- So first we’re going to begin by making a 1500×1700 white document.
- Fill your entire document with the color #2658ab.
- Make a new layer. Then check to make sure your foreground and background colors are black and white. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds and set that layer to Overlay.
- Then take a round brush, about 500px and feather the upper part of the document with a white color. We do this to create the light atmosphere for the final image.
- Now go ahead and take this stock image by Dxlogic and paste it into your document. It should automatically center itself. We’re going to cut this image out using channels to be as accurate as possible. Using channels ensures a higher quality cut out, as well as a better detailed image – unlike using the pen tool and doing it manually. You will need the channels window open, if you don’t go to Windows > Channels.
- Do not be intimidated by what you see! Channels are very useful and EASY to use! Once you get used to them you will feel like you’ve just found the cure for a disease. Heh, okay, not exactly that. Anyway, so what we have here are 4 layers. Now we’re trying to find the layer with the most distinction between background and foreground in terms of BLACK and white.
So whichever has the bigger difference in tonality with the girl against the background. Selecting the Blue layer will show you that it has the larger distinction.
- Duplicate the channel by dragging it into the NEW LAYER icon at the bottom of the layer palette. We do this so that we don’t tamper with the original channels layers, seeing as they build the primary basis of the original image. When in doubt, duplicate!
Now we will begin cutting it out. Select the Burn Tool. Set it to Midtones. We need to make this distinction larger and more obvious. Basically what we are doing is making the entire image we want to cut out BLACK, and make the background WHITE. We do this by burning the image, and then DODGING the background so that we separate it. Get it? If you don’t, that’s okay! I will explain through pictures. I am going to burn some of the photo.
- I like to dodge the areas around the picture, then burn it.
- And for some areas you can’t get too, just use the paintbrush and go over them with black.
- More or less, you should have something like this. We just need to make sure the whole background is white so when we make a selection it can be as precise as possible!
- (command for macs) Hold CTRL + Click on the channel layer and it should automatically become selected. Select the first RGB layer to get it back to the original image. Invert this selection by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + I and then go to your selection tool. Then Click “refine edge”.
- Now is the moment of truth. Granted, you might have to go over some areas and your first time may not produce the best results, but you have to keep practicing! Even I’m not perfect at this, but its very handy for details such as hair. You might have to go back and tweak some areas but go ahead and copy my settings to yours and press okay!
- Now that you have a nicely cut out image, time to do the effects!
- Because I’m a freak I like to have an unnatural amount of duplicates of every single image I use, just incase things go awry. So duplicate the cut out image and let’s begin. We’re going to bring out more of the photo so we’re adding some highlights by going to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights. Match your settings to mine.
- We’re going to begin to incorporate the stock images now. For some, this might be a hard process – but it really is all about trial and error. I like to rotate, manipulate and scale the stocl to fit around the image. Take the smoke stock image (by ISOstock) and paste into the document. Set the image to Screen and position it near her leg.
- Create a mask on the stock image. Masks are easier to use, so if you make a mistake – you can always undo it! Take a small round brush and feather out the area towards the bottom to blend it in. We’re also erasing the outer parts because they cut off.
- Sometimes we must warp images to fit with our images. Paste the smoke stock onto your document again and set it to Screen. Align this image with her left leg. Then press CTRL + T (command+T for mac users)
Then go to Edit > Transform > Warp
- You are now going to wrap the image AROUND the leg. You may have to practice several times and start over, but don’t get frustrated! Sometimes in the middle of warping I press ENTER to confirm my manipulation, then wrap again to start a clean grid.
- Now using a soft round brush (and applying a mask to the stock image(, erase the edges of the smoke.
- Take this spark stock image and place it into your document. Rotate it about 65 degrees and place it in center of your image. Then erase away the middle portion of it so it looks like its coming out of the image. Note I erased a little bit of the white background around the model.
Let’s enhance this spark stock. Select the IMAGE (not the mask) and then go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. We’re going to make the spark more prominent so match your settings to mine:
- Add a few little touches to the piece by repeating the techniques shown in other areas of the graphic. Basically I’m just duplicating the same image as before, removing the mask, adding a new mask and then playing around with it.
- Take this fire sphere stock and paste it into your document. Again, all I’m doing is resizing, fitting to the picture and erasing on a mask.
- For our last element we’ll add the fire! Take the flame stock and once again, set it to screen. Place it under the model.
- Now all you do is rotate it a bit to the left, and then add a mask and erase out some areas so that it blends in.
- Duplicate the fire again and then add it to the right side. Repeat the same steps as we did for the first flame.
- Now we’re going to add the coloring effects. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance and match your settings to mine.
- Make a new raster layer. Set it to Screen and add some color bubbles (get a round brush, set it to a bright color) and then add it into your image. I try to add it in areas where it blends in best. I’ve circled the areas that I added the bubbles too. I also try to erase the edges around them if they’re too harsh.
- Make a new raster layer. Fill it with black. Set it to Hue at 33%.
- Once again, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance and match your settings to mine. Set this layer to 62%.
- Make a new raster layer. Fill it with the color #e2dc20 at 14% opacity. Set the layer setting to Multiply.
- Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer and match your settings to mine. Your layer setting should be set to Soft Light at 41%.
- Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and match your settings to mine. You should be using a black to white default gradient for this! Your layer setting should be set to Soft Light at 95%.
- We’re almost there! Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color and match your settings to mine.
- Your image should look like this now:
- And the LAST step!! Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color and match your settings to mine. Set this layer setting to Screen at 42%.
VOILA!!!! You should be all done! I went in and tweaked some things like the flame, and added some more sparks :)
View Full Size