Surreal Collage Effect in Adobe Photoshop - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class | Helen Bradley | Skillshare

Surreal Collage Effect in Adobe Photoshop - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

Surreal Collage Effect in Adobe Photoshop - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

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7 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Surreal Collage Effect in Photoshop Introduction

      1:06
    • 2. Pt 1 - Get the Images

      1:58
    • 3. Pt 2 - Prepare the Main Image

      4:14
    • 4. Pt 3 - Cut the Fish

      4:13
    • 5. Pt 4 - Position the Citrus Slice

      4:38
    • 6. Pt 5 - Blend the Background

      3:52
    • 7. Pt 6 - Finishing Touches

      8:41
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About This Class

Graphic Design for Lunch™ is a series of short video courses you can study in bite size pieces such as at lunchtime. In this course you'll learn to make a surreal collage effect by cutting a vintage image in two and showing that what you will see when it is cut in two is a slice of lemon. You will learn to make a path, turn a path into a selection to transform and warp a shape and how to blend and clone to add realism to a collage. This is the image we will create:

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Helen Bradley

Graphic Design for Lunch™

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Helen teaches the popular Graphic Design for Lunch™ courses which focus on teaching Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator®, Procreate®, and other graphic design and photo editing applications. Each course is short enough to take over a lunch break and is packed with useful and fun techniques. Class projects reinforce what is taught so they too can be easily completed over a lunch hour or two.

