How to Create a Surreal Scene Full of Life in Photoshop

How to Create a Surreal Scene Full of Life in Photoshop
step-023k
The front legs should look like this now:
step-023l
The legs on the left side of the elephant are a little bit darker than the other ones, so we're going to add a new layer above the root layer of the left front leg of the elephant and paint some shadows in it. If you created the new layer while the root layer was selected, it should already be clipped, but make sure that the new layer you just created only applies to the root layer below it.
step-023m
And here is the final outcome of the front legs.
step-023n
With the back legs we're going to do the exact same steps. Just remember to add a new layer on the top of the root layer of the left leg and add some shadows on the root. And here is the final outcome of the back legs:
step-023o
And here is my layer stack of the roots.
step-023p
Your image now should be similar to this one:
step-023q
Now add all this layers we created for the roots in a new group called Roots.
step-023r
Right now we can see the legs of the elephant through the roots and we don't want that, so open our Elephant group again and click on the layer mask of the elephant layer. (which we created on step 17) Now hide the legs of the elephant following the instructions on the image below:
step-023s
Your image should now look like this:
step-023t
We're almost there! We just need to add the root shadows and then we'll enter the final stage of our manipulation. So go to our elephant group and add a new layer above the Shadow layer we created on the step 17. Name the new layer 'Root Shadow'.
step-023u
Open the turtle group again and Ctrl/Command click the thumbnail of the turtle.
step-023v
Now paint the shadow of the roots with a hard brush.
step-023w
Then add a Gaussian blur to make the shadow more realistic, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to around 10px.
step-023x
step-023y
Set the opacity of this shadow layer to around 40%.
step-023z
And now we're finally done with all those stock images and we're ready to make the final adjustments.
step-023zz

Step 24:Final Adjustments

To start with out final adjustments, create a new layer on the top of our layer stack.
step-024a
Now select a gray color by going to the color picker and setting 'H' to 0, 'S' to 0 and 'B' to 50.
step-024b
Fill the new layer with gray using a shortcut. Alt/Option+Delete will fill the layer with gray for you.
step-024c
Now change the blend mode of this layer to Overlay and you will se no difference in your image.
step-024d
Select the Dodge Tool(O) with a soft brush(hardness between 0~50%) and the exposure at 10%
step-024e
And now start "painting" your gray layer with the Dodge and the Burn Tool. Here are some tips:
  • Doge Tool will make place you paint brighter
  • The Burn Tool will make the place you paint darker
  • To quickly change between them hold Alt/Option, this will change the tools as long as you hold the Alt/Option key (You will use this A LOT)
  • If you made a mistake and it's too late to undo the changes don't worry, just select the Brush Tool and paint the area of the layer you want to "reset" with gray again (that's why we're using this gray layer)
This is the most important step of our manipulation, and can really improve your final image if you do this right. So take your time in this step and don't rush with the painting.

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

  1. You've made a very nice and comprehensive collection of WordPress Themes. I appreciate it. Really great art work with typography. Thanks for sharing this nice post.

  2. Outstanding tutorial!Clear instructions and awesome picture instructions. Very nice, thank you a bunch.

  3. 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. @SalahKabbani OK! Got it!I decided to replace the mountain photo with a desert one ^_^Thanks anyway :)

  4. 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

  5. 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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