixel Size, 100% Hardness, Opacity and Flow, and select the color #ffae00. Click many times on the black area of the cigar to draw some orange points. Change the color to #ff4200 and paint some more, and then switch to #525252 and paint a couple of grey lines. When you are done, Deselect and use the Blur Tool (O), 50% Strength, to blur the borders of the "cigar" layer.


Grab the second smoke stock image and place it above "cigar's Inner Glow" layer. Put it in Screen Blending Mode and use Levels (Command/Ctrl + L) to raise the shadows and make them disappear from the blended layer.


Go to Edit > Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T) and rotate a bit the smoke to the right.


Add a New Layer Mask and decrease the opacity of the smoke over the ember with the Brush Tool (B) and the black color picked (0% Hardness, 30% Opacity and Flow).



Step 39

I was saving this for the end: my favorite element. Include the clown nose stock image in our canvas, inside and at the top of the "woman" group and name the layer "nose." Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a path around the nose, then Right - click, Make Selection, Select > Invert (or Command/Ctrl + Shift + I), press Supr and Deselect (Command/Ctrl + D).


Free Transform (Command/Ctrl + T), hold Shift key and resize the nose until it fits with the original model's one. Press Enter.


Now use the Burn Tool (O) to darken the bottom area of the nose. Use a 0% Hardness brush, 36 pixels Size and 24% Exposure, and paint first the Midtones and then do the same with the Shadows. Then add a new layer and place it under "nose", and use the Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, 50 pixels Size, 20% Opacity and Flow, to paint a diffuse shadow casted to the right.


Adjust the color a bit decreasing Saturation in Hue/Saturation (Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation or Command/Ctrl + U) on "nose" layer.



Step 40

Now our composition is done. What we need to do now is to add some adjustments layers to enhance the lighting and colors of our image. First of all, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White (or select it from the black and white rounded icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette, where you can find a quick way to add Adjustment Layers), place it above all layers and use the following parameters:


Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color. Use the following settings:



Step 41

Now we are going to fix the overall lighting adjusting not desired contrasts and bad exposed areas. Press Command/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E to Stamp Visible Layers. This will create a new layer with the info of all layers. Name it "light correction". Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights and use the amounts depicted in the screenshot below. This way, we are lightening shadows and darkening highlights, and the look & feel of our image becomes completely homogenous.


But it doesn't look good at all in some areas. Add a New Layer Mask and use at least a 1.000 pixels Size Brush Tool (B), 0% Hardness, and with 100% Opacity and Flow, delete the planet area and then decrease both parameters to 30% and paint in the sky around the model, in the upper area of the canvas, to decrease the opacity.



Step 42

Let's add some atmosphere. Stamp Visible Layers again (Command/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E) and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a Radius of 13 pixels.


Put this layer in Screen Blending Mode, 15% Opacity, name it "screen blur", duplicate layer (Command/Ctrl + J or Layer > Duplicate Layer) switch to Overlay Blending Mode, and name the layer "overlay blur". This way we are giving a soft touch to the image without losing the contrast.


To homogenize even more our composition, in the "overlay blur" layer, click the Default Foreground and Background Colors icon (D) to use black and white, and go to Filter > Sketch > Reticulation and use a Density of one pixel, leaving the rest at zero. Click OK.


Now apply Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, 1,4 pixels Radius. This effect adds some grain to the image. It will go unnoticed in small versions, but at real resolution or printed, it will work its role.



Step 43

This step might be optional and its usage depends on how well you have done this photo manipulation. We are going to correct some blending errors and the like in a new layer. Stamp Visible Layers (Command/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E), pick the Blur Tool (R), 30% Strength, around 20 pixels Size, 0% Hardness, and revise all the borders of your image (model, soldiers, money, etc) and blur a bit all of those that might look pixelated. Don't blur too much, we do not want blurred areas in our image, just a slight touch to enhance the blending of everything. Yet again, this layer it's only useful if you are going to show your image in high resolution or printed. Below you can see an example:



Step 44

And now we will add some atmospheric color. On top of all layers, add a New Layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it "color". Pick the color #492b00 and use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill the layer. Now switch to the Gradient Tool, select Radial Gradient mode, and use these colors.


Now change the Blending Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 14%. Feel free to experiment with the color and atmosphere, maybe you might be interested in a cold one using blues and purples... it's up to you!



Step 45

After all of this hard work, welcome to the very last step of this tutorial. We are going to sharpen up the image, so it will look more professional. Stamp Visible Layers by pressing Command/Ctrl + Shift + Alt + E, name this layer "sharpening" and place it above all the rest of layers. Switch the Blending Mode to Overlay. Yes, now this looks strange, but go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and use a Radius of 1,9 pixels.


Now... can you see the difference? The image looks really polished now. Good work!



Final Image


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