photoshop creative

Warp a city onto a shoe

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
July 6, 2016

Learn how to use the Warp tool and clipping masks for a surreal effect


1. Create the background


Create a new document (Ctrl/Cmd+N) that is 460mm x 310mm. Paint it blue (G) (#4ebec2). In sequence create a new layer, paint it yellow (# f7cf33) and place it in the middle of the screen. Apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) of 624px.

2. Light the shoes


In this step you will make the light that will be behind the shoe. For this, you will need to make a new layer and then with a white circle apply a Gaussian Blur with 482px. This detail is very important as it will help to make the shoes brighter and stand out in the next steps.

3. Work on the shoe’s base


Find picture of a shoe, or take your own. Select the Pen tool (P) and crop the picture, then flip it horizontally (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal). To leave the edges softer select the shoe, apply a Feather effect (Shift+F3) with 3px, invert the selection (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+I) and press Delete.

4. Crop and erase the sole


Select the Pen tool (P) and crop the shoe’s sole. Apply a Feather effect with 3px, just like the previous step. Make a crop mask, select the layer and press the Crop mask button. Select black and with the Brush tool (B) erase the bottom of the sole.

5. Turn the lights on


Adding lights is always a good way to enhance the brightness of the photo. Create a new layer and with the Pen tool draw the light shape, paint it white, apply a Gaussian Blur with 40px and change the blend mode layer to Soft Light.

6. Add shadows


Using the same concept as the previous step, enhance the shadows. The procedure is the same: make a new layer, draw the shadow shape, paint it black, apply a Gaussian Blur with 40px and change the blend mode to Overlay.

7. Build the city


Add a city. Crop it with the mask to delete unnecessary parts. To get the right angle use the Warp tool (Edit>Transform>Warp). To make the image more interesting, delete part of the sole to give more attention to the top bridge.

8. Paint the river


For the image to be more interesting, paint the river blue. There is a very simple technique, but it requires a lot of attention to detail. Select the colour blue #a9daf3 and with the Brush tool (B), paint around the river, then change the blend mode layer to Color.

9. Add more elements


Insert more into the project. Go to Edit>Transform>Perspective and in sequence use the Warp tool to leave it in the right angle. Increase the yellow tone with the Color Balance of -20, then make a mask and erase the part that won’t be necessary.

10. Complete the city


Use the same city photo to fill in the blanks. Rotate the picture and adjust your perspective. Make a mask and erase the parts that aren’t needed. To make it more interesting, delete the part of the sole, leaving the buildings, and adjust the Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl+U) to -20.

11. Complete the river


Add another city, and use the Warp tool to give more realism. Paint the river in this picture with the same procedure as in step 8 for cohesiveness. Add small detail to complete the empty space of the river. Select the Pen tool (P) to make the shape and put it in the right place.

12. Insert the beach


Insert a beach and rotate it. Always pay attention to the pictures to keep the continuity in the full image. Use the Warp tool to adjust the angle and finally make a mask and delete what is not used.

13. Add in the mountain


Add in a mountain range. Rotate the image and correct the angle with the Warp tool. As this image is made with a lot of pictures, always pay attention to the colours, so apply the Color Balance (Cmd/ Ctrl+B) of -25 to intensify the yellow tone. Then crop the unnecessary parts of the image.

14. Begin the country house


Use another image, this time we’ve used a Tuscan estate. Rotate and with the Warp tool, model the image to cover the top and to follow the natural curves of the shoes. With the crop mask, erase the unnecessary part. Finally, adjust the Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl+U) to -30.

15. Finish the country house


Now use the other part of the picture to model the rest of the country house. The procedure is the same as the previous step. Pay close attention to the unity between the photos; it must be perfect, so always delete the unnecessary part with a soft brush.

16. Add details to the sky


Add an image of a jet. Cut the background out and make the shadow. Duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and paint it black. Apply a Gaussian Blur with 4px and change the blend mode to Soft Light.

17. Use cloud brushes


Add some clouds to the image too. You can find a great selection online, including on the FileSilo.

18. Insert a house with trees


Place a house. Use the Rotation and Warp tools to fill the empty area and delete the unnecessary parts. Copy a part of the road, duplicate the layer and model it to occupy the space of the house.

19. Add more details


Add a waterfall between the country house and the house surrounded by trees. Add the photo and with the mask, delete the unnecessary parts. Add trees in the empty parts of the sole. To perfect the composition, clear images with the clipping mask, always using a soft brush.

20. Insert another city


Add another city to complete the empty spaces on the sole. Make sure that all added photos follow the same proportion, this is very important for the final result. Shape the picture with the Warp tool and delete the part that you won’t need.

21. Place the mountain on the heel


Place a coastline. Ensure the image is proportional with to the rest of the scene and delete the part you don’t need. To make the other side of the mountain duplicate the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+J), flip horizontally and gently erase with the mask until you get the right shape.

22. Work on the mountain


Place a highlands image. This part should be a continuation of the mountain, so, pay attention to match the photos correctly. Rotate the image and model it with the Warp tool. Erase the unnecessary part with a soft brush.

23. Refine the mountain, shadows and lights


Add a few lights and shadows to give it more realism. Make a new layer, and with the Pen tool (P) draw the shape of the shadow and light, apply a Gaussian Blur of 95px and change the blend mode to Soft Light for the lights and Multiply for the shadows.

24. Apply some finishing touches


Now, with the final image, make some adjustments to bring more life to the colours. Use the Adjustments menu, which is above the layers, and add Brightness/Contrast: 5, 10; Levels: 16, 1, 250; and Hue/Saturation: +10 layers.