Learn how to create the emotional photo manipulation ‘firing heart’. You’ll work with a range of blending and manipulation techniques, non-destructive workflows, painting techniques, masking and more! Download the source file for this and all our other tutorials in our FanExtra Members Area
Firing Heart – Emotional photo manipulation
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a photo manipulation with firing effect. You will learn how to manipulate stocks images together, use brush, masking, work on fire, do some special extracting and retouching techniques as well as adjust colors and lighting to create a beautiful and emotional scene.
As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:
Open forest stock. We only use one part from this picture . Use Crop Tool ( C) to make a selection of right edge as shown below:
Right click it, choose Crop to complete this action.
Duplicate this background layer and choose Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal:
On duplicated background, go to Filter-Blur-Gassian Blur:
If you use another picture you may change the radius to get the desired blurred effect.
Lower opacity to 70%:
Duplicate this layer then choose Filter-Distort-Lens Correction:
To remove orange hint on background, I use a new layer. Take soft brush and use Eyedropper Tool ( I ) to pick a color of background and I have #82827c:
Paint on this part and change the mode to Color 100%:
I want to brighten the right side of background so I make a new layer and use soft white brush to paint on this side. Put the mode to Soft light 100%:
Open model stock. As you see, model has a transparent sleeve so we need to remove background from this part. I will show you how I do it and it’s a pretty easy technique.
First, I use Pen Tool to isolate model from background ( but you can use the method you like ) and copy extracted model on a new layer. I place forest background between background and this layer so you can easily see result after removing background from the sleeve.
Hide all layers except model one. On model layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+2 to load bright parts of her. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy this selection into a new layer. Lower opacity of it to 50%. Turn on all layers. Add layer mask for model one. Hold Cmd/Ctrl while clicking on copied layer to load it selection.
Take soft brush with opacity and flow about 60-70% to paint within the sleeve. Do it gently and subtly avoiding the contour until you feel ok. Here is my result:
To add some hair for model to create a natural look, I use hair brush. Set foreground color to #080301 ( this color is picked from dark part of model hair). Choose brush with number 928. Click twice on the left part of model hair:
Choose Edit-Transform-Warp to transform this hair to be fit:
Add layer mask to remove unecessary parts:
With same technique, add some more hair with color changed to # 723b24 and #3c190d:
On one hair layer, I use Dodge and Burn tool with Midtones Range and Exposure about 20-30% to add realistic look for it:
Turn off forest, background layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to merge all visible layers ( model ones, hairs).
Move merged model into our document, resize to fit the size of background:
You may notice that the skin of model need to be smoothed. On model layer, make selection for skin then press Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy it:
Create a new layer above model layer with Clipping Mask:
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste copied part into this new layer:
On this new layer, go to Filter-Blur-Surface Blur:
Add layer mask for this layer and use soft black brush to remove blurred effect on eye parts, nose, lips:
To make some parts of skin look better, I use a new layer ( Clipping Mask). Take Blur Tool with Normal mode and Strength about 15-20% and paint over the parts you want to soften.
To brighten skin, make a new layer ( Clipping Mask). Take soft brush with color #b5b0ac and paint over model skin. Change the mode to Soft light 100%:
The model looks so saturated against the background so I use an adjustment layer ( Clipping Mask) to fix it. Go to Layer-New adjustment layer-Hue/Saturation:
As you see I set the main light source come from the right side of picture. So to add more light for model contour, I use Inner Shadow effect. Right lick model layer, choose Blending options:
You can see result below:
Open vine stock pack. I choose this image to work with. As it has transparent background so you just need to use Lasso Tool to grab a selection around the one you like and drag into our canvas. Resize it and place it beside the right arm of model:
Duplicate this layer and move to the left arm. Try to transform it to get a bit different look from the right. You can use layer mask to remove any unecessary parts:
Come back to vine image. Use Lasso Tool to take a part of this vine and move it into our document again. As usual we downsize and place it horizontally:
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to active transform tool and click to choose Warp modes:
Warp and transform it to get the look it covers the left wrist. My result:
Do the same for the right one. You can use layer mask to hide any unwanted parts:
We’re going to add shadow for the vines on model wrists. Make two new layers under vine ones. Use soft black brush with very small size ( I use 5-6 px) and paint under these parts. Lower opacity to 20%. Call them “shadow 1″ and “shadow 2″:
To be easier to edit the vines parts together, I move them all into a group. First on vine 4 layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+G to make group for it. Then choose all vine layers and their shadow one, use Move Tool to move them into this group:
Change the mode from Pass Through ( default group mode) to Normal:
On vine 4 layer, go to Layer-New adjustment layer-Hue/Saturation:
Because the mode is changed to Normal so Hue/Saturation layer only effects the layers inside this group ( vines). We have result:
Open fire 1 stock. Move it into our canvas, resize and place it onto the right side of model:
Change the mode to Screen 100%. As you see the black part of this image disappeared.
