Learn How to Photo Manipulate a Realistic Fallen Angel Scene

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a photo manipulation of a fallen angel using advanced skills. You’ll master some techniques such as:

  • Extracting hair the correct way.
  • Blending various photographic elements seamlessly.
  • Creating realistic, custom lighting for your scene.
  • Working with smart objects and a professional non-destructive workflow.

Final Image

As always, this is the final image you’ll be creating:

Resources Used In This Tutorial




Step 1

First off, create a new file (Ctrl+N/Cmd+N) which is*2000×2313*pixels at a Resolution of 300 pixels/inch, set the*Color Mode*to Lab Color and the background to Transparent. Save this file as “Angel.psd”.

Step 2

Click on the foreground color swatch in the tool box to open up the color picker. Set the color to a dark blue-gray (#181a1e).
Press Alt+Backspace/Opt+Delete to fill Layer 1 with this color. Rename the layer to “BG”.

Step 3

Open up the Wall image (PlasterLeaking0046_1_L.jpg), press Ctrl+A/Cmd+A to select all, followed by Ctrl+C/Cmd+C to copy the image to the clipboard. Switch to the Angel.psd image and copy the wall into it (Ctrl+V/Cmd+V). The new layer should sit above the BG layer. Rename this layer to “Wall”. Use Free Transform to scale and position the Wall layer as indicated below.

Next, set the Wall layer’s Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Step 4

Alt+click/Opt+click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the layer’s palette. Hold the Alt or Opt key while choosing Hue/Saturation from the pop-up menu.

When the New Layer dialog appears, type “Desat” in the name field and tick the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box. Click Ok to create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

When the Hue/Saturation dialog pops up, set the Lightness to -50 and the Saturation to -22.

Click on the Wall layer and Shift+click on the Desat layer to select them both. Press Ctrl+G/Cmd+G to group the layer and rename the new group to “Wall”.
Step 5

Although the wall won’t be playing a vital role in the overall composition, it helps to tell the story if we add some interest to it in the shape of pipes. Open up the Pipes image (Pipes0081_L.jpg). We need to separate the pipes from the wall. The easiest way to do that is to duplicate the background layer first by pressing Ctrl+J/Cmd+J. It’s always a good idea to duplicate the layer you’re going to work on, in case something goes terribly wrong. Next, create a layer mask for the new layer by clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layer’s palette. Make sure the layer mask is active (it’ll have a double border around it) and that the foreground color is black. Use the Pen tool (P) to draw around each section of the wall. Every time you finish a piece of the wall press Ctrl+Enter/Cmd+Return to create a selection from the path and fill the selection with black by pressing Alt+Backspace/Opt+Delete. If you’re not sure how to use the Pen tool to create selections effectively, have a look at this tutorial.
When you’re done, the result should look like this:

Now we’ll transfer the masked layer to Angel.psd. Right+click in an empty space next to your masked layer’s name and choose Duplicate layer from the pop-up menu. When the dialog appears, click on the arrow next to the Document name and choose Angel.psd from the list. Click Ok to confirm. You can now close the Pipes image.

Step 6

Back in Angel.psd you’ll see that the pipes are copied and pasted on their own layer. Make sure this layer sits above the Wall group and rename it to “Pipes left”.**Next press Ctrl+T/Cmd+T and scale the pipes so that they fit vertically on the wall. When you’re done, right+click in the transformation rectangle and pick Flip Horizontal from the pop-up menu.

Right+click on the Pipes left layer mask and choose Apply Layer Mask from the list.

Use the Lasso tool (L) to select the right hand side group of pipes as shown below. Press Shift+Ctrl+J/Shift+Cmd+J to cut and paste the selection to a new layer. Rename this layer to “Pipes right”.

Activate the Move tool (V) and position the Pipes right layer against the right hand side edge of the image. Next, select the Pipes left layer by clicking on it and move it over to the left edge of the image.

Step 7

There are several things we need to do to make the pipes fit in with the wall. We’ll start with the pipes on the left. Open the Drips image (DecalsLeaking0181_1_S.png) and use the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) to select a piece of it as shown below. Copy it (Ctrl+C/Cmd+C) to the clipboard. Don’t close the image yet, we’ll need it again in a moment.

Switch to Angel.psd and press Ctrl+V/Cmd+V to paste the drip. In the Layers palette and rename the layer to “Drip”. In the Layers palette, grab the Drip layer and drag it below the Pipes left layer.