How to Create a Dark Fallen Angel Scene With Adobe Photoshop


Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use Adobe Photoshop to create a dark fallen angel scene using a variety of photo manipulation techniques. 

First, we’ll build the base scene with ground, sky, and rock images. After that, we’ll add the underground atmosphere, retouch the model, make jagged clothes with bandages, and create a half-black, half-white halo and smoke wings. Later, we’ll paint tiny dots and import particles. We’ll use several adjustment layers to complete the final effect.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. How to Build the Base Scene

Step 1

Create a new 1614 x 1302 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

new file

Step 2

Open the sky 1 image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V), and place it in the upper section.

add sky 1

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and reduce the Saturation value to -93.

sky 1 hue saturation

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness. On this
layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and choose a soft round one with
black color. Use this brush to paint on the left of the canvas as we’re aiming to make the main light source there.

sky curves 1
sky curves 1 masking

Step 5

Make another Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the left
side. Use a soft black brush on the layer mask to erase the right so it
won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

sky 1 curves 2

Step 6

Open the ground image. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select
the ground only, and place it in the lower section of the canvas. Use the
Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to change the ground’s perspective a
bit.

add ground

Step 7

Duplicate this layer, move it upwards, and use Control-T to make it narrower.

duplicate ground

Step 8

Use the Lasso Tool (L) to make two jagged selections in the middle of the ground.

make two selections on ground

Change the foreground to white and click the second icon at the bottom
of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. We’ll have a result
like the one below.

ground masking 1

Step 9

Add a mask to the second layer and use a soft black brush to soften the edges and blend this ground part with the sky.

ground masking 2

Step 10

Create a new layer and activate the Clone Tool (S). Use this tool to refine some details on the ground.

ground cloning
ground cloning result

Step 11

Select all the ground and clone layers and hit Control-G to make a group
for them. Change this group’s mode to Normal 100% and add a Curves
adjustment layer to darken the ground. On this layer mask, use a soft
black brush to erase the part on the right.

ground curves  1

Step 12

Add another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the left part a bit. Paint on the right to keep its contrast.

ground curves 2

Step 13

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the ground. Bring the Saturation value to -66.

ground hue saturation

2. How to Build the Rocky Underground

Step 1

Open the rock images. We’ll be using image 2 and image 6. Isolate
the rock from image 6 to place it below the white space on the
ground. Set this layer below the ground’s group.

add rock 1

Step 2

Duplicate this layer three times to fill in the middle and the edges of the white space.

add more rocks to underground

Step 3

Cut out the rock from image 2 and place it on the right edge of the small, jagged area on the ground.

add rock 2

Step 4

We’ll use several adjustment layers and some other tools to fix the
light and shadow of the rock parts below the ground. Create a Curves
adjustment layer above the rock part on the right edge and set it as a Clipping Mask. Decrease the lightness and use a soft black brush to
remove the dark effect on the left side of this part.

rocks curves 1

Step 5

On the rock layer on the left edge, make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray.

rocks DB

Use the Burn Tool (O) to darken and paint some shadow details within
this rock part. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result
with Overlay mode.

rock DB result

Step 6

Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light, shadow, and details of the part in the middle selection.

rocks DB 2

Step 7

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the left portion of this rock part.
The selected part on the right shows where to paint on the layer mask.

rocks curves 2

Step 8

Use another Curves adjustment layer to darken the right of the rock.

rocks curves 3

Step 9

Continue using the same method to retouch the rest of the rocks.

rocks curves 4
rocks DB 3

Step 10

Make a group for all the rock layers and the clipped ones. Use a
Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate all the rock parts a bit.

rocks hue saturation

Step 11

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the rocks more. Paint on the left of the rock to keep its lightness.

rocks curves 5

3. How to Make the Underground Atmosphere

Step 1

Open the sky 2 image and drag it into our working document. Set it below the ground’s group but above the rock ones.

add sky 2 to make mist

Use a layer mask to reduce the mist intensity, making it appear only inside the underground part.

mist masking

Step 2

Create a Curves adjustment layer to make the effect more subtle. You can
use a soft black brush to recover the effect on the left of the
underground part where the main light source is.

mist curves

Step 3

Create a new layer on top of the layers, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to paint light for
the contour of the circles on the ground.

ground DB

Step 4

Open the flame images. I’ve used image 4 and image 8 to add flames to both sides of the underground part (feel free to take the images you want)
and change the mode of these layers to Screen 100%.

add flames

Add a mask to each of these layers and use a medium-hard black brush to
remove the flame parts on the ground, making them appear only inside the
underground part.

flames masking

Step 5

Group all the flame layers into a new folder and change this group’s
mode to Screen 100%. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate
the flames and reduce their lightness.

flames hue sauration

Step 6

Add a mask to the flame group and use a soft black brush with a lowered opacity (about 30-35%) to reduce the flames’ visibility.

flames group masking

4. How to Retouch the Model

Step 1

Cut out the model and place her on the surface of the middle part of the rock. Add a mask to this layer and use a hard black brush to
delete the flying scarf part outside the model.

add model
model masking

Step 2

To create a shadow for the model, add a new layer below the model one.
Hold Control and click the thumbnail of the model layer to load her
selection.

load model selection

Fill this selection with the color #101010 and flip it vertically
(Edit > Transform > Flip Vertically). Convert this layer to a
Smart Object
. Move it to the right of the canvas and use Control-T to
make the shadow narrower to fit the way the light falls.