Duplicate this fire three times and move them up as shown below:
Open fire stock again. Copy the top part of fire and move it into our main document, place it above fire layers. Change the mode to Screen and duplicate it also.
Add layer mask for all fire layers. Use a black brush to remove rough edges and leave a natural look:
Open abstract lighting stock. Move it onto the right side of model chest.
Add layer mask and remove black part:
Change the mode to Soft light 100%:
Copy a part from this stock again and move it onto model chest. Transform and resize it as shown below:
Change the mode to Soft light 100% and add layer mask to remove any unecessary parts:
I call two these layers as “burning effect 1″ and “burning effect 2″.
To make the burning effect more visible and dramatic, I use two new layers and brush with color #705106 and #ebb739. One under and one above burning effect ones. Paint around this effect and put the under one as Color Burn 100% and upper one as Overlay 50%:
Open fire 2 stock. Copy the part of the fire and move above model shoulder, downsize and transform it as usual:
Change the move to Screen 100%. Add layer mask to remove rough edge of it:
Duplicate this layer and put the mode as Soft light 100%:
To remove dark part of this firing heart, I use Blend If Tool. Right click duplicated layer ( one with Soft light mode 100%), choose Blending options. Hold the Alt key and drag black button until the dark part disappears:
Add layer mask and use brush to remove its bottom:
Open fire 1 stock. Move it into our document again and transform it as shown below:
Change the mode to Screen 100% and use layer mask to remove unecessary parts. Then duplicate it and we have result:
To brighten the part of model and background which catch the light from the fire, I use two new layers and brush with color #ffdaa5. First I put one as Color 100% to add light yellow for model and another as Overlay 100% to brighten color created and the rest around:
To add some fire sparks, make a new layer on the top and take brush with color #de8608. Press F5 to make settings for it:
Paint randomly around model, firing heart until you feel it looks good:
Right click this layer, choose Blending options to add Outer Glow effect;
Name this layer as “sparks 1″.
These sparks don’t look very good so I will apply a small trick to make them look better. On sparks 1 layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl+G to make group for it. Change the mode of this group from Pass Through to Color Dodge. It creates a much better effect than without grouping this layer. You can see results below to compare:
Create a new layer above sparks 1 layer ( within this group). Increase brush size to 20 px. Paint some sparks more around model and apply Outer Glow effect for them as we did with sparks 1:
Now it’s time to color and blend this picture. Create three Selective Color layers on the top ( Layer-New adjustment layer-Selective Color):
Selective Color 1:
Selective Color 2:
Selective Color 3:
Create some another adjustment layers:
On Curves and Color Balance layer masks, use soft black brush with opacity and flow about 40% to remove contrast on model skin and hair:
To increase the contrast of picture, I use a Levels layer:
Use soft black brush with opacity and flow 100% to remove unwanted contrast on model eyes and hair:
To add some depth for background, I use a new layer on the top. Take soft brush with color #554f55 and paint on the edges of background.
Put the mode as Multipy 100%:
New layer and I use soft brush with color #c9bda3. Paint on the bright part of forest and change the mode to Overlay 100%:
Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to merge all layers. Use Lasso Tool to make selection for bottom parts of picture and set feather as 50:
Click Filter-Blur-Gassian Blur:
And We’re Done!
You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.