How to Create a Wonderland Photo Manipulation 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 photo manipulation scene based on “Alice in Wonderland”. 

First, we’ll build the base scene using several stock images. After that, we’ll add flowers and plants, create a tree, import mushrooms, and blend them together using adjustment layers, masking, and brushes. Later, we’ll add a rabbit and eyes for the trees, and we’ll paint some mist to increase the dreamy feeling in the scene. 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 2000 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:

new file

Step 2

Open the forest image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).

add forest

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance and set it as Clipping Mask. Alter the Midtones values to make the forest more yellow.

forest color balance

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the forest. On this layer mask,
activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a soft round one with black
color. Use this brush to erase the far middle of the background as we’re
aiming to add the main light source there.

forest curves 1

Step 5

Create another Curves adjustment layer to increase the haze of the
forest, especially the left. Use a soft black brush to paint on the
rest so it won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

forest curves 2

Step 6

Add another Curves adjustment layer to make the forest darker. Paint on the middle so it won’t be darkened.

forest curves 3

Step 7

Open the path 1 image and move it into the main canvas. Use the Free
Transform Tool (Control-T)
to distort the perspective of the path a bit.

add path 1

Flip the path horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.

path 1 flipped horizontally

Step 8

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to
this layer. Use a soft black brush to remove the fence and both sides
of the path so only the middle part is visible on the existing midground.

path 1 masking

Step 9

Use the Lasso Tool to select the sunny area on top of the path and set the feather for it to 10:

path 1 selection

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue Saturation and set it as Clipping Mask. Change the Master settings to desaturate this selected area.

path 1 selection hue saturation

Step 10

Use a Color Balance adjustment layer to match the path’s color with the background.

path 1 color balance

Step 11

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the path. On this layer mask,
use a soft black brush to erase the middle and top of the path as it’s
nearer the background light.

path 1 curves 1

Step 12

Make another Curves adjustment layer with the same purpose. The selected area shows where to paint on the layer mask.

path 1 curves 2

Step 13

Add another Curves adjustment layer to make the top of the path hazier.
Paint on the rest so it won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

path 1 curves 3

2. How to Import the Flowers and Plants

Step 1

Open the path 2 image. Use the Lasso Tool to select the left of the path
with flowers to place it on the left of the main canvas.

add path 2

Add a mask to this layer and use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges and blend the bottom with the existing ground.

path 2 masking

Step 2

Add the right of the flowery path from the original image to the right of the canvas.

add other sides of path 2
other sides masking

Step 3

Select the flowers layers and hit Control-G to make a group for them.
Change this group’s mode to Normal 100% and create a Color Balance
adjustment layer to alter the flowers’ color a little.

path 2 color balance

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the flowers. On the layer mask,
use a soft black brush to lighten the effect on the shadow areas.

path 2 curves

Step 5

Open the plants 2 image and use the Lasso Tool to select the plants area to add to the right corner of the ground.

add plants 2

Use a layer mask to remove the unwanted red details of the bottom of the plants.

plants 2 masking

Step 6

Create a Hue Saturation adjustment layer and alter the Midtones values.

plants 2 hue saturation

Step 7

Add a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the plants. Paint
on the right where it’s more hidden from the light than the left.

plants 2 curves 1

Step 8

Create another Curves adjustment layer to increase the shadow a bit. The selected area shows where to work on the layer mask.

plants 2 curves 2

Step 9

Make a new layer below the plants layer and use a soft brush with the
color #100303 and Opacity about 40% to paint shadows below them.

plants 2 shadow

Step 10

Drag the plants 1 image into our working document and place it on the
right side of the path. Set this layer below the flowery path layers.

add plants 1

Use a layer mask to remove the part covering the midground of the path.

plants 1 masking

Step 11

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to alter the Midtones settings, making the plants redder and yellower.

plants 1 color balance

Step 12

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the plants.

plants 1 curves

Step 13

Open the flower 1 image. Cut out the flower using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and place it on the right edge of the main canvas.

add flower 1

Step 14

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 6 px. This step is to increase the depth of the scene.

flower 1 gaussian blur

Step 15

Make a Hue Saturation adjustment layer to alter the flower’s color.

flower 1 hue saturation

Step 16

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to give the flower more orange.

