How to create a dynamic nature poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will create a nature poster using stock images, vectors and brushes.

Tools: Adobe Photoshop CS3

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Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced

Completion time: 1-2 hours

Resources:

floral vector pack 31 from designious.com

paper texture

dry earth

girl from npoz1

parrot from RainaDayze

branches from PKVstock

bonsai from Resurgere

splashes from fotolia.com

What you’ll be creating


STEP 1

Create a new document of 800×1200 px at 72 dpi in RGB color mode. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer with pure white (#ffffff).

STEP 2

Open the “paper texture” image. Select all (CTRL+A), copy it (CTRL+C) and paste it in our drawing.

STEP 3

Go to Edit > Free Transform (CTRL+T), hold the ALT+SHIFT keys and click-drag one of the corners to resize it. Make it fit our canvas.

Then hit Enter.

STEP 4

Open the Layers palette (F7) and set Opacity to 45%.  Grab the Dodge Tool (O), set it to Shadows at 17% Exposure and lighten the dark areas.

STEP 5

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer (CTRL+J). Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (CTRL+SHIFT+U). Set Blending mode to Hard Light and Opacity to 18%.
This will amplify the small midtones.

STEP 6

Duplicate the layer again (CTRL+J) and set layer Blending mode to Overlay at 100% Opacity. This will enhance the small highlights on the paper texture.

STEP 7

Select the top-most layer in the Layers palette and click the “New Layer Group” button. Name it “background”. Select all layers (shift-click selection) and drag them in the layer group.

STEP 8

Open the “dancer” image. Double-click the lock in the Layers palette (F7) and hit OK to make it editable.

STEP 9

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer (CTRL+J), then go to Image > Invert (CTRL+I).

Note:

Since we are doing a selection via Channels, I will explain how the trick works.
Try to envision the tints rather than the colors in a picture, like you would see only red, blue or green.

In our case, blue is dominant and stands out the most from the background.
Knowing this, we will be able create even higher contrasts between the element and the background using the Blue channel. The higher the contrast, the more precise our selection will be.

STEP 10

Go to the Channels window (Window > Channels) and click-drag the “Blue” channel on the “New Channel” button. This will create a copy of the blue channel to work on, so we don’t damage the original

picture.

STEP 11

Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves (CTRL+M) and adjust the graph like below.

STEP 12

Repeat STEP 11 until the midtones disappear almost completely.

STEP 13

Use the Path Tool (P) and trace the midtone areas. Try to be more accurate in the contour areas.
Once you made a closed shape, right-click > Make Selection… and paint inside the selection with white using the Brush Tool (B).
Once done, go to Select > Deselect (CTRL+D).

STEP 14

In the Layers palette, CTRL+click the “Blue copy” channel thumbnail. This will make a selection of the body.
Turn on the “RGB” channel’s visibility and off the “Blue copy” ‘s.
Open the Layers palette (F7), turn of visibility of the “Layer 0 copy” layer and select the “Layer 0” and click the “Add Layer Mask” button.

STEP 15

Select “Layer 0” layer and go to Layer > Duplicate Layer… (CTRL+J). Select both layers and go to Layer > Merge Layers (CTRL+E).

STEP 16

There’s a nasty white contour left from the selection.
CTRL+click the layer thumbnail, then go to Select > Modify > Contract and set it to 1 px. Go to Select > Inverse and hit “Delete”.

STEP 17

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint with black over the shadow under the right foot.

STEP 18

Go to Window > Arrange > Cascade and click-drag this layer into our document.

STEP 19

In the Layers palette (F7), click the “New layer Group” button and click-drag this layer into the group. Name this group “girl”.

STEP 20

Create a new layer above the “Layer 0 copy 2” layer. Now grab the Pen Tool (P), set it on Paths and draw a shape like i did. Feel free to make another one if you like.
Then right-click > Stroke Path… Hit OK.
This will be only a guideline, so don’t bother polishing it.

