Dramatic Landscape Photo Manipulation

In this tutorial you will learn how to transform flat images into some kind of a dramatic, dreamy effect out of it with the proper use of layer styles, filters, and other adjustments.

Here is the final result preview we’ll work with:

Stock photos used for this tutorial

The first image was taken at DigitalBasphemy and the other somewhere in the internet which, the exact source i forgot. You can always have your alternative images if you like, as there are plenty of sources to get from in the internet. Or, maybe you have stocks ready from your gallery already. That would be fine.

Step 1 – Open the landscape photo
To start, open your landscape photo into Photoshop (File>Open).

Step 2 – Open the photo of the storks
Just like what you did above, open your flying birds photo (not your birdie, lol!).

Step 3 – Create a selection of the birds
To make a selection, grab the Quick Selection tool (magic wand or pen tool, whichever you prefer) and start selecting the birds. Make it as accurate as possible for easier editing later. When done, copy and paste it onto the Landscape layer.

Step 4 – Resize and reposition the birds
The birds are too big you can’t see them in full (and out-of-bounds, of course) so we have to resize it and place them where we want to lie onto the background. To do this, we’ll use the Free Transform tool (Edit>Free Transform). Click Ok when done. Here’s what it looks like:

Step 5 – Fix the rough edges
Most likely, there are portions that are not exactly selected earlier before pasting thereby creating rough edges in it. We will fix these by using the Eraser.
Mode: Brush (soft)
Opacity: 100
Flow: 100

Use soft, small brushes to erase rough edges carefully and patiently. Yes, carefully because you might erase the whole bird and mess-up the whole thing!

Step 6 – Soften the edges
After that not-so tedious erasing act, we’ll get moving by softening the edges this time. Too sharp, isn’t it? It’s not realistic for a flying bird and don’t match with the background definitely. We’ll take the Soft Brush then and brush around the edges of the birds to blur them a bit and making that soft effect onto it. Don’t overdo it because we’ll still have to blur the whole birds. Lessen the opacity if necessary.

Step 7 – Blur the image
The birds are flying, right? They should be blurred a little bit then, ok? We have options here to choose from – Gaussian or Motion blur. Both will do but I prefer the Motion Blur. Select it and follow the settings below:

And here is the result:

Step 8 – Brighten the birds
We’ll have to brighten-up the birds a bit to blend with the succeeding step that we will do. To do this, we’ll have to create a Clipping Mask from the active layer then adjust the brightness/contrast (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast).

Step 9 – Apply gradient to background
After finishing with the birds, we’ll make some tweaks on the background this time. To start with, go to Layer Styles and select Gradient Overlay (Click fx icon below the layer dialog box>Gradient Overlay..).On the dialog box that appears, apply the following settings:

Now click that gradient bar editor and apply the following (i.e., the Opacity should be set to 60, which will make the black color into gray).:

Step 10 – Blur the background
Time to blend the background with the flying storks. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur… Set the radius to about 0.5-1.5. Click Ok.

Step 11 – Create a warm effect and radiance
In creating a radiance with warmth to that dreamy background we’ve just created, there’s a unique effect, somewhat mystery behind after applying the said adjustments. The Lens Flare will do this… Filter>Render>Lens Flare…

And the result…

Step 12 – Merge Layers
Merge all visible layers now and we’re almost done. You can stop here actually.

Step 13 – Make more light and contrast adjustments
To continue, go to Image>Adjustments>Curves… Apply the following to obtain that more radiant look without losing the previous photo effect.

Yay, we’re done!

How to replace someone’s face using Adobe Photoshop

One of the interesting and easy to learn from Photoshop is changing someone’s face (from their photo) by another one. If you are still new to the program and discovered for yourself you’ve learned the stuff, it’s really fun and I’ll bet you’ll enjoy it very much. Actually, once you know already what this tutorial is, you can replace any part of an image or photo you like; edit colors and shades, change backgrounds; remove or replace anything you like; and other more you’d like to imagine. And then, you can amaze your friends of your new-found trick by posting your creation to top social media websites or right to their emails! That’s really fun eh?

