In this photo manipulation tutorial, we’re going to create a beautiful bright summer scene. The colours in this composition would be made vivid and the play of light and transparencies would be necessary to keep the images in the scene nicely blended for the final image. This would be done by employing various selection and colour enhancement techniques such as feathering (soften) and hue adjustments respectively.
We begin by downloading the image below from www.sxc.hu by Timobalk or you may have another image of your choice. In a new document, set the document size with the dimensions 1650 by 1680 pixels and a resolution of 72ppi.
Open or drag the landscape image into Photoshop. After which you drag it into your working document window. You’ll have to resize the image to fit the current workspace with the Free Transform Tool by pressing Ctl+T. While having the image scaled, hold the shift key to constrain the image’s dimensions.
In this picture there are some cows and a shed that we need to get rid of and we do this by selecting the Clone Stamp Tool (S). For the sampling point, select an empty patch of grass and when doing this, hold down the Alt key (the sampling point appears as an encircled cross) and then paint over the cows just after releasing the Alt key.
Do not just restrict your selection to one part of the field alone, as shown below, I selected the upper part of the field to clear the part of the cow that cover that particular area and I also duplicated a post.
Below, we have the final result:
In the Clone Stamp Tool Options bar, select a Soft Square brush and then set your sampling point and then clone all the way through the shed. Include some grass as well when selecting the areas you want to duplicate.
Still on the Clone Stamp Tool, set as you sampling point; the trees and sky and then duplicate it over the shed. Also try to select different areas for your sampling point to create a random distribution of trees. Below (B) is the final result. You’ll notice that I didnt completely clear the entire shed but just its base. This is because we’ll be getting rid of the whole sky in the next step.
Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) from the Tools bar and make a selection around the sky and include the upper parts of the line of trees. That done, right-click the selection and choose Feather. Set the Feather Radius to 13 pixels and click Ok.
As a result, the upper part of the field is feathered (soften) and this gives the illusion of distance. Name the layer ‘field.’
Drag and drop the sky picture into your main document. Resize as required to fit it properly. Name this layer ‘sky.’
To create a seemingly zooming effect for the sky, Go to Filter>Distort>Spherize and set the Amount to -23%.
Also select the field layer for the Spherize effect and set the Sphere Amount to about –14%. Do make sure with the Amount you set, that the field shouldn’t appear too curved.
In the resulting image below, is the look of a landscape with an emerging horizon.
The colour of the field looks rather dull and flat and so we’ll have to make the colours a lot more vivid. Head on to the menu bar and go to Image>Adjustments>Variations. Here, you’ll find displayed thumbnails of a small range of varying colours of the field image. First, move the slider as shown below, one notch to from Fine to Coarse. Secondly, select the More Green thumbnail and then finally click on Darker.
Now the field is now a lush green grass field as compared to the partly dried one.
Let’s add a subtle highlight on the field. For a new layer, ‘highlights,’ choose the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and draw a flat selection. With the Brush Tool, paint with a white colour (opacity: 90%), over the selection.
Hit Crtl+T to enter the Free Transform mode and right-click to select the
Distort Tool to extend the ellipse as much as you can within the field.
Press the Ctrl+D to deselect the Marquee selection and go to the Layers Palette and set the layer’s Blend mode to Overlay.
Create a new layer and name it ‘highlights2’ and with the white brush yet again, sparingly paint over the bush.
Set the layer’s Blend mode to Overlay.
Download this free stock image from www.sxc.hu. Drag and drop into Photoshop, double-click the layer to unlock it and select the Magic Wand Tool (M). The Magic Wand Tool is a great selection tool of choice for pictures with backgrounds having high contrast or limited range of colours. This tool is much quicker to work with and to an extent, accurate when selecting an image in a picture.
Click any part of the background and a selection appears.
Hit the Delete key to clear the selected portion of the image and Ctrl+D to deselect.
Continue to select other areas of the background and clear them subsequently.
And there you have it! The background’s completely cleared and the butterflies are totally intact complete with legs and antennas!
We’re not done yet because, there might be some scattered fragments of what’s left of the background. So we’ll use of the Eraser Tool (E), preferably, with a hard brush. TIP: Press ‘D’ to set the foreground colour to black. Create a new layer under the ‘butterflies’ layer and with the Paint Bucket Tool (G), fill the layer with black.
Now drag the layer to the main document. Enter the Free Transform mode (Ctrl+T), scale the image to the appropriate size and then select Flip Horizontal. Drag the butterflies to the left-hand corner of the window and hit Enter.
The image of the butterflies happens to be flat and out of place against the main background. We’ll fix this by using the Match Color command. Go to Image>Adjustments>Match Color and in the Image Options, set the Luminance to 170 and Color Intensity to 130.
You may have noticed that the edges of the butterflies are too defined or the existence of thin white lines. This we’ll have to clear it by using the Eraser Tool (Soft Round Brush) to fade or soften the edges. When proceeding to erase, ensure you do not to place the Eraser directly on the butterflies; just make sure its a quarter of an inch away from the butterflies.
The result enables a better blend of the butterflies with the background.
