In this tutorial we will create a nature poster using stock images, vectors and brushes.
Tools: Adobe Photoshop CS3
Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced
Completion time: 1-2 hours
– floral vector pack 31 from designious.com
– girl from npoz1
– parrot from RainaDayze
– branches from PKVstock
– bonsai from Resurgere
– splashes from fotolia.com
What you’ll be creating
Create a new document of 800×1200 px at 72 dpi in RGB color mode. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer with pure white (#ffffff).
Open the “paper texture” image. Select all (CTRL+A), copy it (CTRL+C) and paste it in our drawing.
Go to Edit > Free Transform (CTRL+T), hold the ALT+SHIFT keys and click-drag one of the corners to resize it. Make it fit our canvas.
Then hit Enter.
Open the Layers palette (F7) and set Opacity to 45%.Â Grab the Dodge Tool (O), set it to Shadows at 17% Exposure and lighten the dark areas.
Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer (CTRL+J). Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (CTRL+SHIFT+U). Set Blending mode to Hard Light and Opacity to 18%.
This will amplify the small midtones.
Duplicate the layer again (CTRL+J) and set layer Blending mode to Overlay at 100% Opacity. This will enhance the small highlights on the paper texture.
Select the top-most layer in the Layers palette and click the “New Layer Group” button. Name it “background”. Select all layers (shift-click selection) and drag them in the layer group.
Open the “dancer” image. Double-click the lock in the Layers palette (F7) and hit OK to make it editable.
Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer (CTRL+J), then go to Image > Invert (CTRL+I).
Since we are doing a selection via Channels, I will explain how the trick works.
Try to envision the tints rather than the colors in a picture, like you would see only red, blue or green.
In our case, blue is dominant and stands out the most from the background.
Knowing this, we will be able create even higher contrasts between the element and the background using the Blue channel. The higher the contrast, the more precise our selection will be.
Go to the Channels window (Window > Channels) and click-drag the “Blue” channel on the “New Channel” button. This will create a copy of the blue channel to work on, so we don’t damage the original
Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves (CTRL+M) and adjust the graph like below.
Repeat STEP 11 until the midtones disappear almost completely.
Use the Path Tool (P) and trace the midtone areas. Try to be more accurate in the contour areas.
Once you made a closed shape, right-click > Make Selection… and paint inside the selection with white using the Brush Tool (B).
Once done, go to Select > Deselect (CTRL+D).
In the Layers palette, CTRL+click the “Blue copy” channel thumbnail. This will make a selection of the body.
Turn on the “RGB” channel’s visibility and off the “Blue copy” ‘s.
Open the Layers palette (F7), turn of visibility of the “Layer 0 copy” layer and select the “Layer 0” and click the “Add Layer Mask” button.
Select “Layer 0” layer and go to Layer > Duplicate Layer… (CTRL+J). Select both layers and go to Layer > Merge Layers (CTRL+E).
There’s a nasty white contour left from the selection.
CTRL+click the layer thumbnail, then go to Select > Modify > Contract and set it to 1 px. Go to Select > Inverse and hit “Delete”.
Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint with black over the shadow under the right foot.
Go to Window > Arrange > Cascade and click-drag this layer into our document.
In the Layers palette (F7), click the “New layer Group” button and click-drag this layer into the group. Name this group “girl”.
Create a new layer above the “Layer 0 copy 2” layer. Now grab the Pen Tool (P), set it on Paths and draw a shape like i did. Feel free to make another one if you like.
Then right-click > Stroke Path… Hit OK.
This will be only a guideline, so don’t bother polishing it.
Open the “splashes”, double-click the lock in the Layers palette and hit OK. grab the Magic Wand (W) and select the background. Hit Delete.
Select all (CTRL+A), copy it (CTRL+C) and paste it in our document (CTRL+V).
Go to Edit > Free Transform and resize it. Hold SHIFT key to preserve proportions. Hit Enter.
Go to Edit > Transform > Warp and make it look something similar to below. Hit OK.
Repeat STEP 22 until you cover the entire black guide. Feel free to add layer masks to cover the loose areas, like in STEP 17.
Select all the splashes layers in the Layers palette and go to Layer > Merge Layers (CTRL+E). Rename the resulting layer to “water”. Also place it in a new layer group.
Select small splashes areas from the “splashes” picture and paste them in our drawing. Resize them, but do NOT warp them like the first ones. Try selecting areas with shapes similar to our splash.
