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# How to Use Photoshop Adjustment Layers to Create a Fantasy Photo Manipulation

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use Photoshop adjustment layers to create a fantasy photo manipulation featuring a rock goddess.

First, we'll build the base scene using several arch, rock and landscape images. After that, we'll add the ground, the model's face, and a rock texture. Later, we'll add the trees, man, and hawks. We'll use several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.

## Tutorial Assets

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

## 1. How to Build the Base Scene

### Step 1

Create a new 2200 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

### Step 2

Open the arch image and isolate it from the background using the Magic Wand Tool (W). Drag this arch onto the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to resize it to fit the size of the main document.

### Step 3

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. On the layer mask, turn the foreground to white and use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select the middle section of the arch. Hit Delete, and we'll have the result below:

### Step 4

There are some unwanted details on the top right of the arch. To fix this, create a new layer and select the Clone Tool (S). Use this tool to correct the indicated details.

### Step 5

Return to the original arch image and select the left section of the arch. Place it on the left of the main document and make it bigger than the existing one. The aim is to expand the space between both sides of the arch.

Add a mask to this layer and use a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) to blend the top of this arch part with the existing one. Also, use a hard black brush to remove the ground and the rock details in the space between the sides of the arch.

### Step 6

On the original arch image, use the Lasso Tool to select a part on the top right of the arch to add to the lower part near the right side of the arch. The aim is to give this part some details and light. Use Control-T with Warp mode to tweak this part to fit the form of the existing detail.

### Step 7

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above this part's layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Reduce the Saturation value to -25:

### Step 8

Make a Curves adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to decrease the light of this detail.

### Step 9

To reduce the highlights on the lower part on the right of the arch, on the original image, use the Lasso Tool to select a part on the left arch and place it on the indicated bright area.

Add a mask to this layer to blend this part with the existing surface.

### Step 10

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer for this part and bring the Saturation value down to -28. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the effect on top of this part.

### Step 11

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten this area. On this layer mask, paint on the shadow/hidden details so they won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

### Step 12

Select all of the arch layers and the related ones and hit Control-G to make a group for them. Change this group's mode to Normal 100% and make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer within this group to desaturate the arch's color.

### Step 13

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and alter the Midtones and Highlights settings:

### Step 14

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the right side of the arch. Paint on the rest so it won't be brightened by this adjustment layer.

### Step 15

Open the sky image and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select just the sky to add to the main document. Place this layer below the arch's group.

### Step 16

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the sky' s color a bit:

### Step 17

Use a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the top left of the sky to fit the light/shadow on the arch. The selected area shows where to paint on the layer mask.

### Step 18

Add the landscape behind the arch and use a layer mask to remove most of it, leaving only the part with bushes and misty mountains visible, as shown below:

### Step 19

Use a Curves adjustment layer to strengthen the visibility of the landscape a bit.

### Step 20

Isolate the rock from the background and add it behind arch 1.

Use a layer mask to remove the top and left of this rock, leaving only the right side visible.

### Step 21

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate this rock a little:

### Step 22

Add a Curves adjustment layer to increase the haze of the rock to fit the atmosphere of the background.

## 2. How to Add the Ground

### Step 1

Open the ground image and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select only the ground to place in the lower half of our working document. Set this layer above the arch's group.

Add a mask to this layer to remove the hard edges and blend the ground with the existing arch and ground.

### Step 2

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the ground.

### Step 3

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the ground. On the layer mask, paint on the shadow/hidden areas or any details you find too bright.

### Step 4

Use another Curves adjustment layer to darken the left of the ground a bit. Paint on the right so it won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

## 3. How to Make the Rocky Face

### Step 1

Open the model's image and isolate her face to place it in the top right of the main canvas. Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to blend the face with the cliff side.

### Step 2

Make a new layer above the model layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Use a soft brush with the color #675654 and opacity and flow about 34% to darken the side of the nose a bit.

### Step 3

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -29:

### Step 4

Use a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast on the model's face to fit the background.

### Step 5

Use another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the contours of the face. Paint on the rest to reveal its lightness.

