Most of you probably know how hard it can be to find the perfect stock images for your designs. That means you will often have to get creative and find new ways to create the perfect composition. In this tutorial, we will demonstrate how to place a couple of squirrels in a coffee mug that is floating in a body of water.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.
- Gray Squirrel image
- Lake background image
- Red Squirrel
- Faroese Hat
- Top Hat
- Kitchen Tools - Flour shaker
- Flag - included in Source folder
Step 1 - Lake Background
We'll start by preparing our downloaded images for the project, for this we'll start by using the Camera Raw plugin in Adobe Bridge. Note I'll be using CS5 for this Photoshop Project. Select the background image file "112044770416.jpg" in Adobe Bridge and open it in Camera Raw plugin Command/Ctrl + R.
We'll start by adjusting the white balance in the photo, so set the Temperature to + 4 and Tint + 24. I've set the exposure to + 0.10 and recovery to 50, to dim the brightness areas. I've also added 23 fill light to lighten the dark areas and 14 black to add contrast to the image. Also I've added + 66 clarity to the photo to add a overall sharpness.
I'm not quite pleased with the highlight in the sky since it's a bit too bright, so we'll turn it down via the Tone Curve feature in Camera Raw. I've set the highlight to -36 and now it's time to continue working with it inside Photoshop.
The first thing we'll do in Photoshop, is to unlock our background layer by double clicking the layer, in the Layers palette. A new layer window prompt will appear and set the Name to Background, click ok when done. Reason for this is we are going to adjust the horizon and need a layer with transparency. Select the Ruler tool from the tool palette and place the lines as shown in my screenshot, I've chosen the coast as horizon. After placing your Ruler line on the coast, go to the top menu under Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary. A dialog window will appear with a rotate value based on your Ruler tool line, select OK. The background is now ready to be placed in a new canvas, so select the whole scene Command/Ctrl + A, and copy the content to the clipboard Command/Ctrl + C.
Now let's create a new document which will be our main project file, I've set my document size to 2000x2300 pixels at 240 PPI, I've chosen Adobe RGB color spectrum and set Background Contents to "Transparent". We want to use the lake background we correct earlier, so just Paste the background from the clipboard onto the scene Command/Ctrl + V.
Our Background is much larger than our canvas, so we'll need to decrease it with the help of the Transform tool Command/Ctrl + T. Note if you hold down the Shift key while scaling, it'll scale the object proportionally. You can see on my screenshot how my outcome looks like. As you can see, I've left some space above and below, because it's time to play with cloning features.
Before we'll start cloning the photo, I want to make a copy of my layer, just in case if something goes wrong, and I do like to compare before/after and have a backup. Go to your Layer palette and choose the background layer, and use the shortcut Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate, rename the new layer "Background Retouch".
We'll focus on the lower half first, so we need make a layer selection by Command/Ctrl + mouse click on the layer. The layer content is now selected, but we have to invert the selection by either using Command/Ctrl + Shift + I or right click on the canvas, and choose Select Inverse. Your selection should now cover everything, but the layer content.
Since we are only focusing on the lower half, we need to deselect the upper selection. So select the Rectangular Marquee tool from the tool panel (shortcut M) and mark the upper selection while holding ALT key down, this allows the tool to deselect mark selections. Now we should only have a selection of the lower half and it's time for cloning.
With the lower half selected we'll use the nice fill feature within Photoshop CS5, named Content Aware fill, which can be access from the top menu edit > fill or Shortcut Shift + F5. A Fill dialog window should appear and now select Content Aware from the drop-down and click OK.
Results will vary from each try you do, and if your not pleased with the first try, you can always retry the Content Aware fill. It doesn't have to be perfect result, because most times there will appear duplicates in the water, which we can fix with the help of the Clone tool (Shortcut S). When you're pleased with the cloning result, we'll focus on the skies above.
Since we are going to use the Content Aware fill option again for the skies, we'll need to do some preparation first. Reason for this is the Content Aware fill uses the visible content in your layer to make it's magic, and if you don't exclude the area you don't want to use, you can end up having a tree or something else hanging in thin air.
So instead of making a new layer, which contains the content we want to use for Content Aware auto cloning, we'll instead use a simple trick. We'll be using the Masking feature in Photoshop to hide the unnecessary content. Reason for using the Mask to hide, is that content-aware only work with what is visible on the canvas, so no need to delete or duplicate pixels.
Make a selection only containing the air and then use the Mask button in the layers palette to make a Mask containing only the selected area. Afterwards Command/Ctrl + Click on the layer preview icon, to make a new selection and Inverse it. Now it's time to apply the Content Aware fill.
Again if your not pleased with the result, try again or just clone the area not pleased with. When finished, remove your Mask from the layer by dragging the Mask into the trash icon in the layers palette. A dialog will appear and choose delete option to remove the Mask.
Since we are going to have our furry friends in the foreground of the canvas, we want to move the focus away from the landscape to the front, so we are going to fake a Lens Blur effect. To do a Lens blur effect, we need to create a Channel first, and we'll do so by applying a feature called Calculations. for making a custom channel.
First step is to go to the top menu and choose Image > Calculations. and we'll have a dialog with different options. For my Lens blur channel, I've choose to set the Source 1 as default, which is our canvas project. Source 1 Layer is set to Merged and for the Channel I've chosen the blue, since it contains most of the highlights and set it to Inverted.
For source 2, we have to set it to Merged and for this channel I've chosen the Red channel, since it contains most contrast and set it to Inverted. The Blending of these two channels I've gone for a "Linear Light" to combine both and give the photo a contrast boost, and I've set the opacity to 100%. Click OK to accept the settings.