Repeat STEP 25 until you cover up the entire splash. Then select all splash layers and go to Layer > Merge Layers. Also Add a Clipping Mask like in STEP 17 to make the water pass behind the girl.
Select the top-most layer in the “water” layer group and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. Make sure you check the “Use previous layer to create Clipping mask”.
Use the settings below.
Create a new layer above the “Background” layer group (Layer > New Layer or CTRL+SHIFT+N). Open the “paint brushes” and select one of your choice.
Use the settings below or similar.
On the newly created layer, throw a few brush strokes, behind the girl. Set layer Blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 54%.
Repeat STEP 29, but set Opacity to 59%. Place these in a layer group and name it “splashes”.
Create a new layer group below the “splashes” layer group. Name it “flowers”. Now open the “vector flowers”, use the Lasso Tool (L) to select a flower of your choice, copy it and paste it in our drawing.
Also place it in the “flowers” layer group.
Place flowers around and try to follow or continue the body lines or the water. Feel free to mask any harsh intersections that will create strong spots.
For each flower, click the “fx” button in the Layers palette and set Color Overlay to white (#ffffff).
Open the “bonsai” picture and extract it like we did with the woman.
Hint: Since the dominant color is green, try exploiting the “Green” Channel.
Place the “bonsai” layer behind the “Layer 0 copy 2” layer – the one with the girl.
Create a new layer above the “girl” layer and ALT+click between the layers. Set the layer’s Blending mode to Overlay, with 70% Opacity.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), select a round, soft brush, lower Opacity a bit, pick a light color from the girl’s body (ALT+click) and paint over the girl’s body lights.
Create a new layer group and name it “text”. Then grab the Type Tool (T), make a large type box and type a text of your choice.
I wrote “INFINITE” with Franklin Gothic font.
From the “splashes” pictures, pick a detailed area of splashes, copy it and paste it in our drawing. Make it fit like below.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (CTRL+U) and set Saturation to minimum and lower Lightness.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Create a curve similar to mine. The “S” shaped curve creates a higher contrast between shadows and highlights.
Select the layer with the text from the Layers palette (F7). Then go to Layer > Layer mask > Reveal all.
Press D key to return to the default color setting, select the layer mask, grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint over the extra areas of the text.
Repeat STEPS 42-43 for the other letters. Don’t modify too many, else the text will be unreadable. Place all the splashes in the layer group.
Open the “desert earth” picture, select a piece, rotate it and copy it (CTRL+C).
In our document, create a new layer above the “background” layer group. Go to Filter > Vanishing Point (CTRL+ALT+V).
Create the plane like below.
Paste the texture in the new window and click-drag it onto the plane. Hit OK.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (CTRL+SHIFT+U). Then create a new layer above it and ALT+click between the layers.
Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill this layer with a light brown color. Set Blending mode to “Color”.
Select the layer below and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint over the edges with a round soft brush.
Create a layer group above all layers and name it “nature”. Then open the “parrot” picture, copy it and paste it in our document. Also resize it like below.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and play around with the “Hue” cursor till you get more vibrant colors on the parrot.
Open the “branches” image and extract the branches from the background like in STEPS 10-14. Copy it, paste it in our document and place it like below.
Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer (CTRL+J) to create more copies.
Open the “vines” picture. Extract it using STEPS 10-14. Then copy it, paste it in our document and resize it.
Create copies (CTRL+J) and place them like below. Place all layers in a group and name it “vines”.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and adjust it to have the same tint as the tree behind the girl.
Create a new layer and place it below the “vines” layer group. From the Layers palette, set Blending mode to Multiply.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), pick a dark color from the skin (ALT+click) and paint the shadows of the vines on the leg.
Go to Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to about 3 px Radius. Hit OK.
From the Layers palette, reduce Opacity to 70% or until you are happy with the result. Then CTRL+click the “girl” layer thumbnail and click the “Add Layer Mask” button.
This will mask the unwanted areas of the shadows from the sloppy painting, if you’re using a mouse.
Select the top-most layer and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color balance. Use the settings below of feel free to use your own.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Set Blending mode to Saturation and Opacity to 20%.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map.
Select all layers and drag them on the “New Layer” button. Then go to Layer > Merge Layers (CTRL+D).
Go to Filter > Other > High Pass. Set it to 1.5 px. Hit OK. Set blending mode to Overlay and Opacity to 75%.