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5 Important Post Processing Tips

Today, I’ll be sharing with you 5 unique post processing tips that you should know. You’ll learn helpful tips to improve your post processing skills and also tips about ethics and protecting people’s privacy. There are a lot of post processing tips but I picked the ones that aren’t talked about a lot or is something that more people need to know about.

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1. Start with a purpose

One of the most embarrassing questions people can about your photo is, “Why does your photo have that look to it?”. A lot of times, people color grade or add effects without a purpose. They’re either trying to look for the best Lightroom preset or randomly mixing adjustments hoping that they’ll get something that looks cool. But they’re not focusing on the reason behind it.

Before you start post processing, you have to know what you’re trying to achieve. And I’m not talking about the small and obvious things like fixing the exposure. I’m talking about color grading and filters. For example, here’s a wedding photo with a grungy effect. It doesn’t make sense because the effect is extreme and loud – not something typical of weddings.

Here’s another example. This video clip from a product review has a fancy aspect ratio and faded film effect to give it the cinematic look. There’s no reason for making a review video look cinematic. With both of these examples, the first thing people will notice is not the photo or video, but the post processing applied to it. And it makes them ask in their head, “Why does it have that look to it?”.

Think of color gradings and effects as music. When you combine music with video, it changes the way people feel. Your post processing style does the same thing with your photos. So before you start post processing, know what you’re trying to achieve and have a clear rationale for it.

2. Maintain a consistent noise pattern

Not all photos we take are shot at a low ISO setting. A lot of times, there is grain. And if you’re working on a high-ISO photo, you really have to pay attention to the noise pattern. When we manipulate a photo, for example, I blurred the background of this photo, the noise pattern changes. So the subject in the middle is grainy but the background is smooth. And this looks unnatural.

In Photoshop, you can use the Lens Blur filter which will let you add noise to your blur. But for better results, I prefer to add the noise manually.

To do this, add a new layer and then go to Edit > Fill. Select 50% gray then click OK. Right-click on the layer then choose “Convert to Smart Object” – this will let us apply a filter that is fully editable. Now go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter. In the FX tab, you can add grain and adjust the size and roughness of it to match your photo. Don’t worry about getting the exact settings, you can always go back and change the settings at a later time. Click OK when you’re done. Set the blending mode to Hard Light, adjust the opacity, and you’re done. If you need to adjust the grain, you can do so by doubleclicking on the Smart Filter.

3. Avoid Overprocessing

The most common postprocessing mistake is overprocessing. Sometimes an effect might look good and people will push it further thinking it’ll be even better. But if the effect is too strong, it’ll overpower the photo and can even bring out some overprocessing effects such as halos, clipped shadows and highlights, posterized colors, solarization etc.

Sometimes these effects can be caused simply by using too many layers. Try using more efficient techniques like the tone curve which can replace multiple adjustment layers.

A good way to test your effect is to use a tone and color chart. This chart is free and you can find the download link in the video description below. The chart makes it easy to see any potential artifacts. If you get anything like this, it means that you’re going to get some posterization.

If the tone chart looks like, it mean that you’re going to get solarization. The gradient should be smooth and gradual.

4. Is Your Photo Truthful?

The type of post processing you do can change the story of your photo. Sometimes it’s good and makes a photo more interesting. But sometimes it might not be so ethical.

Some people think that the only way to manipulate the story of a photo is by cropping out or cloning objects. But the way you stylize your photo can have the same effect. For example, here’s a photo of an elderly person. If we apply a dramatic effect like this, it completely changes the story. Now you might think that it’s simply making a bland photo more interesting. But how does does it make this person look? Does she look poor? Does she look stressed out? Is she starving? It looks like she went through a lifetime of problems right?

This effect turns a bland photo into something that makes you ask a lot of questions. Now I don’t know who this person is, but what if she’s incredibly wealthy, has an wonderful life and is happy about everything. Then you’ll feel deceived. When you use an effect like this… which I like to call the poverty look… you’re twisting the story and your photo is no longer truthful.

5. Protect People’s Privacy

A common technique to hide a person’s identity is to create a silhouette effect where the background is visible but the main subject is dark and hidden. If you’re doing this, you need to ensure that the black tones are properly clipped away. Sometimes the silhouette is dark enough that you can’t make out any details. But if you brighten the shadows, you can often restore all the details in the photo or video – especially if it’s taken with a high quality camera with a large dynamic range.