Now go to your Channels window, and look for the new Channel Alpha 1, it should look similar to the screenshot. Let's rename it to Blue + RED + Linear light, just so we know what settings we used for it later on, since Alpha 1 doesn't say much. The fun" doesn't end here, it's time to use the brush to adjust the channel for our filter.
First duplicate our newly created alpha channel Blue + RED + Linear light and name it Lens Blur, we want to keep the original one for later use. Select the Brush tool and choose a large brush, about 1000px and set brush hardness to 0% and set it to 100% black.
Paint the top of the channel with black color, this area will be a 0% area, and be blurred in the Lens Blur filter. When done, we'll paint the lower half with 100% white, this area will be sharpest area of the photo.
See the attached screenshot, and try do a similar result
Our channel is now ready and it's time to play with the Lens Blur Filter, and we'll perform it on a duplicated layer of background Retouch and name it background Lens Blur. Select the duplicated layer and go to Filter menu and choose Blur > Lens Blur and a dialog window will appear.
Settings are shown on screenshot and notified in the text.
Under Depth Map: Source, we'll choose the Custom channel we created and select alpha channel Lens Blur. Leave Blur focal distance at 0, and let Inverted be checked.
Under Iris, Shape is set to Hexagon (6), Radius at 19, Blade Curvature 0, Rotation 0.
Specular Highlights: Brightness 0, Threshold 255, Noise: amount 0, Distribution: Uniform, Leave monochromatic unchecked.
The background has now a Lens Blur filter applied and is ready to have the remaining elements added.
There are two more things I want to adjust with the background, before we'll focus on our furry friends and their fancy boat & Accessories. I want to brighten up the upper half of the background and we'll do so by applying a Gradient Fill layer.
We'll need to use the Lens Blur channel we created for the new Gradient fill layer Mask. Go to the Channel layer palette and Command/Ctrl + click on the Lens Blur channel, this will make a selection of the white tones in the channel.
With our selection active, we'll go to the Layers Palette and hold down the ALT key, while we press down the adjustment layer button, choose Gradient from the drop-down list. A dialog window will appear and we'll name the Gradient Fill layer soft light - Lens Blur inverted. Set the blending Mode to Soft Light and click OK.
A Gradient editor window will appear and the only thing we'll change are the colors, so click on the gradient color and a new dialog window will appear. Select the lower left arrow and then click on the color box, a color picker window will appear. We are going to make the color a neutral gray (50%), reason is since we set the layer blending to soft light, a neutral gray will be 100% hidden. Fill the color with the following RGB values: 128, 128, 128. Click OK and we'll return to the Gradient editor.
Now select the lower right arrow and click on the color, we'll set the RGB values to: 243, 243, 243.
Click on the top arrows on both left and right and check if they are set at 100% Opacity, and then click OK, we'll now return to the gradient fill option.
In the Gradient Fill dialog, we'll leave the Style to Linear, angle to 90, Scale 100, Revers and Dither unchecked and Check Align with layer. Click OK and our gradient is now finished.
There is one more thing I want to add to the background photo, before we start adding the other elements to the project. I want to darken the highlight in the center of the ocean, so Lets us make a new Layer, and we'll do so by ALT + click on the layer button in the Layers Palette (Shortcut is Command/Ctrl + SHIFT + N).
Name the layer Darken - 20% since we are going to set the Blending to Darken and Opacity 20%, click ok when done.
Select the brush tool and set the size at about 900px and the hardness 0%, set your color RGB values: 78, 116, 152. and set brush opacity to 100%
Tone down the highlight in the center of the ocean, just below the shore, see screenshot for reference of the brushed area.
When finished, your result should look like my screenshot. Save the file as a Nutty_Boat_Trip-01.PSD or something better
Step 14 - Flour Shakers
Now we can finally focus on the other elements of our project, and we'll start by focusing on the Flour Shakers photo, since it'll be used as the boat for our squirrels. Let's open the filed called "kitchen_tools_09.jpg" in Photoshop. The first thing you'll notice is the image lacks a color profile, so go to edit > assign color profile. In the dialog window select a Adobe RGB 1998 color profile and click OK.
We'll only be using the right Flour shaker, so we can crop the canvas closer around the right shaker. To achieve a similar result as mine, you can use Canvas Size... feature under top menu > Image > Canvas Size... Use the following values W:1546 x H:1803 pixels.
Next we'll be cutting out shaker with the help of the Pen tool. If you're not familiar with the basics of the Pen Tool, I would recommend the free beginner guide to Pen Tool by Martin Perhiniak at psdtuts + , tutorial here.
Double click on the background layer, and rename it to Flour Shaker, select the layer and add it to a Layer Set named flour shaker base (shortcut Command/Ctrl + G). Let's start creating a path around the right Flour Shaker, and remember to include a path of the insides of the handle. When done, Command/Ctrl + click on your path to make a selection of your path and then click the Mask icon in the layers palette. See screenshot for comparison.
Next step we'll focus on removing the top of the shaker, since we need to make it look open, so our Furry friends can sit inside. Let's create a new background layer below the Shaker layer, and fill it with 50% gray, it's just temporary layer, since we're going to do adjustment to the flour shaker and it's hard to work with the transparent blocks as a background. Use fill tool (shortcut shift + F5) and select fill with 50% gray.
We'll make a shape layer for our selection, so let's use the Ellipse tool (shortcut U) to shape our top base. We'll want to include the outer metal ring in our shape path, because we'll be needing it for the next step. If you need to make some adjustment to the path itself, use the Direct Selection Tool from the Tools panel (shortcut A).
When finished covering the top area with the Ellipse tool, rename the shape layer to top base shape and add it to a new Layer set named Open top See screenshot for selection comparison.
