Step Three Next, We’ll cut out the model. Use the Pen tool , or if you find it difficult the Polygonal Lasso Tool . To cut out using the pen tool, carefully draw around the subject, and then right click and press ‘Make Selection’ Because the photo is very slightly blurry, it’s a good idea to set feathering to 1px. This means that the selection is blurred approximately 1 pixel around the subject, and it will make it fit into the background image more naturally. Once we’ve done this we press Ctrl+J or go to Image>Duplicate. Normally this would just make an exact copy of the image, but because we’ve made a selection it will copy everything inside the selection to a new layer. Let’s name this new layer ‘Model Cutout’ and hide the ‘Model’ layer. This is useful because if you mess up you’ll still have the original picture to fall back on.
Step Four Now that the picture has been cut out we’ll resize it and place it where it’ll be in the final image. If you’re sensible you’ll duplicate the layer and call it "Resized model", but if you’re a rebel you can go ahead and resize it how it is. Press Ctrl+T or go to Select>Transform Selection to put the layer into free transform mode, and then resize it to where you want it. Once you’re done hit Enter to transform the layer.
Step Five Because we’ve rotated the model to be on the wall, the lighting sources no longer completely match up. The light is falling on the model from above, and we want it to fall from the right (because that’s where the sky is now). In this picture it is fairly overcast, but in sunnier pictures this step will be invaluble in making it look realistic.
We’ll start by using the burn tool to create shadows on the left side of the model. Set the range to ‘midtones’ and the opacity to about 50%. This means that it will affect the darker and lighter areas of the picture equally to darken them. For the highlights we’ll choose the dodge tool , and set it to ‘highlights’ at 20-30%. This means the lighter areas of the image will be accentuated, and the darker areas will be mostly untouched.
If you do it right, it will be hard to see what you’ve changed – but if you reveal the lower layer you can see the difference. Step Six The model is starting to look good, but a big factor in making it look realistic is creating a shadow on the wall. We’ll create a duplicate of the wall layer, and name it ‘Wall with Shadow’. Using the burn tool, we’ll start drawing a shadow on the wall. Because the lighting is fairly dull in this picture, it’s a good idea to make the shadow fairly diffused – in a brighter image it would be sharper and more directional.
To get a realistic shadow, change the range between ‘highlights’ and ‘midtones’ at about 50% opacity, as this will create darker blacks. If you’re using photoshop cs4, you may want to turn off ‘protect tones’ as it can stop the burn tool from going as dark as possible.
Step Seven We’re nearly done now, but there’s a few final adjustments we can make to give the image even more impact. Let’s soften some of the edges of the model to make him fit into the image even better. Duplicate the "Resized model" layer, and use the blur tool to blur some of the edges – I’ve blurred around the head, the arms and some of the shoes. You don’t want to blur the whole outline, as it will just look as if it’s been badly cut out – but blurring small sections will look more realistic.
Step Eight To give more focus to the main subject in the photo, we’re going to create a fake depth-of-field effect in the background. Because the far end of the buildings looks fairly busy, blurring them will stop them removing focus from the model.Duplicate the ‘Wall with Shadow’ layer, and then use the brush tool to blur the points of the photo furthest from the camera. We’ll use a fairly large brush – 250-600 will work best, with 0% hardness and around 70% hardness. This’ll let us blur a broad area, and the lowered strength means we can focus on the center of the picture to increase the blur on further objects.
Step Nine Now that the picture is pretty much finished, there’s just one more adjustment to make. It looks good, but adding a colour adjustment will give it a more dramatic feel. To add an adjustment layer, press the button underneath the layers panel, and then select ‘Color balance’ You can play around and see what you think looks good, or copy the setting I used.
You now have your final image! Experiment, and see what you can come up with!