To prevent this from happening, you can use the Curves tool and drag the top-right node towards the left until the silhouette becomes visible. Then drag the bottom-right node as far to the right as you can. Drag the top node back to the top-right position and you’re done. Before you publish the photo, do a test to ensure that you can’t recover the details anymore.

6. Use Geotagging with Caution

I know this video said 5 tips. But there’s one last thing I want to talk about. It’s not really about post processing but it’s so important that I just have to tell people this. It is the GPS data. Many cameras now have geotagging which tags your photos with a location of where it was shot. A lot of times, this is a very handy feature especially for travel photos. But if you’re doing anything like investigative journalism, it’s very important that the photos you publish don’t have the GPS coordinates because you can seriously ruin a person’s life.

If you’re publishing a photo, make sure that you’re removing all of the metadata. If you use the save as command in Photoshop, won’t do this . The correct way to save a photo for web use is to go to File > Export > Export As. For older version of Photoshop, you can go to File > Save for Web. And there will be an option for you to remove the metadata. Always doublecheck to ensure that the GPS coordinates are removed. A better solution would be to just get in the habit of disabling geotagging in your camera before you start shooting.

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How to Create an Intense Composite of a Stone Tiger with Blue Flames

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a fantasy photo-manipulation using a basic adjustments and some stocks and how to add some textures and make it look like a fantasy fire and show you the way how to use the clipping mask and the mask as a professional and play with the lights.

Preview of Final Results

final-results

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Let’s start with creating new document in Photoshop. Go to File > New. Set the width to 1038px, height to 1468px, and resolution on 300 Pixels/Inch.

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Step 2

Now, Place sky stock as it shown by selecting File > Place.. and name it Sky. Photoshop will automatically place the image as Smart Objects, then Resize it to be like this.

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Step 3

Place the Rock Stock too by selecting File > Place .. and put it as it shown. and name it Rock Back

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Step 4

Use Pen tool on Rock Stock and select this area as it shown.

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Step 5

Now press Click Right and select (Make Selection) and make feather radius 1.0 pixels and press Ok. like shown in the image below.

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Step 6

Press Add Layer Mask as it shown

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Step 7

It will hide the area that not selected and show like the image below.

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Step 8

Place Panther Stock and use pen tool and layer mask like (step 2&4) and name it Tiger.

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Step 9

Duplicate “Rock Back” Layer by press Ctrl+j, and put it up the “Tiger” layer then go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to flip the layer and move it to be like the image below.

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Step 10

Duplicate “Rock” Layer and name it “Rock Shadow”, then put this layer under “Rock” Layer as it shown.

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Step 11

On “Rock Shadow” Layer Press right Click and press rasterize Layer, then Go To Layer > Layer Mask > Apply.

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Step 12

Double Click on “Rock Shadow” Layer and choose color Overlay, then do as it shown.

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Step 13

Go To Filter > Blur > Box Blur and make Radius 10 Pixels and press OK, then lower the opacity to 50%.

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Step 14

Duplicate “Rock” Layer and name it “Rock Blur” and rasterize it like (Step11), then Press Ctrl+T to Free Transform and Enlarge image with keeping press on Shift and move it down, then go to Filter > Blur > Field Blur and make blur 10 px.

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Step 15

Select “Tiger” Layer and Go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen and do as it shown.

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Step 16

Select The stone under the tiger then do the following adjustments, then select both layers of adjustments and press Right Click and select Create Clipping Mask.

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Step 17

Place Cracked Wall Texture above the both of adjustments and select clipping mask like last adjustments then change the mood to Overlay. and above of all create Black & White Adjustment Layer with the following Properties and create clipping Mask.

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Step 18

Make Selection Around Tiger Eye like first Pic, then those 3 adjustments ( Color Balance / Brightness& Contrast / Black& White ) as it shown.

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Step 19

Create New Layer name it (Eye Light 1) and use Soft Brush (size:25px/Hardness:0%/Opacity60%) and pint the eyes ((with color #529ad2)) like Pic no.1 change Blending Mood To Screen to get pic no.2 then Create those adjustments as clipping Mask for this layer (Eye Light 1) as it shown.

