Frey Timo: The Cosmic Girl – Part 2
The second part of this tutorial is about post processing, especially about how you can combine the images we created in the first part.
If you missed the first part you can find it here: http://manfrottoschoolofxcellence.com/2011/11/15/frey-timo-the-cosmic-girl/
The first two steps were described in the previous article, we continue with step3 here.
Overview of the processing steps:
Step 3 – The Pen Tool
In this step we extract the model from the background using the Pen tool. The Pen tool is ideal for cutting out hard-lined objects. The tool creates a vector based path which can be modified at any time. If you’re new to this tool, I recommend watching the video by Scott Kelbys, a tutorial on Pen Tool:
-First, open the image of the model and select the Pen tool from the toolbox, or use the keyboard shortcut “P”. If the Path Panel isn’t visible, then go to Window > Path to display the panel.
- Create a new path by clicking on the “Create New Path” icon at the bottom of the Paths panel. If you don’t make a new path before you start, a new Work Path will be automatically created. Work Paths are temporary, so each time you start a new path, the previous one will be overwritten.
- Next, we set-up the Pen tool.
Make sure that in the Options Bar the Paths mode is activated. Another useful option is the Rubber Band – located in the drop-down next to the Customs Shape Tool button. The Rubber Band gives you a preview of the path segment you are drawing.
-Click to start your path with an anchor point. Make a closed path around the model. Don’t worry about her hair. We will only need a very rough selection of her hair, because in one of the next processing steps we will replace it by using a Hair Brush.
-Close the path by clicking on the first anchor point.
-Activate the Path by single-clicking it. Then click the “Load path as a selection” button in the bottom of the Path panel to convert the path to an active selection.
- Press SHIFT + CTRL + I to invert the selection.
-Go to Select > Modify > Feather or press ALT + CTRL + D. When the Feather Selections appears, enter a Radius of 2 pixels and click OK to soften the edges of our selection.
-Select Layer > New > Layer via Copy (CTRL + J). A new layer will appear in the Layers Palette containing a cut-out of the model.
-Rename the layer to “model”.
Step 4 – Enhancing The “Flying” Effect
In this step we use the Displace filter which is a part of the Distort filters to enhance the flying effect of the cosmic girl. The Displace filter use a greyscale image, called a displacement map. The filter takes the 256 greyscale values of an existing Photoshop image, and applies them to a target layer. Greyscale values less than 128 results in a negative shift; larger values result in a positive shift. A grey value of 128 produces no displacement.
-Go to Layer > New > Layer or press SHIFT + CTRL + N. Set the Layer Blending Mode to “Overlay” and activate the “Fill with Overlay-neutral color” option. Click OK to create the new layer.
-Press B to get the Brush tool, chooses a soft-edged brush from the brush picker, and paint with black and white to get a displacement map.
-Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to soften the layer by a Radius of 10 pixels.
-Next, set the Layer Blending Mode of the displacement map from “Overlay” to “Normal”.
- Go to File > Save As… and save the displacement map. You can reduce the file size by turning off the save option “Layers”. But it is of the utmost importance that the file format is set to “.PSD”.
- Make sure that the “model” layer is activated and go to Filter > Distort > Displace. Set the Horizontal and Vertical Scale to 7 and click OK to continue. Choose as a displacement map our psd-file, which we saved previously.
- Reduce the Opacity of the “displacement map” layer to 5% and set the Layer Blending Mode back to “Overlay”.
Now it’s time to replace the model’s hair. I downloaded an excellent brush preset from lpdragonfly at deviantART: (http://lpdragonfly.deviantart.com/art/hair-brushes-III-100453484).
After you have downloaded the preset, simply double-click on the file to install it into Photoshop. You will find the new Brushes at the bottom of your Brush Picker list.
- Create a new empty layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+N and rename the layer to “hair”.
- Press B to get the brush tool and select one of the hair brushes from the Brush Picker. Click to paint with it on the empty layer. Bear in mind that you can adjust the Angle setting of the brush in the Brush Panel.
- Next, move the “hair” layer down the layer stack under the “model” layer. So, the models shoulder and arm will be visible again.
- Click on the “displacement map” layer and then Shift-Click on the “hair” layer. Then, go to Layer > Group Layers to put them into a group. Rename the Group to “model”. You can also delete the layer we started with.
Step 5 – Adding The Background Image
-Open the galaxy image that we had created in the first part of this tutorial and copy-and-paste the galaxy image onto the model image.
-Click drag to move the “galaxy” layer to the bottom of the Layers Panel.
- Create a new empty layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+N and rename the layer to “Lens flare”.
- Go to Edit > Fill and choose “Black” from the Use pop-menu.
- Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Click inside the preview window and drag the crosshair near to the galaxy center. Set the Brightness value to 125% and choose the 105mm Prime. Click OK to apply the effect.
-Set the Layer Blending Mode of the “lens flare” layer to “Screen”. If you wish, you can add a layer mask to apply the effect only to selective areas.
- In the next processing step we will try to enhance the overall lighting atmosphere of the image. We will use a technique called “dodge and burn” to accentuate the highlights and the shadows. Start by going to the Layer > New > Layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N) and rename the layer to “dodge & burn”. Next, change the layer blending mode to “Soft Light” and turn on the “Fill with Soft-Light-neutral color” checkbox, then click OK. This adds a new layer filled with 50% Grey.
- Press B to get the Brush tool and choose a soft-edged brush from the Brush Picker. Set the brush size around 100 pixels and lower the Opacity of the Brush to 8%-15%. You can reset the Foreground/Background Color by pressing the shortcut D.
I recommend that you start drawing with white color along the contour of her chest. Next, highlight the shape of her back and feet.
You can easily toggle between colors by pressing “X”.
Use the black color to darken the areas around her upper arms.
Step 6 – Creating A Star Swirl
- Press P for the Pen Tool and click “Create New Path” at the bottom of the Path panel. Draw out an open-ended spiral path, so it looks like it flows around the model.
- Create a new empty layer and rename it to “star swirl”.
- Choose the Brush Tool from the toolbox and open the Brush palette by pressing F5
Things to do at the Brush Tip Shape-panel:
-Set the Brush Size to 100 pixels and the Hardness to 15%.
- Activate the Spacing-option and increase the value to 130%.
Things to do at the Shape Dynamics-panel:
- Set the Size Jitter to 100%. The Jitter percentages controls the variation of dynamic elements. A Size Jitter of 0 percent means that the brush size doesn’t change at all during a stroke.
Things to do at the Scattering-panel:
- Deactivate “Both Axes”-option and increase the Scatter to 300%.
- Set the Count to 1 and set the Count Jitter to his maximum of 100%.
-Make sure that the foreground color is set to white and click on the “Stroke path with brush” icon at the bottom of the path panel (circled in red here). Our currently selected brush style will be used to trace the line in the path on the image.
- Go to Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow to open the Layer Style dialog. Set the Opacity to 25% and add a little Noise (around 2-10%). Next, set the Elements size to 10 pixels. Click OK to apply the glow effect.
- Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mask to our current layer. Choose the Brush Tool (B) and set the foreground color to Black. Perhaps you need to deselect the brush styles, i.e. Shape Dynamic or Scattering, first. Paint away the parts of the star swirl that should be behind of the model, so it appears as if it’s flowing around her body.
-Create a new empty layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+N. Go to Edit > Fill and choose “Black” from the Use pop-menu.
- Set the Layer Blending Mode in the Layer panel to “Screen”.
- Go to Layer > Layer Style > Gradient Overlay to open the Layer Stlye dialog.
- Set the Opacity of the Gradient between 60%-70% and change the Gradient Style to “Radial.
Step 7 – Adding A Cross-Processing Effect
In this step we will use the Color Efex Pro plug-in from Nik Software to add a cross-processing effect onto the image. The Cross Processing filter simulates the effect of a processing film color which has the wrong chemistry.
You can download a free 15-day trial version at www.niksoftware.com.
-Click on the top-most layer in the Layers panel, then press the shortcut CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E to create a flattened copy at the top of the layer stack.
-Go to Filter > Nik Software > Color Efex Pro to open the filters dialog box.
- Choose the Cross-Processing filter and set the crossing method to “C4”.
- Set the filter strength to around 86%.
Step 8 – Adding Comets
In this step we use a photo of raindrops to simulate comets.
I took this photo on a rainy night with the following camera settings: f/4, 1/160, ISO 250
I used my Canon EF 50mm lens and an external flash.
-Open the image and copy-and-paste the comet image onto the model image.
-Set the Layer Blending Mode of the “comet” layer to “Screen”.
- Rotate the layer a bit with the help of Edit > Transform > Rotate.
If you wish you can add a layer mask to apply the effect only to selective areas.
Step 9 – Adding A Vignette
In the last processing step, we will add a vignette to the image.
- Get the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the toolbox and draw an oval selection around the model.
- Press SHIFT + CTRL + I to invert the selection.
- Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels and rename the layer to “vignette”. Next, change the blending mode to “Luminosity”.
- In the Level tool set the Midtone slider to 0,90.
- If you own Photoshop C4 and higher, you can use the Mask Panel to add a Feather of 250 pixels. You can easily create the same effect by using the Gaussian Blur filter with a Radius of 250 pixels.
The Final Image
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