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Transcripts

1. Surreal Collage Effect in Photoshop Introduction: Hello. I'm Helen Bradley. Welcome to this Graphic Design for Lunch class, create a surreal collage effect in Adobe Photoshop. Graphic Design for Lunch is a series of classes that teach a range of tips and techniques for creating designs and for working in applications such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Procreate. Today we're looking at the works of Julia Geiser and we're going to create our own surrealistic collage effect inspired by her work. As you're watching these videos, you will see a prompt which lets you recommend this class to others. Please, if you're enjoying the class, do two things for me. Firstly, give it a thumbs up and then write just a few words about why you're enjoying the class. This feedback helps other students find my classes and to determine if they too will enjoy them. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments, and I look at and respond to all of your class projects. If you're ready now, let's get started creating our own surrealistic collage effect in Photoshop. 2. Pt 1 - Get the Images: Before we start on this project, I just want to introduce you to ''The Art of Julia Geiser''. I'm going to give you a link to her website in the class project area. But it's this kind of effect that we're looking at, where she's slices through things and then adds little elements in those sliced areas. There is another example here, this is very typical of her work and somebody in one of my classes actually asked me if I would have a look at this effect. So we're going to create a simple version of it in Photoshop here today. To work on this project, you're going to need a couple of images to use. I've chosen to use fish. I'm going to give you a link to this vintage printable site because, in the main, these images are available for use because they're in the public domain. So you're going to go to the animal fish area, and there's a whole lot of fish images here. You can click on any one of them. When you do, it opens in this area here, and this is where you can download them from. I'm going to choose a fish, probably something that looks like this. If you want to be able to make a cut through, it's going to be easier to make a cut through it whether or not fins, this fish has very few fins. So you could use this one, for example. Now I've done other one earlier and I believed this fish, but I was able to make a cut just through the tail. That's another option. You just need to work out what fish it is that you want to work on. For this one, let's go and select this. We're going to right-click and choose ''Save Image As''. Now I can just save it to disk. I'm going to click to save it. Having done that, I can then open it in Photoshop. Now the other thing we're going to need, is a slice of lime or lemon or something. I am going to give you the download link for this one. It's actually a slice of orange, but if we remove some of the color from it, it's going to double up as a slice of lemon very very well. So again, look out for the download link for that. Once you've downloaded both images, go ahead and open them both in Photoshop. 3. Pt 2 - Prepare the Main Image: I'm back now in Photoshop and I have my fish image and also my orange slice open. But we're going to start with the fish image. We're going to start with this background layer, and we need to convert that into a regular layer. You can do that in more recent versions of Photoshop by just clicking on the lock icon, and that just unlocks it. If you're working in an earlier version of Photoshop, you may need to drag the lock icon onto the trash can, or alternatively, you can also just double-click the background layer and click okay. They all have the exact same result of unlocking this layer so that we can then do things with it. What I want to do is I want to take the fish and put it on a layer by itself. But because I may need the actual fish later on, I'm just going to make a duplicate of it. I'm going to drag the layer onto the new layer icon, and just turn off visibility on that bottom layer, so I have a version of the fish just in case I need it. Now I'm going to put this fish on a separate layer, so I'm going to select the lasso tool. I'm just going to lasso the fish, and there's a little bit of shading behind it as well, so I'm going to take that with me. I've made a selection around the fish and the coloring behind it. I'm going to choose layer, new, layer via cut. What that does is it cuts the fish onto a separate layer. Here's the fish on its layer, and here is the background with a hole where the fish was. Well we can use a feature of the most recent versions of Photoshop to fill this in. I'm going to this layer and I'm just going to make a selection of this transparent area in the middle, and now that I've done that, I'm going to choose edit and then fill. I'm going to choose content-aware. If I click okay, Photoshop will go ahead and fill that area with content that is sourced from around the edge of the image, so I press "Control" or "Command D" to deselect the selection. You can see we've now got a nice even area of background paper that we can use for our fish. Now if you're working in earlier versions of Photoshop, you may not have that tool so, just going to go back and show you how you're going to deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with it in earlier versions of Photoshop is to go and get a piece of the image that you can actually use. I'm just going to go and get the rectangular marquee tool. I'm going to make a selection across here of some pretty clean content. Now, it's a little bit closed in the middle, so I'm just going to hold the "space bar" as I move the selection down because I want to clear that bump in the bottom there. But I want to be well away from the text areas here, so I've got a piece of clean image selected. I've got my blur selected here, so I'm going to choose layer, new, and this time layer via copy. What that's done is it's given me this strip of paper on a layer all by itself, so I'm just going to go and grab hold of it, and just make it really big, and click the check mark. Now if I put it behind the layer that has a hole in it, and turn the layer back on that has the hole in it. You'll see that we've plugged the gap if you like, and we've got a filled area. Now we've got a few little bits in here where you can still see some content so it hasn't blended in really well. But what I can do is just merge this layer into the layer below, so I'm just going to right-click and choose merge down. Now I've just got a single layer here, and I can use a tool like the spot healing brush tool. I'm just going to grab the spot healing brush tool, size my brush down a little bit using the open and closed square brackets, and just paint over the problem areas. The places where I can see a distinct edge, and that'll just get rid of any of these problems. Now we've got a clean background for our fish to go on, and so now we're ready to go ahead and to carve up our fish and to put the lemon slice in place. 