Stormy Fantasy Scene Photoshop TutorialLearn how to create this surreal fantasy image of a lady on an epic budgie. You’ll learn how to combine and blend several stock photos, create a rain storm, then finish it off with a photo effect.


Preview of Final Results


step8b_result[10]


Stormy Fantasy Scene Photoshop Tutorial


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Resources


Step 1 – Create the Photoshop document

To begin, we will be creating a new image file, go to the Menu bar and click File > New, and then input the following values on their respective fields:

  • Width: 2480 pixels
  • Height: 3508 pixels
  • Resolution: 300pixels/inch
  • Color Mode: RGB Color; 8 bit
  • Background Contents: Transparent

step1_create_new[4]


Step 2 – Create the sea and the sky

On this step, we will be creating our stormy background. Open “Stormy Sea” by darkrose42. We will need the sea from this image, so activate the Rectangular Marquee tool (M).

step2a_rectangular_marquee[4]

To use this tool simply, left-click on a point in the image and then drag your mouse to create a rectangular selection area on the image. Once done, dashed lines would appear around the area you selected. Now let’s move this sea to our canvas, to do that, activate the Move tool (V). Your mouse cursor will now change to an arrow with a cross with arrows in it (Windows move button). Drag the sea to our canvas and once there, rename this layer to “sea”. To rename a layer, simply double-click on the words: “layer 1″ to prompt a text box to appear. Once that appears, you may now rename the layer.

step2b_rename_layer[4]

Now that the sea is on our canvas, we will now resize it. Activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and resize the sea as seen on the image below:

step2c_resize_like_this

Next, let’s create the sky for this image. We will be using “stock image 17″ by CSnyder. So all we have to do once this image opens is transfer it to our canvas. Activate the Move tool (V) and drag it to our canvas. Once in the canvas, rename this layer to “sky”. Activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and right click on the image to bring out the contextual menu. Once that’s open click on Rotate 180′.

step2d_rotate_180

Then, activate the Transform tool again and resize the image, it should now be similar to the image below:

step2e_result[4]

Notice that the sky is of a different hue compared to the sea? We don’t want that right? So let’s adjust the sky’s color balance to blend in with that of the sea. Make sure that the layer selected is the “sky” layer, after that go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance. Once the Color Balance menu opens, input the following:

  • Color Levels: 0, 0, +44
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Checked

The result will be similar to the image below:

step2f_color_balance_result[4]


Now that that’s done, we will now distort the perspective of our background to give an illusion of movement for our subjects. To do that, left-click on the layers: “sky” and “sea” and then activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and then rotate and resize as shown below:

step2g_scale[4]

The result should be similar to this:

step2h_result[4]

Now that we’re done, we’re going to blur the background a little to create an illusion of movement – right-click on any of these layers and then click on Merge Layers. Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and input the following values:

  • Radius: 4.0 pixels

step2i_gaussian[4]

Before continuing to the next step, let’s group the layers that we had just created. To group the layers, click on all the layers that we have made and press Ctrl/Cmd + G. After doing that, you’d notice that all the layers are now inside the group. Let’s rename this group to Background. To rename a group, simply click on the words “group 1″ (etc) and a text box would appear and you may now rename it.

step2j_group[4]


Step 3 – Create the Floating Island

Now in this step, we will be creating the Floating Island. To start, open “island 1″ by shelldevil. We need to separate it from its background. To do that, we will need to activate the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L).

step3a_magnetic_lasso[4]

Once activated, left-click your mouse anywhere on the edges of the island and drag your mouse until you reached the point where you started. This will thus create a selection area around the island.

step3b_island

When you’re done, activate the Move tool (V) and then drag the island to the canvas that we’ve created and once there, rename the layer to: “island” Once the “island” layer is in the canvas, activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and right click on the canvas to bring up the Transform tool’s contextual menu. Once open, click on Flip Vertical.

step3c_flip_vertical

step3d_result


Then, activate the Transform tool again and this time, resize the island as seen below:

step3e_resized

To make it blend with the rest of the images, let’s adjust its Brightness/Contrast; To do that, click on the “island” layer and then go to the Menu bar, click on Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. When it opens, input the following values:

  • Brightness: -25
  • Contrast: -30

step3f_bc[4]

Then activate the Eraser tool (E) and input the following values:

  • Brush size: 90 px
  • Hardness: 100%
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%

To reduce or increase the Hardness, right click on the image while the Eraser tool (E) is activated, then you’d see the Hardness scale, which is at default – 100%, just move the slider to the left to get 0% or to the right to get 100%.

step3g_hardness[4]

We activated the Eraser tool (E) to erase the part of the island as shown below:

step3g2_erase_the_following[4]

Next, let’s add the castle; open the stock image: “Castle” by LilyStox. Activate the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and create a selection area over the whole image, excluding the watermark found on the bottom of the image.

step3h_rmt[4]

When done, move the image to the canvas using the Move tool (V). Rename this layer as: “castle”. Because of its size, we would need to make it small to fit our canvas and thus fit on top of the island. To deal with that, we need to activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and resize the image as shown below:

step3i_reduce_size_of_castle[4]