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Step 20

Create New Layer name it (Eye Light 2) and use soft brush (size:150px/Hardness:0%/Opacity30%) and pint the eyes ((with color #1e6eb8)) like pic no.1 change Blending Mood To Linear Dodge to the pic no.2 then create same adjustments from last step and use them as clipping mask for this layer (Eye Light 2).

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Step 21

In this step we gonna learn how change fire’s color. using those Adjustments (Black & White / Brightness/Contrast / Color Balance) well, those Adjustments we will do it for all of Fire Stocks.

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Step 22

Now, we start adding Fire Stocks one by one and change Blending Mood To Screen.

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Step 23

Now Select All Fire Layers and go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert To Smart Object then change Blending Mood to Screen.

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Step 24

Add those Adjustments as clipping mask to the last Smart Object File.

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Step 25

Create New Layer Above Tiger Layer and use soft brush (Size:200px/Hardness:0%/Opacity:50%) with color #3575bb and paint around the Tiger Layer, And Another Layer behind the Tiger Stock with same color and paint in the center of the Tiger Layer. and change Blending Mood for both of them to Screen.

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Step 26

Create New Group and name it “Textures”and Place “Texture 1”. and change blending mood to soft light with Opacity:50% and Fill:80% as it shown.

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Step 27

Add “Texture 2” with those Properties (Blending Mood:Soft Light / Opacity:70% / Fill:75%) And Add Layer Mask to eras where the “Tiger Layer” exist, then add “Texture 3” with Those Properties (Blending Mood:Soft Light / Opacity:50% / Fill:85%), Then Add “Texture 4” with Those Properties (Blending Mood:Soft Light / Opacity:70% / Fill:75%), then add “Texture 5” with Those Properties (Blending Mood:Overlay / Opacity:40% / Fill:75%), Finally Add “Texture 6” with Those Properties (Blending Mood:Soft Light / Opacity:40% / Fill:100%) as it shown.

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Step 28

Create an Black & White Adjustment as Clipping Mask To each one of Textures “Texture2” “Texture3” “Texture4” “Texture5” “Texture6” As it shown.

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Step 29

Now Create New Group and name It “Effects” and in it create those adjustments and focus on Blending Mood, Opacity and Fill.

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Final Results

final-results

Download the PSD

Tutorial by Moustafa Sharaf El-Din

profile

Thank you for following the tutorial. I hope it’s useful for you and hope you learn today something that gonna help on your projects i’m Moustafa Sharaf El-Din from Egypt and if you wanna contact with me like my Page.

– Moustafa Sharaf El-Din

The post How to Create an Intense Composite of a Stone Tiger with Blue Flames appeared first on Photoshop Tutorials.



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Create an Underwater Scene of a Mermaid

The underwater world is really exciting and with this tutorial, you can move there with your imagination! This tutorial will show you how to create an underwater scene using only one stock, create a mermaid with a hand drawn tail, and add bubbles created from scratch. Read this tutorial to learn how to create this amazing underwater photo manipulation!

What you’ll be creating

In this tutorial, you will start from creating underwater scene with only one stock. Then, you will make beautiful mermaid tail. After that, you can make water bubbles. After all, you will finish by creating nice adjustments, to match all colors. You’ll need Photoshop CS5.5 or newer to follow this tutorial.

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Start from creating new file File > New.

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Step 2

Add new Adjustment layer with Solid Color. It will be our background. I used #16505a, but you can pick any other color for your work :).

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Step 3

Add new layer (Layer > New > Layer or by shortcut) . In your color picker set black and white colors. From top menu choose Filter > Render > Clouds.

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Step 4

Now, from the top menu choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. Then, change blending mode to Soft light.

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Step 5

In underwater surfaces, light goes from top. Bottom of image should be darker, so add Adjustment layer with gradient fill. Set linear black-transparent gradient, as is shown.

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Decrease opacity of created gradient fill to 55%.

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Step 6

In your color picker set dark turquoise color (#16505a). From adjustments menu, choose Gradient fill. Now, set radial gradient.

step-006After all, change blending mode of created gradient fill to Multiply, decrease opacity of this layer to 55%. It’s because more important parts of your image, should be brighter.

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Step 7

Place underwater stock to your file. Change blending mode of this layer to Color dodge and decrease opacity to 53% – we’ll use underwater particles from this stock.

