First thing you will need to do and this may be the hardest part of the tutorial, is to find a background that will be suitable for your chop. But you will skip this step because I already found the perfect pictures for this tutorial.
- Open photoshop and create a new document with 2048 Width and 1536 Height.
- Go to http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1126971 copy the image, return to photoshop and click edit>paste or ctrl+v.
- Now let's rename this "Layer 1", let's call it Background and delete the layer beneath also called Background for we won't be needing it anymore.
- Bring on top of the background layer the source image http://www.pxleyes.com/images/contests/leaf/fullsize/sourceimage.jpg and rename it: Leaf.
- Now let's crop the leaf so we can use it in our chop; for this situation we will be using the Magic Wand Tool because the background is all white and the cropping will be more easy this way. Make sure the Leaf layer is selected Click on the Magic Wand Tool and click on the white space that's surrounding the leaf. Now that you see the selection on your screen, tap the delete key on your keyboard and there you have your leaf.
- You should still have your selection on so go to Select>Modify>Expand and expand the selection by 2 pixels and then press the delete key once again(this will remove any of the surplus edges). Go to Select>Deselect.
- Now that we have our leaf cropped let's make it a smart object so no matter what size we make it, it will keep it's quality. Make sure the Leaf layer is selected and go to Layer>Smart objects>Convert to smart object, we will resize it later. For now let's hide this layer, click once on the eye on the left side of the leaf layer to hide it.
- The next thing that we have to do is to bring the apple into the chop http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1097201 and rename the layer Apple.
Once you have the Apple layer inside your project make sure it’s selected and then resize it so it will fit. Go to Edit>Free Transform, click the Maintain Aspect Ratio Icon between the width and height boxes and enter 65% inside one of them so the apple image will fit inside our work area and then hit the Enter key on your keyboard. Don’t worry if the white space surrounding the apple will cross over the work area, we will remove that in our next step.
- For this picture we will use the Pen Tool to crop the apple. Select the Pen Tool from the tool’s menu and zoom the image holding down ctrl key and pressing twice the “+” key. (you can press 3 or 4 times to zoom in, it depends on how comfortable the view size is for you). Now you can start by making your path around the apple point by point, don’t let too much space between those points. While you are making this path around the apple you will need to move the image having the Pen Tool selected, to do this hold down the space bar and drag the image with the mouse holding left click, to the desired place.
After you have closed the path (return to the first point), still having the Pen Tool selected, right click anywhere inside the path and select Make Selection, click Ok, press the ”-“ key multiple times while holding down ctrl to zoom out so we can see the whole image, go to Select>Inverse and hit the delete key, then Select>Deselect. To finish this we have to remove the white edges that remained after cropping the apple. Grab the Move Tool and drag the Apple layer to the right until you see the left white edge, take the Magic wand tool, click on the white edge and then hit Delete. Deselect (Ctrl+D) and do the same with the right edge.
- Now that we have our apple let’s make it a smart object Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to smart Object. In this step we will make the apple fit in the hand on the background. Make sure you have the Apple layer selected go to Edit>Free Transform and shrink the apple until you have a matching size for the hand, the values I have used are Width: 1132.6 px and height: 1215.8 px. Use the Move Tool to position the apple in the right spot. (If the tale of the apple is not in the work area don’t worry about it, we will fix it later on). Once we have the ideal size and position of the apple we don’t need it anymore as a smart object so let’s rasterize it: Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object.
- To make the apple look like it’s right there in the hand we have to remove some of the lower part that will be covered with the hand. First let’s add a Layer mask to the Apple layer, go to Layer>Layer mask>Reveal All. Select the Brush Tool and right click on the work area, enter the brush a value of 130 px for the size and a hardness of 90% then click on the Apples layer Mask, make sure this is selected and make sure you have the default foreground and background colors which are black and white. For this technique we will use black as our foreground color and paint over the white mask where the apple is. Before you start erasing the apple using this technique you have to set the apples layer transparency to 60% so you can see the line of the hand. Don’t forget to use the zoom out and zoom in shortcut key’s while making this part, Ctrl + , Ctrl - .
In case you erased too much from the apple you can always press the X key on your keyboard (this means that your foreground color will become white and background color will become black) and paint over the erased image and it will be restored. This is a very good technique.
- Let’s enlarge the height of the canvas by 200% so we can add our next image, go to Image>Canvas Size, in the Anchor section select the middle down arrow, select percent from the height drop down menu and then enter 200 in the height box and click OK.
- Once we have made room for another picture, we will bring in our composition the sky image that you can find here: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1218510. Once you have placed the sky in the chop, you are going to make this sky fit with the one beneath and both will become 1.
Go to Edit>Free Transform, zoom out twice so you can see the whole image, hold down the Shift key and drag left from the right-bottom corner until the upper half of the canvas is filled, you will also need to leave a part of the image that will be underneath the current background. While you still have Free Transform selection on, right click inside and click Flip Vertical so the larger cloud will go up and the small ones will be down to fit the smaller clouds in the Background. Use the Move Tool to position the clouds in the right spot and then rename this layer “Clouds” and drag it down at the bottom in the layers palette right after the “Background” layer.
- Now we have to match the color of the sky, so we are going to use the Adjustment Layers. Make sure the Clouds layer is selected, hold down the Alt key, click the Create new fill or adjustment layer button in the layers palette, keep holding the left mouse button, move up to Hue/Saturation, release the mouse button and when the New layer pop-up appears make sure you check the Use previous layer to create clipping mask box, then click OK.
