Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

Create a Mysterious and Eerie Surreal Image in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create an eerie depiction of a dream through photo-manipulation. We are going to learn how to create a seamless surreal image of a mysterious window-headed man in a haunting, desolate road. We are going to learn the process of creating depth of field using a few Blur tools. We will learn how to create light and darkness to make the background look seamless. We are going to learn how to use textures and give life to our image, and we are going to learn how to create a moody, black and white tone using a few adjustment layers.

Preview of Final Results

image002[1]


Resources


Step 1: Create a New Image File

Let’s start, first create a new image file, go to the Menu bar and click File > New, and then input the following values on their respective fields:

  • Width: 3000px
  • Height: 3000px
  • Resolution: 300pixels/inch
  • Color Mode: RGB Color; 8 bit
  • Background Contents: Transparent

Step 2: Create the Road

In this step, we will be creating the foreground of our picture which is the road. To begin, open the image “road 5” by night fate stock. Once you have the image is open, remove the watermark by cropping the image. To do that, activate the Crop tool by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + C on your keyboard. See the images below:

image003

image004

Once you’ve cropped it, activate the Move tool by pressing V on your keyboard. After activating it, left-click on the image and drag it to the 3000x3000pixel canvas. Move and position the road on the canvas as shown on the image below:

image005

We positioned it there so it would be easier for us to resize that image into a square. Now, before resizing let’s rename this layer to “road”. To rename a layer, simply double-click on the words: “layer 1” (that is our road image) to prompt a text box to appear. Once that appears, you may now rename the layer.

After that, we will now proceed to resizing. First, activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T). Activating this will prompt little squares to appear on each side of the image. Once done, right click on the canvas to bring up the contextual menu and choose “Rotate”. The next step is provided on the image below:

image006

The result should appear like this:

image007

Don’t worry about its uneven sides, we’re going to fix that later.

Now, activate the Transform tool again (Ctrl/Cmd + T) because we’re going to resize the image. Drag the little square on the lower right-hand portion of the image to the bottom to fill the canvas and do the same thing on the top to fill the uneven portion. See image below:

image008

The result should be similar to the image below:

image009

Next, activate the Transform tool again (Ctrl/Cmd +T), and then right click on the canvas to bring up the contextual menu. Once open, click on “Warp”.
When activated follow the instructions below:

image010

The result should be similar to the following:

image011

Now, we would need to adjust the road’s Color Balance to make it blend with the next series of images. Select the image and go to Image > Adjustments

  • Color Levels: -24, -12, 0
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Check

image012

The result:

image013


Step 3: Create the Sky

Now, we will proceed to creating the sky. First, let’s open the image “Canim Lake 4”. We’re going to use the sky of this image because it blends well with our road. To transfer this sky to our canvas, first activate the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M).

image014

To use this tool and select the sky, simply point and drag the mouse from one point to another. See image below:

image015

When you’re done, activate the Move tool (V) and drag the selected part of the image to the canvas. Before positioning make sure that this layer is on top of the “road” and Color Balance layer. Position it as shown on the image below:

image016

Finally, rename this layer to “sky”.


Step 4: Create the Background

In this step, we’re going to create light and darken some areas – to make it short we’re going to make our background seamless, like it was just one photo.

First, let’s select the “road” layer and then activate the Burn tool by pressing O on your keyboard. Why did we activate the Burn tool? – Because this tool “burns” or darkens areas in an image.

image017

First, let’s select the “road” layer and then activate the Burn tool by pressing O on your keyboard. Why did we activate the Burn tool? – Because this tool “burns” or darkens areas in an image. Now, once it is activated, input the following settings:

  • Brush size: 100px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Range: Midtones
  • Exposure: 15%

image018

Now, let’s start “burning” the “road” layer.

image019

The result:

image020

Next, let’s create some light! Activate the Brush tool (B) and then make sure that the brushes are the default brushes. To make them the default brushes, simply right-click on the canvas while the Brush tool is activated and then click on the drop-down button to show the contextual menu. Once open – click on “Reset brushes”.

image021

image022

Once that’s done, create a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) and once a box appears, input “Light 1” on the Name box. See image below:

image023

Once that’s done, create a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) and once a box appears, input “Light 1” on the Name box. See image below:After that, input the following for the Brush tool (B):

  • Brush size: 900px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: ffffff

image024

To change the color of the brush, simply follow the instructions below:

image025

image026

Now, after all that is done, let’s now create the light:

image027

image028

Next, let’s create another layer and name it “Light 2”.
And once that’s done, input the following settings:

  • Brush size: 900px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: ffffff

image029

image030

After that, let’s create another layer and name it “Light 3”.