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Step 8

As you can see, on the top is rough splash of light. Try to fix it. Click on mask of your layer (right side, white canvas). Pick big, soft brush and gently erase problematic fragment.

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Step 9

Now You’ll make light rays. Add new layer (Layer > New > Layer or by shortcut). Pick big, soft brush and set blue color – or whatever you want – try to take monochromatic to your background color (If you don’t know, what color you should use, see Kuler tool from Adobe). Draw one big dot on your image.

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Step 10

Transform it as is shown. Put your ray to the top of the image. Just press ctrl + T and play with arrows :).

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Step 11

Repeat it (step 9-10). Create more light rays. I’ve created five rays. Avoid using the same color. Then, change blending mode of created layers to screen.

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Step 12

Time to small sparkles. Load “Sparkles Brush” – from tool menu choose brush tool. Go to menu with choosing brush. Click on small arrow on the top. Choose Load Brushes…. Your loaded brushes should be on the bottom of your brush menu.

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Step 13

Add new layer. Use “Sparkles brush” and draw some on the center of the picture. I used light-green color. Don’t go overboard with the amount of sparkles. It may looks unsightly.

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Because sparkles are too light, change opacity and blending mode of this layer – Linear Dodge (Add), 18%.

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Step 14

Add new layer. You’ll make bigger sparkles. Change size of sparkles brush to bigger. Draw some strokes from bottom to center. And from top to left side.

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Change blending mode and opacity. Linear dodge (Add), 6%.

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Step 15

It’s time for model! :) Place stock to your file and mask it. Use hard round brush for edges of stock. Use soft round brush for making linear gradient between bottom of the stock an background.

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Step 16

Stock photo is very light. Too light for underwater themes. Add new layer. Click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”. Then, pick soft, round brush, around 60px size. Set #65585a color. Draw on overexposed parts of stock.

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Change opacity and blending mode – Multiply, 62%.

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Step 17

Time to fix contrast on your stock. From adjustments menu, choose Brightness/Contrast. Set it as is shown. Then, click on it with RMB. Choose “Create clipping mask”.

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Step 18

Now you should add more realistic colors. At first, add Color Balance adjustment layer and make it a clipping mask.

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Step 19

Then, in your color picker set turquoise colors. Add adjustment layer with Gradient Fill. Click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”.

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Change blending mode of created layer to Multiply. Decrease opacity to 25%.

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Step 20

Next, add adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. Make it a clipping mask! :)

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Step 21

Now you’ll make shadows. Add new, clipping layer. Pick soft round, dark-grey brush and draw some shadows on her belly and arms.

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Change blending mode of created layer to Multiply. Decrease opacity to 50%.

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Step 22

There was shadows, so now you should take care of lights. Add new layer, also make it a clipping mask. Pick really light color. Use soft brush and draw lights on her hands, arms and head. Follow the light source.

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For better blending, change blending mode to Screen. It looks more naturally.

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Step 23

Colors are still not good. try to fix that! :) Add adjustment, clipping layer with Gradient fill (set similar gradient fill as in step 19). Set it as is shown, then change blending mode to “Color” and opacity to 50%.

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Step 24

Again, add new clipping layer. Set brush, like from step 22. Use #257775 color, or – if you using other colors, pick shadow of color, which you used in step 22. Draw lights on model – arms, hands, breast, back.

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Then, change blending mode to Screen.

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Step 25

Wow! That was long :). Now you should start working on mermaid tail. Add new layer. With hard round brush (I recommend pressure size), draw base for your tail. Keep calm – it’s only shape.

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Step 26

Load “Silky scales” brushes (If you don’t know, how to load brushes, go to step 12). Add new layer with clipping mask to tail (RMB > Create clipping mask). Pick dark blue color and let scales flow! :).

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Step 27

Click on created layer with RMB. Go to “Blending options”. Then set “Bevel and Emboss” – Scales will be convex! :).

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Step 28

Add new layer. Click on it with RMB and choose “Create clipping mask”. On this layer, You will create shadows of tail. Pick big soft brush and gently draw shadows. For making shadows, I prefer brush with pressure opacity.

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Step 29

Now add lights – new, clipping layer and light color. Remember about light source!

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Step 30

This step is totally optional. Repeat step 29. Draw bigger lights on tail. Then, just decrease opacity of this layer to 50%.