Next, activate the Magic Wand tool (W) and left-click on the sky on the “castle” layer, (it wouldn’t select all) then hit DELETE. This will accurately remove the major parts of the sky.

step3j_magic_wand[4]


Now we will erase the remaining parts of the sky. Activate the Eraser tool (E) and then input the following values:

  • Brush size: 20 px
  • Hardness: 100%
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%

It is recommended that you adjust the zoom level to 400% or higher on the Navigator window so you could accurately erase small details.

step3k_zoom_400[4]

step3L_result[4]

Now, let’s make those trees on the floating island look finer. Activate the Eraser tool and then right click on the canvas to bring up the Brush menu. Scroll down and pick the eraser brush which resembles that of grass; we will be using this brush to give the trees a finer finish. See image below:

step3m_pick_this_brush[4]

When you’ve selected it, right click on the canvas while the Eraser tool is activated and then input the following settings:

  • Brush size: 10px
  • Hardness: 100% (default)
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%

Brush on the edges of the trees to give it some fine detail. Take note to zoom at 400% or up for you to erase accurately. See image below:

step3n_erase[4]

When you’re done, the edges of the trees should be similar to the image below:

step3o_edge_of_trees[4]

Now, we will need to merge the “island” layer and the “castle” layer so we could do the necessary adjustments on both simultaneously. To merge these two layers, simply, select the “castle” and the “sky” layer and then right click on any of them to bring up the contextual menu. Once the menu opens click on Merge Layers.

step3q_merge[4]

Now that they’re merged, we can adjust the light on both the island and the castle. Activate the Burn tool (O) and then use the following settings:

step3p_burn_tool[4]

  • Brush size: 100 px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Range: Midtones
  • Exposure: 15%

Adjusting the Hardness of the Burn tool is similar to that of the Brush tool. Use the Burn tool on the areas shown on the image below:

step3r_burn[4]

step3s_result[4]


Now, we’re going to adjust the color of the island and the castle to blend in with the rest of the images on our canvas. Make sure that the Merge layer is selected and then go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance and then input the following settings:

  • Color Levels: -50, 0, +10
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Checked

The result should be similar to this:

step3t_result_color_balance[4]

Then, we would need to reduce the red colors of both the castle and the island; To do that, click on the merged layer again and go to Image > Adjustments > Selective Color. Use the following values:

  • Colors: Reds
  • Cyan: +25
  • Magenta: -40
  • Yellow: -65
  • Black: +40

step3u_selective_color[4]

step3v_result[4]

As part of the agenda to create an illusion of movement, we would need to use the Gaussian Blur once again on this merged layer. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and input the following values:

  • Radius: 3 pixels

step3w_gaussian_blur_applied[4]

After that, group these layers and rename it to: “floating island”.


Step 4 – Add the Bird

In this step, we will be adding the bird on our canvas. Open the stock image: “Budgie in flight 8″, separate it from its background using the Magnetic Lasso tool (L) and then once you’ve made the selection, move it to the canvas using the Move tool (V). Rename this new layer as “bird”. Using the Transform tool, resize the bird to the scale shown below:

step4a_transform[4]

Next, let’s adjust the colors of the bird to make him blend with the rest of the images. Click on the “bird” layer and then go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance and then use the following values:

  • Color Levels: -35, 0, +26
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check
  • Color Levels: -10, 0, +15
  • Tone Balance: Shadows
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

The result should be similar to this:

step4b_result[4]

Now let’s adjust the light on the bird to make it look like it really is in the scene. Activate the Burn tool and input the following values:

  • Brush size: 150px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Range: Midtones
  • Exposure: 50%

Use the Burn tool on the bird on all areas of the bird, to come up with an image similar to the one shown below:

step4c_burn_result[4]

Now that’s done, put this layer in a group and name it: “bird”>



Step 5 – Add the Girl

Now we will add the girl who’s riding the bird. Open “persephone stock II” by PhoenixFireStock then separate it from its background using the Polygonal Lasso tool (L). Afterwards, move it to the canvas using the Move tool (V) then rename it to “girl”. In order for the girl to appear at the back of the bird, you’d have to position the “girl” below the “bird” layer. To do that, simply, click on the layer “girl” and drag it below the “bird”.

step5a_position[4]

Next, activate the Transform tool then position and resize the girl as seen on the image below:

step5b_resize[4]

Activate the Eraser tool (E); we would need to erase a little part of the girl’s dress which makes the girl look like she is floating instead of riding on the bird. Right click on the canvas to bring up the eraser menu and the scroll up (your eraser brush is still the grass brush) and find the round brushes, then click on any of them. See image below:

step5c_round_brush[4]

When you’re done, use the following settings:

  • Brush size: 65 px
  • Hardness: 100%
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%

Use the eraser on the area shown on the image below:

step5d_remove[4]

Now let’s adjust the girl’s Color Balance. Use the following values:

  • Color Levels: -46, 0. +46
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

The result should be similar to this:

step5e_color_balance[4]