Use the following settings:

  • Brush size: 900px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 8%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: ffffff

image031

The result:

image032

Next, let’s create another layer and name it “Light 4”.

Use the following settings for it:

  • Brush size: 200px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 10%
  • Flow: 100%

image033

The result:

image034

Next, we’re going to darken some parts of the images. To start, let’s create a new layer – name it “Darken 1” and then input the following settings:

  • Brush size: 2000px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: 000000

Note: #: 000000 – this is color black.

image035

The result should be similar to the following:

image036

Next, let’s create another layer and this time name it – “Darken 2”.

Once done, input the following for the brushes:

  • Brush size: 1000px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: 000000

image037

The result:

image038

Create another layer again and name it – “Darken 3”.
Input the following brush settings:

  • Brush size: 1000px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: 000000

image039

The result:

image040

Lastly, let’s create another layer – name this layer: “Darken 4”.

  • Brush size: 2000px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 25%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: 000000

image041

The result:

image042

Now that we’re finally done, let’s group these layers. To do that, select all the layers that you’ve created and then press Ctrl/Cmd + G. You’d notice that a folder will be created; to see the layers, simply click on the drop-down button. Rename this Group to “Background”.

Note: Renaming a group is similar to renaming a layer.

image043


Step 5: Create the Depth of Field

In this step, we will create the Depth of Field. The depth of field makes it easier for the viewer to focus their attention to the subject of the image/photo by blurring the background of foreground. In this case, we will be blurring the background.

To start, let’s select all the layers (Ctrl/Cmd + Left-click on a layer) from the “Background” group and Merge them. To merge them, simply right click on any of the selected layers and click on the “Merge Layers” from the contextual menu.

image044

After merging them, the result would be similar to this:

image045

Now, let’s start creating the depth of field. Let’s start by selecting parts of the sky and the road. To start, activate the Polygonal Lasso Tool by pressing L on your keyboard.

image046

Once activated, follow the instructions shown on the image below:

image047

Next, we would need to save this selection for later use. To do that, go to Select > Save Selection and just press OK once the box opens.

After that, let’s use a mask, so Enter Quick Mask mode by pressing Q on your keyboard. You’d notice a red field on the region which isn’t selected.

image048

Now, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and input the following:

  • Radius: 16.0 pixels

image049

Now that you’re done, exit Quick Mask mode by pressing Q again and then Load your selection by going to Select > Load Selection (the selection we made earlier will be automatically loaded).

Now, let’s go now to the process of blurring the background. To start, go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur. Once it’s open, input the following:

image050

Now, take a look at the image – depth of field has been created.

image051

But if you’d notice this depth of field looks fake, so we would need to blur some parts, manually.

To do that, activate the Blur tool (R) and then input the following Blur tool settings:

  • Brush size: 250px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Mode: Normal
  • Strength: 100%

Blur the following parts:

image052

The result:

image053


Step 6: Create the Hanging Window

Now we will begin adding the subjects to our artwork. First, open “Window” by Mehrunnisa stock and then activate the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M).

image054

Select the window:

image055

Once you’ve made the selection area, activate the Move tool (V) and drag the selected window to our canvas. Once on the layer, rename it to “Window”.

image056

Next, we will create the ropes as to where the window will be hanging from. Open “Swing Stock 2” by Shoofly Stock. Once open, activate the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M).

image057

When you’ve created the selection area, activate the Move tool (V) and drag the selected swing to our canvas.

image058

Once in the canvas, rename this layer to “swing”, also, remember to put this layer below the “window” layer.

Now, activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and then resize the swing as shown below:

image059

Now, we’re going to cut the swing from its ropes. To do that, simply follow the instructions shown below:

image060

The result:

image061


Step 7: Create the Scene inside the Window

Now that we’ve created the window and the rope, let’s now take a peek on what’s inside this window! First, let’s remove the white part of this window. We can do that by selecting it using the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and pressing Delete. See image below:

image062

image063

Next, let’s create the scene! Open Cliff type 2_2 by the Strawberry Tree. Once open, simply move the image to our canvas using the Move tool (V) and then after moving it, rename it to “Cliff”. Take note that you should put this layer below the swing and the window.