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Step 31

Back to layer with scales. Duplicate it (drag and drop layer to “New layer” symbol) and put on top of layers. If layers are unhooked, make it a clipping mask again.

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Step 32

Back below layer with tail. Place “Fish” stock to your file. Transform it as is shown.

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Step 33

Mask tail. Erase second fish and unnecessary parts of first fish. Leave only fin. On the edges of flipper, use hard brush. Soft brush will be good for center of tail.

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Step 34

Colors on tail don’t match. Add adjustment layer to the fin – RMB > Create clipping mask – with Hue/Saturation.

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Step 35

Now you should fix yellow/orange/brown tone on the top of tail. Add adjustment layer with Color Balance and make it a clipping mask.

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Step 36

Go to the op of your layers. Again place “Fish” stock, as is shown.

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Step 37

Mask unnecessary parts of fishes. Leave only tail from top. Use soft brush for mixing created tail with fish tail.

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Step 38

Of course stock doesn’t match with whole mermaid. Fix it by adding adjustment layer with Color balance. Then, click on created layer with RMB and choose Create Clipping Mask.

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Step 39

Then, add Hue/Saturation adjustment, clipping layer. It will change whole color of tail.

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Step 40

In my opinion edge between tail and stock is really big. Fix it. Create new layer. Pick color from mermaid tail and draw stroke below fish tail.

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Now decrease opacity of created layer to 50%.

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Step 41

You should draw hair. Add new layer and draw some strands. Use 2px soft brush. Remember about changing colors – I used tones of turquoise and black.

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Step 42

Now You will make outline. Use light turquoise. Draw some strokes on both tails!

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Step 43

Cool! again add new layer. You should repair mermaid’s bra. Draw some strings by 2px soft brush. At the end of every string you should draw white dots – like pearls!

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Step 44

I will show you, how to draw bubbles. Let’s start! Create new layer. Choose 60px hard round brush and draw dot somewhere.

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Step 45

Now choose erase tool. Set soft brush with the same as before size – here: 60px and erase center of dot.

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Step 46

It’s time to make it sparkling! By small, hard round brush draw some sparkles on bubble.

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Step 47

Now, pick hard round brush, with size as you used in step 44. Set opacity of brush to around 8% and draw the same dot as before. Use tones of blue or green.

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Step 48

At the end, draw some white shine around bubble. Use around 23% opacity, white, soft round brush, 19px. Draw strokes on top-left edge and smaller stroke on right bottom.

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Step 49

Now your bubble is ready. Convert it to Smart Object, for making endless transforms :). Click on this layer with RMB and choose Convert to Smart Object.

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Step 50

Now duplicate your bubble (drag and drop layer to “New layer” symbol) then transform duplicated layers (Ctrl + T). Repeat it a few times.

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Step 51

If you have too much layers, just click on some with holding ctrl. Then click on chosen layers with RMB and pick “Convert to Smart Object”. You can freely transform group of bubbles.

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Step 52

You can also play with smart filters. I’ve used from top menu Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur…

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Step 53

Now, for making colors good, add adjustment layer with Gradient fill.

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Change blending mode to Overlay, decrease opacity to 20%.

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Step 54

I’ll show you, how to make your image deeper. Add new layer. In your color picker set green and black colors. Then, from top menu choose Filter > Render > Clouds.

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Change blending mode to Soft Light, also decrease opacity to 20%.

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Then, from top menu choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur…

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Step 55

This step is optional. Add new layer. Pick Sparkles brush and draw some sparkles around your mermaid. Use white color.

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Set blending mode of this layer to Soft light. Layer will inherit colors of the rest of image.

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Step 56

Again add new layer. Use the same brush (Sparkles, white color) and set bigger size. Draw some strokes around tail.

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Now set blending mode to Vivid light. Decrease opacity to 33%..

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Step 57

You should fix Brightness/Contrast. Add Adjustment layer.

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Step 58

Optional – add Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. It will fix all colors.

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Step 59

In your color picker set as primary color some green or blue (as your wish!), add adjustment layer with radial Gradient fill.

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At the end, change blending mode to Multiply.

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Final Results

final-results[1]

Download the PSD

Tutorial by msRiotte

profileThank you for following this tutorial! You are amazing. Write if you have questions! :). Personally I am graphic designer from Poland. See my portfolio here: msriotte.tk. I’m also on Facebook: here!– msRiotte

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