STEP 21

Open the “splashes”, double-click the lock in the Layers palette and hit OK. grab the Magic Wand (W) and select the background. Hit Delete.
Select all (CTRL+A), copy it (CTRL+C) and paste it in our document (CTRL+V).

STEP 22

Go to Edit > Free Transform and resize it. Hold SHIFT key to preserve proportions. Hit Enter.


Go to Edit > Transform > Warp and make it look something similar to below. Hit OK.

STEP 23

Repeat STEP 22 until you cover the entire black guide. Feel free to add layer masks to cover the loose areas, like in STEP 17.

STEP 24

Select all the splashes layers in the Layers palette and go to Layer > Merge Layers (CTRL+E). Rename the resulting layer to “water”. Also place it in a new layer group.

STEP 25

Select small splashes areas from the “splashes” picture and paste them in our drawing. Resize them, but do NOT warp them like the first ones. Try selecting areas with shapes similar to our splash.

STEP 26

Repeat STEP 25 until you cover up the entire splash. Then select all splash layers and go to Layer > Merge Layers. Also Add a Clipping Mask like in STEP 17 to make the water pass behind the girl.

STEP 27

Select the top-most layer in the “water” layer group and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. Make sure you check the “Use previous layer to create Clipping mask”.

Use the settings below.

STEP 28

Create a new layer above the “Background” layer group (Layer > New Layer or CTRL+SHIFT+N). Open the “paint brushes” and select one of your choice.
Use the settings below or similar.

STEP 29

On the newly created layer, throw a few brush strokes, behind the girl. Set layer Blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 54%.

STEP 30

Repeat STEP 29, but set Opacity to 59%. Place these in a layer group and name it “splashes”.

STEP 31

Create a new layer group below the “splashes” layer group. Name it “flowers”. Now open the “vector flowers”, use the Lasso Tool (L) to select a flower of your choice, copy it and paste it in our drawing.
Also place it in the “flowers” layer group.

STEP 32

Place flowers around and try to follow or continue the body lines or the water. Feel free to mask any harsh intersections that will create strong spots.

STEP 33

For each flower, click the “fx” button in the Layers palette and set Color Overlay to white (#ffffff).

STEP 34

Open the “bonsai” picture and extract it like we did with the woman.

Hint: Since the dominant color is green, try exploiting the “Green” Channel.

STEP 35

Place the “bonsai” layer behind the “Layer 0 copy 2” layer – the one with the girl.

STEP 36

Create a new layer above the “girl” layer and ALT+click between the layers. Set the layer’s Blending mode to Overlay, with 70% Opacity.

STEP 37

Grab the Brush Tool (B), select a round, soft brush, lower Opacity a bit, pick a light color from the girl’s body (ALT+click) and paint over the girl’s body lights.


STEP 38

Create a new layer group and name it “text”. Then grab the Type Tool (T), make a large type box and type a text of your choice.
I wrote “INFINITE” with Franklin Gothic font.

STEP 39

From the “splashes” pictures, pick a detailed area of splashes, copy it and paste it in our drawing. Make it fit like below.

STEP 40

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (CTRL+U) and set Saturation to minimum and lower Lightness.

STEP 41

Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. Create a curve similar to mine. The “S” shaped curve creates a higher contrast between shadows and highlights.

STEP 42

Select the layer with the text from the Layers palette (F7). Then go to Layer > Layer mask > Reveal all.

STEP 43

Press D key to return to the default color setting, select the layer mask, grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint over the extra areas of the text.

STEP 44

Repeat STEPS 42-43 for the other letters. Don’t modify too many, else the text will be unreadable. Place all the splashes in the layer group.

STEP 45

Open the “desert earth” picture, select a piece, rotate it and copy it (CTRL+C).
In our document, create a new layer above the “background” layer group. Go to Filter > Vanishing Point (CTRL+ALT+V).
Create the plane like below.

STEP 46

Paste the texture in the new window and click-drag it onto the plane. Hit OK.