flower 1 color balance

Step 17

Add a Curves adjustment layer to darken the flower. Paint on the front
of the flower where it gets more light from the background.

flower 1 curves

Step 18

Isolate the
flower 2 and place it on the lower left edge. Apply a Gaussian
Blur
of 6 px to this layer to give it some softness and depth.

add flower 2

Step 19

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the flower.

flower 2 hue saturation

Step 20

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the flower. Use a soft black
brush to paint on the front of this flower so it won’t be affected by
this dark effect.

flower 2 curves

3. How to Composite the Tree

Step 1

Cut out the tree from the tree 1 image and add it to the left side of
the canvas. Use a layer mask to remove the part covering the path.

add tree 1
tree 1 masking

Step 2

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the tree. We’ve aimed to use
the hidden area (shadow one) of this tree only, so use a soft black brush
to erase there.

tree 1 curves

Step 3

Open the tree 2 image and use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select the
tree part only. Place it above the tree 1 image and use a layer mask to
blend it with the existing tree.

add tree 2
tree 2 masking

Step 4

Use a Hue Saturation adjustment layer to match the tree 2 color with the tree 1 color.

tree 2 hue saturation

Step 5

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the tree. Paint on the front details of the tree to keep its lightness.

tree 2 curves 1

Step 6

Use another Curves adjustment layer to increase the haze of the root
part beside the top of the path to fit the softness of this place. The
selected area shows where to paint on the layer mask.

tree 2 curves 2

Step 7

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray.

tree 2 DB new layer

Activate the Dodge Tool (O) to paint more light for the contour of the
tree. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with
Overlay mode.

tree 2 D B results

Step 8

Cut out tree 3 from the background and add it to the upper part of the
existing tree. Use Control-T with the Warp mode to change the form of
the tree a little.

add tree 3

Go to Edit > Puppet Warp to bend the tree a bit. After that, use a layer mask to blend this part with the existing tree.

tree 3 puppet warp
tree 3 masking

Step 9

Make a Curves adjustment layer to make this tree part darker. On this
layer mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the adjustment layer effect
on the areas which you feel are dark enough.

tree 3 curves 1

Step 10

Use another Curves adjustment layer to give this tree part, especially the front, a hazy effect.

tree 3 curves 2

Step 11

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50%
gray. Use the Dodge Tool to bring more light to the contour of this
part.

tree 3 DB

4. How to Add the Mushrooms

Step 1

Isolate the mushroom 1 from the background and add it to the right side
of the path. Use a layer mask to blend the bottom of the mushroom with
the ground.

add mushroom 1

Step 2

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to alter the mushroom’s color a little.

mushroom 1 color balance

Step 3

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the mushroom. Paint on the
hidden/shadow area of the mushroom so it won’t be affected by this
adjustment layer.

mushroom 1 curves 1

Step 4

Use another Curves adjustment layer to strengthen the shadow area of the
mushroom. Paint on the front of the mushroom to keep its lightness.

mushroom 1 curves 2

Step 5

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50%
gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to refine the light and shadow of the
mushroom.

mushroom DB

Step 6

To make a shadow for this mushroom, create a new layer below the mushroom
layer. Hold Control and click the thumbnail of the mushroom layer to
load its selection.

mushroom 1 selection

Fill this selection with the color #100303 and flip it vertically. Use
Control-T to transform the shadow to fit the direction of the light
source.

mushroom 1 shadow transforming

Lower the Opacity of this layer to 50% and apply a Gaussian Blur of 8 px to this layer.

mushroom 1 shadow gaussian blur

Use a layer mask to reduce the opacity of the shadow, especially the part near the foreground.

mushroom 1 shadow masking

Step 7

Open the mushrooms 2 image. Cut out the mushrooms on the left and middle and place them beside the existing mushroom.

add mushrooms 2

Use a layer mask to blend their bottom with the ground.

mushrooms 2 masking

Step 8

Create a group for these mushroom layers and add a Hue Saturation
adjustment layer within the group to desaturate the mushrooms. Change
the Master values.

mushrooms 2 hue saturation

Step 9

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer to alter the mushrooms’ color more.

mushrooms 2 color balance

Step 10

Create a Curves adjustment layer to darken the mushrooms, especially the
shadow areas. On the layer mask, paint on the front of the mushrooms
where it’s illuminated by the light.

mushrooms 2 curves

Step 11

Isolate the mushroom 3 and place it near the top of the path. Use a
layer mask to blend its bottom with the ground as we did with other
objects.

add mushroom 3

Step 12

Make a shadow for this mushroom as we did with the big mushroom, following the light’s direction.

mushroom 3 shadow

Step 13

Create a Hue Saturation adjustment layer and alter the Master settings.

mushroom 3 hue saturation

Step 14

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray. Use the Burn Tool to darken the right of the mushroom.

mushroom 3 DB

Step 15

Add a Curves adjustment layer to increase the shadow of the mushroom.
Paint on the left of the mushroom so it won’t be darkened by this
adjustment layer.

mushroom 3 curves 1

Step 16

Make a Curves adjustment layer to improve the haze on the mushroom as
it’s near the background light. On the layer mask, paint on the right
side so it’s less affected by this Curves adjustment layer.

mushroom 3 curves 2

Step 17

Import the mushroom 4 to our working document and make its shadow as we did with other mushrooms.

add mushroom 4

Step 18

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the mushroom.

mushroom 4 hue saturation

Step 19

Make a Curves adjustment layer to darken the mushroom. Paint on its front to reveal the lightness there.

mushroom 4 curves

Step 20

Create a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50%
gray. Use the Burn Tool to strengthen the shadow of the mushroom.

mushroom 4 DB

Step 21

Continue adding mushroom 5 using a similar method. You can see the screenshots to know
the steps as I won’t bother you by repeating the description.

add mushroom 5
mushroom 5 color balance
mushroom 5 curves 1
mushroom 5 curves 2
mushroom 5 DB

Step 22

Import mushrooms 6 as we did with the other mushrooms.

add mushrooms 6
mushrooms 6 hue saturation
mushrooms 6 curves 1
mushrooms 6 curves 2
mushrooms 6 DB

Step 23

Add mushrooms 7 using the same method.

add mushrooms 7
mushrooms 7 hue saturation
mushrooms 7 color balance
mushrooms 7 curves 1
mushrooms 7 curves 2
mushrooms 7 DB

5. How to Retouch the Rabbit

Step 1

Open the rabbit image. As it has a transparent background, just use the Move Tool to drag the rabbit onto the tree.

add rabbit

Create a new layer below the rabbit one. Use a soft brush with the color #100303 to paint shadow below his feet.

rabbit shadow 1

Step 2

Make his long shadow as we did with the other objects.

rabbit shadow 2

Step 3

You can see the light and shadow on the rabbit do not fit the light
from the background. To fix it, use the Dodge Tool to paint highlights on
the contour and front of the rabbit and the Burn Tool to paint shadow
for his other sides.

rabbit DB

6. How to Add the Tree’s Eyes

Step 1

Open the owl eyes image. Use the Lasso Tool to select one eye and move
it onto the tree. Use Control-T to distort the eye a bit.

add eye to tree

Use a layer mask to blend the eye with the tree trunk.

eye masking

Step 2

Add another eye to the other side of the tree using the same method.

add another eye

7. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

Make a new layer on top of the layers and use a soft brush with the
color #e2e0de and Opacity about 30% and 80-90% to paint some light on
top of the path and around the tree. Use a layer mask to reduce the
opacity of the mist/haze and increase the dreamy, fantasy feeling a bit.

add mist
mist masking

Step 2

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer on top of the layers and pick the
colors #e10019 and #00601b. Lower the Opacity of this layer to 20%.

whole scene gradient map

Step 3

Make a Color Fill layer and pick the color #1b0505. Change this layer mode to Exclusion 100%.

whole scene color fill

Step 4

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and alter the Midtones and Highlights settings.

whole scene color balance midtones
whole scene color balance highlights

Step 5

Create a Selective Color adjustment layer to alter the color of the flowers/plants.

whole scene selective color

Step 6

Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #0048ec.

whole scene photo filter 1

Create another Photo Filter adjustment layer and change the color to
#00ec1c. On this layer mask, paint on both the sides and the ground so
the effect only works on the middle.

whole scene photo filter 2

Step 7

Add a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light to the middle. Paint
on the rest so it won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

whole scene curves 1

Step 8

Use another Curves adjustment layer to increase the shadow of both the sides and the foreground.

whole scene curves 2

Step 9

Create 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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