Then, adjust the saturation of this layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Make sure that the “girl” layer is selected. Use the following settings:

  • Edit: Master
  • Hue: 0
  • Saturation: -50
  • Lightness: 0

Next, let’s adjust the Brightness/Contrast of the girl. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and then input the following settings:

  • Brightness: -15
  • Contrast: -30

Now, put this girl in a group, and rename it to “girl”.

step5f_result[4]



Step 6 – Add the texture

Now, let’s add a little texture to our canvas to create a dark and much grungy feel. Open the stock image: Decay 03 by louise_knightstock then move it to our canvas using the Move tool (V). Transform the image as seen below:

step6a_resize_texture[4]

When you’re done, change the Blending mode to Overlay and its Opacity to 50%. See image below:

step6b_blending_mode[4]

The result should be similar to this:

step6c_result[4]

Notice the quite distracting portion of the texture?

step6d_distracting[4]

Some of you might like the look and feel it gives the image but some might think it looks rather off. If you like to remove it, activate the Healing Brush tool (J).

step6e_healing_brush[4]

Set the Healing brush settings to the following:

step6f_healing_brush[4]

To use the Healing brush tool on the texture, simply follow the instructions on the image below:

step6g_instructions[4]

step6h_gone[4]


Step 7 – Add Rain

Now let’s add rain to give it a much stormy feel. We will be using the Brush pack that we’ve downloaded which is: “Digea Rain brushes”. o use this brush, make sure that after downloading the pack, copy it to this destination folder: Program Files > Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4 > Presets > Brushes. To start, let’s first create a new layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N, and then name it: “1″. After that, activate the Brush tool (B) and then right click on the canvas to bring up the menu. When the menu opens, click on the drop-down menu button to open the brush’s advanced contextual menu. See image below:

step6i_brush_menu[4]

step6j_load[4]

Once that load brushes menu opens, locate the “Digea Rain brushes” and then click OK. Check your brush tool now. The rain brush that we’re going to use is the one with the size of 1000px. See image below:

step6k_1000[4]

Once your brush has that ready, let us change the color of our brush. We would need a white colored brush for this. To change the brush’s color, follow the instructions on the image below:

step6L_color_picker[4]

On the # box, input the following: ffffff

step6m_white[4]

Next, change the brush settings to the following:

  • Brush size: 2500 pixels
  • Hardness: Default hardness of the rain brush
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%

Now we’re all set to brush, apply the brush as seen on the image below:

step6n_apply1[4]

Activate the Eraser tool (E) because we would need to erase the unwanted edges of the rain brush as shown on the image below:

step6o_distracting[4]

Use the following settings for the Eraser tool (E).

  • Brush size: 100px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%

step6p_result[4]

After that, let’s now resize this layer to fit our canvas. Activate the Transform tool and resize as shown on the image below:

step6q_resize[4]

Now, duplicate layer “1″ by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J to make the rain more visible. Select this layer again and duplicate it and then move it down using the Move tool (V). After that activate the Transform tool and resize the duplicated layer it to fit the canvas. It should be looking like this now:

step6r_result[4]



Step 7 – Retouch the image

Now it is time, we enhanced the color of our image. We’re going to give it a dark fantasy artwork finish. Let’s start by adding Solid Colors. To do that, click on the Create New Fill Layer/Adjustment Layerbuttonfrom the Layer window. When the contextual menu opens, click on Solid Color.

step7a_solid_color[4]

When the box opens, input the following:

  • #: 00002d

step7b_solid_color_blue[4]

Next, change the Blending mode to Exclusion and the Opacity to 50%. Next, let’s create the second Solid Color. Input the following:

  • #: 52341a

step7c_solid_color_brown[4]

Then change the Blending mode to Soft Light and its Opacity to 40%. Next, let’s create a Color Balance adjustment layer.

step7d_color_balance[4]

Input the following values:

  • Color Levels: -41, 0 , -28
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

step7e_midtones[4]

  • Color Levels: +15, 0, 0
  • Tone Balance: Shadows
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

step7f_shadows[4]

  • Color Levels: 0, 0, -10
  • Tone Balance: Highlights
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

step7g_highlights[4]

The image should now be similar to this:

step7h_result[4]

Because the color is too strong, we would need to reduce its saturation. Instead of making a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, we will be using a Gradient Map adjustment layer.

step7i_gradient_map[4]

When the Gradient Map menu opens, pick the following:

step7h_gradient_bw[4]

After that, change the Blending mode to Color and set the Opacity to 50%. Finally, let’s add a Photo Filter adjustment layer.

step7j_photo_filter[4]

Input the following settings for the Photo Filter:

  • Filter: Warming Filter (85)
  • Density: 25%
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

The image should now be looking like this:

step7k_result[3]

Once it is flat, duplicate it (Ctrl/Cmd + J); click on the duplicated layer and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

  • Input the following:
  • Radius: 16.0 pixels

After that, you’d see that your image is really blurry; so to make it glowing, change the Blending mode of the blurred (duplicated layer) to Lighten and set its opacity to 35%. The result should be like this.

step8b_result[10]