Now Command/Ctrl + click on the Top base shape layer, to make a active selection of the shape, and let's hide the shape layer Top base shape by clicking the eye on the left. While the selection is active, select the flour shaker layer, and use the layer via copy function (shortcut Command/Ctrl + J). Rename the new layer Edge lower and move it to our Layer set Open Top. Reason for this is we will be needing parts of the top to fix the outer edges of the flour shaker. Lets add a Mask to our flour shaker base layer set, so it won't interfere with the next steps.
Now make a duplicate of the newly created edge lower layer and rename it outer edge. Select the transform tool while having the new layer selected (shortcut Command/Ctrl + T) and Rotate the outer edge layer 180 degress. Click the num pad Enter key to accept the rotation (FN + Enter key if you're using a laptop)
Put a layer Mask on the outer edge layer and Mask out the lower parts of the image to reveal the Tin shaker boarder. See screenshot for comparison.
For the next step, we'll focus on the inner shape to make it look like the Flour shaker is open. You may notice that the edges of the Flour Shaker don't look very realistic, but we'll focus on fixing these parts later on
We'll be needing the Top Base shape shape layer for the inner form, so duplicate the layer and rename it inner base. Use the transform tool (Command/Ctrl + T) and scale it to fit the inside the ring. You'll notice it wont fit perfectly, so use the Direct Selection Tool to fix the path anchor points. See screenshot for comparison.
When pleased with the result, we'll add a Layer Stylize filter called Gradient overlay and a Drop shadow. We'll start with the Gradient overlay and set the blending to normal, opacity to 100%, Angle at 90°, scale set to 100%. Click on the gradient fill and let's define the dark color to R:45, G:41, B:39 and set lower arrow at location 15%. Define the bright color of the gradient to R:102, G:90, B:79 and click ok.
Next we'll add the drop shadow on our layer, to avoid a bright edge on the upper side of our layer. Set the Blend mode to multiply, opacity to 75%, Use global light and check if it's set to 30°, distance 0, Spread 0 and size 2.
When you've added the stylize features to your Inner shape, your result should look similar to my screenshot. note if the gradient if a bit off on your version, you can always click the gradient overlay tab in the layer stylize menu, and then move the gradient with your mouse on stage, to make it more suitable.
It's time to add shadows to our inner shape, So let's start by making a active selection of our shape layer Inner Base, next step is to make a new layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N) and name it Side shadow. Have the new layer selected and the selection active, let's put the new layer in a new Layer Set (Command/Ctrl + G) and name it Shadow. Now use the active selection as a Mask for the new layer set, by click the Mask icon in layers palette.
Now let's use the brush tool and paint to lines at the sides, select a large brush about 200px size, 0% hardness and set the color to R:39 G:35 B:35 and start painting the sides.
When finished, your result should look similar to my screenshot
Let's make one more layer inside the Layers set Shadow and name the new layer top shadows. we'll use this layer to paint a bit more shadow inside the Flour shaker, especially under the upper edge and lower side. Use a soft brush and set your color to R:38 G:34 B:32. See screenshot for comparison
We are at the final step of fixing our flour shaker, so we'll now be focusing on fixing the flour shaker edges as mentioned earlier. We'll need to make a new layer and name it Fixes and place it as a clipping Mask above our Outer edge layer.
We'll be using the brush tool, so choose a small brush size about 14px and set the opacity to 20%, use the color picker tool shortcut (ALT + click, when brush tool is selected) to choose nearby colors, when fixing the edges. See screenshot for comparison.
When finished and pleased with the fixes, your result should look similar to mine or better. Save the file as flour_shaker.PSD
Step 20 - Squirrel Ben Gray
Yay we are finally finished with the flour shaker and can now focus on our furry friends. We'll first focus on our gray Squirrel friend, which we'll call Ben Gray from now on, so lets open the file named 110549519831.jpg in Camera RAW.
Only thing we'll focus on doing in Camera RAW, is to add sharpness to little Ben. Select the Detail tab and under sharpening set amount to 76, Radius 2.1 and Detail 95. When done, open the image into Photoshop as a smart object.
We'll need to cut out Ben Gray from the background, and for this we'll use the Quick Selection tool (W). Make a selection of the squirrel and try to see if you can get your result to look similar to my attached screenshot. If you accidentally select the area outside the squirrel, then you adjust it by holding down the ALT key and mark the selected area to be removed.
Since we have been using the Quick Selection Tool, we'll need to adjust the edges of our selection. We'll do this by having our selection active, and go to the Mask palette and choose the Add a pixel Mask, then choose Mask Edge.
In the Refine Mask popup window, we'll only use the Smart Radius feature, under the Edge detection.
Apply a value 2 to the Smart Radius and click ok. You'll notice on the screenshot the difference it makes to the edges. I would recommend everyone to try the Refine Edges feature and play around with the various settings to become more familiar with them.
Now Ben Gray is ready for the main canvas file, so we'll save our furry Squirrel as "Squirrel-Ben Gray.psd" and focus on his friend to be included.
Step 23 - "Eddie the Nut"
Let's open the file hotblack_20070610_squirrel2.JPG in Camera Raw plugin, and we'll focus on sharpening our furry friend. We'll be calling our new friend Eddie the nut, or just Eddie ;-)
In the Camera Raw window, choose the tab called Detail and fill the following values into the fields. Amount 150, Radius 2.7, Detail 100 and Masking 22.
We'll also add Noise reduction to the photo, so fill the following values into the fields. Luminance 7, Luminance Detail 8, Luminance Contrast 6, Color 4, Color Detail 50. When done, open up the image in Photoshop.
In Photoshop we'll need to Mask out the background, since Eddie the Nut is needed on our main canvas, sailing their jolly boat. So let's start out by duplicating our background layer and name it Retouch, now let's use the Quick Selection Tool and make a selection on Eddie. When finished, your selection should look similar to the attached screenshot.