4. Pt 3 - Cut the Fish: To make a cut through our fish, I'm going to select the fish layers so that we're working on the fish layer. I'm going to use the pen tool to do it because I think that the pen tool is actually probably the easier tool to use. I'm going to zoom in so that we can see the body of the fish here pretty clearly on the screen. These are fairly low quality images, but that doesn't really matter for the purposes of this video. So I'm going to the pen tool and I'm going to click where I want to start my cut. So I'm just going to click right here on the very edge of the fish, and then I need to decide just how my fish is shaped because I need to make my cut the sort of shape that my fish is going to be. So I'm going to assume that my fish is a little bit thinner at the top, maybe has the sort of belly coming around here. So I'm going to just click and drag here, and just start a sort of gentle curve. Then, I'm going to come down to the bottom here, and click and drag all the way out to make a much more robust curve at this point. Then, I'm going to continue to click all the way around here because what I want to do is, I want to take the head of the fish and pull it to the left. Now at this point, I'm going to zoom in a little bit closer still because I need to check that this selection is smooth. I don't think it is quite as smooth as it could be. So I'm going to the direct selection tool and there's a node here, little anchor point, and when I click on it, it gets handles. What I want to do is just to make sure that its handles are pretty smooth so that they're almost like a tangent to this line, so that line curves around really nicely. Now at this point, you can go to any of these anchor points and just make the edits that you want. So this anchor point is going to have handles on it. We want our fish to be a bit bigger in the belly. We can just drag out on that point, but we may want to adjust this one as a result. So you can work at creating a really nice curve in your fish. So now I'm going to zoom back out. While I've got a pen path, I need to turn this into a selection. So I'm going through a paths palette here, just going to click on that, and here is our path. If you don't see your paths palette in the strip down the side or wherever your pallets are stored, you can just choose window and then go to paths and just turn it on. So this is a pen path and what we need to do is to make it into a selection. So with it's selected, there's an icon here that lets you turn your path into a selection. It's a load path as selection. So I'm just going to click on that, and this is now a selection. So I can go here to this fish. Actually, just going to turn this layer off below to make sure I've got the whole fish selected. Well, I haven't. I need a little bit of this area out here, but I can just add that to the selection. So I'm going to the less tool, and I'm going to select the add to selection option here. So anything that I less so now it's going to be added to the selection. So I'm just going to add that little bit of background in. So we're pretty good there now. So I've got the front end of my fish selected. I've got the fish layer selected. All I need to do now is to choose layer, new layer via cut, and that's going to cut the fish into pieces. Let's just go to this layer here and with the move tool, you can see that I can pull the fish head out of the way. So I'm going to hold the Shift key as I do it, so it's pulled in a horizontal direction. I can go to the back-end of the fish and select the back-end. Again, holding the Shift key, I can move it out of the way because what I need is enough room in here to put my orange slice so that we can see that the fish is actually cut in two and what it has in its middle instead of normal fish middle bit is actually an orange slice. So that's looking pretty good now and we can turn our background back on. We may need to patch these areas a little bit later on, but we've got the basic fish concept happening here. 5. Pt 4 - Position the Citrus Slice: The next thing we need to do is to go and get our orange slice, so I've got my orange slice image open here in Photoshop, I'm actually going to convert the background layer into a regular layer. I'm going up here and I'm going to choose the Quick Selection Tool, and I just want to select around the outside edge to select the white area around the orange slice, leaving the orange slice itself unselected. Now I'm going to invert the selection by choosing "Select" and then "Inverse". What we have selected now is just the orange slice, and I want to copy that into my fish image so I'm going to choose "Edit" "Copy". Let's go back to the fish image, and lets us choose "Edit", "Paste". Photoshop just paste that in as a separate lab and just goes wherever you happen to be at the time, so I was above this background here, so the orange slice has been pasted underneath the fish, and actual fact that's where it needs to be. But for now I don't really need the fish's head, so I'm going to turn that off, and that will allow me to focus on this area in here. I'm going to go and get my orange slice, and I'm going to the move tool and that will give me my handles. If you don't see your handles, make sure to click here on "Show Transform Controls". I'm going to start dragging this down in size, I'm going to hold the "Shift" key as I do initially, just so I get a round orange slice and I'm looking to fill the spot that I just cut out of the fish with this orange slice, so I wanted to go pretty much from the top edge of the fish to the bottom. But because our cut through our fish is not going to be perfectly circular, once we get the orange slice down to a near size, we can start squashing it up because it's actually going to need to be squashed up as if we were looking at a cut-through of our fish. Because our fish is not perfectly circular, it's going to be more of an oval as a cut-through on it. I'm just going to size this looking to get it pretty