Press Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels Dialog box and adjust its Input Levels with the parameters below:
Select the Dodge Tool (O), and lighten up the wings mainly at its upper part.
The result shows both butterflies corresponding with the light within the scene.
Select the Burn Tool (O) and on its Options bar, set its Range to Highlights and Exposure to 45%. Burn the legs, abdomen and part of fallen tree.
The burn result:
Use the Magic Wand Tool as demonstrated in the previous steps to select the tree. Using any other selection tool might have taken me a little while longer to complete but, the Magnetic Lasso Tool is perfect for this as well.
Drag the tree into the main window and resize it with the Free Transform Tool and have it positioned at just about the center of the field.
With the Magic Wand Tool, click outside the tree and right-click to select Feather. Set the Feather Radius to 10 pixels.
The result would show the tree seemingly immersed in light from the skies.
Lighten up the left most side of the tree with the Dodge Tool and also clear the shadow casted by one of the branches with the Clone Stamp Tool.
Select the Grass brush for the Eraser Tool and then trim the base of the tree. Tree would appear to have grass growing around it base.
We’ll now add a shadow for the tree by selecting the black coloured Spatter brush and an opacity to about 25%.
We’ll be adding butterflies to our picture now. There are loads of free butterfly pictures around to download. One of such is shoofly-stock.deviantart.com.
First off, in the Layers Palette, click the folder icon to create a new group for the butterflies. Name this folder ‘Butterfly.’ Creating a butterfly folder is for better organization and this keeps the content of the Layers Palette from been excessively long, thus, reducing prolonged scrolling on the palette.
I used seven different kinds of butterflies but you could add more if you have the time and patience. Drag each of your butterfly layer into the Butterfly folder and clicking on the arrow beside the folder reveals the butterfly layers.
To increase the number of butterflies, I duplicated each and every butterfly layer three to four times. With the Move Tool (V), have the butterflies rearranged in a random order. These butterflies must be resized with the Free Transform Tool from large to small. TIP: To reduced the number of the butterfly layers rearrange each layer to mix them up before resizing and merge about four to six of these layers and do so for another four to six layers and so on.
This tree was from www.mega-tex.nl. Use the Magic Wand Tool once again to clear the background from the tree and drag it into the main document window.
Resize the tree with the Free Transform Tool as shown below:
Press Ctrl+M for the Curves Dialog box to reduce the brightness of the trees only just slightly.
Right-click the layer to select the Duplicate option and duplicate two times and resize the duplicates as shown below. Secondly, select the Eraser Tool and a Soft Round brush for it. Reduce the brush’s opacity to 25% and carefully fade the edges of the tree.
Another free picture to download from www.sxc.hu. As always, drag the picture into Photoshop.
Select the Crop Tool (C) and drag to select a portion of the image and hit Enter.
Select the Magic Wand Tool and proceed to clear the background. Now for the painstaking part: Zoom in on the grass to erase any part of the blue background that the Magic Wand Tool couldn’t select.
Place the strands of grass in front of picture. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), select a portion the grass and right-click to copy the selction to a new layer.
Reposition the new selection to the far corner of the image. Also erase the a couple of grass strands (particularly the few long ones).
Hit Ctrl+U for Hue/Saturation Dialog box to give the grass a greener colour.
Our image wouldn’t be complete without some ‘bloom.’ Here are some flowers from
After the grass around the flowers been cleared, place the flower picture into the document and resize. Have the flower layer duplicated and arranged.
I however felt that there wasn’t enough distance between the swarms of butterflies and the front scene and so I had to reduce the size of the swarm. First by merging the layers of butterflies contained in the Butterfly folder (Ctrl+E). The butterflies were now scaled to size with the Free Transform Tool and with Rectangular Marquee Tool, some butterflies were selected to copied to a new layer.
From the copied layer with butterflies, more butterflies were added to the swarm and with the Move Tool, I repositioned them round the branches of the tree.
Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer by clicking on the fourth icon from the left below the Layers Palette. Selecting Levels and enter the parameters below for the Input Levels. (*Note: make sure that the Adjustment Layer is top layer in the Layers Palette).
The result is a refreshing bright scene. Also have the field, sky and flowers layers merged by pressing Ctrl+E and name it ‘landscape.’
For the rays of light radiating from the sky, we’ll use the Glowing Edges Filter effect. First, duplicate the ‘landscape’ layer and then go to Filter>Stylize>Glowing Edges and make the adjustments below:
Go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur and position the Blur Center with your mouse after entering the parameters.
There would appear to be a yellowish hue from the whole result and so we’ll have tofade it. Press Ctrl+U for the Hue/Saturation Dialog box and adjust the Hue and Saturation.
With the Eraser Tool erase around the edges of the rays of light ( the Radial blur effect) . Set the Eraser Tool’s opacity to between 30% to 40%. Just make sure the two butterflies don’t appear too whitish.
For the sun, we’ll use the Len Flare effect. Click on Filter>Render>Len Flare and position the Flare to just around the center of the sky. This would take a little trail and error to get your desired positioning right.
The final result: