Create a Fantasy Photo Manipulation of Valkyrie

Learn how to do this fantasy photo manipulation with mythological goddess – Valkyrie. You will learn, how to create dark themed background by using only two stock photos, how to add dramatic effects with particles and how to make depth of field in your work. Sounds interesting? Check it out!

What you’ll be creating

Valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. To create it you will start from making background. Next, you will add model with all props of goddess. Finally, you will finish it up with nice particles effect and coloring. You’ll need Photoshop CS5 or newer to follow this tutorial.


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Start from creating 1400x1400px canvas. Place Autumn coastal hill at the center of the image.


Step 2

From top menu choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. I used 7,6 px blur.


Step 3

As you can see, Smart filters can be masked by you. For do that you should just click white canvas in the “Smart Filter” line.


Pick big, soft round brush and decrease opacity to 60%. Erase bottom of the hill, as is shown. You should leave blur on edges – it will give depth of field on image.


By clicking white canvas of Smart Filter with alt holding, you can edit only mask. My results:


Step 4

Now you will adjust the hill stock. Click on shortcut for make Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Set it as shown:


Step 5

For creating highlights on background you should add again the same adjustment layer. Set it as shown.


Then mask adjustment layer as is shown. You can do this by clicking white canvas on this layer. I used big soft brush. Try to leave center and top of the layer.


Step 6

Next, add Hue/Saturation layer. With this adjustment, you can better blend hill and sky layer.


Step 7

Place sky stock. Add mask to this layer and use gradient tool to mask it, or play with big soft brushes. As you wish :).


Step 8

Add Hue/Saturation layer. Decrease saturation. Make it clip by RMB > Create clipping mask.


Step 9

At the end of making background add adjustment layer (without clipping mask) with Brightness and Contrast. Set it as shown.


Step 10

Then on mask of adjustment layer use radial gradient and erase center of the layer.


Step 11

Now place model stock and mask background. Don’t be afraid of the perspective in this step. You will add gown soon, so keep calm :).


Step 12

Now is harder part. You should fix straps on the model. Use clone stamp tool on new layer. Hold alt on skin and click when straps appears. In aligned sample choose Current and below. Then make this layer Clippy.


Step 13

Add adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. Make it clippy by RMB > Create clipping mask.


Then mask whole layer, except part of the skirt, above hand.


Step 14

Place antique texture. It will be armor! :) Create clipping mask.


Step 15

Click on layer with RMB and choose blending options. From menu pick Bevel and Emboss. Set it as shown.


Step 16

Then mask i in shape of your desired armor.


Step 17

Create new layer with clipping mask. Draw gently of the top edge of armor brown strokes. I used #675544 color.


Set blending mode of this layer to Screen.


Step 18

Create new layer. Yes. Clippy. :) Use big, soft, white brush and draw on arms and armor.


Decrease opacity to 33%.


Step 19

It’s time to create lights. Add new clipping layer. Use soft brush with dynamic opacity and draw some strokes on the edges of armor, hands and body.

Light goes behind model, in the center of the image.


Step 20

Add adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation and make it clippy. Remember this step – you can use it for making materials (like clothes) black.


I just wanted to do skirt black, no whole model. So mask desired fragments.


Step 21

For good taste, add Brightness/Contrast layer and make it clippy. Set it as is shown:


Step 22

Good job! I hope this isn’t too boring for you. Now it’s time to make gown. Every warrior have a gown, isn’t it? :) Place gothic bridal stock and transform it (ctrl +T, then use warp mode from top menu).


Mask top of the stock. Erase material below skin of hands by soft brush :).


Step 23

Create new layer. Use big, white, soft brush to make lights on gown. Remember about light source.


Decrease opacity to 30%.


Step 24

Add new layer. Use smaller brush and create highlights on drapery.


Change opacity to 65%.


Step 25

Now shadows. Create new layer. Use black, soft brush with decreased to 60% opacity. Draw some strokes on the folds and on the armor.


Step 26

As you can see, armor have floral ornaments. Add new layer. By using small, soft brush and white beige (#eceae5) color draw on the edges of ornaments. Try to avoid shadowed fragments. I also used some brown strokes, for better look.


With the same settings draw contour on arms. Then, change blending mode to Screen and opacity to 69% (^^).


Step 27

On new layer I added also contour of the gown, arms and hair.