much matching the top and bottom edge of the fish here, if anything just a little bit bigger, so I'm going to click the check mark and I'm going to zoom in now. I want to be able to say the orange slice and the fish really clearly on the screen and I want to be on the orange slice layer. What I need to do next is to warp this so that I can push it into the correct shape. With the orange slice layer selected, I'm going to choose "Edit" and then "Transform", and this time choose "Warp". This puts a three-by-three grid over the orange slice, and these are nodes pretty much like the anchor points were on the pin tool and we can drag them out of the way and you can see that they've got little handles on them as well. But as we drag on them, the shape underneath gets bent, so what I need to do is to bend this orange slice so it fits just inside the fish. I want a little bit of the orange skin just along the edge of the cut that I made through the fish. But I also need to make sure that this is just fitting in here really, really nicely, and this Warp tool is a really good tool for doing just that because it lets you pull and push your shape. Sometimes it might seem like this grid of nine is not quite enough for grid paces, but you should be able to get a pretty good effect from it, so I'm just squeezing this up as I go, and then virtually making this other side of the fish from the warped shape. Because that's giving us the dimension of the cut-through on the fish. This is probably where you want to spend, if anything, the most time is just lining everything up and just getting a really good result at this point, but it's all just done by dragging on the orange slice. I just made a mistake there, so I press "Control Z" to undo it. You just going to drag on the orange slice to move it in or out of position and then you can grab on the grid lines here, either the grid line itself or an intersection or these handles to just bend it into shape. I'm just going to call that good for now, so I'm just going to click the check mark and that's a pretty good result. I'm going to press "Control" or "Command" "0" to zoom back out. You can see that we've got a pretty good feel for our fish and what we need to do now, is just to put the rest of it together. 6. Pt 5 - Blend the Background: At this point it will help us if we turn back on the fish head so we can see how things are looking, and while the orange slice is looking pretty good at the moment, this is causing us some issues because there's texture missing here that we're going to need to build back. Now, I have my white layer selected here. It might be tempting to build back the texture on that layer, but it would be actually be better if we added a new layer at this point. I'm just going to click to add a new layer. If we build our texture up on an empty layer, if we don't get it right, then we can remove it or we can do things with the texture layer separate to the white background. That's always a good idea to do something like that. I'm going to start with the clone stamp tool, so I'm going to click on the clone stamp tool. I'm going to make sure that sample is set to all layers because I'm working on an empty layer, I want to be able to sample bits of the visible layers to fill in that area. This is a brush tool so you can open up the brushes panel and choose a brush to use. Typically what you'll want is a circular brush with medium hardness. You don't want it to be totally hard and you don't want it to be totally soft. We can just have a look and see how this is looking, I think it'll be pretty good brush. We can re-size it by using the open and close square bracket keys. To sample it, you just going to "Alt" or "Option" click on an area of texture that you want to sample, and we're just going to paint it in here. As I'm painting, watching the little X icon that appears to make sure that I'm not going to run into an area that doesn't have any texture, or perhaps has skin of the fish or something that I don't want to build into this area. I can continually come and sample and re-sample to build up this texture. I may also want to sample from both sides of the area that I'm trying to heal, because that might help me blend these colors in. If I make a mistake, I'm just going to "Control" or "Command C" just to undo the problem. I'm just working at building this backup, repeatedly sampling, and then just filling in the area around the fish. I'm going to continue to do that, and when I'm done, we're going to come back and go ahead with the next step. If I turn off the orange slice layer, then it's not going to be part of the selection that I make with the clone stamp tool, so that might help me fill in this area a little better. Now you can also work between having aligned enabled and aligned disabled. If aligned is disabled, you can make a selection of an area such as this one here, and then just go and click to paint and you'll find that you come back to sampling this initial area each time. That can make it easier to get the effect that you're looking for. Here in the middle of the fish, I'm looking at just blending into the blue and green. I want a transition between these two colors. It might decrease the flow at this stage so that I get this blended effect in the middle of the fish. But I also don't want to see too much bending, so after I've added some of this texture I might go back, and add a bit more just to make sure that there's no residual bending happening. I'm reasonably happy with that. Now let's turn the orange slice back on. You can see that we've got a way more seamless result through the middle of the fish where we made the cut. Now what we really need to do is to finish off the blending effect. 