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Create an Elegant Fantasy Photo-manipulation

In this tutorial you will master a multitude of powerful new features and techniques in Photoshop cs5 to create a striking fantasy photo-manipulation. This is an intermediate level tutorial, however beginners are encouraged to give it a try as well, because there is a lot that can be learned here.
The use of a graphics tablet is recommended for this tutorial, but not essential.
Let’s Begin!
The stock image for the model in this piece can be downloaded for free here.
Once you’ve cut out your model, place it into a 2500×2800, 300ppi, RGB document in Photoshop.
The leopard can be downloaded for free here.
Place the leopard into your document in a layer below the model, and scale it.
Position the leopard as shown below. Do not worry that the models hand is covering the leopards face, we will correct this later.
We will begin by making a few adjustments to the model’s hair and face, as well as some colour adjustments.
So first we will tidy up her hair a little.
Rather than using the eraser tool, we will create a layer mask by clicking on the button shown above whilst the ‘model’ layer is selected.
Your layer mask will appear a a white box next to the layer thumbnail.
Click on this box to select it.
Now that we are working in the layer mask we will be working in black and white. Black hides, white reveals.
Use a small black brush to take away any untidy areas. If you make a mistake remember you can bring back whatever you have hidden by switching to a white paintbrush, or eraser.
Once you are happy with the shape of the hair click back on the ‘model’ thumbnail.
Next we want to lighten the eyes very slightly. So select the Dodge Tool shown below.
Change it’s settings to Highlights, this will mean that you will be lightening the lighter colours. Take it’s exposure down to 7% so that the effect isn’t too strong.
Now, with the size set to 10px carefully paint over the whites of the eyes.
To add some eyeliner create a new layer above the model by clicking on the new layer button shown below.
Then in this new layer, use a very small back brush with it’s opacity set to 75% and paint carefully around the edge of each eye.
You can tidy it up with a small eraser if necessary.
For the next step we will be utilizing Photoshop cs5′s new Puppet Warp tool in order to re-postion the models hand.
With the model layer selected, choose Puppet Warp from the Edit menu.
A mesh made up of triangles will now appear over your models body.
You now need to create a series of points across the models body (head, arms, legs, back) in order to pin these areas down, and keep them in place when we move the hand.

Place two points on the hand, and one on the elbow as shown below.
Now hold shift and select the two points on the hand. This allows you to then click and drag the hand to the disired postion.
Do this very slowly and carefully. Try not to stretch the arm outwards, just move it as the arm would pivot in real life.
Once you have finished click Enter, and you’re done.
Our final adjustments to the model will be done using Adjustment Layers.
To create an adjustment layer click on the button shown below, which is located at the bottom of your layers palette.
From the menu that appears select Hue/Saturation.
Take the saturation down to -70%
Now create another adjustment layer, this time Curves.
Create 3 points on the graph and position them as shown below.
Now a Solid Color adjustment layer.
When the model’s hair is turned pink in the next step, it will make her skin appear slightly green. So to counteract this we will give the models skin a very suble pink hue, now.
Choose the colour shown below (ec008c).
With this layer still selected, change the blending mode to Hue, and take the opacity down to 30%.
You will have noticed that these adjustments have affected the entire image rather than just the model.
So we need to give each of the adjustment layers a clipping mask by right clicking on each of them and choosing ‘Create Clipping Mask’.

Finally we will change the colour of the models hair.
For this we will create two more Solid Color adjustment layers above our last one, using the same colour as before, and also with a clipping mask.
Change the blending mode of the first layer to Soft Light, then click on it’s layer mask.
Invert the mask by going Image>Adjustments>Invert, or cmd+I.
Now the effect will be completely hidden, so we need to use either a white brush or the eraser tool to paint the effect back in.
The clipping mask will stop the colour overlapping the layer below so don’t worry about going over the edges of the hair. However when you paint close to the face use a very soft brush, and if you make a mistake remember that you can switch to a black brush to hide it again.
Now select the second Solid Color layer and keep it’s blending mode as Normal and put it’s opacity at 45%.
Again, select it’s layer mask and invert it.
With the layer mask selected, use a brush with it’s size set to 200px, and it’s hardness set to 0%, and paint just the top part of the hair as shown below.
Next we will move onto the leopard.
First desaturate it by going Image>Adjustments>Desaturate or cmd+shift+U.
Next add a Curves adjustment layer and apply the setting shown below.
Remember to apply a clipping mask.
Then add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.
Apply the setting shown below (Brightness-50, Contrast +50).
We will not be using the tail or back feet, so we can mask them out.
Apply a layer mask to your leopard layer…
…select the layer mask…
…then use a black paint brush to erase the tail and the feet.
Now we need to darken the lower back area.
Duplicate the leopard layer, then select it and go Image>Adjustments>Threshold.
Take the pointer all the way to the right in order to turn the leopard completely black.
Then add a layer mask and use a large soft brush to mask away the layer revealing the base leopard layer beneath.
Next we will add the background which is just a simple grey/white gradient.
Choose the Gradient adjustment layer and apply the colour 888386.
This colour has a the same pink hue as the models body to add consistency to the overall image.
Choose these settings: Style-Linear, Angle 90, scale 100, and check the Reverse box.
Position this layer blow the leopard layer.

