Turning a figure to stone


Replicate the effects of Medusa’s gaze in this step-by-step Photoshop tutorial on turning an image into a statue – part 1.

It’s the stuff of legend: a witch turns an unsuspecting maiden to stone with a flick of her magic wand. In Photoshop, we can cast a similar spell, taking an ordinary digital image and using powerful layer blending mode features and a few layer masks to transform a figure into a stone statue.

This effect is all about how multiple layers combine and meld together. We can make these layer-blending properties even more sophisticated by controlling the opacity of the various parts of multiple layers with layer masks.

This technique makes extensive use of the extra brush sets, from which we can choose effective brushes that are able to express textures within the stroke.

1. This image, with the praying position of the model, lends itself well to this effect, and is already quite statuesque. Start by duplicating the background layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer), as this preserves a pristine copy of the image at the bottom of the layer stack. Desaturate the duplicate layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Ctrl/Cmd+ Shift+U).

2. To increase the contrast, go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and replicate the curve shape in the screenshot. This curve shape lightens the midtones and highlights and darkens the shadows.

3. Open an image of a stone surface, and go to Select > All (Ctrl/Cmd+A), then Edit > Copy (Ctrl/ Cmd+C) to copy the entire image. Return to the main composition and go to Edit > Paste (Ctrl/Cmd+V). Now stretch this stone layer to cover the entire figure, using Edit > Transform > Scale, dragging the corner handles to fit. Set the blending mode for this layer to Hard Light, and the opacity to 42 per cent.

4. Add a layer mask to the Stone layer using Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Use the Brush tool to paint around the girl’s head and shoulders with black onto the layer mask to hide the stone texture in these areas.

5. Open a second, rougher stone image and copy and paste it into the main composition as above. Resize this layer using Edit > Transform > Scale so it covers just the head and upper arms. Set the blending mode to Hard Light and opacity to 58 per cent. Add a layer mask and paint with black around the head as in step 4.

6. Return to the background copy layer in the Layers palette and choose the Dodge tool from the Toolbar. In the Options bar, set the Range to Shadows and the Exposure to 23 per cent. Click with the tool over the girl’s eyes to lighten the tone of the pupils.

7. Change to the Healing Brush tool and clone out the highlights in the eyes. Set the clone source point by first Alt/Opt-clicking next to the highlight.

8. Choose the Eyedropper tool and click to sample one of the highlights in the hair. Now go to Select > Color Range and move the Fuzziness slider to 53. Hit OK and go to Edit > Copy, then Edit > Paste to paste the highlights onto a separate layer.

9. Blur this layer by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, using a Radius value of 28. This will enable this layer to give the image a softer appearance. Alternatively, a higher Radius value can be used to make the effect more subtle. Reduce the layer opacity to 67 per cent.

10. Click on the background copy layer and duplicate it (Ctrl/Cmd+J). Go to Select > All (Ctrl/Cmd+A), Edit > Copy (Ctrl/Cmd+C), and Ctrl/Cmd+D to deselect. Now click on the Channels palette tab and click the “Create new channel” icon at the bottom of the palette.

Go to Edit > Paste (Ctrl/Cmd+V) to paste the contents of the new duplicate layer into the alpha channel. Blur this channel with Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur using 5.2 Radius. Click on the RGB channel before returning to the Layers palette.

Add special lighting effects and drama to the image turned into a statue in the second part of this Photoshop tutorial.

It’s the stuff of legend: a witch turns an unsuspecting maiden to stone with a flick of her magic wand. In Photoshop, we can cast a similar spell, taking an ordinary digital image and using powerful layer blending mode features and a few layer masks to transform a figure into a stone statue.

Here we’ll show you how to light the figure created in the first part of this tutorial.

1. To light the figure, go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. Choose Spotlight, and for the Texture Channel, choose Alpha 1. Rotate the light direction pool in the Preview window so the light falls from the top left. Use the settings in the screenshot as a guide for the other values. Hit OK. Set the layer blending mode to Luminosity, opacity to 45 per cent.

2. Click on the foreground colour swatch and select a light blue from the Color Picker. Add a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N) and drag it to the top of the layer stack.

Choose the Gradient tool and Foreground to Transparent in the Gradient Picker. Click and drag from the top to the bottom. Set the layer blending mode to Color and opacity to 46 per cent.

3. Click on the layer mask thumbnail attached to the upper stone layer and choose the Brush tool. Click in the Brush Picker and on the small, right-pointing arrow. Load the Dry Media Brush set from the list and choose the Pastel Rough Texture Brush from the thumbnails.

4. If you’re using a graphics tablet, hit F5 to display the Brush Options dialog box and click in the Other Dynamics category. For Opacity Jitter choose Pen Pressure. Ensure that Shape Dynamics is not checked.

5. Paint with black at varying opacities on the layer mask in the darkest areas of the girl’s head and shoulders to obliterate some of the stone texture. Paint with black into the mask around any edges of the stone layer to hide them.

6 Repeat step 15 on the layer mask for the lower stone layer, paying special attention to the edges of the visible layer. Paint around these edges, using black at a very low opacity to carefully blend this layer into the figure. Refer to the Layer Masks box on page 83 for more tips.

7. Now to add some drama to the image. Add a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N) and drag it below the blue gradient layer. Choose a very dark blue for the foreground swatch and select the Gradient tool. Drag a gradient over the entire image from top to bottom. Change the blending mode for this layer to Linear Light.

8. Add a layer mask to this layer using Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Make sure you’re working on the mask for this layer by checking for an outline around the thumbnail.

9. Choose the Brush tool and use the previously selected brush to paint black into the mask at varying opacities over the entire upper half of the figure.

Paint at higher opacity over the left side of the face to give the impression of light falling on that side. Reduce the brush opacity (or use less pressure on your stylus) on the other side of the face to subtly reveal just parts of the face.

10 Add another layer (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N) and set the layer blending mode to Color. Change the foreground swatch colour to dark green and paint here and there over the head at very low opacity to add just a little colour. Repeat this process using a rich brown colour.

11. Flatten the image (Layer > Flatten Image) and use the Healing Brush tool to clone out the edges of the vest top. Choose the Healing Brush tool, press Alt/Opt on the keyboard, and click at a point next to the edge of the girl’s top to set the Healing Brush source point. Release the Alt/Opt key and click along the edges of the top to hide them.

12. Finally, add one more new layer. Choose the Polygon Lasso tool and draw a wedge shape in the top left-hand corner for the light beam. Using light blue for the foreground colour, drag a gradient diagonally across the selection. Change the layer blending mode to Screen and reduce the layer opacity.

Author’s URL: Tim Shelbourne – www.ilex-press.com/digit.

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