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Dreamy Book - Gradients, Solid Color Layers, and Brushes

compositing tutorial Dec 23, 2019

Hello everyone, today’s tutorial will be a bit of a throwback! I dug through my hard-drives and pulled up this fun RAW for us to work with today! This original image was shot in a completely dark room with just a flashlight and her book.

We’re going to be giving this image a bit of a fantasy look with plenty of gradients, solid-color layers, and brushes.

 The first thing we’re going to do is work with our camera RAW, tweaking our exposure and shadows just a bit. We’re going to mess around with the details menu and make a few more adjustments before opening up our image in Photoshop. It can get a bit confusing, but following along with my full video tutorial (available through my (premium membership) definitely helps!

We’re going to straighten and crop our image before we go in and clean up some of the bruises on her legs. From there, we’re going to flatten our image and run our frequency separation! You can use this feature in the workflow action in your own edits with my Ultimate Workflow Action!

We’re going to give our subject a bit of an airbrush using the gaussian blur tool. Using my sharpening details brush, I’m going to brush a little onto her face to bring out just a little more detail.

 The flashlight sticking out from below her book bothered me, so I went in and used her skirt to cover it up as best as I could. Then, using the eyedropper tool, we’re going to create different fill layers with a variety of tones, and mask it so we can brush it on where we want it. We’re going to do this for things like our catch light, cheeks, and skin tone. To see exactly how I go through this part of the process, you can watch my full tutorial available through my premium membership.

We’re going to move on to her hair, using the liquify tool to stretch it so it looks a little fuller. Make sure to take care when it comes to the books in the back. We don’t want to make them look warped or zig-zagged!

Now we get to bring in our textures from the Flora Bella Collection! We’re using gradients to get them where we want them before we bring in some more masked solid fill layers. I’m going to use my brushes to bring in some sparkles and our fairy. How you want to use them is totally up to you! Play around with it and have fun!

We’re going add a few more of our textures, playing around with filters and gradients to make our image quite magical! We’re going to wrap things up with some curve adjustments, and masking to “dodge and burn” our image! To see the final details, you can watch my full video tutorial, available through my premium membership.

Happy Editing,

Tara Lesher


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