Create an Eco-Friendly Nature Themed Composition

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When working in the field of graphic design, it is not always necessary to use excessively advanced techniques in order to achieve quality results.  One of the things that makes a great designer is the mastery of simple techniques, such as stock isolation, composition, blending and color.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an eco-friendly, nature themed composition for a TV product ad.  You’ll be taken through step by step how to set up the background, control the depth of field, add the foreground subject, and additional elements to create a finished composition.  And best of all, you’ll see how the simplest techniques in Photoshop can come together to create a sharp, polished and creative finished result.

If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments!

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Tools Used

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Stock Images

Final Image Preview

Step 1: Document setup

Ok, we can start by creating a new document in Photoshop; when the new document dialog appears set your size to be 2000*3000. Once that is done we can head over to SXC to grab our background. The stock for our background can be found at: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=130280
Once you drop the background stock into your document you will notice it is too small!

Just free transform the background image until the top and bottom both fit in the document. Once that’s done we will apply a Gaussian blur. The Gaussian blur will help to create a since of depth (which will play out later in the tutorial); so once you have your Gaussian blur dialog up set it up as mine is in the below screenshot.

Now we need to add in our focal point. Now you could use something like a tablet, phone, computer, Xbox etc… However we will be using a TV. So to get our stock TV head over to: http://www.takesontech.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/vt420m_vt470m.jpg
Once you have the TV dropped into your document you will need to size it down so it fits vertically. Once you have done that just isolate it the same way you would another type of stock. There’s no reason to start isolating stocks out in a whole new way if what your doing works! Now just remove the stand using your polygon lasso and you are done with the isolation.

Now we can go back to SXC and grab the same stock as before: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=130280
Once you have this stock again hide it. While it’s hidden use your polygon lasso (or pen tool) to make a selection around the screen of your TV. Once you have done that unhide the stock layer and press “CTRL SHIFT I”; once you have pressed this press the delete key. This deletes everything but what we have selected, so everything but what is on the screen should now be deleted leaving only a window to what our background once was.

Step 2: Foliage and greenery

Now we will begin applying our foliage. Due to time constraints we will be using some stocks that have been pre-isolated. So our first pre-isolated stock is located on DA, it’s a zip file containing a PSD so once you have downloaded it just open up the PSD. The PSD can be found at: http://www.deviantart.com/download/61289212/Giant_Ivy_Leaf_by_WammyP.zip

Once you have your PSD open drag the leaf into our document so we can begin working with it. It’s a good idea before you get started that you make a few duplicates of the leaf just in case you need one later on or you mess up one. So to start off place one large leaf at the bottom left and then place another large leaf in the center at the top. Apply a Gaussian blur with a radius of around 5-8 px on both of these leafs. Once you have done that just size some more leafs up and down and place them all around and on top of your TV. If you are worried it will look to replicated you can always do some slight level adjustments or even a tiny hue adjustment.

Our next stock is also on DA it is located at: http://www.deviantart.com/download/61373217/Aspidistra___Closet_Plant_by_WammyP.zip

One you have opened the PSD and dragged the plant into your document you’re just going to want to place a lot of them around the edges of your TV. You will want to rotate them at times or even free transform them to prevent them from looking too replicated. You could also adjust the hues and levels as stated above. If you wanted you could also place them outside of your document, having a few leafs stretching out into your document. You could even blur these leafs stretching in if you wanted to.

Now do the same with this stock: http://www.deviantart.com/download/61419913/English_Ivy_I_by_WammyP.zip

Our next stock is not isolated, however it is a very simple isolation; I just used the magic wand tool (tolerance of 30). Our next stock can be found on SXC at: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/927298

Once you have dropped it into your document repeat the steps we did with the first leaf, this time though just create one blurred leaf.

Our next stock is located at: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1257492

Once you have this stock, isolate it and place it on top of your TV. You want to find a side or corner of the TV that all of your foliage will seem to be emerging from, I choose the bottom right hand side but you can choose a side of your own choosing. Even though we are choosing a emergence spot, its still a good idea to have some random spots were some foliage is sprouting out.

Now we just need to get a few more stocks and drop them around this same point (the emergence point). I have compiled a short list of stocks below that I used and that you can use as well. Keep in mind though that you don’t have to stick to what I did, you could easily add in some flowers or vines for example.
Stocks:

  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/937692
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/954959
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1019914
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1004572
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1004646
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1004646
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1004571
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/954961

The one main thing to try and achieve when doing this is that all the ends/stems of your longer leafy stocks are hidden beneath the leafs we placed on top of the TV in our previous steps. So if you need to drop in more leafs of a larger size don’t be afraid to do so. Below are a few screen shots of my emergence point and one of the opposite side where I placed 2 or 3 leafs on to the TV, you can see that none of my ends are visible this is exactly what you are trying to achieve.


To finish off our foliage we will head back over to DA and grab a render pack by Angelus Hellion. The render pack can be found at http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs29/f/2008/105/c/7/render_pack_8_by_Angelus_Hellion.rar
You want to open the PSD called “Sleeping awake”.

Now just drop that into your document beneath all your foliage layers. Place it behind the TV where it can just barley can be seen as mine is in the below screenshots.

You could also place it between your emergence point and the TV for a different effect if you wanted.

I also added in a branch from a stock I purchased from StockExpert. However you don’t have to, if you wanted to though you could find a similar stock on SXC.HU with no problems.

Step 3: Animals

Now we will begin dropping in our animals. In this section I will show you how I did two animals and then give you some links to other stocks that you could use, just like we did with the leafs.
Our first stock is a selection of pre isolated birds, it can be found at: http://www.deviantart.com/download/87038359/Small_Birds_PSD_by_Fairiegoodmother.psd

We will be using the large red and white bird first and then the hummingbird. So to start off go ahead and grab the red and white bird and drag him over into our PSD. Once that is done just place him wherever you like. I choose to place him onto a leaf which meant I had to tilt him slightly. You of course can just have him hovering in the air if you like.

Next we will drag the humming bird into our PSD. Once you have dropped him into your PSD go ahead and erase the flower away (unless you want to keep it!) and place him around a leaf at the bottom.

Now just go and get some more wildlife stocks and drop them into your document just as we did with all of our above stocks. I have compiled a short list of stocks below so you have a starting point but you don’t have to use the ones I listed.
Stocks:

  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1219013
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/484657
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1054216
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1194195
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/513002
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1059950
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/450585
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1184943
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/104198
  • http://www.sxc.hu/photo/842362

Below are a few screen shots showing you were I placed my stocks and how I arranged them. The main idea when placing these is that you isolate them out completely and you don’t cluster them all together. Also keep in mind you don’t want all your frogs on one side or all the birds at one side! Vary it up as you go along and your final image will benefit greatly.




Now to finish the piece merge all of your layers, apply two sharpen filters, size it down to 800*1200 and apply one last sharpen filter. And now we are done. I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and have created something that you’re proud of. My final image is below.

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