shadow transforming

Step 3

Lower the Opacity of this layer to 40% and use a layer mask to erase the
shadow part that’s fallen into the underground part, making it visible only on the
ground.

shadow masking

Step 4

Go to Filter > Blur Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 6 px. On the
filter mask, use a soft black brush to erase the soft effect on the feet
area to keep it hard and solid.

shadow gaussian blur

Step 5

Create a new layer and use a hard brush with the color #101010 to paint the missing shadow part below the feet.

paint missing shadow

Step 6

Make a new layer above the model one, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light
and shadow on the model.

model DB

Step 7

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the model. Bring the Saturation value down to -79.

model hue saturation

Step 8

Create a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #a0deed.

model photo filter

Step 9

Make a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the highlight on the model a
little. On the layer mask, paint on the shadow area and any details you want.

model curves 1

Step 10

Use another Curves adjustment layer to lighten the contrast of the model. Use this layer mask to reduce the light on the areas which are bright
already.

model curves 2

5. How to Add the Bandages

Step 1

Cut out the bandages from the original image, and then take one of them to add to our working document. Use Control-T to rotate it as
shown below:

add bandage 1

Add a mask to this layer and use a hard black brush to remove the
bandage part from the model and below the arms. I recommend using a tablet pen to leave some tiny strings around this part to make the
result more realistic.

bandage 1 masking

Step 2

Make a Curves adjustment layer and reduce the lightness. On the layer
mask, paint on the front of the bandage so it won’t affected by this
adjustment layer.

bandage 1 curves

Step 3

On a new layer, use the Dodge and Burn Tool to enhance the light and shadow of this bandage a bit.

bandage 1 DB

Step 4

Take different parts from the bandages in the original one to add to the
model’s body using the same method. The masking process takes some
patience and time, but the result will be worth it.

add more bandages
bandages masking

Step 5

Create a group for the bandage layers and use a Hue/Saturation
adjustment layer within this group to desaturate the bandage parts.

bandages hue saturation

Step 6

Make a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the bandages.
Paint on the front of these parts to keep their brightness.

bandages curves

Step 7

Add a new layer above the bandage group and use a soft brush with the color #101010 and Opacity about 30% to paint shadow below the bandages.

bandages shadow

6. How to Create the Half-Black, Half-White Halo

Step 1

Create a new layer on top of the other layers and change the brush to one of the abstract circle ones. Take the one you like with the color #101010
(I’ve chosen the one numbered 700) and spot on the main canvas. Use
Control-T to scale it down and rotate it a bit, and place it over the
model’s head.

add dark halo
halo transforming

Step 2

Duplicate this layer several times and flip them horizontally to complete the halo.

complete halo

Step 3

Create a group for these circles and add an Invert adjustment layer to convert the halo’s color to white.

halo invert

On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to recover the black on the right side. Now we have a half-black, half-white halo.

halo invert masking

Step 4

Create a new layer, and change the brush to a soft round one. Press F5 to change the settings of this brush:

dot brush settings 1
dot brush settings 2
dot brush settings 3

Use the color #e6e6e6 for this brush and paint lots of tiny dots around the white half of the halo.

paint dots

Step 5

Make another layer and turn the foreground to #101010. Use the same brush to paint dark dots for the black half of the halo.

paint dark dots

7. How to Make the Smoke Wings

Step 1

Make a new layer on top of the layers and use a smoke brush with black
color (feel free to take the one you feel looks similar to a wing)
to add to the bright side of the model.

add smoke 1

Use a layer mask with a soft black brush to erase the top of this smoke part and the part covering the model’s body.

smoke 1 masking

Step 2

Add more smoke to the top part of this side and the other side to complete the smoke wings. Use a
layer mask on each of this layer to erase any details you feel are unnecessary.

add smoke 2
add smoke 3
smoke wings masking

Step 3

Create a group for the smoke layer and add a Curves adjustment layer to
turn the wings’ color from black to white (you can use an Invert
adjustment layer instead). On this layer mask, paint on the right wing
(from the viewer) to get half-black, half-white wings.

smoke wings curves
smoke wings curves masking

8. How to Add the Particles

Step 1

Open the particles image pack. I’ve used image 2 and image 4 to add to the
main scene. Change this layer mode to Linear Dodge 100% and use
Control-T to rotate the images to make the particles fall straight down.

add particles

Step 2

Create a group for these layers and alter this group’s mode to Linear
Dodge 100%
. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the
Saturation value to the minimum.

particles hue saturation

Step 3

Add a mask to this group to reduce the particle intensity and visibility, making the result more subtle.

particlesmasking

9. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the colors #9c7d6b and #80b1a7. Alter this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.

whole scene gradient map

Step 2

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings.

whole scene color balance midtones
whole scene color balance highlights

Step 3

Add two Photo Filter adjustment layers and pick the colors #71c0f8 and #72892e.

whole scene photo filter 1
whole scene photo filter 2

Step 4

Create a Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast of the whole
scene a bit. The selected areas show where to paint on the layer mask.

whole scene curves 1

Step 5

Make another Curves adjustment layer to increase the shadow on the right
side. Paint on the bright side of the scene so it won’t be affected by
this adjustment layer.

whole scene curves 2

Step 6

Add a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the final effect.

whole scene vibrance

Congratulations, You’re Done!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial and learned something new for
your own projects. Feel free to share your results or leave comments in
the box below. Enjoy Photoshopping!

final result



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