Step 28

It’s time to make hair. You can use brush or whole stock to make it. But! Why no both? I used stock and pen tablet to make hair.



Step 29

Back below layer with the model. Place smoke stock as is shown.


Step 30

Then add adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. You will make it brighter. Set it as shown. Make it clippy by RMB > Create clipping mask.


Step 31

By holding ctrl choose smoke and adjustment layer. Duplicate it. Next, by clicking Ctrl + T flip it horizontally.


Step 32

Create new layer – above smoke, below model. Choose gradient tool. Set it white – transparent and fill it as is shown:


Set blending mode to Soft light and opacity to 65%.


Step 33

Place to your file particles stock (below model, above gradient layer). Change blending mode to Screen and opacity to 69%.


Step 34

Repeat this step. I used three particles layers on background (with the same settings).


Step 35

If everything is clear, it’s time to make a mask. Place stock into the file. Isolate part of it as is shown (by masking).


Step 36

Add adjustment layer with Curves. Make it clippy. It gives unitary tone for the whole stock.


Step 37

Next, add clipping adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. It will give better possibility to adjust everything to background and model.


Step 38

On this adjustment layer add mask. With gray, soft brush erase some places. Leave only top of the prop.


Step 39

Add again clipping Hue/Saturation layer.


Step 40

Create new clipping layer. Pick soft, dark-brown brush and draw on the centre of her mask. Use brush with dynamic opacity for making shadows and lights.


Step 41

Change blending mode of drawn layer to Multiply and Opacity to 70% – If you used lesser opacity of brush, place will be lighter and vice versa.


Step 42

Add new clipping layer. With small, soft brush (ex 2px) pick white beige color. Draw contour of the mask and pattern of mask.


Step 43

Again add clipping layer. You will create light on mask set. Pick soft brush #968979 color and draw on the left and right side of mask, as shown. For better effect, you can use lighter tones of beige on the edges of mask.


At the end, change blending mode to Screen.


Step 44

Back below mask. Create new layer (without clipping). Use small, soft brush, with dark beige color and draw shadows below mask, on the neck and hair. Then change blending mode to multiply.


Step 45

Below mask place wing. Mask it as is shown. Erase also second wing.


Step 46

Add Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and make clipping mask (RMB > Create clipping mask). Set it as shown. You should make it brighter, for further transforms of colors.


Step 47

Next, add adjustment layer with Color/Balance.


Step 48

Then, add Brightness/Contrast layer – also clippy, because wing is still too dark.


Step 49

Add new layer and make it clippy (RMB > Create clipping mask). Pick soft, brown brush and draw on the right side of wing.


Change blending mode to Screen.


Step 50

On new clipping layer repeat 49 step, but use lighter brush.


Step 51

Add clipping layer. You will create shadows on wings. Use smaller brush and draw below the feathers. Then change blending option to Multiply.


Step 52

At the end of making wings, choose on new (without clipping) layer small (1px) white brush and draw light contour.


Step 53

Place wing layers to one folder, then duplicate it (as shown). Flip whole folder horizontally and transform (ctrl+T).


Step 54

Go on the top of the layers. On new layer draw with small brush some particles. Then from top menu choose Filter > Blur > Radial blur. Set amount to 2. Then decrease opacity to 75%.


Step 55

Now place particles brush PSD to your file. Add Radial blur and set it as shown.


Then add Gaussian blur:


Next, change opacity of this layer to 14%.


Step 56

Add new layer. With huge, soft, gray brush draw dots on the bottom of picture. You can also play with opacity. In the corners it’s bigger than above.


If you want you can change blending mode to Multiply – for darker mood on your work.


Step 57

Create new layer. In color picker set black and white colors. From top menu choose Filter > Render > Clouds. Then choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. Set it as shown.


Step 58

Change blending mode of created layer to Soft light and decrease opacity to 44%. It gives your image more dramatic look.


Step 59

Create new adjustment layer with black and white radial gradient fill.


Then change blending mode and opacity to Soft Light, 50%.


Step 60

Now you can play with colors. Add Color Balance adjustment layer. In the picture are my settings.


Other capabilities:



Final Results


Download the PSD

Tutorial by msRiotte

profileThank you for following this template! You are amazing! If you like my art, like my facebook page. You can also see my portfolio here:

– with love, msRiotte

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