Now it’s time to build the halfpipe that the snowboarder is riding. Open the supplied stock of the halfpipe (iStockphoto’s ‘Empty Half-pipe’). We want this element to be floating in our scene, so we will have to cut out the curved portion and re-create the edges to give it depth. Start by using your Pen tool to create a path around the shape of the half pipe. Once complete, make a selection from your path, then Copy and Paste it into a new layer.
On the new layer you created from the halfpipe shape, use Transform and Warp to make the shape more symmetrical. We are going to be duplicating and flipping the layer to add the right side, so try to keep that in mind when working on the shape. Once transformed, use your Square Marquee tool to select the right side and delete it. Duplicate the layer, horizontally flip it and line up the centre points to overlap slightly.
Now that we have our halfpipe taking shape, go in with the Clone Stamp tool and clean up any areas where the two halves clashed. Next open up the ‘snow on the mountain #1’ stock again and use our previous Calculations technique to isolate the snow from the sky. Now drag the snow image onto the halfpipe file and rotate 180 degrees so that the snow bumps are at the bottom of the halfpipe shape. Duplicate this layer and Transform it to fit around the base of our halfpipe.
Now it’s time to finish our halfpipe. Merge the main halfpipe together and, using a layer mask, start to blend the bottom snow mounds so they have a nice transition, removing any hard edges. Next merge all visible layers. Once that is done you will notice that the colours don’t match very well. To amend this, use Hue/Saturation to desaturate the entire halfpipe, then use Curves to add back in a cool tone. Do this by subtracting from the midpoint of the Red channel and addding to the midpoint of the Blue channel. The final halfpipe file has been provided for you if you choose to skip this section (‘halfpipe.psd’).
Drag your final halfpipe into your scene file and position it below the snowboarder, but in front of your 3D type and background elements. To create the illusion that the halfpipe is floating we need to add a Drop Shadow under the halfpipe. Create a new layer, and use your Circular Marquee tool to select an area just below the halfpipe. Now Feather the selection by 100 pixels. Use your Eyedropper tool to select a dark shadow portion from any part of the existing snow and fill your selection with this colour. Now deselect and use Motion Blur set to 0 degrees and 200 pixels to help blend the shadow and give it a more natural feel. To finish your shadow, set your layer to Multiply.
The image needs some motion and activity, so we are going to add some snow sprays throughout the scene. Open up the spray images (‘Wave crashing against rock’ from iStockphoto). To isolate just the water spray, duplicate the Blue channel and apply Levels with the black point at 60 and white point at 126. Next make a selection from your new channel and Copy and Paste the spray into your scene file. Set this new layer to Screen and start to have fun. Add it in areas to help frame the colour type, around the halfpipe and your snowboarder.
Now it’s time to start blending in the hand-painted elements. Open up the relevant stock photos (‘Watercolored Background’, ‘Painted watercolor mess’ and ‘Painted watercolor background’; plus ‘Paints_texture.jpg’). We need to isolate these elements, so for each case duplicate the Blue channel, apply Levels to crush the white and black points to get a good alpha. In this case we don’t want to make it pure black and white, as the brushstrokes have some nice subtleties that we don’t want to lose. Once you have a nice Alpha channel, make a selection from it and then Copy and Paste the brushstrokes into your scene file.
Now we have our brushstrokes in our scene, change their layer properties to Color, Multiply, Color Burn or Overlay. Experiment with which combination of these works best for the various areas of the scene. Typically, Overlay doesn’t work very well with a bright white area, so use Multiply or Color Burn in this case, and use the Overlay and Color in areas that have tone. Start to duplicate the different brushstrokes into different layers and start to combine them to create even more unique painted areas.
Now that our composition is almost complete, the halfpipe looks like it needs some extra interest. We can add some hanging icicles to give it a little more presence (iStockphoto’s ‘Icicles Gauss distribution’). Duplicate the Blue channel. Using Levels, crush together the black and white points to get a nice alpha of the icicles. Make a selection from this new alpha and place the icicles into your scene file. Just like we did with the front of the halfpipe earlier, duplicate and Transform the icicles to follow the front shape of the halfpipe and blend with layer masks.
With our composition complete, we need to help tie the images all together. It’s always a good idea to do an overall effect or technique to your image that is composed from multiple photos that come from different sources. In this case, we are going to Copy and Merge the entire image into a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E) and duplicate that layer. On the first copy merged layer, go into Filter>Other>High Pass and set the pixels to 2.1. Now change the blending mode to Linear Light at 50% Opacity. Do the same thing to the duplicated layer, but this time use 178.5 for the High Pass setting and set Opacity to 10%.
The colour in our scene seems too vibrant and not cool enough for a winter snow scene. So using a Hue/Saturation layer adjustment on top of everything, desaturate the whole image by -50. Create a new layer and set the blending to Soft Light and begin to brush in some blue colour around the edges. Now that we have desaturated everything, and added a cool tone, we need to pull out or push back some elements in the scene. Using some Curves layer adjustments with masks, brighten up some of the snow areas and type, and darken our snowboarder a bit. Now we are done; welcome to the Snow Jungle!