The next step is to create the brush that we will use to draw the squares.
The brush tip needs to be a black square so create a new layer, fill it with black then make a square selection using the rectangular marquee tool (holding down the shift key).
Now go Edit>Define Brush Preset…
When the box pops up enter a name for the brush, then hit OK.
You can now delete this black layer.
Click on the Brush tool.
Find you new brush.
Now click on Shape Dynamics and apply the settings shown below.
Next click on Scattering, then enter the settings shown below.
With your brush now ready to use, create a new layer above the leopard, and try it out.
Because we chose Pen Pressure under the size jitter option, the harder you press, the larger your squares will be.
The owl can be downloaded here, and the tarantula here. They are edited in the same way as the leopard.
You may choose whether you want to place your animals first, then paint your squares, or position the animals afterwards.
If you like you can create more than one layer for your squares and build up strokes that way. Once you are happy with your pattern, merge all your squares into one layer, then duplicate it.
Select the bottom layer of the two then go Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.
Apply a 9.0 pixel radius then click OK.
The butterflies are from a free brush set that can be downloaded here.
Paint them on in black. You can adjust their size, angle, or position by using the marquee tool to select them individually, then going Edit>Transform…
With all our animals in position we now need to create shadows for them.
First we will create a shadow for the leopard and model.
Select the model layer and duplicate it, then select the leopard layer and duplicate it.
Now merge both of these copied layers together, and as we did earlier with the leopard choose Image>Adjustments>Threshold and take the pointer all the way to the right.
You can use a black paint brush to fill in any areas that were left white.
Then position this layer below the leopard layer.
Now we will use the transform tools to change the perspective or this layer, and make it look like a shadow.
Go Edit>Transform>Perspective.
We will assume light is being cast on them from the left, so drag the top of the box to the right then click Enter.
Then go Edit>Transform>Scale.
Scale it down as shown below.
Now apply a Gaussian Blur set to 25.0 pixels.
And create a layer mask.
With the layer mask selected choose a large black brush with it’s hardness at 0%, and mask away the top edge of the shadow to fade it into the background.
Use exactly the same technique for the shadow of the tarantula.
Download the compass here, and place it by the leopards foot.
As you can see below the shadow technique doesn’t work quite so well for the compass.
So BEFORE you Gaussian Blur the shadow for the compass, duplicate it.
Blur one of the layers to 25.0 pixels as before, but with the other duplicated layer, blur it to 5.0 pixels.
And again, mask the top of the shadows into the background.
Lastly we will need to add some shading to the models hand where she is touching the leopard.
Create a new layer and use a very small black brush with it’s opacity at 15% to build up some shading around the fingertips.
Next we will add some text to the image.
The font we will use is a popular font called ‘Mutlu’ which can be downloadedhere.
Click on the Text icon.
Drag out a rectangular box and type in your text.
Use these settings.
Once you have finished rotate the text box 90 degrees, and position it over the squares, as shown.
You can download a set of circular rune brushes for free here.

Create a new layer for the rune ring.
You can choose any symbols you like from the set, use a white brush.
Position this layer below the leopard and the other animals.
Now we will create a white striped gradient for the background.
So add a gradient adjustment layer and choose this preset shown below…
…and apply these settings, then click OK.
Change this layer’s blending mode to Soft Light.
Finally We will add some flying debris which is from a brush set that can be downloaded for free here.
Paint this in a new layer above the rune ring, in black, and at 85% opacity.
Mask out any bits that look out of place.
Group all the layers into one folder, duplicate it, then merge this duplicated layer.
Gaussian blur the layer to 0.5 pixels; this will soften any hard edges in the image.
Now you’re finished!
Your final layers stack should look like this:
And here is the final outcome:
Click on the image to see a larger version.