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!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.
- Model (Courtesy of Marcus Ranum)
- Rock texture
- Blue background
- Sky #1
- Sky #2
- Sky #3
- Holy glass
- Toy Soldiers
- Cracks texture
- Smoke cigar
- Clown nose
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).
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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