7. Pt 6 - Finishing Touches: One of the finishing touches I want to do is to make this orange slice look a little bit more like a lemon slice. I'm going to target the orange slice layer and I'm going to choose "Layer", "New Adjustment Layer", "Curves". Now, this allows me to make a curve's adjustment over the top of just this layer. I think I should go and get a tool that's not the clone stamp tool here, and I'm just going to click this icon so that I'm limiting the effect of this curve's layer to just the immediate layer below, which is the one that has the orange on it. I want to lighten this a bit. I want to make it look a little bit more like a slice of lemon. As I drag up on the curve's adjustment, that's exactly what's happening, is it's looking a little bit more like a lemon than an orange. If I want it to be a little bit more contrasty, I could drag down on the bottom part of the curve. Dragging up at the top end is lightening the lighter areas, striking down on the bottom end is darkening any of the darker areas. But I don't actually think I want to do too much with that here, I think this is pretty good. Now, I also want to blend in the edges around this fish, and I also want to just check up here as to what's going on. I'm going to zoom into this area. You can see that we've got a little bit of a sharp transition between the fish and the lemon slice. Again, I'm going to go here just on this layer here and add a new layer below it. I'm going to Control or Command-click on the "New Layer" icon. What that's going to let me do is to maybe just clone a little bit of this into position. Let's go back to the clone stamp tool. I'm going to wind it all the way down in size. I want it to be quite small indeed and I'm going to bring my flow up. That's fine. I'm going to Alt or Option-click on the fish, and I think it's still way too big, so let's go and get a smaller brush. Then, just paint in on this layer here with a little bit of the fish skin detail to try and blend these in. If I decrease the flow as I go, I'm going to get a more gradual transition between the fish skin and the lemon here. I'm just going to bring that in and I'm going to check the bottom part here too. Again, Alt or Option-click to sample the fish skin and then just blend it in here a little bit. We're getting a more seamless transition and really reinforcing the impression that this lemon might be what was actually in the center of the fish. That's looking a lot better, although I think it's probably a bit too dark up the top here. But since this is all on a separate layer, let's turn it on and off. We can adjust the opacity of this layer and just bring it down, so it's not quite as dark. Perhaps even as low as about 59 percent, but we certainly got a much more of a strong feeling that this is what we're seeing in the middle of the fish. I'm going to come here again into the edges of this orange and for this, I'm going to go down to the orange layer. I think it would be a good thing at this stage to actually fix the curve onto this orange layer. Let's go to the curve's layer. Let's right-click and just choose "Merge Down". What that does is it merges the change of that from orange into lemon and sets it all on just one layer. There's no adjustment layer anymore, it's all merged into this one layer. That means that I can go and do something like get the burn tool. I'm going to click on the burn tool. I've got exposure set to about 35 percent and I'm looking at mid-tones here. I'm just going to live life in the fast lane here a little bit and just paint over the edges of the lemon and that's just going to darken it. The burn adjustment just darkens the edges and because I'm on the lemon layer with it, I'm not affecting the skin of the fish, I'm just affecting the yellow pixels here. By can actually beef up the exposure here a little bit and burn it in a little bit faster. By darkening these edge pixels here, and again blending it into the fish skin underneath a little bit. You could also go and do a bit of a clone here. If we go back to this lab, which is where our cloning is, I can again go to the clone tool and just Alt-click on some of these fish scales and maybe just blend them into the very edge of the lemon. Just sort a little bit of a mix of lemon and fish scales just at this very edge and anything that I do with that is again going to reinforce the impression that this is really what we see when we cut the fish in half. Let's go back to Control or Command 0 and I'm just going to turn that effect off and turn it on again. It's very subtle, but it does help give you the impression that this is what the fish looks like. Now, this cutline you may also want to do something with, so let's zoom into it. I'm thinking I just want to soften this cutline just a little bit. Again, I'm going to work on a new layer. I'm just going to Control-click to add a new layer and I'm going to go back to my clone stamp tool, going to take just a few pixels out of the fish and just work them along the edge here, just to try and give us a little bit more dimension on the edge. I'm sitting here with my finger pretty much over the Alt or Option key, so I can sample as I go. You could also burn this in two. In this case, we would need to go to the fish head layer, and again we get the burn tool. On the fish head layer, we could just burn the edges in a little bit. Because we're working on this layer, we're not going to be burning anything else except for the pixels that are actually on this layer. If we darken this edge just very slightly, again we might get a little bit of reinforcement of this edge detail. Let's just go back out and say that. There is the basis of the effect that we came here to create. We've cut our fish in half, we've added our lemon slice to the middle of the fish and created some dimensions, so some sense that this is a three-dimensional image. We've cloned back in the missing background, and then we've worked on these edges a little bit to blend them in. As I suggested, if you're following the tone of the original artist, you may want to make multiple cuts through your fish and do the exact same thing in each of these cut areas. Your project for this class is going to be to create this effect yourself. You can use the fish that I've used or you can go and get a fish or another animal of your choice. You can also go and get a fruit slice that might be an orange or a lemon, or you could use a slice of any other piece of fruit. Then come back into Photoshop with your images, cut your image in two, blend out the background so that you make a nice background for your element, and then go and put your slice in and bend and warp it to suit. Post a image of your completed project in the class project area. I hope that you've enjoyed this class and that you've learned something about creating a surreal collage effect in Photoshop. If you did enjoy this course and when you say a prompt to recommend this class to others, please do two things for me. Give it a thumbs up and write just a few words about why you enjoy the class. These recommendations help others to identify this as a class that they too may want to take. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments. I look at and respond to all of your class projects. My name's Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of Graphic Design for Lunch, and I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming episode soon.