Learn how to create this artistic photo manipulation where you will learn how to blend images together and edit them using non-destructive techniques. You’ll need Photoshop CS5 or newer to follow this tutorial.

Preview of Final Results

Surreal Scene Full of Life Photoshop Tutorial

Resources

Step 1: Create a new Photoshop file

Open up a new file in Photoshop using these settings
  • Width: 2500px
  • Height: 1700px
  • Resolution: 300px/in
  • Color Mode: RGB Color – 8 bit
step-001

Step 2: Add the background image and clean it

Let’s start with the background image. Download the ocean stock and open it. Press Ctrl/Command + A to select all the images. Then copy (Ctrl/Command+C) and paste (Ctrl/Command+V) into our project.
step-002a
step-002b
As you can see, the stock image is way too large, so we’re going to have to resize it. To do that, we’re going to use the Free Transform Tool, remember it well because we’re going to use it for the rest of this tutorial. Go to Edit > Free Transform (or press Ctrl/Command + T).
step-002c
Now press Ctrl/Command + 0 to see the whole selected area, and while holding Shift, click and drag the bottom right corner of the sky image until it matches the width of our canvas.
step-002d
Once the widths are the same, place the image in the canvas using the image below as reference:
step-002e
So far your image should look like this:
step-002f
Now that the image is in place, we’re going to get rid of those logos. Select the Quick Selection Tool (or press W) and make a rough selection around the bottom logo.
step-002g
Now let Photoshop do the hard work for you, press Shift + F5, select Content-Aware and click OK.
step-002h
step-002i
To erase the upper logo we’re going to use the Clone Stamp Tool. Select it (or press S) and click anywhere in the canvas with the right mouse button to change the settings of the brush. The brush size should be 500px and the hardness 0%.
step-002j
step-002k
Now use the Clone Stamp Tool to clone the area in the right (Alt/Option+click) into the logo (click and drag) like shown in the image below:
step-002l
Your image should now look similar to this one:
step-002m
Now we’re going to add a vignette and some lens correction to the background. Go to Filter > Lens Correction, click in the Custom tab, set the Amount to -25, Remove Distortion to +25 and Horizontal Perspective to -10.
step-002n
step-002o
Your image should now look like this:
step-002p

Step 3: Changing the background colors

In this tutorial we’re going to add all the adjustment layers non-destructively by clicking in the “Create new fill or adjustment layer” like shown in the image below:
step-003a
Using this technique, add a Curves Adjustment Layer going to ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ > Curves and change the RGB line based on the image below.
step-003b
step-003c
We don’t want the sky to be brighter, only the ocean, so we’re going to change the layer mask of the adjustment layer. Click on the layer mask of the Curves adjustment layer, select a soft brush, and paint the sky with black to hide the adjustment layer in that area. Some quick tips:

29 thoughts on “How to Create a Surreal Scene Full of Life in Photoshop”

  1. I can not thank you enough, the amount of things I’ve learnt in two hours is incredible, would usually take me a week of watching and reading tutorials, but nope, you’ve used many techniques that made my life easier! Thank you is not enough!

    1. just do what i did , 
      download the attached PSD from up there and take the mountain photo from there :D

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial really great photo and great explanation love it. 
    but i have a problem with the mountain photo , the link of this photo doesn’t work , can you please upload it again or give me another photo that could be good for the tutorial ?
    thanks

  3. Hi Guilherme, From the start of your tutorial you say to go to lens correction and distort the image to + 25,00, it distorts the image considerably !, is that right, ?, by the way it is a great tutorial,
    regards and respect johnny

    1. Its ok, all i did was after the lens correction was used the free transform tool and adjusted the image to cover my canvas again lol, My bad..

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