STEP 47

Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (CTRL+SHIFT+U). Then create a new layer above it and ALT+click between the layers.
Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill this layer with a light brown color. Set Blending mode to “Color”.

STEP 48

Select the layer below and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and paint over the edges with a round soft brush.

STEP 49

Create a layer group above all layers and name it “nature”. Then open the “parrot” picture, copy it and paste it in our document. Also resize it like below.

STEP 50

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and play around with the “Hue” cursor till you get more vibrant colors on the parrot.

STEP 51

Open the “branches” image and extract the branches from the background like in STEPS 10-14. Copy it, paste it in our document and place it like below.
Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer (CTRL+J) to create more copies.


STEP 52

Open the “vines” picture. Extract it using STEPS 10-14. Then copy it, paste it in our document and resize it.
Create copies (CTRL+J) and place them like below. Place all layers in a group and name it “vines”.

STEP 53

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and adjust it to have the same tint as the tree behind the girl.

STEP 54

Create a new layer and place it below the “vines” layer group. From the Layers palette, set Blending mode to Multiply.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), pick a dark color from the skin (ALT+click) and paint the shadows of the vines on the leg.

STEP 55

Go to Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to about 3 px Radius. Hit OK.

From the Layers palette, reduce Opacity to 70% or until you are happy with the result. Then CTRL+click the “girl” layer thumbnail and click the “Add Layer Mask” button.
This will mask the unwanted areas of the shadows from the sloppy painting, if you’re using a mouse.

STEP 56

Select the top-most layer and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color balance. Use the settings below of feel free to use your own.


STEP 57

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Set Blending mode to Saturation and Opacity to 20%.

STEP 58

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map.

STEP 59

Select all layers and drag them on the “New Layer” button. Then go to Layer > Merge Layers (CTRL+D).

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass. Set it to 1.5 px. Hit OK. Set blending mode to Overlay and Opacity to 75%.

Done!

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43 Comments How to create a dynamic nature poster in Photoshop

  1. Web traffic Jun 30, 2010 at 20:16

    Excellent Tutorial. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Liza Jun 30, 2010 at 16:48

    Great tutorial. Same tutorial from PSDTuts’ premium section with a twist, but still good stuff.

    Reply
    1. Fairy Godfather Jul 1, 2010 at 02:04

      I can see what you mean, but the techniques used are completely different

      Reply
  3. Timber Door Malaysia Jul 1, 2010 at 00:56

    Whoa, really nice work and great tutorial. Its amazing how designers can conceptualize these posters.

    Reply
  4. Cate Jul 2, 2010 at 19:31

    Very nice work

    Reply
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  7. ilham Jul 17, 2010 at 22:24

    its very clear tutorial, thanks

    Reply
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  9. geds Jul 23, 2010 at 06:10

    waw thats good i love it–♥ ♥:) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥♥ ♥:) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥♥ ♥:) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥♥ ♥:) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ :) ♥ ♥

    Reply
  10. Clippingimages Aug 8, 2010 at 06:58

    aa haan..superb one indeed..thanks for sharing …

    Reply
  11. exinco Sep 11, 2010 at 03:35

    what is the photoshop version used? i can’t find edit->transform->wrap menu

    Reply
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  17. HISHAM Dec 22, 2010 at 14:07

    Thanks for the following benefits:

    1- Technique applied on splash over text for them to blend together.

    2- The way creating selection from channels for subtracting difficult pic’s with hair and trees from backgrounds .. is wooow.

    3-Creating guideline for any effect to be done later like pen tool line for water splash. My friend … many THANXX to you

    Reply
  18. Copper Earrings Jan 14, 2011 at 14:19

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help stop content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

    Reply
  19. sindu Sep 11, 2011 at 09:15

    Thank You… Iam a fresher and i took 2 days to complete this….your descriptions are very detailed…thank you once again

    Reply
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  26. Md Nasir Dec 14, 2012 at 11:35

    MD NASIR

    Reply

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