We'll need to refine our Mask to make the edges look more natural, so let's open up the refine Mask. I've attached a closeup screenshot to show how the raw Mask selection looks like, before we'll refine the it.
We'll start by adjusting the Smart Radius under the Edge Detection, set the value to 35.8, adjust the Contrast to 29% and Shift edge + 2%. Last option is under the Output, enable Decontaminate Colors and set the Amount to 50%.
Your result should look similar to mine
Since our friend Eddie is in the progress of eating his nut, my eye is a bit annoyed by the mess he's done on his arm, so let's create a new empty layer and name it clone layer. Select the Clone tool (shortcut S) and clone away the Nut on his arm. The Clone tool works by defining a source area, by holding down the ALT key and clicking which area to clone from. See screenshot for comparison.
As you may have noticed, our friend Eddie is rather green on his lower parts of his body, due to the reflection of the grass. We'll fix this easily by adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
Create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and place it at the top of the layers. Select only the Yellow channel in the drop-down option, and set the hue to -26. Adjust the sliders below starting with the far left set to 38°, second left set to 61°. The right slider at 75° and the far right at 105°
When done, your result should look as my screenshot. To keep our layers clean, you can noticed I've created a new Layers set named Retouch Set and placed the layers inside. The Layer Mask we created earlier, on the Retouch layer, I've moved on the Layer set instead, you can easily do this by drag'n drop the Mask on the layer set.
We are at the final stage of Eddie the Nut, and I want to add the final touches to him, before we'll call it a wrap. Let's apply an Unsharpen Mask to our Retouch layer, BUT before we do so, convert it to a Smart Object. Reason for this, is so we can adjust the applied filter settings, if not pleased with the result later on and it's nondestructive, a word we love. Apply the Unsharp Mask and add the following values, amount 71%, Radius 0.5 and Threshold 0.
After applying our Unsharpen Mask, we are going to boost the colors a bit, by applying a Selective color adjustment layer. Select the Reds color range and apply the following values. Cyan -14%, Magenta -4%, Yellow + 9%.
We are going to give Eddie a contrast boost too, so we'll apply a Curves adjustment layer and set the layer blending to Soft Light and set the opacity at 21%.
The final setting we'll apply before focusing on other elements of our main canvas, is to change the color of Eddie's eye. Let's create a new empty layer named Eye Color and set the blending mode to Color. Select the Brush tool and paint the eye with the color #6e81b7 or RGB value, R:110, G:129 B:183.
Our Eddie friend is now ready and we can save as Squirrel-Eddie the Nut.psd and close our file.
Step 28 - a Faroese hat
Now it's time to focus on the hats to be worn by our furry friends, hopefully to make them appear more purdy, and why not use hats for the task? - The Faroese hat will suit Ben Gray fine.
Let's start out with opening the file _MG_0781_by_KSB.jpg, and open it up in Photoshop. Use the Quick selection tool to make a selection of the hat.
When pleased with your selection, let's add a Mask and refine it, use the following values for the Mask. Enable Smart Radius and set value 5.2px. Under adjust edge, set Smooth at 15, Contrast 17% and Shift edge -25%. Enable Decontamination Colors and leave it at the default 50%.
Our hat is now ready and let's save and close the image to work on the next hat.
Step 29 - Elegant Hat
Eddie the nut will also be needing a hat, so we have gone for a elegant choice to suit his nutty behavior. So let's prepare it for him ;)
Start out with opening the file tophat0007.jpg, and open it up in Photoshop. We'll need to flip the canvas horizontal, and we'll do so by going to the top menu image > image rotation > and choose flip canvas horizontal. Now we'll use the Quick selection tool and make a selection of the hat
When pleased with your selection, let's add a Mask and refine it, use the following values for the Mask. Enable Smart Radius and set value 4.6px. Under adjust edge, set Smooth at 23, Contrast 38% and Shift edge -13%. Enable Decontamination Colors and leave it at the default 50%.
Before we are finished with out hat, let's make a new empty layer and name it Clone layer, and as you can see on my screenshot, I've marked some areas with dust and hair on them, clone them away and we are finished.
Our hat is now ready and let's save and close the image to finally start working on the big canvas again.
Step 30 - The Nutty Boat Trip
Open our Nutty_Boat_Trip-01.PSD project, and let's move all the layers into a new Layer set named background. We will now be ready to place the flour shakers we retouched earlier into our scene. We'll do this by going to the top menu, File > Place... and choose flour_shaker.PSD. Select the Transform object function Command/Ctrl + T and use the following values as seen in the screenshot. X: 1112.12px, Y: 1838.78px, W: 26.84%, H26.84% and angle -5.90. When done, put the Flour shaker in a new layer set named Boat.
Next step is to Mask away the area, which will be under water, I've marked the area to be Masked on my screenshot. Apply a Mask to your Flour shaker layer and start hiding away. Reason for not using the eraser tool, is if we make a mistake, we can't always fix by adjusting our Mask.
To make the Flour shaker look as if it's under water, we'll need to add shadows. Let's make a active selection of our Flour Shaker layer, by Command/Ctrl + clicking on the layer preview icon, in the layers palette. With a active selection of the whole object, we'll only need the lower half, so hold down your Command/Ctrl + ALT keys and click on the Mask to remove the upper half from our selection
Let's create a new layer and call it Underwater shadow and fill it with color #213d4e.
After applying the color fill, we'll need to reuse alpha channel Blue + RED + Linear light, by Command/Ctrl + clicking on it. When the selection is active, let's apply it as Mask to our underwater shadow layer. When done, let's place the layer into a new layer set named shadow. It's important it's placed inside our main layer set Boat and be sure it's below the Flour Shaker layer.
