photoshop creative
Apr
19

Use adjustment layers creatively

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
April 19, 2017

Discover essential tools and techniques for creative compositions

1. Create the background

Go to File>New (Cmd/Ctrl+N), and set the Width to 460mm, Height to 190mm, Resolution to 300 pixels/inch and click OK. Insert your background and use the Clone Stamp tool (S) to remove any distractions. Set up a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer; Hue: -5 and Saturation: -40.

2. Insert the sky

Place a sky image, create a layer mask and use the Brush tool (B) to hide the lower part of the image. Create a new Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer with Hue: -15 and Lightness: +5.

3. Place the door

Insert a door, position in the left corner, create a mask layer and use the Brush tool (B) to hide the area around and inside the door. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) to create a grass-like selection in front of the door and hide on the layer mask.

4. Make door adjustments

Add a yellow Photo Filter adjustment layer, then a Vibrance adjustment layer set to -20. Finally, set up a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with Hue set to -69, and Saturation set to -35.

5. Create the bedroom

Create a rectangle (U) the same size as the door, insert a bedroom and adjust the size and position. Create a clipping mask and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with Hue: -12 and Saturation: -30.

6. Open the door

Insert the open door, and select one side of it; adjust the position and size, create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with Hue: -35, Saturation: -31, Lightness: +24. Use the Clone Stamp tool (S) to remove the light under the door.

7. Brush in a shadow

Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N), create a clipping mask on the door layer and with the Brush tool (B), colour black (#000000), make a shadow at the bottom, near the grass. With yellow (#faebc7), use the brush on the right and near the lamp.

8. Add a subject

Insert a subject, remove the background, adjust the size and use a Vibrance adjustment layer (Vibrance: -18 and Saturation: -5). Now apply a Curves adjustment layer and drag the curve down a bit. Create a new layer and use the Brush tool to paint a little bit of white on the top of the girl.

9. Blow some bubbles

Insert a soap bubble. With the Elliptical Marquee tool (O) select just the bubble and duplicate three times (Cmd/Ctrl+J). Change the blend modes to: first layer: Light, second layer: Screen, third layer: Soft Light. Decrease the saturation until the bubble matches the scene.

10. Create more bubbles

Insert some more bubbles. Repeat the process of step nine, making copies (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and adjusting the size and position.

11. Introduce a girl at the door

Place a girl in the middle of the door and add a yellow Photo Filter adjustment layer. Add a Vibrance adjustment layer (Vibrance: -7), and then a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer (Saturation: -52).

12. Add some shadows

To adjust the shadows on the girl, create new layers and use the Brush tool (B) to paint black areas. Change the blend mode to Soft Light, change the Opacity of the layer if necessary, and follow the direction of the light.

13. Enhance the light

Create a new layer, choose the colour #fde5a5, and with the Brush tool (B), paint near the sky in the middle of the scene. When done, change the blend mode to Lighten and layer Opacity to 45%.

14. Place the deer

Insert a deer, remove the background, add a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer with Hue: +12 and Saturation: +20. For the grass under the deer, add a Color Balance adjustment layer with Cyan/Red: +28, Magenta/Green: -30 and Yellow/Blue: -30. Use the mask layer to apply the correction only to the grass. Insert one bubble behind the deer.

15. Insert floating toys

Insert other elements. Remove the backgrounds, then adjust the sizes, positions and rotations. Place the layers beneath the bubbles.

16. Adjust the toys

For each of the elements you add to the image, insert adjustment layers such as Curves and Hue/Saturation. Clip them to each layer by Alt/Opt-clicking the layer, and adjust each one so that they blend into the image.

17. Place the birds

Insert two birds, remove the backgrounds and put atop the door. Create a new layer; make a shadow below the birds with the Brush tool. Insert another bird, remove the background and place near the big bubble. Duplicate the layer, flip horizontal, create a mask layer and hide the right side.

18. Place the butterflies

Place three butterflies near the door. Create a new layer and use the Brush tool with black as your colour to paint in shadows below the butterflies. Insert another butterfly at a larger size, flip horizontal and then apply Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur set to 3px.

19. Add birds to the sky

To add some interest to the sky, insert some birds. Remove the background, adjust the size and then position over to the right of the image. Change the layer Opacity setting to 30%.

20. Create some more shadows

Create a new layer, then use the Brush tool to make shadows for the door, the girl blowing bubbles and the deer. When finished, change the layer Opacity setting to 60%.

21. Adjust highlights and shadows

To make any correction to the highlights, use the Burn and Dodge tool (O) or create a new layer and fill in some parts with white using the Brush tool. Don’t forget to create a clipping mask.

22. Make final corrections

Create a Vibrance adjustment layer with Vibrance: -7. Use a Photo Filter adjustment layer, Deep Blue, Density: 24%. Change the blend mode to Multiply and layer Opacity: 30%.