Create a Fantasy Deer Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you how to create an adorable deer photo manipulation in Photoshop. We’ll first create a forest scene for deer using forest stock. Then we’ll add other elements such deer, woods and tree, and blend them using range of photo manipulation techniques. At the end we’ll create a light source and, finalize the whole using adjustment layers.

Tutorial Resources

Creating Background

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the following settings :

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Add the Forest

Step 2

Go to File > Place Embedded and place the forest image to main document.

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Step 3

Time to add sharpness to forest using High Pass filter. Duplicate the forest layer by CTRL + J. Convert the duplicated forest layer into Smart Objects. Now go to Filter > Other > High Pass and apply it with the following settings :

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If you don’t add the sharpness to forest then you’ll have a blurred background for deer.

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the brightness of the forest. To add an adjustment layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves or click the third icon at the bottom of layer panel.

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On the layer mask of Curves, mask the effect on the selected part using a soft round black brush as I am aiming to create light source on the left side of the scene. Use a soft, basic black brush for masking the effect with lower opacity around 40%-50%.

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Results with maintained brightness on the left side :

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Step 5

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, reduce the brightness and increase the contrast little bit.

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On the layer mask of Brightness/Contrast, mask the effect on the left side using soft round basic black.

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Results with more darkness :

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Step 6

Add a Curves adjustment layer and use the Blue Channel to add yellow color tones to forest.

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Results :

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Step 7

Make a Selective Color adjustment layer and choose the yellow colors to enhance the colors of the forest.

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Results :

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Layer panel arranged so far :
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Add the Beach

Step 8

Add the beach image to main document and place it shown below.

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Step 9

The aim of adding the beach image is to get its forest path parts and add them to existing forest. Add a mask to beach image by clicking second icon at the bottom of layer panel or go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Now use a soft, basic black to mask the selected parts of beach.

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Results after masking :

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