Since the Flour shaker is under water, we'll need to change the edges and make them less linear, we'll do this by using the Liquify filter in Photoshop. To putt less strain on the CPU, make a selection of the area to have the Liquify filter applied, and then go to Filters > Liquify....
As you can see on my previous screenshot, I've marked with lines in which way we want to distort the shape, and to get a preview of the background, you'll need to activate show Backdrop in the lower area of the Liquify options. Select Show Backdrop and choose the layer background Lens Blur, set mode to in front and opacity about 85. The brush settings you can change to your liking, and try to see if you can get a similar outcome as my screenshot below.
This tutorial is continued on page 2 below.
Now it's time to hide the lower area of the Flour Shaker shadow, so we'll need to apply a Mask to our shadow layer set, and make a gradient in the Mask itself. To access a Mask view, ALT + click on your Mask preview icon to enter. To exit a Mask view, just ALT + click on the Mask icon again or select another layer. Apply a gradient similar to my screenshot below.
When applied and pleased with the result, it should look similar to to my screenshot
We'll need to add a second shadow, to make the edges close appear darker, and we'll do this by duplicating our Underwater Shadow layer and renaming it Multiply. Set the blending mode to >Multiply and place the layer in a new layer set named inner shadow within the shadow layer set.
Let's add a Mask to our Multiply layer and only keep the shadows closest to our Flour Shaker boat visible. I've taken a screenshot how my Mask looks like, followed by how the result looks like. When done and pleased with your result, we'll head on to the next step
To add more realism to the flour shaker boat, we'll need to add some water reflection. So start by hiding our boat layer set, and make a selection of the sea similar to my screenshot. Do a Copy Merged by using shortcut Command/Ctrl + Shift + C and Paste in place with shortcut Command/Ctrl + Shift + V. Rename the new layer Water Reflection and put it in a new Layer set named Boat Reflection. We'll need to add a Mask on our new layer set, and we'll create one based on the Flour Shaker layer. Make a active selection by Command/Ctrl + clicking on the layer preview icon, and then deselect the lower half under water, by using Command/Ctrl + ALT + Shift + click on the Mask preview icon, attached to the Flour Shaker layer. Having the selection active, select the layer set Boat reflection and make apply a Mask.
Use the Transform tool on the Water Reflection layer and move it like I've done on my screenshot.
While having the Transform tool still active, now select the Warp mode icon in the far right corner. Select the drop-down menu on the far left side, and choose Arch instead of Custom, and put a 25% value in Bend Field. When done, select the Boat Reflection set layer Mask, and use the Brush tool, to Mask out the Flour Shaker handle, so it doesn't have the water reflection visible.
When done, double click on the Water Reflection layer to open up the Layer Style filter dialog. Under General blending, set blend mode to Soft Light. In the bottom of the dialog window, under the feature Underlying Layer set the arrows as show on the screenshot below. To separate the arrow and make a soft transition, you hold down the ALT key and drag one of the sliders, place the left black slider on 47 and right 144. When pleased with the result, select OK.
Now select the Water Reflection layer and apply a Mask to it, and use a Brush tool, with big soft brush, to remove the hard edges atop of the water reflection, try to get a soft transition from visible to the hidden.
There is one more detail I almost forgot to add, it's to make the Flour shaker pattern under water more visible. This one is very easy to make and we'll need to duplicate our Flour Shaker layer, and move it above the Underwater shadow layer in the shadow layer set. When in place, use the Underwater shadow layer as a Clipping Mask, shortcut Command/Ctrl + ALT + G. Change the blending of our Flour Shaker duplicate layer to Overlay and set Opacity 45%
Step 35 - Time to import Ben Gray
After all the hard work, it's finally time to import one of the furry buddies, and let's start out by importing our good friend Ben Gray.
We'll be needing a new layer set, which we'll name Crew and inside the Crew set, we'll be creating a new layer set, called Ben Gray
We'll need to Flip Ben Gray Horizontal and move him in place, let's do it via the Transform tool, so select the layer and use shortcut Command/Ctrl + T. Use the transform option in the upper left corner and fill in the following values.
X: 1220px Y:1425.50px W:-98.39%% and H:98.39%%. or place him similar to my position.
Next step is to Mask out the area beneath Ben Gray's arms, so he'll look as if he's inside the Boat. Apply the Mask on our newly created layer set Ben Gray, and use a small brush and try to get a furry look on his arms, when you hide Ben's stomach. You can see my Mask for comparison, followed by my result.
Next step we'll focus on adding shadows to Ben Gray, so his arm will cast a shadow upon the flour shaker. Start by creating a new empy layer, name it R Squirrel Soft Shadow and set the blending mode to Multiply. Place the new layer in the layer set Crew and make sure it's beneat the Ben Gray Layer set.
Use a soft brush and set the color to #11263b and paint a shadows inside his arms. I've marked the area where the shadow cast should be, and see next screenshot for final comparrison.
When finished and pleased with the result, we'll create a new shadow layer named R shadow hard and set blending to multiply. Place the new layer above our previous one. We'll need to use a brush with a bit harder edge, so set the softness about 20-30% and use the same color #11263b for the shadow. Paint a hard shadow close to Ben Gray's body and try not to overdo it, since the shadow should only appear strong in dark areas closest to the body and Flour shaker.
Now we'll make Ben Gray appear brighter (not more clever sadly) and we'll do so by applying a Curve adjustment layer. Select our layer Squirrel-Ben Gray and go to the adjustment layer palette and select the Curves icon, and use the Squirrel-Ben Gray as a clipping Mask.
As you can see on my previous screenshot, I've made 2 points on my curve, one at the dark tones and I've placed it around output 48 and input 47. The second point on the curve, I've dragged upwards to about output 200 and input 189.
