How to Create a Surreal Scene Full of Life in Photoshop

How to Create a Surreal Scene Full of Life in Photoshop
Before moving to the next step let's just clean our work area a little bit. Select all the layers we created so far and press Ctrl/Command + G to group them. Name the group Background.

Step 4: Add the turtle in the ocean

Open the turtle image in Photoshop and use the Quick Selection Tool (W) to make a quick selection around it. Don't worry too much about the bottom part of the turtle because we will erase most of it later. Quick Tips:
  • Clicking with the Quick Selection Tool will add to the selection
  • Holding Alt/Option and clicking will subtract the selection
  • You can quickly change the size of your brush holding Alt/Option, clicking anywhere in the canvas with the right mouse button, and dragging to the left to decrease the size of the brush, and to the right to increase it
Copy and paste the turtle into our image and use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl/Command+T) to increase her size a little bit (see the image below for reference). Now use the Move Tool (V) to place the turtle in the ocean.
Now comes the fun part! Create a layer mask to the turtle layer and with a soft brush paint the bottom part of the turtle with black.
Right now the edge between the turtle and the ocean is not looking good. To fix this we're going to change the opacity of our brush to around 30% and start painting some areas with white and/or black.
Take your time in this step, it's kind of tricky but it's essential for your final image to look good. My turtle turned out like in the image below, but don't worry if your image doesn't look exactly like mine.
Now let's adjust the colors. First, let's add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer (non-destructively, as always). Select the first gradient from the second row and clip this layer to our turtle layer (see the images below for the rest of the steps).
Your turtle must be looking like this now:
Add a Curves Adjustment Layer to the shell of the turtle. First check the image below to see the line values of the Cuves Adjustment Layer, and then paint the layer mask of this adjustment with black everywhere except the shell. Remember to clip this adjustment layer with our turtle like we did with the Gradient Map.
Your turtle should now look like this:
Add a Color Balance Adjustment Layer (see the image below for the input values) and this time we don't want the adjustment to affect the shell, so we're going to paint it with black. Again, remember to clip the adjustment layer to the turtle.
Now your image should be looking something like this:
And to finish this step, like we did last time, group all these new layers (select them and press Ctrl/Command+G) into a new group called Turtle.

Step 5: Add the picture frame of our hanging picture

In this step we're going to start adding some smaller elements into our image. We're going to start by adding the picture, the ropes holding it, the pigeon and some smoke coming out of the picture. Let's start with the picture frame. Open it, use your favorite selection tool to select it (the Quick Selection Tool and the Pen Tool works great in this image) and paste it into our image.
Resize the picture frame using the Free Transform Tool.
Before you accept the changes you did with the Free Transform Tool, rotate the picture frame 90º CW and position it in the right place.

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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 ?

  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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