Create a Floating Island Scene Similar to James Cameron’s Avatar

Create a Floating Island Scene Similar to James Cameron’s Avatar
step3b_after_erasing
Next, we will fix the shape of the island. Activate the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and see reference below for the area we need to remove.
step3c_polygonal_lasso_tool
Now the image should be similar to this:
step3d_output
To thoroughly fix the shape of the island we would need to transform it. Activate the Transform tool and click on Warp from the contextual menu.
step3ea_warp
After doing that rename the layer to “island 1” and reduce its Opacity to 90% to make it blend with the background. To make it more seamless, we would need to decrease the opacity of a small part of the island. Activate your Eraser tool (E) and use the following values:
  • Brush size: 200px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 100%
  • Flow: 100%
step3eb_seamless
For the second island, we would need to duplicate (Ctrl/Cmd + J) “island 1” then rename the duplicated layer as “island 2”. Resize “island 2” through the Transform tool and after resizing it, flip it horizontally. We would need to flip it horizontally to give variety over the islands.
step3f_island2_resized
Then after that, reduce its Opacity to 80%. Now duplicate “island 2” and rename that layer “island 3”. Activate your Transform tool once again because we need to reduce its size.
step3g_island3_resized
Now we would need to make this small island different from the two other islands. Activate the Eraser tool (E).
step3h_island3_erased
After that, reduce its Opacity to 55%. Duplicate “island 3”, rename it “island 4” and then scale it down using the Transform tool.
step3i_island4_transform
Reduce its Opacity now to 40%. Click on “island 2” and duplicate it. Rename that layer “island 5” and resize it using your transform tool.
step3j_island5_resized
Now we would need to erase some parts of it to make this island distinctive. Now activate your Polygonal Lasso tool (L) and follow instructions on the image below:
step3k_island5_distinct
After that just press Delete to erase the region within the Polygonal Lasso tool’s selection then reduce the Opacity of “island 5” to 60%. Now let’s put the big floating island in our picture. Click on “island 1”, duplicate it, and then rename that layer as “island 6”. We want this island to appear massive because it is near the viewer so let’s increase its size using the Transform tool.
step3Laisland6_resized
Because it has been resized to a large scale, the island now has gotten blurry. We would need to sharpen that. Click on the “island 6” layer and go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen. That doesn’t do much good, so we would need to sharpen it a bit more by using the Activate your Polygonal Lasso Tool (L).
step3Lb_sharpen_with_lasso
After deleting the selection, you’d notice that it now has gotten too sharp and very uneven. To fix that, let’s use the Eraser tool (E) to fix the unwanted sharpness.
step3Lc_smoothen_using_eraser
Duplicate “island 1” once again and rename this layer “island 7”. We would need to increase its size again, so activate your transform tool and scale it.
step3m_island7_resized
Then change its Opacity to 100%. After that, group all the island layers. Click on Layer > New > Group and it would appear on top of all the layers present in our canvas. Select all the island layers and drag them to the new Group. Rename that Group as “Islands”
step3n_group

Step 4 - Create the ambient light

Now it is time we deal with the lights and shadows. Activate your Dodge and Burn tool (O) and click on “island 1”. (Note: To change to the Dodge tool or to the Burn too, simply left-click and hold on the respective button to bring up the menu) Activate the Dodge tool and use these values:

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4 comments on “Create a Floating Island Scene Similar to James Cameron’s Avatar”

    1. There's a bug on the QBrushes website. You have to click on the download link several times in order for the download button to work.

      The link was changed to yours since it is more direct and works correctly. Thank you Su!

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