I want to adjust the light on Ben Gray, and we'll do so by adding a Shading layer. Select the curves 1 layer, and then create a new layer with the layer dialog window (Command/Ctrl + Shift + N). Name the new layer Shading + Clip layer, set the blending mode to Overlay, choose fill with "50% gray, and make sure to check the Use previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask feature.
By creating this layer, we'll be able to adjusted the lightning and shadow without destroying pixels on the Squirrel-Ben Gray layer. Everything brighter or darker than 50% gray will become visible on the layers beneath the shading layer.
The layer is now ready, so select the Dodge Tool, set the Range to effect Midtones and exposure 40 or lower. Define a soft brush for the Dodge tool, and start painting highlight on Ben Gray. I've made some arrows to indicate which areas to lighten.
(A tip using the dodge tool: The dodge tool functions to brighten up areas and if you want to darken the area, you can easily do so by holding down the alt key. By holding the ALT key, you're acutely telling Photoshop you want to use the Burn tool, and when you let it go, you're back in dodge mode
This is how my Shading layer looks like after painting highlight, yours doesn't have to be precise, just so long your pleased with the result
As you may notice, Ben Gray is missing his cute Whiskers, so we'll need to paint some new ones. Create a new layer named Whiskers and place it above the Shading + Clip layer, make sure it's not a clipping Mask. Select a small brush, about 3-4px size and hardness about 30-40%. Select a nearby dark color with the color picker tool (shortcut ALT + click, when the Brush tool is selected). Now start painting away and make sure you connect your whiskers to Ben Grays original ones. See screenshot for comparison.
For this step, we are going to adjust Ben Gray's light, by using Layer style filter Bevel and Emboss. Let's make an active selection of Ben Gray, by Command/Ctrl + click on the Squirrel-Ben Gray layer preview icon. With the selection active, hold down Command/Ctrl + Shift and click on the Ben Gray layer set Mask, which should leave only a active selection of Ben Gray visible area, as in my screenshot.
With the selection active, let's create a new layer and name it Ben Shading, set the blending to Overlay. Place the layer above the Whiskers layer and use the fill option (Shift + F5) and choose 50% Gray. Now open up the Layer style dialog, and select Bevel and Emboss.
Set the style to Inner Bevel and technique to Smooth. Adjust the Depth to 100%, Direction to UP, Size to 49px and Soften 0px.
Under Shading, set the Angle to 81° and Altitude to 26°.
Set the Highlight Mode to Soft Light at 100% and Shadow Mode to Multiply 18%.
One final step, before we are ready to shift focus upon Ben's friend, Eddie the Nut. We are going to apply a Shadow/Highlights on Ben, so make sure you select the Squirrel-Ben Gray layer and go to top menu Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlights..
Under Shadows, set the Amount to 20%, Tonal Width to 50% and Radius 30px.
Under Highlights, set the Amount to 4%, Tonal Width to 50% and Radius 30px.
Under Adjustment, set the color correction to + 20 and midtone contrast to + 7.
Let's place our layer sets Ben Gray and Ben Gray Shadow into a new layer set named R Squirrel. Always good to keep our layers clean, especially if you are collaborating with another Photoshop nerd ;-)
Step 41 - Eddie The Nut
Let's place our PSD file of Eddie The Nut on our canvas, Photoshop will auto-scale him down to fit the canvas. While the transform tool is active, write the following values into the fields.
X: 587.17px Y: 1134.19px W: -50.82% H: 50.81% and press Enter key to accept. Eddie the nut should now be placed onto the Tin can and flipped horizontal like my screenshot. You can also try to place him as you like, if you prefer a different placement.
Next step, we'll do as we did with Ben Gray, Mask off the lower half of Eddie, to make him look as if he's inside the Flour Shaker. Create a new layer set named L Squirrel and create a new layer set within, named Eddie The Nut. Place our Eddie layer Squirrel-Eddie the Nut inside the Eddie The Nut layer set, and apply a Mask to the set. Now hide the lower half of Eddie by painting with 100% black in the Mask, and when done, your result should look similar to mine.
To make Eddie look as if he's behind Ben Gray, we'll need to create a new layer named Shadow, set blending to Multiply and use a clipping Mask based on Squirrel-Eddie the Nut layer. Use a Soft brush to paint a darkish color (I went for a dark gray color) and I've marked the area which you need to darken.
Now Let's create a new Shading layer above the Shadow layer. Name the new layer Shading + Clip layer, set the blending to Overlay and fill it with 50% gray (shortcut shift + F5 for fill), use the Shadow layer as a clipping Mask. I've marked out the areas which need to be brighten and we'll use the Dodge tool, with range set to Midtones to brighten Eddie. The next image shows my result.
As we did with Ben Gray, we are going to adjust Eddie's light by using Layer Style Filter, Bevel and Emboss. Lets make a active selection of Eddie the Nut, by Command/Ctrl + click on the Squirrel-Eddie the nut layer preview icon, which should only leave a selection left, like on my screenshot. With the selection active, let's create a new layer named Eddie Shading, set the blending to Overlay. Place the layer above the Shading + clip layer and fill it with 50% gray.
Since we'll be using the same values, as the Bevel and Emboss filter we applied to Ben Gray, we'll save some time and reuse the effect. Locate the Ben Shading layer and right click on it and select Copy Layer Style. Go back to our newly created Eddie Shading layer and right click to apply Paste layer style. Your result should look like my screenshot.
As we did with Ben Gray, we'll also be adding some shadows to Eddie. Let's start by creating a new layer and name it L shadow soft, set blending to multiply and opacity 20%. Place our newly created layer in a new Layer set named Eddie Shadow, make sure it's below the Eddie the Nut Layer Set.