Just follow these simple steps to know how:


Open Photoshop (CS2 and later). By the way, I used Adobe Photoshop CS5 here.


Go to File menu>Open. Select a photo from your computer which you want to be edited/manipulated. In this case, mine is a photo of Osama Bin Laden.
*The selected photo should be on your screen now.


Open another photo by doing the same step as above (e.g., File>Open). You can put the photo beside the first by dragging down the link, like the one below.


With the second photo being the active layer (should be the one visible in your layer dialog box), click Lasso Tool and select the face by drawing the line around it. When done, go to Edit>Copy.
*With the face already copied, it is now ready to be pasted onto the first photo.


Click the first photo now to activate it, then go to Edit>Paste. The selected face from your second photo should now be visible on your first photo, but most likely too large or small to fit the face. Don’t worry, that’s what we will do next…


Click Ctrl T (or Edit>Free Transform), scale it right, and then put it properly to the face to cover and replace the old one. Hit Enter if done. By now, don’t bother yet about the color, rough edges, and other parts to be fixed or enhanced. We’ll do that next…


Go to Image>Adjustments>Color Balance. Adjust the 3 sliders on the dialog box until the color matches (or nearly matches) the subject’s color. If in case the desired color is not yet met, use the other adjustment tools (Image>Adjustments>Exposure, Color Levels, Color Curves, etc.).


To fix the rough edges, select Eraser Tool (soft) and erase carefully around the face. You can blur a bit by selecting the Blur Tool to smoothen sharp edges.


More finishing touches… Other than the Blur Tool to smoothen edges and parts of the face (note: avoid to overdo it), can also use the Healing Tool and Clone Tool, if necessary. Try it freely. You can always undo every step you don’t like to appear (Edit>Undo).


If satisfied already with the outcome, go to Layer>Flatten Image. Delete inactive layers, if any. Then, finally, save your work by going to File>Save As…!

Here’s the final result:

That’s it! Enjoy!

How to extract hair from background using GIMP

In this tutorial I will show you how to extract strands of hair from the background. Capturing the best out of the image subject requires patience and modest amount of time (about 30 minutes, more or less, I guess – depending how familiar you are with GIMP and how fast you do it).

Here is a picture of Eva Longoria, before and after. You can download the stock image HERE. Result varies on the time involve in editing and enhancing.

Step 1 : Open GIMP, then go to File>Open. Select a picture from your computer then click Open.
Step 2 : Right-click the ‘background layer'(named eva-longoria.jpg in this case)>Add Alpha Channel.

Step 3 : Duplicate the ‘eva-longoria.jpg’ layer which creates a new layer ‘eva-longoria.jpg copy’.

Step 4 : At this time, we would like to make a good contrast out of our image in preparation to layer masking that we will do. So, to do this, go to Color>Curves and have the most desired adjustment settings like the one below:

Step 5 : Colors>Desaturate>Luminousity, then hit Ok. This step will reveal the image in black and white, where layer masking works.

Step 6 : Pick the Brush Tool and make the face/skin color the same with that of the hair (which is white), and the background with black. Don’t paint the cloth. When done, go to Select>All, then Edit>Cut. Notice that the layer will disappear, but don’t worry because that was just being queued ready to be pasted. A floating layer will appear in place instead.

Step 7 : Switch back to the ‘eva-longoria.jpg’ layer, right-click then select Add Layer Mask. In the dialog box that appears, select White (Full Opacity)>Add.

Step 8 : Now click the mask icon (that small white rectangle), not the image icon. This is where we paste the image we’ve cut earlier.

Step 9 : As we’ve mentioned earlier, a ‘floating layer dialog’ will then appear in the layers palette. Click the anchor button located below the layers palette and the second image below will appear as a result.

Step 10: Observe that the image above has a transparent background so we need to change the background so that the extracted hair will stand out. So create a New Layer (Layer>New…),fill it with black using the Bucket Tool.

Note : White is a better background than black, although you can choose any background of your preference.

Step 11 : Clone Tool>Clone all the grayish areas around the hair and edit the imperfections. Take your time. If satisfied, Flatten Image, then Save it.

Here is the final result: