Learn how to combine stock photos to create a saltwater aquarium inside a light bulb. This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to combine and warp images and apply easy color correction.

Final Results

Tutorial Resources

Free stock photography can sometimes disappear. If one of the links is broken, try using the “Alternative” link instead. Many tutorials can be completed with similar stock photos.

Step 1 – Modified the lightbulb.

Open the photo with a lightbulb. Make a copy of the Background layer, press Shift + T, and then Flip Horizontal. Go to: Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and set the Brightness at +25.
001[1]

Step 2 – Clear the lightbulb.

Pick the Brush tool (B) and with this color #f1f1f1 put the color in the area shown in the picture.
002[1]

Step 3 – Create the water inside the lightbulb

Open water texture 1 and paste in the document.Go to Edit > Transform or press Ctrl+T to transform the water texture (Flip vertical and make smaller) and position the water texture to the position as seen in the image below.
003[1]
Hide the layer with water texture 1 and make a path with Pen Tools (P) like in the photo.Right-click and select Make selection and set Father selection to 0,5px .
004[1]
Go to Select > Inverse or press Shift+Ctrl+I to inverse the selection and hit Delete button. Set Blending Mode to Color Burn and opacity at 41%
005[1]

Step 4 – Adding a second water texture.

Let’s add the second water texture so open the water texture 2 and move in our document. Go to Edit > Transform or press Ctrl+T and transform texture like me.
006[1]
Press Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail of the previous layer and go to Select > Inverse or press Shift+Ctrl+I to inverse the selection and hit the Delete button. Change Blending Mode on Multiply and Opacity 45%
007[1]

Step 5

Make a new elliptical selection with Elliptical Marquee Tool on the layer with water texture 2 like in the photo and press Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste and move this up like in the photo.
008[1]

Step 6 – Adding the sand

Open the sand texture 2 picture and press Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+C. Open the document with a light bulb and press Ctrl+V to paste the texture. Go to Edit > Free Transform or press Ctrl+T to transform the texture and make it small like in the photo.
009[1]
Press Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail of the “aqua background” layer and press Shift+Ctrl+I or go to Select > Inverse to inverse the selection and then go to Edit > Clear
010[1]

Step 7 – Adding shadow on sand

Pick the Burn tool and set the size of brush at 83px, exposure on Shadows. Use the settings shown in the photo, and burn the bottom margin of the sand like me.
011[1]

Step 8 – Make the sand more look 3D

Open the sand texture 1 picture and select Pen Tool (P) and make a new path like me. Right-click and select Make Selection with a feather of 0.5.
012[1]
Copy the sand dune pressing Ctrl+C and paste it in our project pressing Ctrl+V. Go to Edit > Free Transform or press Ctrl+T and transform the sand dune-like me.
013[1]

Step 9

Select Elliptical Marquee Tool and make an elliptical selection with father 0. Go to Select > Inverse or press Ctrl+Shift+I and press the Delete button.

13 thoughts on “Create an Aquarium Inside a Light Bulb with Photoshop”

  1. I am a graphic designer so I just ended up using this as a basic guideline since following these directions was getting confusing. I do like the result though. Thanks for the tut.

  2. Chitea…a mí me gustó ,estás en todos los detalles justo para personas que están aprendiendo como yo.Te felicito.(desde mar del plata (argentina)

  3. This is terrible . He calls the layers by different names the whole time, its inconsistent, confusing, and pretty vague. This tutorial will drive you crazy.

    1. I was lost llike 5 or 6 times…it started off okay then it just got awful…wasted hours trying to do this smh.

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