Select a soft brush with a dark color, and start painting the shadows, I've highlighted the area which I applied my shadows to. Result is in the next screenshot
When pleased with the result, let's create a new shadow layer named L shadow Hard, set blending to multiply and opacity 100%. Place our newly created layer above the L shadow Soft layer.
Select a brush with hardness about 20% and choose a darkish color. I've yet again highlighted the area which I've applied my hard shadow to. Result is in the next screenshot
Step 43 - Time for Eddie's Hat
Let's import the Elegant hat on the scene. We'll need to adjust it to Eddie's head by using the Transform tool, I thought it would be fun to place it on Eddie's left ear. You can see my Transform detail on my screenshot, yours doesn't have to be 100% similar.
Select the Transform object function via Command/Ctrl + T and you can choose to use my values as seen in the screenshot. X: 721.37px, Y: 996.49px, W: 20.84%, H-20.84% and angle 35.71. When done, put the tophat0007 layer in a a new layer set named Hat, and place it in L Squirrel Layer set.
I'm not pleased with the light of the hat, so we'll adjust it, to make it fit better Eddie. Choose our tophat0007 layer and let's use the Shadow/Highlight feature, under top menu Image > Adjustments. Set your Values as shown on my screenshot and click ok.
While having our tophat0007 layer selected, let's apply an Unsharpen Mask and apply the same values shown on my screenshot.
Now it's time to apply Shadows beneath Eddie's Elegant Hat, and let's start by creating a new layer named Shadow Soft and place it beneath the tophat0007 layer. As you can see on my screenshot, I've painted the shadow under the hat, using a 100% black color and with a soft brush. I've let the color cover a bigger area in the lower right area, to make it look as if the hat is tilting forward.
When done painting and pleased with the result, we'll adjust the layer opacity to about 42%, to make it look softer and not so dominant as before.
Now let's create a new shadow layer above our previous one, and name it Shadow Hard. I've highlighted the area, which I've painted with a 100% black color, and used a brush hardness about 15%. You can see my result in the following screenshot
Now we'll start focusing on the shadows on the hat itself, so we'll start by creating a new layer named Hat Shadow, and use the tophat0007 layer as a clipping Mask. Select a soft brush and use the color picker to choose a dark color from the hat. I've gone for the dark area on the lower right side. As you can see on my screenshot, I've highlighted the area which I've painted, and make sure you cover the white line on the bottom of the hat. You can see my result on the following screenshot.
Let's create a new shadow layer above the Hat Shadow and name it Hat Right side shadow, set the layer opacity to about 42%, and remember to set it as a clipping Mask. You can use the dark color, which you used on the previous layer. I've highlighted the area which I've painted and I've also a added shadow on the bottom of the hat. See my result on the following screenshot.
When pleased with the result, let's head on, and add a new Shading Layer. Create a new layer and name it Shading + clip layer, set the blending mode to Overlay and opacity set to 46%. Use the Dodge Tool to lighten and darken the areas, and set the Range to midtones. You can see on my screenshot which areas I've painted on.
Note, you can only see yours similar to my screenshot, if you change the blending to normal and set paucity to 100% again, just remember to revert the settings when, if you choose to do so
See my result on the following screenshot.
Now we are done correcting the shadows of Eddie's hat, so let's change the color to add a fun look. We'll do so by applying a Selective Color adjustment layer and remember use a clipping Mask, as you did with the shadow layers.
First go to the Neutrals color range and adjust the Cyan -2%, Magenta -21%, Yellow -31%, and check Absolute.
Next go to the Blacks range and adjust your Cyan + 12% and check if you remember to set it to Absolute. The following screenshots shows the result
Step 45 - Ben's Faroese Hat
Since Eddie the nut got a fancy hat, I believe his jealous friend Ben would love to get one of his own, so let's place our Faroese hat onto the scene. You can see on my screenshot how I've placed the hat, and you'll noticed that I've skewed the hat too. You'll need to use the Transform tool to skew the hat, and by holding down Command/Ctrl keys, you can drag each corner, to achieve a similar result. When pleased with your result, place the layer in a new layer set named Ben Hat within the R Squirrel layer set.
Now we are going to change the light of the hat, so open up the Shadow/Highlight... feature, and use the following values as in my screenshot.
After applying the shadow/highlight, we'll apply a Mask to our hat layer. Reason for this is we are going hide the hat area, covering Ben's Right ear, so it'll look as if he's acutely wearing a hat.
When pleased with the result, we'll be apply a Shading Layer. Create a new layer and name it Shading + clip layer, set blending to Overlay and use the Faroese Hat Layer, as a clipping Mask. You'll need to use the Dodge Tool and range set to midtones. You can see on my Shading Layer, that I've brighten all the outer edges, except the one by Ben's ear and the lower area, in contact with his head. These areas I've applied a shadow to instead. The following screenshot shows my result.
Now it's time to apply shadows beneath the Faroese Hat, and let's start by creating a new layer named Shadow Soft, and place it in a new layer set named hat shadow. I've added a Mask to the layer set, which is based on the squirrel-Ben gray Layer, reason is to avoid shadows being visible on the ocean.
As you can see on my screenshot, I've marked the area to be painted. I've used a dark color from Ben's eye to paint my shadows, and be sure paint a light shadow close to his. Following screenshot shows my result.
Next we'll focus on adding a hard shadow below the edge of the hat, and I've again marked the area I've painted on. Create a new layer named Shadow hard and place it above the previous one, use a brush with hardness about 15%. Following screenshot shows my result.
Step 46 - Let's add a flag
Since Ben is wearing a Faroese hat, I thought it would be fun to give him a flag, since Eddie is enjoying a hat and nut. In your source folder, which is included in this premium zip file, there should be a folder named Source, with a Flag.psd. Let's place the Flag.psd on our scene and place it in a new Layer Set named Flag, and place it above the Ben Hat Layer Set. You can see on my screenshot, where I've placed my flag, try to get a similar result. I've also added a Mask to the Flag layer, to hide the lower edge so it'll look as if Ben is holding it.
