Step 1: Research and Getting Started
After the research part it is just a matter of getting the photo to look like you want it to. After loading the picture into Photoshop, I immediately create a copy of the background layer so I don't mess up the original. This can be found in the bottom-right of the Photoshop window.
For my hallway, I decided to get rid of the ceiling light and smoke detector by using the simple "Healing Brush" tool. I simply ALT-clicked on the ceiling nearest the objects and then left mouse-clicked over the objects using "Replace" from the drop-down bar underneath the MENU bar at the top of the Photoshop workplace. When I feel that I have covered enough, I switch the drop-down bar back to "Normal" and this allows me to blend the surroundings very quickly and easily.
After this I used a series of the polygon-lasso tool and my favorite (the healing brush) to make the blinds line up more natural and look like they belong to the picture.
To finish up the mood section, I then go back to Brightness/Contrast and both darken the picture and slightly decrease the contrast. Now my hallway and home is dimmer and I'm ready to go onto the next step.
Then I went to The MENU bar and clicked on Image > Adjustments > Levels... which brings up another window. I just moved the dark marker at the bottom left of the graph to the right a little, bringing out some of the darker undertones of the picture.
Next I went to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and moved the "Contrast" marker to the right just a tad. I like to do this as it clears up some slightly dull pixels the picture may contain without me having to mess with the colors directly.
Now it's time to set the mood a little better. I open the picture of the Blinds in another window tab and using the Polygon-Lasso Tool, quickly make a rectangle of the half of the blinds in the picture. Then I copy the selection (you can find that under Edit on the Menu bar) and paste into the hallway picture. Here I hold down the CTRL key while clicking and dragging and make a copy of the blinds. I then took the first layer of blinds and used the arrow pointer to move it to desired location and then went to Edit > Free Transform and rotated it until it was straight enough to my liking. Then I went back to Edit > Transform > Warp and used different points of the Warp transform tool to make the blind fit the window.
Step 2: Placing the Frame of the Being
I place a picture of someone doing the crab walk first (this is not in the pictures I provided) and then switched them so that they were on the wall. I erased the arm I didn't want to use and the used Transform > Scale to change the size of the body. Be sure to click on the chain symbol between the "W" and "H" boxes under the MENU bar (these stand for height and width) so that you don't askew your photo.
After I got that set up then I began to paste in everything else. I used many of the same steps of the blinds: scale, warp (you can also flip these new layers horizontally and vertically under Edit > Transform > Flip Horizantally/Vertically in case you want to use a hand and the them is on the wrong side), erase, and again the poly-lasso selection and healing brush tools. Just by using those tools you can adjust any of the objects shown in the picture to anyway you want. This is how I am able to fit the clothes to the body layer of the person doing the crab walk without worrying that I have to have a clothes from one picture exactly match the body frame from another.
What I did for the skirt was use that handy shortcut CTRL + left-click and copied it multiple times. I then flipped it horizantally a few times and definitely used the warp transform to make the folds longer or shorter, or wider, etc.
Now when I was done with placing everything (and after having about 13+ layers) I began to pair the layers together. You simply position the objects that are similar to each other (the arms for instance) and right click on the layer above and click "Merge Down" from the menu that appears.
After that I went back to the Hue/Saturation under Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and moved the saturation cursor almost all of the way to the left. If you do this you will still leave some color behind which will help to add to the photo during later adjusting.
Now we come to my next favorite tool, which is the "Burn" tool. Now I admit here that I had very little time to work on this and I ended up using this tool WAAAAAAY too much. However, I am still somewhat satisfied with the results. The Burn tool will allow me to darken any area using the brush I would normally use to paint with. It also lets me set the strength of the tool so that it doesn't just turn the picture I'm using it on, to black. That can be adjusted at the top of the screen after clicking on the Tool button.
I begin to use this on the skirt to add depth and also use it to bring out folds of the clothes that I couldn't really see. This also begins to add shadow so that I have to start paying attention to the light sources of my background picture. It can become tedious but I always like the look of things afterward. If I don't I usually back up using CTRL Z or the step backward CTRL + ALT Z until I've undone whatever mess I just created. I also need to be sure and change the brush size often as I don't want to darken something that needs to stay light.
At this point I also widened the eyes using the selection and free transform tools. I filled in the area around the pupil in with white and then used the main paint brush and ALT + left-clicked to get the original color around the eye. Afterwards I copied that selection and moved it as the other eye.
Okay, onto the next step.
Now to get the hair to look like it's not so one-sided you have to click on a brush attributes button. It is on the same bar where you change the brush shape but it is almost all the way to the right of the screen. Once that is clicked you'll see a lot of options. Don't worry about those, just worry about clicking on the top side-bar that says "Brush Tip Shape" right above "Shape Dynamics." You'll now see some more scrolls to tweak but all you really need to pay attention to is that little graph of a circle with a arrowed line through it. Click on the outside of that arrow and drag it around until you see the shape of that brush at the bottom of that screen change. When the brush stroke is going in the opposite direction it was before, stop and now you have a brush to even out that hair.
So I worked on the hair a while and also used the Burn Tool on it as well.
Now I started my finishing touches. I merged all the layers together, excluding the copy of the back-ground, and scaled everything larger so that the being looks like it is even closer to me in the hallway. Afterwards I began to make shadows. Not all of them are natural looking of course but that is because I wanted the viewer to feel that presence was pressing down around them. I simply used the Burn tool again to make these.
Then I duplicated the face of the body and made multiple copies of that as well. Then i horizontally flipped them and transformed them and moved them into the picture frame. If you look above where all the layers are kept you'll see an "Opacity" scroll that is usually always at 100%. If you click on a layer and lower this, then all of the layers behind it will begin to show and the layer itself will look like it is fading.
After shading in some more I then went to Filter > Noise > Add Noise... and added about 5% or so noise to my body since the hallway picture is slightly pixellated. At this point I realize that I took most of the detail away from the sleeves and clothes that should not have looked so drawn, but like I said earlier, I was in a hurry. Even the professionals take a week or more on those amazing drawings or photo-edit montages you might see over the net. So for the amount of time it took, I was really happy with the results and hope you are too.
Thanks for checking out this tutorial and if nothing else, I hope you'll find even better ideas for your future projects!