By Jenny Le
What You’ll Be Creating
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a Queen of Hearts photo manipulation.
First we’ll build the background with an ornament image and a rock one. After that we’ll import the frame and create the effect inside it with the Clouds filter and a nebula image. Later we’ll add the model and the crown and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes.
We’ll create the cards with different hearts and arrange them to create a dynamic scene. Then we’ll use several adjustment layers and paint the red light to complete the final effect.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. Build the Environment
Create a new 2000 x 2000 px document in Photoshop with the settings below:
Open the background image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V):
There are some unwanted details on the background, and they might mess up
the final effect. To fix it, make a new layer and set it as Clipping
Mask. Use the Clone Tool (S) to remove the indicated details.
Add a Color Balance adjustment layer to make the background color red. Change the Shadows settings:
Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the background. On this layer
mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the effect around the middle
where the main model will be added.
Use another Curves adjustment layer to make the background darker. Paint around the middle to reveal the light there:
the rock image. Use the Move Tool to place it in the bottom of the
document and use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to narrow it as
Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the rock floor. On this layer
mask, use a soft black brush to reveal some light in the middle:
Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to add red to the floor:
The floor doesn’t look well blended with the background. Create a new
layer and use a soft black brush to paint the shadow on both sides of
the floor to fit the shadow on the lower background.
2. Add the Frame
Isolate the heart frame and add it to the top center of the background. Use Control-T with Warp mode to bend the heart a little.
Double click the frame layer, and choose Drop Shadow:
Make a Curves adjustment layer to match the lightness of the frame with the background:
a new layer and set the foreground and background to
#fd0000. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to grab a square and go
to Filter > Render > Clouds:
Move it onto the frame area and use a layer mask to make it fit inside the frame:
Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the effect, making it appear more subtle:
Open the nebula image. Drag it onto the cloud effect and change its mode
to Overlay 100%. Use a layer mask to erase the part outside the frame:
Use a Curves adjustment layer to make the effect more visible. Paint on the left side so that it’s not affected by this adjustment layer.
3. Add the Model
Open the model images pack. Choose the first image and Control-click the mask to load the selection. Hit Control-Shift-I to
invert the selection. Still keep the selection, choose the main image
(not mask), and use the Move Tool to place the isolated model in the
middle of the scene. Reduce her size using Control-T.
Add a mask to the model layer and use a hard black brush to remove some remaining white edges:
Go to Edit > Puppet Warp and change the pose of the pointing arm following the eyes’ direction:
Go back to the model original image. Select the head only and add this head to the existing model, making it much bigger than the body.
Use a layer mask to blend the head with the body:
Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill it with 50% gray:
Select the Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 15-20% to
darken the model’s cheeks a bit. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and
the result with Overlay mode:
Hit U to activate the Custom Shape Tool. Choose the Heart shape and set
the foreground to
#dc1c17. Draw a shape onto the lips area and change
the mode to Multiply 100%:
Duplicate this layer twice and move them to the eyes area. Use a layer
mask on each of these layers to remove the part covering the eyes.
Make a new layer and use a medium-hard black brush with the color
#d03733 to paint more hair for the model.
Select the model layer and the related ones and press Control-G to
make a group for them. Change this group mode to Normal 100%. Use a
Curves adjustment layer to darken the model, and then on its layer mask,
use a soft black brush to show some light on the body and dress.
Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones values. On
this layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the red effect on the
model head and lower body, leave it visible on the middle dress part.
Create a new layer under the model one and paint her shadow on the floor with a soft black brush.
4. Add the Crown
Isolate the crown and add it to the top middle of the model head, making it a lot smaller than the head.
Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the crown:
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to change the crown color:
To make the red light from the frame reflected on the crown, make a new
layer and use a medium-soft brush with red color and a small size
(about 3-4 px) to paint along the crown contour. Set this layer as Clipping Mask to make this step easier.
5. Add the Cards
Open the cards image and isolate the 8 of hearts card from the background.
We’re aiming to create cards with different numbers of hearts. To do it, first
create a new layer above the isolated card one. Use a medium-soft brush
with the color
#d5d1c6 (picked from the card) to paint on the card and
hide the unwanted hearts. Name it “painting”.
Use the Heart shape with red color to draw different shapes of heart on
the separate layers. I’ve made the card with one, two, three, four or
six hearts. With the card with one big heart in the center, select the
isolated card, the painting layer and the heart one and use the Move
Tool to drag these three layers into our main canvas. Merge them into a
new one and use Control-T to tweak it, making it curvy and bendy.
Use the same method to
create the cards with different hearts. You can mix the handmade hearts
with the original card to add to the scene. Make them fly around the
model, and arrange some on the floor. The Warp mode is very useful
in this case, so don’t be afraid to go wild with it! Apply a Gaussian Blur
of 6 px (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) to some of the cards on the edges to create depth of field.
Make a group for the cards and add a Curves adjustment layer to darken these layers.
Use a soft black brush to reveal the light on the cards, especially on the middle ones.
Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to match the cards’ color with the background.
6. The Final Adjustment
Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer and pick the colors
#00601b. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.
Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:
Use a Curves adjustment layer to change the color and contrast of the whole scene.
Create a new layer and use a hard brush with a red color (I’ve chosen
#fd0000) to paint red light on the model’s body and on the cards near
the frame. The nearer the card, the stronger the light. Also paint red hair strands on top of the model’s head.
Make a new layer and change the mode to Overlay 100%. Use the same brush
to paint glowing red light on the cards around the frame.
Congratulations, You’re Done!
I hope that you’ve learned something useful for your future projects.
Feel free to leave your comments in the box below—I’d love to see them.