Next we'll of course be adding shadows, so create a new layer named Shadow and place it beneath the Flag layer. Choose a soft brush, set the opacity to about 35% and select a darkish color, and start painting away. You can see screenshot for my result.
Step 47 - Back to the flour shaker
As we place our elements on the scene, it makes it easier to see which areas need fixes. I've noticed the Flour Shaker could use a light adjustment, and we'll fix it by adding a Shading Layer. Open up the Boat layer set, and create a new layer named Shading + clip layer. Set the blending to Overlay and use the Flour shaker layer as a Clipping Mask. We'll be needing the Dodge Tool again to lighten and darken the areas. See my screenshot for areas to adjust.
This is how the result looks like after shading layer is applied.
Step 48 - Focus on the ocean
Now we'll focus on the ocean and add the final touches, before we start on the final part of the tutorial, which is to color effects. Let's start by creating a new layer set called Fixes and place it beneath the Boat Layers Set. Create a new layer within Boat Layers Set, named Fixes, and choose a darkish ocean color for the Brush tool, with a soft brush set to about 15% hardness. As you can see on my screenshot, I've marked the areas, which I think could need some fixes. I want to tone down the white highlights and paint shadows on the nearby waves, touching the Flour Shaker. See next screenshot for my result.
Now let's adjust the lightness and shadows on the waves surrounding the Flour Shaker. We'll need to create a new layer and name it Shading layer, set blending to Soft Light. Select the Dodge Tool and set the range to Midtones. You can see on my screenshot how my Shading layer looks like, after painting with the dodge tool. Try to achieve a similar effect and see following screenshot for my result.
Now we'll focus on the final ocean detail, we'll make our furry friends and boat, seem as they are reflecting on the ocean! You’ve got to love small details right?
Let's start by creating a new Layers Set named Reflection set and place it above the Boat Layers Set. Now select the 2 Layers Sets named Crew and Boat, by holding down the Command/Ctrl key and click on both sets. Now hold down shortcut Command/Ctrl + ALT and Drag and Drop the sets into the Reflection set, you'll notice as you drag your hand tool will change to 2 arrows, indicating your duplicating the sets. When the sets are in place, Merge both sets into a single layer, by using shortcut Command/Ctrl + E. Rename the Merged layer to Reflection.
Select the Reflection layer and convert it to a Smart Object, by right clicking and select Convert to Smart Object. Now we'll use the Transform tool to rotate them 180° degree, change the value of Width in the transform bar to from -100% to 100%, to make a Flip layer horizontal. Now use the Command/Ctrl key to skew the layer, by dragging the corners while holding the shorcut key. Try to get a similar look to mine or better, I've tried to connect the left side to the Flour Shaker and right side to the handle. Let your transform selection be active for the next step.
Just below your top menu, go to the Transform Tool bar and click on the button on the far right, to change to Warp Mode, I've highlighted it for you in my screenshot. In Warp Mode, you can now bend the layer by using the handles on the edges, and also by Click'n draggin the middle sections. Try to achieve a similar look as mine, and when done click ok to accept changes.
Now we'll focus on making our reflection blend in with the water, and we'll do so by using the old channel we created, named Blue + RED + Linear light. Command/Ctrl + click on the channel to make a active selection of the whites, and then Invert Selection by using shortcut Command/Ctrl + I. Select our Reflection Set in the layers palette, and apply a Mask to the set, using our current selection.
Now we'll select our Reflection layer and adjust the Opacity to 65% and we are done working with our elements! wooo!
Time for color effects!
Step 50 - Time for Color Effects!
Let's start by creating a new Layers Set named Color and place it at the top of the layers palette. Create a new adjustment Curve layer, set the blending mode to soft light and opacity 20%. In the Curves window, drag the middle curve upwards as in my screenshot to lighten the image. The following screenshot shows the result. I've named the curve layer Curves - Soft Light
Now let's use the Calculations... feature under the top menu Image. Under Source 1, set layer to Merged and set Channel to Red, do the same for Source 2. Set the blending to Overlay and Opacity 100%. Finally set the Result to Selection.
We'll now have a active selection based on the channels, and we'll use it for a new Adjustment layer Curve. When creating the Curves Adjustment layer, the active selection, should automatically be turned into a Layer Mask. As you can see on my screenshot, I've made a S form with my sliders, try to get a similar result. When done, lower the Curves adjustment layer Opacity to 80%. I've named the curve layer Curves - Based on RED RED Overlay
Now let's select the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the tools palette and make a oval selection similar to my screenshot. We'll be using this to make a Vignette effect.
When pleased with the result of your selection, let's add a Feather to our selection, by using shortcut Shift + F6 or going to the top menu select > modify > Feather. We'll be adding a Feather radius 250 pixels as shown on my screenshot. The following screenshot shows the effect it does to your selection.
With our selection active, let's Invert Selection by using shortcut Command/Ctrl + Shift + I, and afterwards create a Curves adjustment layer. Set the blending mode to Multiply and adjust the Curve downwards as shown on my screenshot. Following screenshot will show the result of applying our Vignette effect.
Now let's give the image a blue tone by adding a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Click on the gradient color and there should open up a color adjustment similar to my screenshot, adjust the colors of the gradient as on my screenshot. When done applying the Gradient Map, let's change the blending mode of the layer to Overlay and set Opacity 20%.
Now we'll apply our final adjustment layer before finishing our tutorial. Add a Selective Color adjustment layer and adjust the Colors Red, Yellow and Blue as shown on the following screenshots. Remember to check the Absolute button.
I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial, learned some new tricks and most important of all, had great joy doing it.