How to Create a Fantasy Fairy Scene Photo Manipulation with Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a fantasy scene featuring a little fairy girl and a  butterfly with leaf wings.  First, we’ll add the background and change its color. After that, we’ll import the butterfly, flower, child and make the leaf wings. Later, we’ll create the light, enhance the color and make some fantasy effect. We’ll use several adjustment layers to enhance the final effect.

Preview of The Final Result

Step 1

Create a new 2204×1666 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the background image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V) or use your own image. Place the highlight of the image in the top middle and convert this layer to a Smart Object.

Step 2

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 15 px. This step is to separate the background from the main subjects to increase the depth of the scene. The radius depends on the images you ‘ve used and the size of the main document. 

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and set it as Clipping Mask. Change the Master settings:

Step 4

Open the butterfly image and use the Lasso Tool (L) to select a suitable one from the image to add to the main document (here is the one I’ve chosen). Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to rotate it as shown below and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) . Place the butterfly in the area near the top middle.

Step 5

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Hit B to activate the Brush Tool and  select a hard round one with black color to erase the wings.

Step 6

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask)  and alter the Master values:

Step 7

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer to make the butterfly brighter and more green.

Step 8

Add a Curves adjustment layer to bring more light  and dreamy effect to the butterfly. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush with the opacity about 20% to reduce the light and effect on its body. 

Step 9

Make another Curves adjustment layer to make the upper of the butterfly’s body brighter. On this layer mask, use a hard  black brush to paint on the lower so it won’t be affected by this adjustment layer.

Step 10

Open the leaves 1 image and move the leaves into the main canvas. Place it onto the butterfly and use Ctrl+T to rotate it following the pose of the butterfly.

Add a mask to this layer to remove the leaves on the middle, leaving them visible on the top and bottom of the butterfly only.

Step 11

Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100% and fill with 50% gray. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) with Midtones Range, Exposure about 15-20% to refine the light and shadow on the leaves. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the result with Overlay mode.

Step 12

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to make the leaves more green. On this layer mask, paint on some parts of the leaves to keep the yellow there.

Step 13

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the top of the leaves. Paint on the rest to keep its lightness.

Step 14

Isolate the flower and move it into our working document and place it in the area near the middle of the foreground . 

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