Creating Sagittarius in Photoshop
- Program: Adobe Photoshop
- Version: CS3+
- Estimated Completion Time: 2-3 hours
Let’s start by opening a new file with a size of 1000x1500px with a resolution of 300ppi (pixels per inch).
Next, open the stock images we’ve downloaded. As you can see below, I positioned the stock images so you could have an idea of what we’ll be creating. As you can see below, the Archer’s elbow is missing, Fig. a, so I used another stock photo then cut the area I only needed, Fig. b.
The next procedure is to remove the areas/backgrounds we don’t need. For this step I used the Pen tool (P) to define a path all around the outline of each components of our image. Once the path has been defined, press right-click then select Make Selection from the pop-up menu. Do this procedure for the rest of our images.
The final product should look like as shown below.
Next is to change the color tone settings of our images to make it look as one. For this process, you can use Hue/Saturation, Levels and Vibrance to correct the colors of each component. This process is all trial and error so patience is needed, don’t hesitate to experiment. I recommend to use the Archer’s body as the reference color tone for the Horse’s body and Arm extension to follow. The main goal for this step is to set the color tones of each components as close as possible.
Next is to make the connection of the Archer’s body to the Horse’s body. For this step I used the Brush tool (B) to paint the connection. I sample the color to be used from the Archer’s body then started to paint the missing parts. Using some shadings and highlights, I defined the archer’s abdominal muscles and the lower bones of the ribs. This step is only the primary procedure for the connection, further digital painting will be done in later steps.
Next step is to remove the line on the Archer’s body. Using the Patch tool (J), select a small area of line we want to remove, Fig. a. After that, drag the selection and you will see the selected area change showing a preview of the area to be sampled, Fig. b. Use the areas close to the line as reference for the sample for the selected areas. Do this step until no trace of the line is to be seen, Fig. c. The final product is shown below.
Next is to extend the strap for the bow case. To do this, just select the Pen tool (P) then make a shape just like as shown in Fig. a. Next, using the Brush tool (B), paint the selected area using the colors sampled from the original strap, Fig. b. Remember to apply a subtle drop shadow for the strap. The final effect should look like Fig. c.
After that, let’s extend the bow. Using the Rectangular Marquee tool (M), select an area just like as shown in Fig. a. Once selected, press Ctrl/Cmd+C to copy the selection. Place the copied selection on to the top portion of the bow, then press Ctrl/Cmd+T to rotate the selection just like as shown, in Fig.b. Do this also for the bottom part of the bow. Finally, do this procedure again for the second set of extension for the bow. Make sure to erase some parts of both edges to make it rounded, Fig. c.
Next step is to add the string/rope for our bow. To do this, using the Pen tool (P), define a path just like as shown in Fig. a. After that press right-click then select Stroke Path from the pop-up menu, Fig. a-1. From there, select the Brush as the tool of reference for the stroke, Fig. a-2. Make sure that the Brush settings is set to a Hardness of 100%, Size of ~3px and color# 000000 prior to doing the path. The effect should look like, Fig. b. Access the String’s layer Layer Style menu, then follow the indicated values as shown in Fig. b-1. Finally, using the Pen tool (P) or Brush tool (B), make the dropshadow for the string.
After all the process we’ve made, we have to Merge all the layers that composes our Archer. But before you do it, I suggest you to duplicate all the layers first before merging, then group it into a folder, then hide it for the mean time. This will be our main backup just in case we want to change something later.
Once merged, change its Levels (Ctrl/Cmd+L) and Hue/Saturation (Ctrl/Cmd+U) settings with the given values indicated below.
Let’s now prepare the background of our subject. First, open the files Mountain.jpg. Like what I did in Fig. a, I only used a certain part of the image. Next, open the Ground.jpg then press Ctrl/Cmd+T to activate the resizing handles. Distort the image just like as shown in Fig. b. Change the Hue/Saturation setting of the Ground with the values indicated in Fig. c. Finally, using a soft, midsize brush with color #000000, paint the areas indicated in Fig. d.
