In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll take a look at creating the big, long, flowing dress effect. I’ll walk you through how I shot the photos to get to what we need in Photoshop to make this effect work. If you want to create the flowing gown/dress effect in Photoshop, this is the tutorial for you! We’ll cover how to shoot the photos, working with adjustment layers, Color Range, Liquify, Smart Objects, Transforming the Dress parts, Blending the Dress Together, Dodging and Burning, Sharpening, Color Grading, Custom Shadows, and so much more!
Shooting The Needed Photos
I setup to shoot the single photo of my wife while pregnant with our first daughter in one of the cheapest dresses we could find online with the intent to try to transform this photo from a cheap dress that is more form-fitting to the flowing red dress that we envisioned. This shot has a single light to the left of the camera fading some light into the subject’s face. After shooting the pose that you want as the core of the photo, I had my wife take the dress off and wave the dress in different directions and capture 30-40 photos of the dress flowing and swirling around. I left the light setup just as it was while photographing her. We want all the shots to match in color and light.
Cutting Out Flowing Dress Photos
I processed my chosen flowing dresses and the single pose that will make up the core of the photo in Camera RAW and made sure that all the photos have the exact same settings so all the color and tone would be matching when we brought them into Photoshop. I used Color Range to select each of the flowing pieces of dress and dragged them into the main core photo. After making sure that all the pieces have clean edges, I converted each piece to a Smart Object.
Transforming and Liquefying Parts of Dress
Drag pieces of the dress into place and use Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) or Liquify (Filter>Liquify) to bend, resize, rotate, and transform each piece as needed to make it look great. I typically try to line up wrinkles and folds in the fabric with wrinkles and folds on the existing dress as I place each piece where I like it.
Blending Flowing Dress Photos Into Existing Dress
As you drag each piece of the flowing dress into place, add a Layer Mask to that piece of the dress and use a larger, soft-edged brush to fade the edges of the piece of flowing dress into the existing dress and tweak it until it looks good and looks natural.
Shadows, Colors, Sharpening, Color Grading, and More
After we have finished cutting, transforming, and blending the flowing elements of the dress into place, we want to make sure we’ve added shadows beneath the dress and did some dodging and burning to the image as well. I also added some sharpening and did some color adjustments to make this photo looks rich with color and a little crazy. Check out the full video above and see all the aspects of how I created this photo! Thanks for checking out the tutorial!