Before modifying the values of the new adjustment layer let’s create a Levels adjustment layer repeating the actions above (step 11). Now that we have 2 adjustment layers we are going to change their values so the sky layer will fit perfectly with the Background. You can copy the values from the image below.
- Let’s add a layer mask to the Background layer and repeat the actions in step 8, just this time we are going to erase the Background layer. The only changes you will make is that you will have 0% hardness and 320 Master Diameter for your brush.
Next we are going to pick the Clone stamp tool and remove the tale from the fruit that’s behind the apple in the Background layer. Make sure the Background layer is selected (not it’s mask), pick the Clone stamp tool, check the following: Hardness 0%, Master Diameter 45-70, Opacity 100% , Sample: Current Layer and begin removing the tale step by step, also don’t forget to zoom in and out as needed.
In this step we will make the apple lightning fit in the environment. Select the Apple layer, take the Burn tool, check the following settings: Range = Highlights, Exposure = 50%, Master Diameter = 125 px, Hardness = 0% and start painting on the right side of the apple, side which should be darker. Go once over the apple with the Range set to Hightlights and then once with Midtones and you will achieve the effect you see below. You may also change the size of the Burn Tool to match the exact area you want to darken in this step. With the same settings you may also want to darken a bit the lower side of the apple where it ends in the hand to create a slight shadow from the hand. For the shape of the apple, while still having the Apple layer selected we will hold down the Ctrl key and click once again on the Apple layer to select it’s shape, now go to Select>Modify>Contract by 1 px, then go to Select>Inverse, next Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, enter 1 px in the Radius box, click OK, Select>Deselect.
Now let’s correct some of the apple parts using the Brush tool and the Apple's layer mask (see image below). A shadow of the apple is all that’s missing so let’s create it. Hold down the Ctrl key again, click the Apple layer, go to Layer>New layer, call it “Apple shadow”, you still have the apples selection on, take the Paint Bucket Tool and click inside the selection to fill it with black, Select>Deselect, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, enter a value of 7 px in the Radius box, go to Edit>Free Transform, right click and then Flip Vertical. Make the layer opacity 40%. Move the shadow at the base of the apple and Transform it so it will fit on the hand; use the Distort option from Free Transform>Right Click>Distort. Use the Eraser Tool to remove any of the shadow’s remaining parts
- In the following steps we will be making the leaf look like it’s apple’s leaf. Click on the eye next to the Leaf layer to show it, move the Leaf layer above the Apple layer, take the Move Tool and move the leaf up on the apple’s tale, go to Edit>Free Transform and shrink, rotate the leaf so it will fit above the apple. After you have set the right size go to Layer>Rasterize>Smart Object, go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All, take the Brush tool, make sure the hardness is set to 0%, for this operation you can set any size you want, your foreground color should be black, select the leaf’s layer mask and begin erasing the leaf’s tale.
Ok, we are good so far, now let’s make the leaf green, for this you have to repeat the actions in step 11 adding 2 adjustment layers, Levels and Hue/Saturation to the Leaf layer. See image below for the values. Next we will work on the lightning a little bit, select the Leaf layer, pick the Dodge Tool, the size and the range of the Dodge Tool may vary for different parts of the leaf, only the left side need’s to be dodged for this I have used shadows and midtones as values for the range.
- Let’s make the apple’s tale a little greenish so it will fit with the leaf. Select the Apple layer, hold Ctrl and click on the apple layer to select it’s shape, pick the Brush Tool, Master diameter 100px, Hardness 0%, hold down the Alt key, the Eye dropper will appear, click on the bottom of the leaf, near the tale to pick up a green color and then begin painting the apple’s tale until half is green. During this process you have to lower the brush opacity to make the green fade away, 1st use 70% and then 30%.
We also need to create the shadow of the leaf, for this follow step 16.
- Great! We have all the elements in our chop except one. Here is the big Surprise, if you gone so far, well, here is the reward, you will learn how to make Rain Drops, we need them on the hand and on the leaf. First let’s blur a bit the sky, select the Clouds layer, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and enter a value of 7 px, click OK.
- Select the Apple shadow layer, go to Layer>New>Layer and name it Rain Drops.
Go to Layer>Layer Style>Bevel and Emboss and make sure you have the same setting as in the image below.
Go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow, make the opacity of this effect 30% and click OK. Now make sure the Screen mode is set to the Blending mode of the Rain Drops layer, Pick the Brush tool, make sure you have black as foreground color, the hardness is 90%. Now begin painting you Rain Drops. You can change the size of the brush for every drop to make a good effect. For a more realistic effect you can turn on the shape dynamics of the brush, go to Window>Brushes and change the Control option from Off to Fade and enter 10 in the box next to this option.
- Last step is to remove the shadow from the rain drops hanging on the leaf. To do this duplicate the Rain Drops layer go to Layer>Duplicate>OK. Name it Hanging Rain Drops, hide the Rain Drops layer and now we have to delete all the drops that are not hanging in this layer. After this hide this layer and unhide Rain Drops layer, select it and apply a layer mask go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All, select the Brush Tool, make sure you have black set as your foreground color and, make sure you have the Rain Drops layer mask selected, begin erasing any hanging rain drops.
And this is it, I hope you like this Tutorial and stay close, because there will be others coming up next.