The final effect should look like as shown in Fig. e, here the merged layer of the Archer is placed.
The next step is to add the ground shadow of our Archer. This step is easy for you only need to use a soft, midsized brush set to an Opacity level of ~50% and color #000000. Brush the areas indicated below paying close attention to details. Make sure that the closer a part is positioned in reference to the ground, the shadow is more darker, and as you go away from the ground you decrease the opacity for the shadow.
Next using the Brush settings indicated below, paint the hair of the Archer as well as the tail part of the Horse. While brushing, try to use different shades of blacks and greys, so the hair will look shiny and give the illusion of fullness.
Our image looks flat, to fix this we need to add a couple of different shadings and highlights to emphasize the body contour of our Archer. Before we start, we first need to know the position of our “light source” which, in this case, is right above of our subject.
Knowing that, let’s start our digital painting process!
We’ll start our process by adding some shadings. Based on our light source, I indicated the areas needed to be painted with different shades of blacks and browns. For this step, I recommend you to use a soft, mid-sized brush with an Opacity level of only about 2-10%. The process is all up to you. You could follow the original dark shades/areas of our image then just enhance it.
Next, after doing some shadings, let’s add some highlights. Using the same brush settings we used for the shade, but know using different color tones close to white, paint the areas indicated in purple. Highlights will enhance the shadings we’ve made. In this step, make sure to site the areas that needed to be emphasized or enhanced, such us the roundness of the Archer’s head, his arms, the horse’s chest, thigh, and neck to name a few.
Before we added the shadings and highlights, the image looks flat, but now some areas look as if their popping out.
Next step is to add a series of color enhancement that’ll set the mood of our image and make the image look as one. First, add a new layer then, using the Paint Bucket tool (G), fill the entire layer with color #462d00. Next, set its Blending Mode to Overlay then decrease its Opacity level to 30%.
Next, like what we did in Step 17, add a new layer then fill it with color #004a6d. Set its Blend Mode to Color Dodge. This step made our subject glow in a fantasy kind of way.
At this point we need to save a JPEG file of our work. Once saved, open the JPEG file then place it directly above our “work layers” then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur then change its value to about 1.3 pixels, just like as shown in Fig. a. Next, using a soft, small size Eraser with an Opacity of about 50%, erase the areas indicated in Fig. b. This step will add a subtle glow for our subject thus creating a fantasy-like environment.
The final effect should look as shown below.
Next, I did some further enhancement for the highlights we’ve made earlier but know doing it above the color enhancement layers we’ve made. For this step, use a soft, small brush with an Opacity level of about 25% and color #ffffff.
Next, using a small brush of about 3px, paint the areas indicated in red with color #ffffff. This will emphasize the fold of the bandanna in his head and enhance the depth of the subject’s face.
Next is to add a subtle cast of shadows of our subject. To do this, using the Brush tool (B) set to a size of about 90px with hardness value of about 26%, paint the areas indicated in red with color #000000. Finally, decrease its opacity level to 45%.
Next, we need to add a color overlay to make our image warmer. To do this, add a new layer then, using the Paint Bucket tool (G), fill the entire layer with color #ff9600. Go to its Blend Mode settings then change it to Overlay. Finally, decrease the layers Opacity level to about 32%.
Lastly, to complete our creation, I added a subtle sunlight cast from the upper-right corner of our image. To do this, using a hard, small brush, paint small dots like as shown below.
Next, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur then follow the indicated setting shown below.
After that, press Ctrl/Cmd+T to transform our selection. I distorted it like as shown below, so that the light rays are more compressed on the upper-right corner then spreading all out to the lower-left corner of our image.
Finally, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur then apply the indicated value shown below.
That’s it, we’re done. The final product is shown below. Hope you had fun working on this project and learned something new! Thanks for reading!