Make a Stunning Black & White Falling Scene in Photoshop


Note: This tutorial features a nude subject, and thus, this tutorial contains nudity for artistic purposes.

Click on the image below to view its full size.


Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Import the composition’s subject

Open model and model1 in Photoshop. Make a new document (Ctrl/Cmd + N) with Width at 3858px, Height at 2398px and 180 dpi.

Paste both images into this new document.

Select the first stock image in the Layers Panel and click on Edit > Transform > Rotate 90o CCW. Resize the image a little with the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and place it right in the middle of the canvas with the Move Tool (V).

Now select the second image and choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.

Use the Eraser Tool (E) to erase everything roughly with a soft brush tip except the subject’s legs. Resize and place this over the body of the first image.

Take the Eraser Tool again and erase (with a soft brush) the hips of the second image to blend both images together.

The most important thing is that you don’t miss the proportions to make it look realistic.

Blending two images together

Next, render out the model with the Lasso Tool (L) or the Pen Tool (P). You don’t need to do this perfectly.

Step 2: Cut out several sections of the subject

Take the Lasso Tool (L), select an area of the model’s head and remove it (hit the Delete key).

Make a new layer behind this image, try to select the same shape with the Lasso Tool, pick a skin color of her face with the Eyedopper Tool (I) and fill the selection with your chosen color using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

Make a new layer. Apply a clipping mask to this new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt + G). Select a soft brush and brush with black on the inside of your shape.

Reduce the Opacity if needed, and if you want to, you can give the layer a Gaussian Blur filter to soften up rough edges.

Cutting out the face

Do the same thing with her arm, hand, and other body parts. You can use any shape and erase any part you want to. The exception here is that I didn’t erase parts of her hips: instead, I selected the lips with the Lasso Tool (L), right-clicked on the selection in the canvas and then chose Layer via Cut from the contextual menu. I then displaced it a little using the Move Tool (V).

Addtional cutting

Here’s our subject now.


Step 3: Work on the subject’s background

Open the image of the stormy sea and place it into our canvas behind our subject.

Duplicate the stock image’s layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J) and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal).

Take the Lasso Tool and select some parts of the sea, copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) the selected regions, paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) it, and move it around a bit so it doesn’t look too mirrored anymore.

Take the Eraser Tool with a soft brush and erase the edges of these parts to blend them together.

Inserting the sea

Step 4: Add clouds to the background

First make a new layer and fill it with black. Set the new layer’s Opacity to 50%.

Next, open the cloud image, duplicate and flip it horizontally just like we did in the previous step. You can copy and paste parts of the clouds here, too. Set the Blend Mode of the cloud layer to Overlay.

Insert the first and second space image and set the layer’s blend modes to Lighten. Erase the bits where the space images are too bright for your tastes.

Inserting the Cherry Tree

Step 5: Further adjustments on the body

First duplicate our subject on a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J).

Use the Liquify filter (Filter > Liquify or Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + X) and simply smudge around.

Again, duplicate that layer and give it a Motion Blur filter (Filter > Motion Blur) — set the Angle to about 53o and the Distance to about 500px.

Move that layer upwards in the Layers Panel so that the image with the Motion Blur is only above the body, making it look like our subject is falling into the sea.

Adjustments on the body

Tip: If you want, you can take a soft and small white brush and brush on the edges of parts of the body you edited in Step 2. Set the layer’s Blend Mode to Soft Light and set the layer Opacity to around 50%. This looks especially better on brighter areas, giving the edges a slight bevel effect.

Optional Highlights

Step 6: Make it rain

Download and install the rain brushes and brush around the canvas until the whole scene is covered with rain. Reduce the Opacity of the layer if you want the rain to be more subtle — in my case, around 51% does the trick.

Adding rain

Step 7: Color adjustments and sharpening

Create three black and white gradient map adjustment layers by clicking on the Create a new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. Leave the first one as it is (default setting), set the second one’s Blend Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 71% and set the third one’s Blend Mode to Luminosity.

Now would be a good time to save your work or create a layer comp. Merge all layers by right-clicking on any layer in the Layers Panel and choosing Flatten Image.

Finally, run the Sharpen filter by clicking on Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen and you are finished with the tutorial!

Color adjustments and sharpening

Tutorial Summary

In this digital art tutorial, you have learned how to create a realistic falling scene by merging images together, adding a motion blur and using rain that flows into the same direction. I hope you found this tutorial useful and look forward to your questions and comments.


Download Tutorial Source Files

Tags: blogging, internettools, tools

  • why does it always has to be a naked woman?

  • I don’t know. I’ve never understood the ‘nudity for artistic purposes’ thing. Good tutorial though!

  • disturbingly cool 🙂

  • Well first of all i find women more aesthetic and when you have no clothes on, I guess you feel more free, which kind of fits into this image in my opinion! ^^

  • oh my, sexist fuck.

  • Why so rude? He is the artist, it is prerogative to choose a woman image over a man and I surely get the naked part…so why is he sexist?

  • Good idea, I love the final result. I’d need to learn a little bit more image manipulation… Im too much into webdesign! Amazing tutorial.

  • Simona, that is true! Anyways, I suppose Mona Lisa should have been a dude, the art would be less sexist.

    Anyways sexism is defined as a discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of the opposite sex.

    This artwork is not discriminatory in anyways. Its art.
    Make art, not war.

  • Dianne

    With Martin I ask, why must it always be a woman? Stop treating women like objects!

    I won’t subscribe to a blog that features nudity. I’m gone.

  • I think when you depict a nude woman and directly relate her to sex, I would agree with you guys, but if you don’t relate her to sex directly and give the nudity a deeper meaning, as I tried to do in this picture, it is definitely not treating her like an object in my opinion, so let me say sorry for everybody who thinks so, but I did not intend to do that and please understand this! Anyways, I hope you guys still like the tutorial.

  • Nice! Very creative, great tutorial.

    Don’t blame Michael for using the stock photos, it’s not sexist. If you really want to blame someone, blame the photographer, or yet even better blame the model for allowing herself to be photographed and signing the dotted line.

  • Why should we look for people to blame? No one’s to blame. Blame implies something was done wrong. I don’t agree with censorship that prohibits artistic and self expression.

    The content’s nature was stated right at the introduction, and if you’re opposed to that, then you have the option to not read the tutorial. You also have the option not to visit the site if you’re opposed to self-expression and artistic freedom. I hope you stay, I want you to stay! But I also don’t want to force people to visit a site they don’t agree with. Design Instruct allows you to vote with your page views and comments. It’s a democratic system: If a certain type of content is not doing well because it’s not interesting to the general Design Instruct audience, we stop producing those. If other things are more popular, we’ll continue to produce those types.

    I’d like to quote the photographer of the stock photo, because he explains it really well:

    In many ways, a regime of self censorship is a greater attack on artistic creativity than totalitarian control would be; it forces the artist to victimize themself.

  • My point was that if you really want to blame someone, deconstruct it first. Now I certainly don’t want anyone to be blamed but I was just trying to make a point. You can’t stop people from pointing fingers, but they should at least step back and deconstruct it. But controversy is good when it comes to art right? And I bet certainly for a blog it’s even better…=)

  • Art is meant to provoke. It would be a shame to not feel something when we look at it.

    I don’t find it pornographic in nature at all because it isn’t meant to titillate. It has more of a science fiction feel.

    As someone who appreciates the female nude and its illustrated history, I think this is an excellent modern take on the female form. Not only that, but it is also set within a truly great tutorial.

  • First of all, good job Michael!

    Secondly, this work by Michael is first and foremost, a work of art. Take from it what you will. Art is meant to produce an emotional response and we like that people are engaged in discussion over this tutorial. However, let’s not forget that Michael was gracious enough to share some of his techniques with us so that the whole community might learn something. This is a testament to his professionalism and willingness to contribute to the community positive way. That in itself is worth commenting on.

    Thirdly, to get the discussion back to the content of the tutorial, I will say that I really like Michael’s method for adding rain to the scene. Simple and effective. And it adds a great tone to the composition. Again, good job Michael! We hope to see more of your work on Design Instruct!

  • Isaac, I could agree more. The piece is a true work of art and I am grateful that Michael shared his process with us.

  • Sean

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  • I think the general consensus is that the naked form of the human body (in this case a women) should be appreciated in all it’s glory. As long as the viewer isn’t immature, there is a lot of beauty to be seen in such an image.

  • Really cool 😉
    well done

  • Great tutorial Michael! Really good steps and a great outcome!

  • It’s interesting how the debate is over the naked subject, and not the tutorial itself (mostly. Luckilym, not all the people have been so miope).
    As a woman, I don’t find it sexist at all. Why should I? It’s art! And as many of you have already said, art is about expressing emotions. If with a naked subject you can express more and better, should it be considered sexist just for that? Actually, I would found it more sexist otherwise. Hiding the woman body again would be like going back many centuries, when showing your ankles was considered obscene and almost pornographic.

    Now about the tutorial, I found it very useful 🙂 I began to do more photo manipulations myself lately. Some purists say that photography shouldn’t be manipulated, but I don’t think that way. For me, Photoshop is another tool, the same way as my camera is. I think it would be stupid not to take advantage of it (although I apreciate not manipulated, film photography too)

    I agree with @Clarissa: it has got a science fiction feel 😀

  • Thanks Ksenia. Well said.

  • Impressive tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

  • awesome tutorial, thanks!

  • Here Here. Why do some people get so easily offended. It’s not the subject of the picture that is important but what has been created.
    For goodness sake grow up people. We weren’t born with big woolly jumpers !

  • i really find it usefull !! nice tut !! thanks for sharing xD

  • Natalie

    If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. It’s just a naked woman, for crying out loud. What’s the problem? They are just boobs, people. Besides, the human body is a work of art, and a marvel of evolution (or God, if you prefer).

  • Natalie

    This is not treating a woman like an object. This woman chose to model nude knowing that her image would be used for creative purposes. It’s people like you that perpetuate the sexist attitude that people have towards women because of your fear of nudity. Again, they’re just boobs. Every woman’s got them.

  • Natalie

    Beautiful tut, can’t wait to use it!

  • Georg Pauwen

    Great tutorial, very detailed steps. I learned tons…thanks Michael !

  • I don’t have a problem with the nudity in this tutorial, but Martin and Dianne make a good point. Many heterosexual men enjoy looking at artwork that portrays female nudity but few of them derive the same pleasure by viewing male nudity. This would suggest that we all feel a subconscious sexual connection to the nudity we see in artwork, whether or not it is the artist’s intention.

    A woman’s body is not more beautiful than a man’s body. What it is, is more sexually appealing to men. Female nudity is more often portrayed in art and the media because women are seen as the submissive sex. They are meant to be viewed and appreciated for their aesthetic purposes, like objects. This is what we call objectification.

    ANYWAY, thanks for the awesome tutorial, Michael! I had a lot of fun with it.

  • Ferobanjo

    yes boy, thanx for inspiration