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Create A Desert Scene

“Deserted” – Today’s post is more or less like a walk-through, on how to create a scene in the desert with a broken down and abandoned mannequin.

Below are the images used in this montage:

Desert with footprints: 5710080 © Rosa Frei

Oasis: 6470102 © soleilc1

Clouds: 1141044 © _maximp_

Mannequin leg: 3068100 © Sunagatov Dmitry

Mannequin body: 500025 © Ivan Grlic

Mannequin arm: 6941610 © Lev Dolgatshjov

Mannequin foot: 7231558 © Franco Volpato

Mannequin texture: 796296 © anikasalsera

Steel Rod: 5383571 © Andrey Khritin

Scorpion: 3281763 © Sebastian Duda

Camel: 6470435 © Alex Gulevich

Moon: 5231297 © Hugo Felix

Desert Background

Find a picture of a desert, and mask away the blue sky. Remove those unwanted footprints by using the patch tool.

Increase brightness of the desert by dragging curves.

Mannequin (Legs)

Import the leg image.

Smoothen it. We can either use to blur filter or blur tool to smoothen the texture, but only around the skin area and not the lingerie. Avoid bluring the edges.

Adjust the hue and saturation.

Adjust the contrast.

We can add a bit of noise to the skin texture. Apply add noise filter and set that layer to ‘Overlay’ blend mode.


Place mannequin at the position as shown. Rotate it slightly.

Erase or mask the leg so that it appears to have cracks.

We can add some thickness to the mannequin by painting a darker shade of color, according to the cracks that we made earlier. Grab the selection, nudge it a few pixels, and start painting.

Next up is to create inside surface of the mannequin. Paint a base color first.

Then, by using a very soft black brush with around 25% opacity, start drawing out the shades. Covered areas should be darker and exposed areas lighter.

In between the leg and the inside surface layer, we can put it some iron bars.

Change its contrast and brightness accordingly.

Add some texture to the mannequin. Desaturate the texture image, alter the brightness, and set it to ‘Softlight’ blend mode. We can than clip it to leg layer or simply mask away excessive areas.

Do the same with the inside surface. I used a darker toned texture.

At this point, the lingerie seems abit to redish and bright. Increase its contrast, and perhaps reduce some red.

Copy the part of the footprints from the background image and place it above the leg layer.

Increase its brightness so that it matches the background.

Erase/mask away parts of the footprint so that the leg appears to be submerged within the sands.


Mannequin (Body)

Import this image and give it a little color. I used Selective color and adjusted just the neutrals channel setting.

Lets focus on the head first.

Remove the iris.

Dodge and burn areas of the face to increase the shine.

Reduce the depth of the nostril.

Further smoothen the texture around the face.

Decrease detail on the nipple.

We should have something like this:

Remove the mannequin’s right hand and add abit of hair so that it looks more natural. We can sample hairs from other areas of the head to clone it.

Place it on the dune and you might need to resize it accordingly.

We are going to create similar effect like the one found on the leg. Erase part of the abdomen away.

Introduce thickness, same step as earlier.

Draw the inside surface, along with its shades.

Apply texture on it. Resize the texture so that it is smaller than the one applied on the legs.

Again with the steel rods; the rod within the mannequin should be much darker.

Now we should have something like this:

Next up is creating sand ripples around the body, using several filters.

When done change the blend mode to ‘Overlay’, resize, and transform according to the landscape.

Erase excessive areas.

Mannequin (Arm)

Import image of an arm and erase the palm.

Draw a darker shade of skin color above the arm and apply the following layer style.

Draw a hollow circle above the round patch that we drew earlier. Imagine the point where arm and body connects via the steel rods.

Adjust its color.

Add in the texture.

As for the ripples, we can re-use the ones we’ve created earlier but resize them accordingly.

Mannequin (Foot)

Add in a fourth item, this time the foot. Adjust the color and contrast so that it matches the other parts of the mannequin, and don’t forget the texture as well.

Completing the Background

Import image of an oasis, and mask off its blue sky.

Then, add in this image of clouds at the bottom most layer.

Use the lens flare filter to create the sun. Apply the filter on a layer filled with black, place it accordingly, and set the layer to ‘Screen’ blend mode.

Add in a scorpion.

And also its footprints. I re-used the footprints from the dune. Transformed and altered its brightness.


Using the basic shapes from the objects we manipulated earlier, fill it with black. Then, transform it so that the shadow is cast from the objects. Apply some gaussian blur and erase excessive areas. Shadows cast from 1 object have 2 layers, ‘Multiply’ blend mode on top, and ‘Overlay’ beneath it. Both layers are set at 50% of its opacity.


Tones of the object further increases the realism of the image. Use black and white brush with varied hardness and low opacity to paint the tones. For each object, grab its selection and start painting on a new later. I only painted streaks of white (highlights) on the left edges of the objects.

There should be 2 layers to each tone. ‘Luminosity’ layer (set at 40% opacity) beneath an ‘Overlay’ layer (60% opacity).

Add in some final adjustments and we’re done.

We can even introduce sandstorm to the final image.

Lastly, a showcase of my alternate output. Nightscene!

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