### Step 6

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray:

Activate the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range and Exposure about 10-15% to refine the light and shadow on the model's face. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

### Step 7

To add more texture to her face, use the Lasso Tool to select a part from the arch image and place it onto the face. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 60% and use a layer mask to erase the part outside the face.

### Step 8

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the rock texture.

### Step 9

Make a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the texture. Paint on the shadow/hidden details so they won't be affected or will be less affected by this adjustment layer.

### Step 10

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to enhance the light and shadow on the rock texture a bit.

## 4. How to Add the Trees

### Step 1

Open the tree image (feel free to choose the angle you want—it's really not very important), and place it onto the eyelid of the model's face and the left side. Add a mask to the tree layer which is on the eyelid and make its bottom fade into this area of the face.

Make a new layer below the tree ones and use a soft brush with the color #140808 and Opacity about 30% to paint shadows for the tree on the face.

### Step 2

On the tree layer which is on the left, go to Filter > Gaussian Blur > Blur and set the Radius to 6 px:

### Step 3

Make a group for the tree layers and add a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the trees. On the layer mask, use a soft black brush to reveal the shadow and hidden details inside the leaves and trunk.

### Step 4

Create another Curves adjustment layer to strengthen the shadow on the trees. The selected areas show where to work on the layer mask.

### Step 5

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to match the color of the trees with the plants on the ground.

## 5. How to Add the Man and Hawks

### Step 1

Cut out the man from the background and add him to the area near the goddess's face. Go to Edit > Puppet Warp to lift his head towards the model.

### Step 2

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the color of the man's shirt to fit the color of the sky.

### Step 3

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the back of the model to fit the light source. Paint on the front of the man so that this part won't be affected by the adjustment layer.

### Step 4

Add a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light and shadow on the man.

### Step 5

To make a shadow for the man, create a new layer below the man's one. Hold Control and click the thumbnail of the man layer to load his selection. Fill this selection with the color #140808 and move it below the man's feet. Flip it vertically (Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical) and lower the Opacity of this layer to 50%. Use Control-T to change its shape to fit the shadow on the ground.

### Step 6

Apply a Gaussian Blur of 1 px to soften this shadow:

### Step 7

We'll be adding some hawks to increase the wildness for the whole scene. Isolate hawk 1 and add him to the top left of the arch.

### Step 8

Create a new layer below the hawk one and make a shadow for him on the arch as we did with the man. After that, use a medium-soft black brush to erase the unwanted shadow part behind the hawk's claws and on the top of it, as that part does not fit the shape of the arch's surface.

Duplicate this shadow layer and transform it to make the top of the shadow fit the curve of the surface. Use a layer mask to erase the bottom part.

### Step 9

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the hawk.

### Step 10

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights values:

### Step 11

Make a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the hawk. Paint on the shadow/hidden areas so they won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

### Step 12

Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to enhance the light and shadow on the hawk.

### Step 13

After cutting hawk 2 out from the original background, add him to the upper part of the space where the man is standing.

### Step 14

Use a Curves adjustment layer to increase the light and contrast on the hawk.

### Step 15

Use another Curves adjustment layer to increase the haze on the hawk to fit the atmosphere of the sky.

## 6. How to Make the Final Adjustments

### Step 1

In this section, we'll be using several adjustment layers to enhance the final effect of this photo manipulation. Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the colors #e10019 and #00601b.  Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

### Step 2

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and alter the Midtones and Highlights settings:

### Step 3

Add a Color Lookup adjustment layer and select 3Strip.look. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 30%.

### Step 4

Make a Selective Color adjustment layer and adjust the Reds/Yellows/Cyans values a bit:

### Step 5

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to increase the yellow light reflection on the ground. On the layer mask, paint on the sky and the bright parts of the arch and the model's face so they won't be affected by this adjustment layer.

### Step 6

Use a Curves adjustment layer to increase the vibrance and contrast of the whole scene.

## Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you've enjoyed the tutorial of creating a fantasy photo manipulation and learned something new for your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!

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