In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a fantasy fish scene using a variety of photo manipulation techniques. You’ll learn how to combine different stock images into a cohesive scene using blending, adjusting colors, masking and brush. You’ll learn also how to focus on the details, work with lighting, manage your layers and more.

What you’ll be creating

We’ll start this tutorial by setting up a sky scene from three stock images. Then we’ll add the boat, tree, model ,fishes and blend them using adjustment layers, masking and brush. Later we’ll adjust the color, light, contrast and finish it up with an adjustment layer. You should use Photoshop CS3 or newer to follow this tutorial properly.

fish44-final

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop with the following settings:

fish34-final[1]

Step 2

Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer. Active the Gradient Tool (G), choose Radial Gradient with the color #5a513d and #d1cba2. Drag a line from the top center to the bottom:

fish2

Step 3

Open the sky 1 image. Use the Move Tool (V) to drag it into our canvas and change the mode to Soft Light 100%:

fish3

Step 4

To make this sky look smoother, go to Filter > Blur > Gassian Blur and set the radius to 2 px:

fish3

Step 5

I used an adjustment layer with Clipping Mask to change the color of the sky. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves:

fish3

fish3a

Step 6

Place the sky 2 image over the sky 1 and change the mode to Hard Light 100%:

fish6

Step 7

Apply Gassian Blur with 7 px to this sky layer:

fish7

Step 8

I used a Color Balance adjustment layer (Clipping Mask) to change the color of the sky 2:

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