Position the cliff on the region shown below:

image064

Next, activate the Transform tool (Ctrl/Cmd + T); we would need to resize this image. Resize it as shown below:

image065

After that, activate the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) once again and create a selection area as shown below:

image066

Next, press Ctrl/Cmd + J on your keyboard to duplicate the selected layer – once that’s done, just deleted the original “Cliff” layer.

The result should be like this:

image067


Step 8: Create the Mysterious Man

Now, let’s create the man. Open “Suit Stock 2” by rhyfelwr stock and activate the Polygonal Lasso tool (L). Use the Polygonal Lasso tool (L) to remove him from his background. See image below:

image068

Once you’ve created a selection area over the man, activate the Move tool (V) and drag the selected man to our canvas. Once on the layer, rename this layer to “Man” and position this layer below the “cliff” layer. See image below:

Next, let’s create “man’s” shadow. First, create a new layer and name it “Shadow 1”. Put this layer below the man’s layer and then activate the Brush tool (B) and then input the following brush settings:

  • Brush size: 80px
  • Hardness: 0%
  • Opacity: 15%
  • Flow: 100%
  • #: 000000

Now, let’s paint!

image069

The result should be similar to the following:

image070

Once you’re done, select all the layers – window, swing, cliff, man and create a group. Name this group, “objects”.


Step 9: Create the textures

Now, let’s begin adding paper and metal textures to give our image a surreal feel. To start, let’s open “Metal texture 15” by wojtar stock. Once open, activate the Move tool (V) and drag it on to our canvas and place it on top of all the layers that we created.

image071

Next, transform this texture as shown below:

image072

image073

Now that it covers the whole image, let’s change its Blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 40%. See image below on how to change these two:

image074

After changing the Blending Mode and Opacity, the texture would give the image this effect:

image075

Next, let’s open “Paper Texture 1” by Wojtar Stock. Once open, activate the Move tool (V) and drag it on to our canvas and place it on top of all the layers that we created. Transform it so it would cover the whole image (like what we did with the metal texture). Next, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light, Opacity: 40%.

The result should be similar to the image below:

image076


Step 10: Retouch the image

Now it is time we retouched our image to give it a more surreal feel.
To start, let’s create a Solid Color adjustment layer from the Create New Fill/Adjustment layer button located on the Layer Window.

image077

After clicking on the Solid Color adjustment layer, the Color Picker box would appear. Once it appears, input the following:

  • #: 00041b

After that, change the Blending mode to Exclusion and the Opacity to 40%.

image078

Next, let’s create another Solid Color adjustment layer; input the following:

  • # 3b2f25
  • Blending mode: Soft Light
  • Opacity: 40%

Next, create a Color Balance adjustment layer from the Create New Fill/Adjustment layer button.

image079

Once the Color Balance menu opens, input the following:

  • Color Balance: 0, 0, -7
  • Tone Balance: Midtones
  • Preserve Luminosity: Checked

Next, let’s create a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer from the Create New Fill/Adjustment layer button.

image080

image081

After that, let’s create a Gradient Map adjustment layer, still from the Create New Fill/Adjustment layer button.

image082

Once the Gradient Map menu opens, choose the following gradient:

image083

Now, you would see that your image is in Black and White.

Next, let’s adjust the color of the Blacks. Create a Selective Color adjustment layer from the Create New Fill/Adjustment layer button.

image084

image085

Next, we will adjust the tone of this black and white image. So, create another Solid Color adjustment layer. Once ready, input the following:

  • #: 060b33
  • Blending mode: Exclusion
  • Opacity: 40%

Create another Solid Color adjustment layer again and input the following:

  • #: 4c3c2c
  • Blending mode: Soft Light
  • Opacity: 70%

Then, create another Solid Color adjustment layer and input the following:

  • #: 082a06
  • Blending mode: Soft Light
  • Opacity: 40%
  • Fill: 50%

Now we’re all done.

The final image should be similar to this:

image086


Authors Comment

image087This is where my head goes a lot of times. I hope you’d enjoy creating this tutorial and I hope this would help you in whatever you’re doing. Anyway, thank you for visiting this page and using my tutorial, if you want to see more of my art works, give me a shout at my website: http://www.wix.com/theflickerees/michaelVmanalo

– Michael Vincent Manalo

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