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Discover how to use Adobe Photoshop, without any added fine art skills, to modify artwork and turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Author and illustrator Bert Monroy takes an unexciting photo and transforms it into an amazing dream sequence by combining it with other photos and techniques. His process touches on compositing, digital painting, masking, and other key image editing techniques. All you need is Photoshop, some images that could use a boost, and your imagination!
We need to add our little island with our castle on it. So let's go see what we have. I have some images back here, and there's a picture from one of my hiking trips, in fact. There I am with my nephew Chris. Now why am I using this shot? Right there. This is going to be a perfect island for what we need, right there. I need to isolate these rocks. Now I'm going to do it very quickly because I have an Alpha Channel for it, right there. Now if you want to learn about the Alpha Channels just refer to the movie on how and why to create Alpha Channels, and it will explain to you, but I'm just going to go ahead and use my Alpha Channel, load it, and then I'm going to take that and drag it into my scene right here.
Now I had the layer of water selected because that's the last layer I worked on from before, so it automatically fell on top of that, which is where I want it. So I'm going to take it, I'm going to put it down here, right there in the middle of the water, right there, that's where my island is going to be. Now I might want to darken it a little bit. But let's just do it now, so I'm going in there and in Levels I'm going to go in there and just darken it a bit, make it a little darker, that's good like that, and Hue Saturation, I'm just going to bring down the Saturation, because it's a little too saturated right now, I like it to fit more like with the rest of the scene back here that we have.
Okay, and that's looking pretty good. Click OK, and I just want to go in there and maybe darken it a little bit. So I'm going to take my Burn tool, I'm just going to kind of darken this side just a little bit, because we have some shadows happening all through there, so let's just do that. Now I want to make it blend into the water a little better, so what I'm going to do I'm going to give it a mask, and let's get a little closer here so we can see what's going to happen next. I'm going to start to blend it to the water. So I'm going to use a brush that's a little softer this time, so I'm going to soften up the edge quite a bit, about like that.
Okay, and that's the brush I'm going to use and make it a little bigger, and now I'm going to start paint to my mask just enough right in there. And I'm going to bring down the opacity a bit to about 50 just so I can start to very slowly start to bring the lake up into the water. So it's going to look like the actual island is going into the water itself. I'm going to go in here and just kind of mask it way just so we're starting to get a nice little sense of the island coming out of the water. Now we're going to put a whole reflection on it in a few minutes, which will complete that kind of an effect, but we see where this is going now.
So we just got to go and revive that a little bit. Now that we have that in place, now we see that we have the island, we have the stone cliffs in front, and now we're going to add the little castle. And here is our little castle back here that we've used before, and I have a channel for it, so it's going to make it easier to select it. So I'm going to take the castle, I'm going to say Load the Selection, and here is that Alpha Channel in the background, click OK. I'm going to take that and bring it into my scene, and it automatically fall on top of the island because that's the last layer I had selected.
So, I'm going to go in here, and I'm going to rotate a little bit and bring it down in size just a tad to go on top of my little island here. I might want to do that a little more in a second, but first let's put it on the island. I'm going to give it a mask, and I'm going to mask out all the areas that I don't want. So I'm going to go in here and just start to erase or mask out these little areas right in here, where we're going to make it blend on to our island. So now we have a good idea of where it is right, so let's go in there and shrink it a little more, right from the center and place it right on the top of our island right there like that, and we'll shrink it a little bit more, right there.
Now that we have that, I'm going to go in there and play with this. I'm going to go into my Levels where I'm going to go in and right now I'm in the Mask, so you saw that Histogram effect, let's look at it again. There, it's very plain, because I don't have much going on in the mask. When you see things like this, there is something wrong, you should have more values in there. So look and see, before you start doing anything make sure you are in the right place, which I should be here in the layer itself and not its mask. So now when I go into the Levels, see the difference in the histogram? So I'm going to go in there and bring my darks in and bring my Midtones in, so it starts to darken my little castle there, click OK, and there it is, right? So now I'm going to get in close, so I can now start to refine the mask that make it look like it is in fact on top of my little island.
Go back to the mask again, get my Paint Brush, I can start to paint all this stuff into the island, so now it's going to start to look like my little castle is in fact on top of the island right here, like so. I'm not sure what that is so we just kind of blank it out there completely. We can erase that whole part, we don't need that. There we go, so there is our little castle now sitting on top of the island, now we're just going to erase a couple of more spots just so it starts to really feel like it's inside those rocks there, there we go.
So now our island is now sitting on top of the whole scene here. Now the last thing we need to do at this point is to give this thing a reflection, so it will start to look real. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the castle, which is right here, and I'm going to merge it down to the island, Merge Down. There it is. Now it's one piece and their masks went away, because they have conflicting masks, so I might want to go in there and just erase little leftover stuff, right there that's good. So now, I'm going to take this on, and I'm going to duplicate it, and the one in back, in fact let's call this one the island, and we'll call the one in back reflection.
This will be the reflection of our island. So I'm going to take it, and I'm going to do a Flip Vertical. Drag it down into position directly beneath our island there just like that. I'm going to bring down its Opacity considerably, about like that. I'm also going to give it a layer Mask, and that layer mask I'm going to have it kind of disappear towards the bottom just like that. I'm going to then give that layer itself, let's get closer so we see what's happening here, I'm going to give the layer a little Motion Blur, go down here to the Motion Blur, make sure it's set to Vertical, and it's got the right setting right now, that's prefect, click OK, and there we have that little reflection.
Now the little ripples, we need to see those little ripples coming through. So I'm going to double-click on it to bring up the layer Styles where I'm going to play with the Blend If modes, right down here and allow those dark tones of the ripples to come through, and there they come, right through there. I'm going to split that slider so that I'm going to get the--just enough of those little tones coming through to give me the sense that they are in fact little reflections inside of our water, and when we pull back we see that now we have our little island, and we're peering down to it from these giant rocks.
Now we still need to get a sense of where these two rocks are, so in the next movie we're going to add some foliage which will complete the scene and add a little color to this area down here.
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