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In this case the solution is to copy parts of the original harness on new layers, resize them and lower the opacity (remember that we’re viewing them through water). Make a selection of the desired part of the harness ( like the red metallic bar) with the lasso tool and press Ctrl + J to make a new layer (just make sure that when you press Ctrl + J you are on the original harness layer). Take a look at my results below.
Repeat the step above with the long leather strip.
Do the same for the leather belt that goes below the belly and the one that goes across the chest.
And repeat for the leather strips placed over the head. Of course you can take your time and duplicate each and every crane and leather strip but I think it looks pretty real already.
Take a look at the shadow. Considering that this is a splashy water horse it looks very linear and tight to me.
Make a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N) and using the standard chalk brush tool and a splash brush (you can google splash brush – you’ll find tons of them) with a color sampled from the original shadow try to give it a more chaotic look.
Because this is a water related scene I thought that a Color Balance Adjustment layer to shift the colors toward blue would be appropriate.
A little vignette effect to focus the attention on the horse would be great too so let’s add a Curves Adjustment Layer and drag the curve downwards to darken the image. Select the Gradient tool and from the upper menu choose the Radial Gradient. Press D to set default colors and in the Curves layer mask drag from the center towards the edges and release. Here is how your layer mask should look.
Notice how the blue outline of the horse – the Horse Glue layer we created at step 9 – it is too visible. Go to the layer Horse Glue and add a layer mask by choosing Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. With a chalky brush erase the obvious straight lines – like the one around the tail.