Create an Underwater Scene of a Giant Goldfish in Photoshop

Create an Underwater Scene of a Giant Goldfish in Photoshop
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Step 48

First create a new layer.Then use the Preset Manager to import the Light brushes and with a light of your choice create a light above the fish and a light above the diver. To each light add a layer mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All) and using a black round soft brush at 100% Opacity hide the unwanted parts. Try to achieve something like the scene shown below. You can change the light layers blend mode to Linear Light or Color Dodge and lower the Opacity to 60-70%.
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Step 49

Create a new layer and import the Bubbles Brushes. With white as foreground color paint some bubbles at various sizes coming from the fish mouth and around the diver. Obviously the bubbles should be smaller above the diver and bigger above the fish.
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Step 50

The element that will define the underwater scene will be debris. Notice various underwater pictures and look at the amount of debris (plankton, dirt, little white spots) floating. We will try to replicate that effect in our scene. To do this we will first create a new layer and fill it with black. Than we will add some noise (Filter > Noise > Add Noise).
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Step 51

You can see the result of the noise filter below. In the further steps we will further increase the contrast.
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Step 52

Add a 5 px Gaussian Blur (more blur means bigger debris) to the debris layer.
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Step 53

Add a Curves Adjustment to make the white debris pop and darken the rest (drag the left and the right slider towards the middle until you obtain something like a star field).
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Step 54

Change the debris layer blend mode to Color Dodge and voila, you have debris. Now you should add a layer mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All) and with a black round soft brush hide some of the debris and try to achieve randomness. Remember to show more debris in the lighted areas and hide it more in the dark areas. And of course don’t let the debris floating above water level.
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Step 55

After you’re done masking the first layer of debris you can repeat the steps 34 to 36 to create additional debris layers. To achieve larger debris simply increase the amount of Gaussian Blur you apply at step 35. After you’re done adding the debris layers right click on each debris layer and choose Convert To Smart Object. Then apply a 2-4px Gaussian Blur.
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Step 56

In Smart Filters Layer mask (not the Layer Mask) use a black round soft brush to hide some of the blurring effect. All in all try to achieve randomness.
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Step 57

The scene element are all in their place so it’s time for the post processing techniques. Add a Curves Adjustment layer and drag the curve upwards to lighten the scene.
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Step 58

Set the default colors (D) and using the Radial Gradient Tool drag from the top of the image towards the bottom to apply the Curves effect only to the upper half of the scene. You can see how my layer mask looks below.
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Step 59

You can see that the above adjustment make the scene looks better. But we will not stop here. Let’s proceed to the next step and further refine our scene.
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Step 60

Add a Curves adjustment layer but this time drag the curve downwards to darken the scene.
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Step 61

Fill the layer mask with black (select it and with black as foreground color press Alt + Backspace) and with a white round soft brush tool reveal the darkening effect to the left and right sides of the scene. Take a look at my layer mask below.

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25 comments on “Create an Underwater Scene of a Giant Goldfish in Photoshop”

  1. Either I'm blind and don't see what happened to the "ripples" layers after Step 25 or there are steps missing. There's no way they go from the jagged-edged difference render to smooth realistic ripples by just blending the edge in with a brush. Clearly there is more manipulation needed to make that layer looks like it does in Step 26.

  2. What's the point of having the already-completed project available for download? I can't access DeviantArt and would love it if the zip file just contained the images and brushes so that I can actually DO the project. Thanks

  3. TRYING to learn the basics, here bro.

    The eye was not hidden. I know to check that much.

    An explanation WHY something works is how a lot of people learn, not just me. I wasn't complaining or blaming, just wishing there was more to it.

  4. I wish you could say WHY certain things are done (so I can understand when I might need to use them in the future) and so I can understand what the outcome is supposed to look like.

    For instance... I don't understand why we need a layer mask in Step 18 and why we are painting in white over the top of it...

    Since it doesn't seem to want to let me do it as stated (I get an error, "Could not use the brush tool because the target layer is hidden"), I have no idea what the outcome is supposed to be and can't figure out how to get to the next step without just skipping Step 18.

    1. your fault for not knowing the basics. Dont blame the tutorial bro. You can't paint because your layer is hidden. Click on the EYE icon. Layer mask is like a mask to show\hide what is visible on the layer.

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